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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Personality of An Entrepreneur

I am conferencing in Tokyo at an international conference on Intellectual Property and Venture Capital: The Secrets of Building Innovation Ecosystems. You can see the program here. The morning session began with a keynote by Professor Hiro Higashide, who teaches at Waseda University Business School in Japan. Professor Higashide's first argument based on his broad multi-industry research was that the predictors of success are far more tied to the personality of the entrepreneurs in which VC invest than the technology or IP involved. He described the entrepreneurial spirit as developing very early in life and Japan's goals of identifying potential entrepreneurs in their 20s. At the same time, in Japan the entrepreneurial gap is quite low, that is, there is, relative to other cultures, a low percentage of individuals interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Other cultural differences between Japanese and western entrepreneurial ecosystems were emphasized, namely the difficulty in Japan to replace management, not just legally but as part of the social norms. This means that the selection of the initial entrepreneur in which to invest is even more crucial. Professor Higashide harshly described most entrepreneurs as "Living Dead" - they will never make a significant exit; the start-up, despite the investment, is doomed to fail. This, circling back to the relative significance of IP/tech versus leadership/personality, is far more dependent according to Higashide's research on the entrepreneur's qualities than the venture itself. Higashide spoke of "Founder's Diseases", the worse one being the tendency to stick to what one had originally planned without flexibility to change and make use of opportunities along the way.

Posted by Orly Lobel on September 3, 2014 at 10:26 PM | Permalink


This is very interesting, Orly. I've been looking recently for literature on the personality/psychology of entrepreneurs, but haven't found much. I'd love to hear if Professor Higashide has studies to back up his claim (which seems right to me).

Posted by: Jonas Anderson | Sep 4, 2014 2:34:29 PM

yes, he certainly did have research he was conducting - not sure if some of it is published yet. he has an earlier paper The impact of societal cultural values and individual social beliefs on the perceived effectiveness of managerial influence strategies. Journal of International Business Studies. 35, 284-305. he describes his research here http://wasedamba.jp/wbs-faculty/hironori-higashide/

Posted by: Orly Lobel | Sep 4, 2014 7:38:38 PM

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