Entrepreneurship is the launching of surprises

Many years ago, I read Kevin Kelly’s New Rules for the New Economy, and that got me thinking seriously about building an internet business. Since then, I’ve found that all sorts of interesting people seem to point me back to his website for some interesting thoughts about interesting things. After one such pointing, I checked out his collection of sourced quotes and spotted one from George Gilder (I used the quote as the title of this post) pointing to this article about entrepreneurs and the creation of wealth. The internet is pretty cool.

I regularly find myself attempting to and failing to explain the importance of entrepreneurship and how entrepreneur means something different than business person or capitalist. Well, yes, entrepreneurs are often business people and might even describe themselves as capitalists, but seldom is a capitalist or a business person an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are, in fact, very rare and getting rarer.

One day a couple years ago, I got annoyed by so many people describing themselves as entrepreneurs–feeling that it dilutes the value and meaning of the career–that I tried to wrap some definition around the phrase. I much prefer the way Gilder characterizes entrepreneurship. It’s more than simply making new stuff work; entrepreneurship is about enabling prosperity.

I love how he differentiates between wealth creation and wealth extraction. Some wonderful excerpts:

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