Entrepreneurial Syndrome and ADDship
January 31, 2012 1 Comment
Inc. magazine has an interesting interview with Aaron Blackledge, a medical doctor and entrepreneur. While his achievements are both inspiring and awesome, what is striking about this interview is how he sees the “entrepreneurial mind.”
There has been plenty of research trying to map out what are the “entrepreneurial traits” and the psychological characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. This type of research can undoubtedly help us understand people and humanity, but I am not convinced it is helpful in terms of entrepreneurship research. After all, entrepreneurship is primarily a market function, and as such the mental or physical state of the person exercising entrepreneurship is at best of secondary importance.
This said, a great many successful innovator-entrepreneurs seem to be overly (annoyingly?) energetic, crazily risk-loving (or -unaffected), and perhaps with lacking rationality in terms of the consequences of one’s actions. That Blackledge seems to have identified that the “hyper-creatives” are also those who would be diagnosed with and treated for ADD, is hardly surprising. Who would expect the not-so-energetic, dull, and in-the-box-thinking to be successful and innovative entrepreneurs?
From a political or social-engineering point of view, it may seem beneficial to categorize and identify the would-be entrepreneurs and, perhaps, give them a push to start companies or produce art. The problem, of course, is that if the would-be entrepreneurs are identified and we aim to “make the most” out of this, then we face two major problems: we have a situation where (1) government has already created two classes of citizens and would tend to favor one over the other, and (2) in order to incentivize this class to become “real” entrepreneurs, government would need to redistribute resources and wealth (broadly defined) from already existing successful entrepreneurs. I can see all kinds of not-so-very-nice problems coming from both of these points.
The other side of the coin, however, is to learn from what is revealed in this interview about the hyper-creatives. And the perhaps most revealing is the question, “so everyone’s on Adderall these days?” Diagnosing and treating the hyper-creatives as though there is something wrong with them simply because they are hyper might not be a very productive approach. If they are indeed an important part of what is the entrepreneurial function, perhaps we shouldn’t medicate them en masse and virtually put the market process to a halt…?