12/14/13

OMG FRED

How economists feel about the St. Louis Federal Reserve Economic Data. Nothing like a retro viral video.  


FRED.



The Three Components of Leadership

Some time ago I was chatting in the kitchen with my roommate about our extracurricular activities in college, and we got to talking about leadership. Both of us had held leadership positions that had greatly challenged us; I as the captain of my ultimate frisbee team, and she as a coordinator for solar decathlon, a team that competes in a US Department of Energy sponsored competition to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses.  While we both adequately met our responsibilities (the house was built, the games were played) both of us felt that we had, in some way, failed. 

My roommate and I aren't just ordinary roommates, brought together by a shared hobby, or a mutual friend, or a twist of Craigslist fate; we are both Venture for America fellows, participants in a two year entrepreneurship program that matches recent college graduates with startups in low-income cities. Venture for America is supposed to teach fellows how to start and grow a company by putting them "in the trenches" and forcing us to learn by doing. Most of the learning, however, comes from watching our employers, the entrepreneurs.

OMG it's @jack. If I wear designer jeans will I make a million dollars?
We aren't alone; I un-statistically estimate that 90% of all entrepreneurship-related talks hosted on college campuses, at startup accelerators, or at business community events are nothing more than first-person tales from successful entrepreneurs about their experiences founding and growing a company. Everyone in the audience listens because they believe that given enough data points, they will be able to unlock the secret of entrepreneurship, but the truth is, there is no formula. You can't become an entrepreneur by cramming for three months and taking the bar exam. You can't become an entrepreneur by completing eight years of school and five years of residency. You can't become an entrepreneur by shaking hands, kissing babies, and winning an election. Still the community of wannabes searches, throwing every CEO who naively agrees to a speaking engagement into the petri dish, poking, pulling, and dissecting in a desperate attempt to understand what makes this species tick.