Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs…

I saw the following blog post (Successful traits of entrepreneurs on Flipboard the other day. While always useful information, I’m always concerned about such claims/postings, even though best intentioned.

In the 1970s and 1980s a good deal of research was conducted about the psychology and traits of entrepreneurs. Researchers such as Brockhaus and Katz at the University of St. Louis conducted many studies in the area providing great insight into entrepreneurs about how they may be different from the ‘average’ business person.

With that said, there was always difficulty in trying to apply the research into predicting who could become an entrepreneur using psychological surveys. More importantly, it’s even more difficult to predict who or what startup will be successful based on the psychological makeup of the founder and/or team. Added, most studies or blog posts such as the one cited suffer from ‘survivor’ bias, only examining those entrepreneurs or business people who have succeeded and the traits they possess. What about the 60% that fail in the startup mode in the first five years of existence? Do they have the same makeup as those cited but yet, for whatever reason, didn’t enjoy the success?

The reason for this is pretty simple. The business world especially in relation to startups is too complex to develop predictive models based on the traits of the entrepreneur. Market dynamics, technology dynamics, competition, the impact of employees, and a wide variety of other variables can wreak havoc on a business, despite the traits of the founder.


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