TBS Professor Ed Gonsalves: “There is an obsession with originality in entrepreneurship”

Ed Gonsalves is an associated professor of Entrepreneurship and Human Resources at TBS Barcelona. At the TBS Barcelona Summer School, he teaches students practical knowledge about entrepreneurship by guiding them through the process of developing a business model for their mock startups.

How important is an original idea to a startup?

At the conception stage, it would probably be about 10%. There is such an obsession with originality in entrepreneurship. Many startup projects, whether they know about it or not, are replicas of other companies. For an investor, the bottom line is whether someone is going to buy what you offer (the market) and if you are able to deliver (the team). You must fix the idea around that.

What is a common practice in successful entrepreneurs?

Citing Effectuation, a work by Saras Sarasvathy, entrepreneurs are effectual as opposed to causal. Indeed, entrepreneurs don’t do market research, segmentation, big data, and then act upon what they discover. They go by a principle called Bird-in-Hand: go with what you have.

Make the most out of your resources?

Don’t depend on others, look at what your resources are, who you have in your network. You need folks who are going to spend time with you, who are going to put you to the test. You get there faster because you screwed up faster. Want an endorsement? Meet someone who knows someone who can ask for it.

Where do trend-setters like Steve Jobs fit into the idea that a good entrepreneur must listen to others instead of themselves?

I think people like Jobs are often used as examples of visionaries, and I think that is precisely because they listen hard. The reason they are successful is that they don’t stick to what people ask them. People don’t know what they themselves want, and you have to be an expert listener to figure it out for them.

TBS Summer School:

Ed Gonsalves teaches at the Entrepreneurship track of TBS Barcelona Summer School, a three-week programme for international students that offers specialized training in the field of business.

Tags: entrepreneurship|Summer School

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