The similarities between academics and entrepreneurs

A pile of books sat next to a pad of paper and a pen

What’s the difference between an academic and an entrepreneur?  No, this is not a cheesy joke, with a slapstick answer. . . but in reality there are a lot of similarities in working in academia and working in a startup. Both are very driven to succeed, having tested assumptions (to either a “yes it works” or “no it doesn’t” answer), followed processes through great uncertainty (both in their ideas and their income!) in order to follow a path they believe in.

The academic and the entrepreneur have the same hopes and dreams (broadly speaking) and same fear of failure, while working in a very complex and sometimes unforgiving environment:

Assumptions: The starting point for both an entrepreneur and an academic is an assumption.

Process: Measure, test and determine if the idea is good, and if not, why not?  Are tangents better to explore (aka the pivot)

Environment: intellectually stimulating, and full of uncertainty, including if someone is going to steal your idea and make millions.

Broke: Both generally have little money in the beginning.  Both are usually looking for funding of some sort.

Binary payoffs: It either works or it doesn’t.  Yes or no.

Cause driven: Most of the time, both academics and entrepreneurs are doing it because of passion, driven by a need to make a difference in some way.  The validation of their ideas.

Timing: Timing is everything. . . researching or developing something topical will inevitably help your research or venture.

Testing a hypothesis or questioning assumptions. . . same thing said differently.  Not so different after all!

Why not take a look at the many entrepreneurial events and programmes available to staff, and find out if entrepreneurship is for you?

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