Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick just made the short list of candidates for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Some think he deserves the honor while others don’t, and I’ll leave that debate to the plethora of pundits and social commentators who will likely offer their perspective on the matter.
However, I was intrigued by comments Kalanick made about entrepreneurship last month while addressing students and faculty at Miami Dade College. As reported by the Miami Herald’s Nancy Dahlberg, he said of entrepreneurship, “It’s a long journey and you have to push to a point where it hurts. ”
Kalanick went on to discuss what separates great entrepreneurs from others in the business arena, and in doing so, he highlighted five traits of entrepreneurs that I believe are particularly relevant to associations. I’ve recapped them here. According to Kalanick, great entrepreneurs:
- Have a never-give-up attitude
- Embody a “champion’s mindset ”
- Develop products or services that have magic; something that everybody can’t offer.
- Enjoy the ride because then even the hardest problems are fun to solve
- Get over the fear of failure
Based on our work with associations during this past year, my sense is that the necessity of entire organizations embodying these entrepreneurial traits will grow more urgent as many associations work to reposition themselves in the marketplace and/or grow their influence and brands.
Interestingly, Kalanick is most excited about Uber’s latest venture, uberPOOL. This iteration of the company’s ride-sharing service will match “multiple passengers who are traveling along the same routes to different destinations, taking more cars off overly congested roads and ultimately lowering carbon emissions.”
This sounds a lot like what associations already do. They connect people needing similar information to achieve different outcomes while helping them save time and energy. Which of the five Uber entrepreneurial traits best describes your association?