Founder or Entrepreneur? It’s Not Just Semantics

If you ask someone who is working on turning an idea into a business what they call themselves, a likely answer these days is “startup founder.”

If you’d asked that same question a generation ago, you’d have probably heard “entrepreneur” or “business person.”

The difference isn’t just about semantics or generational change. It’s about a profound shift in both the mindset of entrepreneurship, and the acknowledgment and exaltation of a very distinct “discovery” phase that exists between the idea and the viable entity called the startup.

This seemingly subtle shift, which is anything but, has created a new wave of permission to take risks and innovate on a level that, not too long ago, many would have been fiercely judged for. And, along with that, it has brought a less catastrophic lens to failure and increased the willingness to put yourself on the line in the name of doing something extraordinary.

Jonathan Fields

It has tilled the soil of purposeful experimentation and empowered so many to take a shot at creating something from nothing who, but for the cover provided by the “startup” moniker, would’ve never even tried. That is a great thing, not only on an individual level, but on a societal level, because it creates possibility. It allows more ingenuity and innovation to see the light of day. In the end, we all benefit from that.


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