It appears some people are over the word, Entrepreneur.
A blog post published today by local startup founder Blake Callens made the top 10 on Hacker News today. It's called Entrepreneur is a Silly Word and it's attracted some pretty entertaining comments, like "I've always maintained that those who describe themselves as an entrepreneur most likely are not one," that calling yourself an entrepreneur is as elitist as dropping your PhD into conversation and that the word entrepreneur should be reserved for the French, the only population that says it correctly. One commenter called out Callens for his blog title, Unsolicited Consulting—it includes the equally vague and snobbish-sounding "consulting". Another considers his call-out "tacky." A final said, "Amen."
Debate over the word doesn't come as a huge surprise, considering the hype over shows like Shark Tank and Silicon Valley and the fact that Google, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have been glamorized (and at times, demonized) by major motion pictures. With the high valuations of hugely popular consumer app companies like Snapchat, Pinterest and Etsy, all founded by entrepreneurs, it's no wonder there are both wannabes and those who'd like to opt-out (like Callens).
Regardless, one side of the debate hits home for me as editor of ExitEvent. Since the start of our event series several years back, we've targeted an audience of entrepreneurs, investors, jobseekers, entrepreneurial students and the occasional support organization for startups. And I admit to feeling pretty guilty when I change the title of a restaurateur or the founder of a public relations firm from entrepreneur to business owner or service provider, excluding them from our Startup Social. We're really only trying to differentiate between the operators of high-growth potential companies—the kind in need of the right networking environment to raise venture capital and scale a team before selling to a much larger corporation or filing an IPO—and Main Street or service-oriented ones (who, by the way, are targets of our publication).
But turns out, we're as guilty as everyone else for creating our own definition of the word and alienating many whose efforts match its true definition.
So here's my call-out to the community—Who should be invited to ExitEvent's Startup Socials? And what should we call them?
Or is all the hoopla over entrepreneur more because of its hype?