July 31, 2020

Why Be An Entrepreneur?

I saw a discussion on Reddit about entrepreneurship recently that got me thinking. What’s the point of being an entrepreneur when the odds of success are incredibly low? This is especially true if you’re low on resources or clout.

For me, the reason I want to be an entrepreneur is simple: I have valuable skills and I want to work on things that I care about. I don’t care that much about getting rich, but I do want to earn enough to live comfortably and not have anxiety about paying the bills.

It’s also very important to me what what I work on has a positive impact on the world. I’m quite opinionated about what’s good and not good for the world. It baffles me how some “tech leaders” are more concerned about acquiring additional money numbers rather than trying to improve the world around them. There is more than enough wealth in the world to solve most social issues, but the reality is that rich people need an underclass willing to work for low wages with no opportunity of upward class mobility to keep themselves on top.

Anyway, to stay on topic, the reason I want to be an entrepreneur is that I want ownership of the surplus value created by my labour. I want ownership of the legal entity (a corporation) that benefits from all the output of my labour. You might call this communism, a cooperative model, or whatever. To me it seems like the best way to operate: working for yourself, and paying yourself first. I think everyone should own the fruits of their labour.

If I do manage to build a successful profitable startup on my own, I’d like to do a few things differently regarding equity and ownership in the company:

  • All employees would receive equity in the business
  • Equity will be granted proportionally to the amount of time spent as an employee, rather than by job title or position in the hierarchy
  • Employees would get nearly the same amount of equity granted every month, regardless of job title/position/seniority (some exceptions might apply, like for example sales compensation is usually commission based)
  • I’d like to do away with management layers, and focus on having the most skilled workers do their best work by letting them make their own decisions

It’s not hard to understand why wages haven’t grown proportionally to productivity and corporate profits: the vast majority of employees aren’t compensated with equity. Historically equity compensation has been heavily tilted towards executive fat cats, the Good Ole Boys Clud, and people who came first.

I don’t believe the CEO of <insert big company name> adds much that more value than the lowest level employees. In fact, you could make the argument that the hardest jobs tend to have the lowest pay and worst compensation–the only reason they earn less is because most difficult jobs tend to be unskilled labour which doesn’t require much training or expertise to do.

We only worship tech CEOs because we’ve decided as a society to accept that they are somehow better than the rest of us. It’s a class war, and we should blame ourselves for worshipping these people.

© 2020 Brenden Matthews, some rights reserved.