Picasso and Entrepreneurship


ImageWhen I see the label, entrepreneur, I am always confused what that really means to the person using that description and what the public perceives. Now, having been raised in an artistic environment, I do understand what a great “artist” should be. And, my intuition says that the definition between an entrepreneur and an artist should be similar.

Let us look at what takes to be an “artist”. An artist strives every day to reach perfection. There are always attempts to “get it right”. In oil paintings, scholars see an older painted brush layer of a single attempt, and repainted on the surface – described as “pentimento”. Another way of saying, “I thought about this approach but now I think this is better.” Great photographers apply the same approach, yet with a different technology. They shoot several iterations of the same image, until a final one is selected. As a teenager, I had the privilege of observing great photographers go through thousands of images, and then selecting a handful – their “perfect” images.

Another trait I have noticed about artists is an acknowledgment of previous works produced chronologically, and willingness to burst the bubble and create something different. The new art might be an observation of some other work, and the novel creation is a step above that. Picasso’s works are an excellent example. He would take some trend such impressionism, and decide to jump to another level. He would delve into cubism, African art, and surrealism. He always progressed every few years into something novel, and, therefore, different. Musically, I have observed the same traits from the Beatles, who moved from the established rock and roll, to a landmark album, Rubber Soul, where they used a sitar, an Indian musical instrument, as a total differentiator in the musical industry.

So when you combine the perfectionism trait with constant innovation, the very artistic product becomes Hegelian. Hegel, excuse my brevity on a lengthy philosophical belief, established the concept of “universal” meaning or impact. That whatever act or acts would be adopted by history as having chronological significance.

With this artistic preface I come back to the meaning of entrepreneurship. In entrepreneurship, I see two groups. One category starts a company with the sole motivation to make money, not a great product or service. Quite of few exist in the East Coast. I have worked with such individuals who would describe themselves as visionaries – becoming “experts” in the medical industry for a few years. Then, if that fails, jump into real estate development. Later on, telecommunications or Internet. And so on. I myself find that these guys are hardly credible – it is tantamount to believing that Picasso would jump from painting canvases and then becoming a world-renowned nuclear physicist. However these guys do exist and are prevalent. They start a company and, if they know something, hire a senior management team with the right expertise to run the company. (Although I have seen the opposite happen, and that becomes a disaster.) And these guys will throw caution into the wind until he/she has a home run.

The second entrepreneurial category falls closely to the description of an “artist”. I prefer to use Steve Jobs as an example. Whatever product Jobs pursued had to be “different”. He borrows the mouse design from Xerox and integrates the technology into the Mac. He takes a portable device and creates the iTouch and the iPhone. Nokia and Dell had first mover advantage. Yet, Apple went beyond the rudimentary designs. From various Job biographies, he seemed to have a “perfectionist” mindset. And he wanted his products to be uniquely designed. These characteristics seemed artistic in nature.

I do believe that the term, entrepreneur, is used too freely in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Anyone can start a company. It only costs several hundred dollars and a few filings. I think that is why they use that term. But the reasons for doing so are more important that the establishment of a company. There are many startups, but which are the true “Picassos”?


About Juan Ramón Zarco, SVVGP 胡安•雷蒙•扎尔科

Juan Ramon Zarco, 胡安•雷蒙•扎尔科, Silicon Valley Ventures Growth Partners llp, Hygieia Healthcare Technologies Company, AllRest Technologies LLC, Crimson Growth Partners LLP, jrzarco2001@yahoo.com, is an experienced as CxO, General Counsel and Secretary to public and private companies with global operations. Established track record of producing practical, revenue-focused solutions. As Counselor and Secretary, demonstrating vision, integrity, and sound business judgment, to CxOs. Managed complex, strategic transactions, M&A, contracts support, PE Financing, IPO, SEC compliance, Corporate/HR governance, IP licensing, Budgeting, Staff, outside counsel management, International market access strategies, Domestic & foreign government relations and advocacy. Creative in designing and implementing market access strategies. Practices law beyond conventional model with low-overhead and project-based fees. Effective at managing departments, formulating marketing strategies, balancing budgets, and implementing cost-saving measures. Extensive in-house and private practice experience, advising clients on commercial, corporate, international business, and technology law and policy. http://www.docstoc.com/video/89135472/make-your-business-an-international-presence; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx5gijf3yoc For Sprint, he managed iDen international development in Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and contractual issues with Verizon. In Private Equity, he worked with Pegasus in vetting international investment deals and interim President for portfolio companies, such as Data Foundation, a data storage company, handling marketing, strategy, fund raising, and accounting. Before Pegasus, Mr. Zarco, as CLO and V.P. of Corporate Development, played a principal role in the structuring, international expansions for 2 telecom companies, U.S. Cable Group and Viatel, Inc. in financing and M&A deals exceeding $200 million. Mr. Zarco earned a J.D. from NYU Law School, M.B.A. from Cornell, and B.A. from Williams College; is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German, with working knowledge of Russian, Arabic and Japanese.
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