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Entrepreneur vs Politician

On problem selection by entrepreneurs versus politicians

To a degree, strong entrepreneurs choose to stick with problems that:

  • are underserved,
  • are tractable, and
  • will allow them a durable competitive advantage.

To a degree, entrepreneurship is NOT about convincing people. It’s about marketing to and learning from those who are already convinced (or very easily convinced), and building a base up from there.

In ways, this is the opposite of politics where the problems (e.g. housing) are:

  • heavily talked about.
  • not clearly tractable (as there are many underlying problems, while the solutions require difficult convincing and coordination).

On the choice of entrepreneurship over politics

Software has enabled scale in new way, and enabled tinkering (i.e. the cost of trying things) in a new way. Perhaps that’s why, those who seek to problem-solve at scale largely have increasingly chosen entrepreneurship over politics.

On entrepreneurs opining on politics

It’s perhaps both wrong and meaningless to argue that top entrepreneurs are more capable than top politicians. Entrepreneurs do not spend time figuring out how to get a majority of votes.

If, forced, entrepreneurs are more likely to give ideas on the big/intractable problems rather than spending time with voters and figuring out how to win votes.

And so we have it today that perhaps:

  • entrepreneurs are good at selecting and executing tractable and underserved problems, but don’t spend time with voters or thinking about how to win votes.
  • politicians are far better at winning votes (and end up with the less tractable problems, which is the nature of politics, perhaps).

To the degree entrepreneurs are capable and have solutions, perhaps this is wasted if they try to “do politics” – as they do not wish to think about how to get votes. And, if there is anti-institutional bias, that tends to compound this.

What is missing at the margin among those expressing views on politics?

Bernie Sanders, Trump, AOC, Dominic Cummings getting votes for Brexit in the UK, Sinn Fein getting votes in Ireland… They all focus(ed) on voters.

The dislike, by many, of these people/groups distracts from something they are getting right – namely – a focus on getting votes. At the margin, for those opining on politics, there is too much thinking about ideas and not enough about talking to voters and getting votes.

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