Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is like rugby

Rugby is a touch hard game.  Players run over 10 miles per game and bash each other to bits without protection.  Check out how the All Blacks – New Zealand’s rugby team – start every game.

The All Blacks are said to be one of the most successful sporting teams in history.      The statistics are remarkable….  Since 1908 they have won over 80% of all games they have ever played, 86% in the last 8 years.   Great rugby countries like Ireland have NEVER beaten the All Blacks.    New Zealand is tiny, less people live there than there are rugby players in the world – but they dominate the game!.

So why am I talking about the All Blacks in a Babson’s in a Blog about Entrepreneurship?  Well I think Babson is a bit like New Zealand, small and plucky, and Entrepreneurship is to Babson, what Ruby is to New Zealand.

The All Blacks are great because rugby flows in the veins of New Zealanders.  You can’t avoid it….. and before long you are enchanted by it.  Rugby just matters in New Zealand!  The result, coming from NZ you are normalized into being good at rugby.

After spending almost two years at Babson  I feel the same about Entrepreneurship.  We are normalized to be good at it.

When you walk into the cafe and you get accosted by someone telling you about their latest business idea or success story….  Sit in an accounting or corporate finance class and class mate’s ask ‘how is this relevant to my start up?’……..  Even better… they get an answer – thanks Professors.

Rocket pitch events polish our skills and a regular parade of ‘been there and done it’ experts warn us about future pitfalls.  New Zealand has an academy of rugby, Babson has the Blank center for Entrepreneurship.  Undergraduates try to sell us products for the businesses they MUST start as part of their degree and every year they inspire grad students by earning entry into the exclusive top 25 entrepreneurs under 25 club.

Heidi Neck teaches us ethnographic research and encourages us to take our ideas into the BLUE SKY…  Then others tell us these ideas are all…..    rubbish, we should just find some rich lazy company and do what they want.

Through all of this there is the consistent catch cry of ETA – Entrepreneurial Thought and Action.  Here is what the principles of ETA mean to me.

Start with the means you have at hand –By simply asking the question we are amazed by what we already have.  One for me is the incredible network of Babson Alumni businesses.

Think what can I lose  –rather than what do I need?  Thinking, can I afford to lose only $100 and two hours, makes acting so much easier.

Self selecting stakeholders –What this really says is TELL PEOPLE WHAT YOUR IDEA IS – WHAT YOU WANT TO DO – you can never attract the right people keeping it secret!  I’ve practiced this concept with my idea of red sox flavored water for dogs and guess what – I don’t have a team….no idea why??…..

And of course most importantly actdo stuff…. and learn from it.  More than anything else I know we will all hold onto this principle as we do what we to create a new future for own lives, Babson, our organizations, and the world.

Entrepreneurship is flowing in the veins of Babson, it is a special place.  I’m glad to now be part of another small place that creates a culture of winning, where it counts.