Shining in the night: WSJ’s four new entrepreneur types

Converged communicators who are studying Technological Entrepreneurship (that’s GEB4152) have probably heard a lot about the kinds of people who enter the wild world of startups. Some personality traits work well in this field. Some don’t. On top of perennial issues like properly timing opportunities and analyzing the market, prospective entrepreneurs must also understand their own personality types. It’s essential for newcomers to the business world to recognize what they’re likely to do well, what they might need to improve, and how to adapt their skills to the marketplace around them.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Linda Rottenberg describes four types of entrepreneurs that she describes as the “new breeds.” In Rottenberg’s framework, diamonds are charismatic figures who can reshape whole industries; she cites Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as examples. The diamonds often have great vision, but can struggle to share the spotlight when dealing with others. Stars tend to have dramatic, outsized personalities and have the power to carry others along with them, as long as they don’t overlook mundane but necessary details that keep operations going. Transformers are motivated by change and innovative methods, often in fields like social responsibility. Their main challenge is making sure that their idealistic vision meshes with real-world realities. Finally, Rottenberg describes the rocket ships, the “engineers” of the entrepreneurial world, a group in which she places Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Natural tinkerers, these business leaders know how to crunch the numbers but must make sure that they don’t overlook more subjective elements that may determine success or failure.

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