When we heard about Pinterest Co-Founder Paul Sciarra stepping down last week, we were pretty surprised. That was major for a co-founder to step down when his company was still on fire. It had us asking, why would Paul step down? Seems we weren't the only ones asking that question.
Whatever reasons Paul had for stepping down, it got us thinking again about what it takes to keep going, day in and day out, even when your business hasn't taken off, when there are absolutely no rewards in it besides turning your idea into reality. It's hard work, chipping away at something, investing yourself into your business, your craft. After all, entrepreneurship isn't about fame or money, it's about problem solving.
Yet some entrepreneurs start a company for all the wrong reasons, looking for fame and fortune. Maybe it's easy to get caught up in the race for the golden ticket, especially when acquisitions of zero-revenue startups happen left and right, including the $1 billion buyout of Instagram.
Maybe what's needed is for entrepreneurs to have a kid-like entrepreneurial spirit, a sense of wonder about their ventures, enjoying it for the sake of doing it. Maybe they can take a page from a little boy in LA, who kept plugging away at his game arcade he made himself out of cardboard when he didn't have a single customer. Take a look at this video and notice how this nine-year old boy has all the right ingredients of a true entrepreneur:
Notice how Caine doesn't get discourage by his lack of customers. He doesn't even let his peers' disbelief sway him from his passion. Let's take a look closer at the three things that truly make Caine an entrepreneur.
- Problem Solver — Caine was a tinkerer. He loves to figure out how to make things better. More than that, he's a problem solver. When his dad suggests he build a claw of his own for a game, Caine MacGyvers something out of string and a hook. Not too different from a young Steve Jobs, who spent countless hours fiddling with electronics and building kits when he was a kid.
- Passion — By passion, we don't mean desire, which are two different things. Turning a desire into a real passion can kill that desire. Say you had the desire to open up an arcade, but after awhile you found you couldn't stand to play another game, or fix a broken machine. Not Caine. He found passion and appreciation in the challenges of running his own arcade, building his own games out of nothing but cardboard and spare parts.
- Stay the Course — Caine doesn't easily give up on his arcade. He isn't even willing to close up shop when he doesn't have any customers. When his dad asks him to call it an early day, Caine says, "No can do." He's in it for the long run.
For Caine, it was never about the fame, fortune or glory. It was about the sheer pleasure of doing it, for solving problems and building something that people would be able to use. But isn't that what true entrepreneurialism is all about, no matter what the age?