Growing up I used to think so many different things set the benchmark for what being ‘cool’ is. Once upon a time it was the James Dean and Miles Davies of the world – people pushing the boundaries from the norm and doing something new and unique. They were forward thinkers who were doing things their way, whether the world was ready for it or not.
Now in today’s data-driven, technology led world ‘cool’ is taking a new approach. Take HBO’s Silicon Valley as an example. If you’ve not the latest season which has just started again, it’s a fascinating comedy, and scarily true-to-life representation of the growth of the fictional start-up, Pied Piper, as they attempt to take their company to new heights.
While there are lots of plotlines and a multitude of obstacles that Pied Piper comes up against, what makes this show so engaging (for me at least) is its closeness to real-life, and for me as a co-founder and CEO of an ed-tech start-up, the challenges and opportunities being an entrepreneur creates.
While the show may have dived deeper into the characters to create a more engaging narrative, it reveals a number of similarities that mirror what it’s like to be an entrepreneur – principally that we come from all walks of life, and share the same qualities: we’re often operating on a vision, taking risks and attempting to solve a problem that hasn’t been fully addressed.
And we’re coming up with solutions that will fix it. You have to blend so many characteristics into one – be creative, innovative, stick to your guns when required and have the right amount of self-belief that tells everyone you’re incredibly passionate about what you do.
These characteristics aren’t inherent in everyone. As someone who always had trouble conforming, whether in school or with traditional business expectations, the entrepreneurial way of life made sense to me.
One of the many challenges I, as mirrored in Silicon Valley, face, is what the label brings. A lot of people doubt what you’re doing, until you’ve got tangible proof of ‘success’ and progress. Some of the best ideas, the brightest minds – like the fictional Richard Hendricks from Pied Piper, are ahead of their time. While it may not bring instant success, sticking to your convictions and demonstrating that it isn’t about the here and now, but about what’s next is another characteristic to what being an entrepreneur entails.
When you combine these characteristics, and put these into a world where technology is the fundamental platform for our everyday lives, the status of the word ‘entrepreneur’ is changing in society.
It has so many different connotations than before. We live in a society where an entrepreneur could be a student working out of their bedroom or the CEO of a billion-dollar company. And that’s what we are here to do. As the CEO and co-founder of Campus Society, I want to connect students from around the world and bring them together so they can share ideas, be more creative than they ever thought possible and bring together the brightest minds to solve the problems they face today as well as tomorrow.
Now if that doesn’t sound cool, then maybe it’s time need to write a different definition of what ‘cool’ is.