The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche | Dave Jilk on Follow Your Different™ Podcast with Christopher Lochhead

Check out Follow Your Different™ Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • The book Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche combines Nietzsche and modern entrepreneurship
    • “So many business books are a few important points wrapped with two hundred pages of text,”Dave Jilk
  • Nietzsche understood human nature, and human nature has a lot to do with entrepreneurship
  • Apollonian and Dionysian is a philosophical concept based on the duality of the two Greek gods: Apollo and Dionysus
    • The disruptive entrepreneur has more in common with the Dionysian nature because he is “wacky”
  • Dave Jilk and Brad Feld want to make entrepreneurs think before they act on their business
  • You can’t be a CEO and write code forever – this is not business maturity
    • There is a difference between working “in” and working “on” your business
    • You need to step back and work on your business periodically rather than be “in” your business
  • When companies scale their business, experienced mentors can be a big help in the process
    • Someone you can trust, who is mature and has lived through the process
    • Mentors can help with the strategic, philosophical, creative level, and with the tactical level
  • There is no essence. We have to find ourselves and our businesses have to find themselves
    • “We live in a time where “hustle” pornstars have done a tremendous amount of damage,”- Christopher Lochhead

Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Dave Jilk (@djilk) is a former serial entrepreneur, writer, and startup CEO in information technology
  • Brad Feld (@bfeld) is an entrepreneur, writer, and venture capitalist. He began financing technology startups in the 1990s
  • This is a chat between Dave Jilk and Christopher Lochhead on Follow Your Different™ Podcast about a new book that combines modern entrepreneurship with the ideas of the 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Host – Christopher Lochhead (@legendslosers)

The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche

  • The book Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche combines Nietzsche and modern entrepreneurship
  • Why write a book about Nietzsche and entrepreneurship startups?
    • Dave and Brad are not fond of most business books
    • “So many business books are a few important points wrapped with two hundred pages of text,”Dave Jilk
    • They wanted to communicate their ideas about entrepreneurship differently
    • Reading Nietzsche, they noticed things that apply to entrepreneurship
  • It started with essays, blog posts, and ended up as a book called The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche
  • Dave and Brad took quotes from Nietzsche and translated them into the modern-day context
  • Nietzsche understood human nature; he was an enormous influence on Sigmund Freud – the father of psychoanalysis
    • Entrepreneurship has a lot to do with human nature

“Wacky” Nietzsche, “Wacky” Entrepreneurs

  • Nietzsche introduces two forces of nature that appear everywhere: Apollonian and Dionysian
  • It is a philosophical concept based on the duality of the two Greek gods:
    • Apollo stands for order, logic, and reason.
    • Dionysus for chaos, madness, and drunkenness.
  • Nietzsche believed that the world was out of balance; the Dionysian nature became less powerful
  • The choice between being a “wacky” or rational entrepreneur is a subject of debate
  • The disruptive entrepreneur has more in common with the Dionysian nature
  • “To create something truly disruptive, you need to have a vision of what the world is going to be like,”Dave Jilk
    • This is a little crazy because there is no evidence or good reason to believe that the world is going to adopt your vision and ideas
    • According to Dave, “wackiness” is a necessity, as is courage

When Passion Becomes an Obsession

  • The will to power (German: der Wille zur Macht) is a key concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
    • It relates to the freedom to create. It is the primary driving force in humans
    • The freedom to create is our only freedom, according to Nietzsche
  • Dave and Brad distinguish between obsession and passion
    • Passion is a strong emotional response, obsession is focus-oriented and passion may not be
    • I love this business = passion
    • I can’t go to bed until I found out why this customer was unhappy = obsession
    • “You have to have courage, you have to be crazy, but you are not necessarily aware of it, this is how you see the world,”Dave Jilk
  • Obsession continually preoccupies our mind
    • E.g., an obsessed entrepreneur will wake up in the middle of the night and try to think of a way to help an unhappy customer

Super Abundance and Scarcity

  • Is there a connection between human creativity and the creation of abundance?
  • There are two mindsets in business: collaboration and innovation
    • Some people are not motivated to create value, they just want to suck the money out of the system
    • Humanity has done amazing things when people worked together towards a common goal
  • There is a lot of abundance in the world, but it does not flow properly
    • Half the wealth in the United States is owned by 1% of the people in the country

Stop Acting and Start Thinking

  • Most entrepreneurs tend to be very action-oriented
  • Dave and Brad want to make people think; don’t just call your mentors, synthesize their opinions, and act
  • Think about what you are doing;
    • Go for a hike in the woods
    • Stare at the ocean
    • Really think about your business
    • How do you feel about it?
  • How do you know when to pull a plug on a strategy or a business?
    • Working harder, selling more will not help
    • “Have a lot of people around you with different views, and think about it,”Dave Jilk
    • It is not always just acting; you have to think about it

Stop Doing and Start Leading

  • When your business matures, your role needs to change
    • You need to build an organization that is going to build your business
    • When you are raising money, you need to stop writing code
  • You can’t be a CEO and write code – this is not business maturity
    • Potential investors are going to back down because of this
    • There is a difference between working “in” and working “on” your business
  • In the beginning, the founders are deep in the business;
    • Writing code, building software/hardware, tinkering in the garage
    • Selling, marketing, customer service
  • Later on, it is not the founders’ job to be e.g. customer support service (answering e-mails)- that is a serious problem

How do Entrepreneurs Achieve Maturity Over Time?

  • There is a chapter in the book called “Stepping Back”
    • “From whatever you wish to know and measure, you must take your leave, at least for a time. Only when you have left the town, can you see how high its towers rise above the houses,”Friedrich Nietzsche
    • You need to step back and work on your business periodically rather than be “in” your business
    • Look at what you are building, and what you have already built- this is the key for the early stages of entrepreneurship
    • Stepping back helps you to look at the bigger picture; either you are where you want to be or you are not
  • When companies scale their business, experienced mentors can be a big help in the process
    • Someone you can trust, who is mature and has lived through the process
    • Mentors can help with the strategic, philosophical, creative level, and with the tactical level
    • “… is this person going to be there when I am bummed out and need to talk about the business?”Dave Jilk
    • e.g. For Dave, Brad Feld is an example of emotional support. He knows what Dave is talking about because he has experienced the pain
  • Someone can care but not understand what you are going through. With a good mentor – there is empathy with understanding

Become Who You Are

  • There is no essence. We have to find ourselves and our businesses have to find themselves
    • You think what you want it to be, that is how we create future
  • “We live in a time where “hustle” pornstars have done a tremendous amount of damage,”Christopher Lochhead
    • There is a lot of stupidity in the entrepreneur world, people are consuming articles like “10 things Elon Musk does before breakfast
    • Dave and Brad’s ambition is the polar opposite of this
  • They discuss this in the book’s chapter “Weather Prophets”- about not watching the weather in the marketplace
    • That is not how you are going to advance, news is always about the past
  • Writing the book was an interesting experience for Dave and Brad
    • They did it because it was interesting to create, not because it has a market
    • The book is No.1 on Amazon in the category of existentialism
  • Read the free sample of the chapter “Doing the Obvious”
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