Walking around Melbourne city one afternoon I decided to have some chips for lunch and ended up in a trendy chippery in Elizabeth Street, munching away on some deep fried potatoes and mayo. The man serving me was the owner, an entrepreneur experienced in the fast food business. Brad, spoke openly and explained how he tries to make a buck in the hyper-competitive world of fast food.
Brad celebrated big successes in this market in the past but emphasised that he had only completed high school and had no formal business qualifications whatsoever.
Some time ago, Brad attended a post graduate management lecture at a local university. First Brad thought that the lecturer was talking gobbledygook, but after a while recognised that the theories presented in this lecture match what he does intuitively to run his business.
The entrepreneur is the hero of contemporary capitalism
I told Brad that I occasionally teach marketing at La Trobe University. What management scientist do, I continued, is to study entrepreneurs like Brad to figure out how they do business and present this back to students in theories, formulas and diagrams. One of the aims of business studies is to unlock the intuitive knowledge of entrepreneurs such as Brad so that other, less gifted and more risk averse budding entrepreneurs, can replicate their success.
The Entrepreneur in Society
The entrepreneur is the hero of contemporary capitalism and has been idealised and studied in great detail by scholars around the world, each looking for the holy grail of entrepreneurship. Researchers study entrepreneurs like etymologists study insects. They dissect them, analyse them, observe their behaviour to extract the essence of what it is that makes them successful.
Entrepreneurial biographies are, however, always incomplete and sanitised versions of reality. The essence of entrepreneurship is a mythical concept in business studies that can only be known through experiencing what it is to be in business, not by studying it
- Peter Prevos, The Essence of Entrepreneurship
- Ian Watson, Entrepreneurs: Walking Through the Valley of Darkness