Wednesday, October 26, 2005

GYAN:: Entrepreneurial Criminal?

Funnily I've noticed that the creative/ingenious bent of mind is shared by entrepreneurs and criminals. For simplicity while these two are strong words to use I'll try and define them as follow:-
1. Entrepreneur - someone who generates personal wealth while ensuring that he remains within the framework of societal conscience.
2. Criminal - someone who breaks the law

While sometimes the Entrepreneur does end up breaking the law and thus is performing criminal activities frequently he does remain within the boundary of societal conscience and thus his actions do have the approval of society at large and are frequently the catalyst for the revamp and rewriting of laws. However where lies the difference?

I would say the entrepreneurail and the criminal ingredients are the same, its just the effect of training and societal mentoring and conditioning that create the difference. Post looking at a lot of entrepreneurs from close quarters as well as some criminals (belv. me we have a lot of them in Dubai) , i've tried to put together what differentiates them. I call it my activist - rebel model.

The quickest way I like to portray the difference between an entrepreneur and a criminal is to picturize a activist and contrast that with a rebel.

The activist picture is clear. He's the person out there protesting Vietnam. He's the guy on the front lines. He's the idealist and he's got the support of the common man to back him and amplify his voice. This is the entrepreneur and while quite a few times the causes may be flawed and sometimes fighting is futile (think Tianmen square) the Entrepreneur manages to cause a wave while still remaining in the system. You will not see an entrepreneur resorting to violence or riots. They somehow have internalised that by breaking the law you just give the authorities a cheap way to trash your cause which is all important. Think Mahatma Gandhi.

The Rebel. Think Che Guevara, Veerapan, the kid sulking in the corner and refusing to stop crying. This is a LONELY picture. While there might be pockets of sympathy and a certain amount of romance surrounding the rebel society at large does not support their cause. While they might be the stuff of stories they are not able to get people to leave their daily lives and join them at peril of life and limb. The Rebel is also prone to ad hoc measures (give aways and free offers) when he realises that he does not enjoy the respect of society at large and melodrama in general to gain sympathy and expose what he feels is his righteous cause but the fact remains that he did violate the rules and that led his entire cause to failure.

While we all have a little bit of the activist and the Rebel in us, we need to think hard and really internalize that we need to control the rebel and promote the activist in us. Great causes have been let down by a rebel and not an activist taking charge. Do we want causes dear to us to suffer the same fate at our hands?


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  4. Woah, some picture there. Brilliant write up. However the conclusion is on the rebel and the activist, what about the entrepreneur and the criminal?

  5. Roshan:
    I do not agree with your narrow definition of an entrepreneur:

    1. Entrepreneur - someone who generates personal wealth while ensuring that he remains within the framework of societal conscience.

    Some of us (entrepreneurs) would like to define it differently. We are a bunch of people who would like to make a positive influence or bring in positive change in the lives of people- ourselves and people around us, while having fun with what we are doing (being passionate about the cause or the goal), and at the same time creating wealth for ourselves and the people whom we carry forward.

    With the above definition, I am not sure if you would want to still go about equating them to a criminal. You can come with new definition for criminal and then go about equating it. Have fun!


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