The arrogance of the entrepreneurial “elite”

Every time I hear it, I want to wring their little necks!

I’m talking about the arrogant and childish statement made by many of the entrepreneurial “elites” that goes a little something like this…

“Not all business owners are really entrepreneurs…blah…blah..blah”. (They go on to pontificate why – but I mentally check out on their rants).


Are you kidding me?

Is “entrepreneur” now a title that must be earned? Have we so missed the corporate rat race that we must now introduce a cast system within our world?

I recognize what the entrepreneurial elite are trying to do. They are trying to appear different, special and well, better than the typical business owner. In their own self-indulgent, low-self-esteem-having world, they can’t possibly imagine being in the same group as a pizza shop owner, dry cleaner, financial advisor or boutique manufacturer.

The uber-elites want to have their own designation. A place to “arrive” when you become as great as them. I get that, and in some ways, understand why they need to feel different (see note above about self indulgence). But if you are one of the entrepreneurial elite, here’s my challenge to you.

Leave the word “entrepreneur” alone. Find yourselves another word like “mucky muck” or “elitist” and play with that.

The fact is, the dictionary definition of entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Read the definition carefully and you’ll see room for tons of different “types” of entrepreneurship. Yes, someone who organizes and manages a business is certainly an entrepreneur (and you don’t have to get VC funding to qualify for that name). However, entrepreneurship doesn’t stop there.

There is an entrepreneur inside everyone of us. Some of us use it to climb the corporate ladder, others of us use it in the creative arts. Some use it to homeschool their kids and others step out and launch a business.

So if you’re one of those uber-elites (who interestingly enough are typically academics with no real-life business experience, VCs who have the same DNA as a multi-level-marketer and entrepreneurs who had an exit so big, they can’t believe it themselves), back off the word “entrepreneur” and stop trying to make it a private club.

It simply isn’t. Entrepreneurship is a God-given gift we all get to use in different ways.


  1. Samuel J Sunseri on June 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Hey Joe, your little rant was amusing and I might point out accurate. It sounds like you have extra time on your hands or I don’t think you would waste you time commenting on such egocentric blowhards.

    Life is Good!


  2. Eric Plantenberg on June 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I love your suggestion Joe – the “Entrepreneur’s Club” is and will remain open to all…

    be free! eric

  3. Joe on June 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    HA! That is my sentiment every time one of those conversations take place. Unfortunately, I don’t know I’m in the conversation until it’s too late. The meeting (or call) always starts with a more “profitable” intent 🙂

  4. Joe on June 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Here’s hoping all rockstar CEOs like you will feel the same way some day 🙂

  5. Matt Powell on July 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Joe, love the stuff you’re writing here on the blog. Great info and I LOVE the theme…

    I feel like I see what you’re describing this post constantly. It is amazing how powerful a little humility can be in almost any situation. Also, I think there is a huge misconception that humility and entrepreneur are mutually exclusive. A person can be very excited about their endeavor and be its greatest evangelist and not constantly stroke their own ego.

    I look forward to reading more here…

  6. Joe on July 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm


    Thanks for that feedback and I agree with you wholeheartedly that humility is a muscle that more entrepreneurs need to flex. I’ve got too many stories of prideful (and very wealthy) entrepreneurs who missed the best parts of the entrepreneurial journey just because they were too caught up in themselves along the way.

  7. Miles on July 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    As a writer trying to ride the edges of capitalism and creativity, I appreciate the inclusion of the creative arts in the definition.

  8. Eric Plantenberg on August 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    fantastic thoughts Matt. I find humility and entrepreneurship mutually required!