Entrepreneurship - A NextGen Pillar


Entrepreneurship is a buzz word right now, a trend like dabbing. Media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk is one of many successful entrepreneurs that talks about the perceived change in our culture (in the United States) the past ~20 or so years where you find someone saying they are an entrepreneur far more frequently than in past years. Often times we see content (across a variety of industries) that seems to confuse entrepreneurship with setting up your own business.

In our previous post we described what Behavior Analysis is about - if you haven't - check that out first to provide a little context. 

What is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is about creating value for a market. Behavior analysts provide value to their clients by offering services that'll eventually give them a return on investment in being able to live happier lives. By that definition, we're all entrepreneurs. However, if the topics of discussion at conferences are about setting up a business, running it, paying your employees, etc. and use the words "entrepreneurship" or "startups" in their title, then it waters down the definition of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is about recognizing opportunity and creating value. Business operations (set up and day-to-day) and entrepreneurship (opportunity recognition and value creation) are needed to start a successful business but it's important to separate them as they are different areas of study with experts on both sides.

Yes, entrepreneurship is about business, but if you want to learn how to run a business you get an MBA or management degree. If you want to create value by identifying an opportunity and setting up a business to exploit it, you study entrepreneurship. We're all entrepreneurs, or at least we can be. The child who sells lemonade at a lemonade stand wants to quench the thirst of pass by's on a hot summer day. But what about the child on the same block who wants to do the same thing. They must create value for the same market (or different market) within the "lemonade stand" industry. They must be "entrepreneurial". Perhaps dog-friendly lemonade? Door-to-door service around the block? Or 2 for 1 specials on Sundays during the football game? 

Entrepreneurship is about innovation and disrupting industries. The academics won't tell you that but that's what I've learned from observing. They'll tell you it's about launching a successful business. What they won't tell you is that there are categories of businesses (they do, but the drive behind the current mindset across the US is high growth & scalable ; snap chat, Uber, Airbnb [true start-ups]). What most ABA clinics fall into are lifestyle businesses. They're created to help the owner make a living and afford the lifestyle they want to live (and that's why you'll never see an ABA clinic pitching on Shark Tank, which by the way is a horrible representation of pitching but at least it teaches the masses the basics). Startups are about high growth. If you launch an innovative and disruptive business you're bound to be high growth (if the markets allows aka. if you create value in their lives/business). So when a talk is titled with the word "startup" or "entrepreneurship" and the speakers and audience end up speaking about operations of a business (the day-to-day), the point is missed. The fact that the audience many times nudges the conversation via their questions into business operations shows a need within the behavior science industry (did you catch that recognition of opportunity? I know some of you have.). 


In this case and at the essence of next gen, is entrepreneurship.
Creating value and exploiting opportunity where other people don't, because they're not trained to see it, because the plunge into uncertainty is intimidating, because they have tunnel vision from being in the field for too long, or because they're too scared of the ivory towers and old guard. 

Today, I beg you to join me. Join me in committing to becoming true entrepreneurs. Let's not become the Radioshack's, Kodak's, Sear's, or Blackberry's of our field. All those companies felt too comfortable doing what they were doing and failed because they didn't create value for their markets in an ever changing landscape of life and technology. 

p.s. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but we'll save that for another blog post. 


Andy Chavez, MSE

Affiliation: BehaviorMe


Bio: Andy Chavez is CEO and co-founder at BehaviorMe, a startup merging virtual reality and behavioral sciences for the greater good of mental health care. Mr. Chavez received a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to co-founding BehaviorMe, Mr. Chavez ran an experiential marketing startup and was project manager for two award winning design and build creative agencies based out of New York City. Mr. Chavez instills creative thinking and business processes in an attempt to recognize scalable and sustainable opportunities across all fields of thought, industry, and populations. 


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Friday, November 10th, 2017: Optional Meet 'n' Greet for all registered attendees

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