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Serial Entrepreneurs

Now in the midst of my second startup, people often say to me, "Wow, so you are one of those serial entrepreneurs."

It's true, I suppose. I didn't exactly plan it this way, but here I am.

The whole notion is regarded with a great deal of reverence, the latest example of which is here. (Hat tip Brad Feld.)

I'm not disagreeing with any of the sentiments. Lord knows I learned lots of lessons in my first one, MyTrafficNews, that I'm applying to the Legislative Database,

But allow me to throw one other thought into the mix:

Let's just say that I wanted to get a big job at a big company. Part of the accepted wisdom is that I would never want to do that, that I could never work in such an environment. There's probably a grain of truth in that, but lets say that I could set that to the side and get excited about the goals of a large corporation, and would enter that organization in a position that would be interesting. The pay would be great, I wouldn't have to worry that I'm taking all the risk, and when I went on my paid vacation I could leave the job at the job, and not think about it constantly, the way I do now.

Let's say that could happen. Here's the problem: It would NEVER happen. Never.

Why? Because I would feel stifled the first time I had to fill out a form to get a box of paperclips, or whatever?

Well, maybe, but it wouldn't matter, because I would never get that job. It just wouldn't happen.

For all the talk from big business about how they need to be more entrepreneurial, bla bla bla, they really all like their gig exactly the way it is. Nobody working within any large corporation is going to hire someone who will come in and upset the apple cart.

"Entrepreneurial" is another word for "Disruptive." Corporations will issue press releases embracing "market disruptions" but what they really mean is they want to keep doing the same thing in the same ways, and by issuing a press release the execs can feel that they have done what they need to do to react to changes in the markets.

I'm not just blowing smoke here. If you are a person who has a steady career, you should think carefully before becoming an entrepreneur. It's great, no doubt about it, but you may never be able to go back even if you want to.

(One note about this blog, it's been quiet for a bit. It will be seeing some big changes and a big announcement soon. Stay tuned!)

Do you have a lobbyist working for you?

My day job is building tools for lobbyists, so I get to see who lobbyists really are, and who they really represent.

I know this knowledge I have is not widespread. More common is the belief the lobbyists work only on behalf of Big Tobacco or the Military Industrial Complex, or whatever.

Look, some of that is true, but it's not the whole story, and it's not even a big part of what's really going on.

I'm inspired to write this after reading a summary of a debate. (Please don't take this post as advocating for or against any particular candidate. I am 100-percent neutral in this race, and will be for at least another year.)

The debate hit on the topic of lobbyists, and one of the candidates said, "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans."

The audience actually booed that statement. Then two others pounced on the notion, one of them asking the audience if any of them had a Washington lobbyist. Only two people raised a hand.

That would mean that nobody in the audience owns or rents a home, drives a car, uses Google, has insurance, gets health care, or even eats. Even if all that could be true, and the person was homeless, they would still have a lobbyist at the National Coalition for the Homeless, which is not based in Washington by accident.