Entrepreneur's Personal
Operating System
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Entrepreneurship is really about one and only one "thing": the entrepreneur. He / she really is the startup. At the heart of the startup is the person. And what really counts is his or her personal operating system (POS), his or her characters and root qualities. What he or she really is.  

Repellant characters destroy trust and credibility
A startup has no track record. No brand. Often close to no money. It may have a wonderful idea that the founder believes in. All the stakeholders the garage team, the employees, the customers, the suppliers, and the investors are simply putting their trust on the entrepreneur. Our core message is this: repellant characters will destroy that trust.

What is written on your heart either attracts or repels followers. An entrepreneur must know and purify the values that are engraved on his or her heart. People hire you for what you can do. They respect you for what you are, but they will only trust you if they know what you will NOT do to them!

If you are still not sure about our core assertion, ask yourself this simple question: would you follow people that are:

1. Unkind to you
2. Unfair to you
3. Rude to you in front of people
4. Do stupid things and get you in trouble
5. Lie to you
6. Betray you
7. Leave you to face the music
8. Corrupt
9. Have no sense of shame
10. Bad to their parents
11. Bad to their brothers and sisters
12. Refuse to correct their mistakes
13. Hold a grudge against you for months ?

No one would work closely with someone with these "viruses". An entrepreneur must therefore remove these viruses from their personal operating system. These viruses are the opposite of some very old-fashioned virtues. The right virtues may not be attractive. The "anti-virtues" or the "viruses" are certainly very repulsive. The right virtues are "nice to haves". The viruses are must-not-haves. An entrepreneur with these viruses will not survive very long. Employees, customers, investors, and suppliers will sooner or later find out and abandon the venture.

By the way, the list of viruses just mentioned is only a sample list. But it is a very important list. It is the anti-thesis of the following list of virtues: kind, righteous, respect, wise, trustworthiness, loyal, courage, uncorrupted, shame, care for the old, care for the young, self-correcting, forgiving. You might recognize this as the famous list of the thirteen Confucian virtues (in Chinese: ?????????????????????????). Of course, there could be many other useful lists. We have found this list particularly helpful not just because Confucius developed this list for leaders. He knew that the anti-virtues could be so repellant that they would destroy the trust for any leader.

Minimum root qualities of an entrepreneur
The core dynamic of entrepreneurship is the personal operating system of the entrepreneur. It is important not to confuse operating system with "application programs". We are drawing analogy with computer systems. An operating system is what you are. An application program is what you do. Good application programs in an entrepreneur will include his or her ability to execute, industry knowledge, and many other professional and business skills. Our first assertion on the personal operating system of an entrepreneur is that repellant character destroys trust. Avoid those viruses.

Our second assertion is this: it takes a certain minimum amount of "root qualities" to be a successful entrepreneur. "Root qualities" are different from virtues. Virtues could be taught and developed. Root qualities are inner or intrinsic qualities that are required but almost impossible to teach in classrooms. They are qualities that everyone has "some". But it takes a certain minimum in all the following root qualities to make a successful entrepreneur:

1. Minimum passion, focus and dedication
2. Minimum luck / blessing factor and health
3. Minimum risk tolerance and sleep factor
4. Minimum gut feel (intuition) and common sense
5. Minimum guts (courage) and stamina
6. Minimum IQ and EQ

You need a certain grade of steel without which you cannot make a winning racing car. Similarly, you need a certain minimum amount of these six root qualities to make a successful entrepreneur. We will elaborate on these root qualities in the book. We would just make a few comments here.

Risk tolerance is often hailed as the hallmark of the entrepreneurial spirit. We found that there is an "objective" minimum level of risk tolerance for entrepreneurs. It is not about how much money you are willing to risk. Or your willingness to risk your house, your job, or your reputation. It is whether you could sleep well at night when you do not know whether you could pay your staff at the end of the month. Most entrepreneurs have faced this test many times. We call it the minimum sleep factor. If you could not sleep on that, you would not sleep for many nights. If you could not sleep for a week, you are pretty useless for the startup. The startup would almost certainly collapse and fail to make the monthly payroll. Successful entrepreneurs develop the best course of action to get the money needed, sleep well at night, and get up to do their best. There is still no guarantee that they will make it. But at least they have a fair shot.

Could we teach these qualities in a classroom at all ? Probably not. Our belief is that they could only be "caught", not "taught". A lot of people are born with these qualities. Others acquire them naturally in their upbringing. Still others suddenly "get it" through an "enlightenment" experience, not unlike a religious or philosophical conversion. Some educationalists believe that experiential learning (e.g., adventure-based learning) could help.

Entrepreneurship education is to describe these minimum qualities to people who already have them so they can have a better chance. We make them more confident and equip them with the rest of the five dynamics.
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