Discuss about the Entrepreneurial Motivation and Intentions.
The ability and enthusiasm to develop, systematize and administer a business enterprise along with its risks makes an entrepreneur out of a person. A successful entrepreneur is he who makes profit in his business despite numerous risk factors and sets an example for the rest. The spirit of entrepreneurship is distinguished by risk-taking factor and innovation as well as surviving in the increasingly competitive and ever changing global marketplace (Starak, n.d.). Many have attempted to attach the luck factor behind the success of the entrepreneurs since there is no assurance that the venture will work in favor (Wolan, 2012).
Among some of the exceptionally successful young entrepreneurs in the world who have risen to fame since the last decade, Evan Williams is a vibrant name of them all (MacArthur, 2016). This American internet entrepreneur has founded numerous website companies, three of them being most popular ones. Having cofounded three digital publishing giants such as Twitter, Blogger and Medium, Williams has established his name in the world’s top ten entrepreneurs (Brown, 2014). This essay discusses whether the extraordinary success of Williams relies on his luck or the innovative ways adopted by him. The essay also concentrates on his previous unsuccessful ventures and the reasons why they had been failed.
To discuss one specific exemplary entrepreneur, I have chosen Evan Williams, as he is one of the very few self-made billionaires in the world who have achieved such highs in a small period (Cowan, 2011). He is presently the monarch of internet industry having contributions behind most popular blogging sites. In fact, blogging, which has been the latest trend, coined its name from Evan Williams while founding Blogger (Blogger.com, 2017). I choose him also because he is a youth icon in the industry of internet and more because his career shows how failure can be fought back with success. His journey of entrepreneurship inspires me like many other common young fellows.
Evan Williams, a dropout from the University of Nebraska took up jobs in various technology companies and start-up firms. This youth sensation in the world of internet was born on 31 March 1972 in the town of Clarks, Nebraska (MacArthur, 2016). He has a very ordinary background of a farming family and joined the University of Nebraska for some time but did not finish his degree and dropped out in the middle to pursue the career of his own choice. Although Williams joined his family occupation of soybean farming early in his life, he had grown interest in learning computer code and this became the turning point in his life (Taylor, 2013). Soon he left his study and his family profession only to pursue a line of business in information system.
However, initially Williams was busy in writing codes of computer programming as well as freelancing for Intel and Hewlett-Packard. It was the time, when he went for his first joined venture of founding Pyra Labs along with Meg Hourihan (Wolan, 2012). Besides this, he also tried his luck in founding several other business enterprises in the field of information technology like Blogger. While Pyra Labs did not reach the success and after Hourihan’s departure the company ended up being merged with Google in 2003, Blogger paved a new path of blogging and it was the first of its kind. In fact, Williams invented the expression “blogger” and it was he, who popularized the term “blog” immensely (Blogger.com, 2017).
To discuss whether Evan’s first success in such an early age was due to any innovative business idea or it was sheer luck factor that had worked in his favor. The first thing that he did right was to co-found Blogger with Meg Hourihan, who is considered to be as one of the top innovators in the world (Brown, 2014). Now this was rather his choice of people to work with than his luck. Next, he took on great challenge in launching blogger from his start-up company Pyra Labs, which would have backfired; however, here it can be said that fortunately he had the right idea at the right moment to start Blogger with. It is said that fortune works for those who dare to take chances and in launching blogger, Evan Williams had the very innovative as well as contemporary idea to launch software for personal blogging (Falzani, 2014). However, the facts that Williams had given all his effort not only behind developing his new venture but also in popularizing the concept of blogging minimize the glory of just being lucky in success.
However, despite the success of Blogger, which was merged with Google, Williams left Google in 2004 only to co-found another business venture Odeo, which was a podcast company (Gannes, 2006). Two years later Williams went for co-founding another enterprise named Obvious Corp. with Biz Stone. However, both these ventures did not become success; in 2007 Sonic Mountain acquired Odeo and Obvious Corp. saw the ray of success only with the project of Twitter launched in the market (Taylor, 2013).
Apart from the bright side of Twitter’s success, it is also important to concentrate on Odeo’s unexpected failure. Behind the failure of Odeo many people hint at the idea that Williams, who saw the success of Blogger failed in Odeo because his fortune did not favor. Apparently, this seems true because after the successful running of Blogger there was no reason for Odeo’s failure. In fact, Odeo received a chance of demonstration at the prestigious TED Conference and the news of this was even printed in the front page of the leading daily New York Times, which had built suitable platform for Odeo’s success (Gannes, 2006). Unfortunately, the performance of this podcast company did not meet the expectations of Williams and others. However, Evan himself refutes any mention of misfortune responsible for his failure; rather he finds out some significant gaps in his thought that resulted in disaster for the company (Gompers et al., 2017). He unhesitatingly confessed that with Blogger’s success and the initial outstanding response received for Odeo, he himself had become bloated and hence, unfocused. He ignored most of the business rules such starting tiny and starting narrow and attempted to make something extraordinary out of the new venture (Brown, 2014). The next reason stated by Williams was that Odeo lacked unique recording tools and podcasting of people like himself who were popular among the youth. With ordinary standard of entertainment, Odeo met its fate. Besides, it lacked the innovative factor like Blogger and Williams failed to realize that in the primary stage he should not eye for competing with Apple in the long term. As discussed above that taking chances and challenges goes in favor of success but it cannot be denied that too much of anything also spoils the good (Falzani, 2014). The same happened with Odeo when Williams invested a huge amount of money from his own and hired numerous people at the very primary stage. This was unnecessary and backfired for Williams by drowning his confidence in listening to his instinct and doing what it says.
However, soon after this, Twitter generated with the idea of micro-blogging service as well as the increasingly popular concept of social networking with Orkut and Facebook. Twitter was one of the ambitious projects of Obvious Corp., which later became separated from the parent company and spun into a new one in 2007. Williams was the co-founder of it along with Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Noah Glass as well as he was one of the major investors of Twitter. The idea of bringing social networking and online news together hit the right cord of people’s mind and soon it became one of the most popular and most-visited sites. The stock price of twitter is ever rising and although Williams had stepped down from the position of CEO in Twitter, he is still a board member and holds position of considerable significance in Twitter.
Behind Twitter’s popularity, several things worked including its SMS-based platform and its context based limited format. Proposed by Jack Dorsey, Twitter was given a green signal from Evan Williams and Biz Stone since Williams was right in identifying the possibility of a personalized yet global interaction medium and took the appropriate decision in choosing his co-founders. As an entrepreneur, Williams have always been ahead of conventional thinking and he is known for his brave steps taken throughout his entrepreneurial career. Considering the luck factor behind Williams’ success in Twitter, it will be wrong if the aspect of fortune is completely denied. Much of Twitter’s success at present relies on its brand name as well as its influential and powerful users because of whom twitter has been a platform of public interest. Here it can be said that without luck’s favor it seems difficult to gain such huge popularity among world’s most influential and followed personalities due to which twitter rose to fame. However, if analysis is performed on why twitter happened to gain such recognition it will be seen that the Twitter itself had the potential in its form and personalized brief format on a social networking platform. Besides, twitter is designed in with quite different features than those of its competitors in the market and this distinct quality of it has helped to survive and succeed.
This exceptional success of Williams deserves special analysis of his innovative and unique self. If any specific characteristic of Williams is to be highlighted his determination and enthusiasm as an entrepreneur comes in front. After the massive failure of Odeo, his much ambitious start-up he did not even think to adopt safe measures; rather he himself identified where he went wrong (Wahee & Bhardwaj, 2014). He co-founded Twitter under Obvious Corp. and proved a successful entrepreneur is he, who keeps taking chances though wisely and does not have the fear of failure (Cowan, 2011). Another quality in Williams’ character that is worth mentioning here is that he is capable of being indifferent towards both success and failure. As he was not bothered by his failure of Odeo, he did not hesitate to step down from the position of CEO for the sake of being attached with product strategy, which is his core passion (Taylor, 2013). As it is known that luck favors the brave, this ingrained bold nature in Williams’ character definitely has affected his luck. His determination and ability to take wise decisions at the right moment has not allowed his luck to be a hindrance to success.
Debating on luck and innovation, it must be stated that entrepreneurship is synonymous to take risks and success capitulates to those who has the courage to overcome them with their prudence and to some extent intuition. This risk-taking attitude is omnipresent in the very character of Evan Williams and this is worth to be further assessed in the light of entrepreneurial theories (Wolan, 2012).
Entrepreneurship has been associated with several theories since long where the oldest theory of economic ones dates back to 18th centuries. Among the most noted contemporary theories there are resource-based theories, psychological theories, sociological theories and opportunity-based theory (Kuratko, 2016). As websites launched by Williams are global platforms, they do not become affected by varied sociological contexts in the world much; however, the rest of the rest of the theories can analyze the reason behind Williams’ success. Being an internet entrepreneur does not require many resources except for financial support and technically sound human resource (Gillis, Combs & Ketchen, 2014). Whether it is termed luck or coincidence, Williams was able to get in touch with the right co-founders along with having a great team to work with as well as did not lack financial support even in his early days. In fact, after Blogger’s success he was capable to become investor for his following start-ups. On the other hand, psychological theories indicate the presence of an intense inner locus of self-control that makes the entrepreneur believe that his action has the power to influence external world (Espíritu-Olmos & Sastre-Castillo, 2015). Theories of David McCLelland and Julian Rotter both emphasizes on the innate drive and control that leads a person to success. In addition, the theory of opportunity propounded by Professor Drucker states that a successful entrepreneur must seize every opportunity at his disposal created by social, cultural and technological changes (Mainela, Puhakka & Servais, 2014). Coming back to Williams, the presence of the referred innate qualities in the psychological theories are very much there in his character evident from the discussion so far and as far as seizing opportunity is considered being a technological expert and a youth himself, Williams is bound to grab any technological opportunity or latest cultural trend that suits his purpose.
The entire discussion on the success journey of entrepreneur Evan Williams sums up the fact that entrepreneurship is a blend of courage, business knowledge and favorable luck. Without any of these three, it is no possible for any entrepreneur to shine and excel. While the impact of luck is controversial and doubtful, no one can deny the role of fortune in business due to the sheer unpredictable nature of it. However, it is also true that possessing entrepreneurial qualities also matter without which even luck does not favor people. Evan Williams, undoubtedly is the right blend of all; if his luck has had any minor assistance in his achievements, his extremely bold attitude and business wisdom has overpowered it commendably.
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