Entrepreneurial Focus

Mark Suster has been blogging about entrepreneurial characteristics.  I like his list and agree with all of his points.

The topic has made me think about a key difference I have noticed in Turkish entrepreneurs and their counterparts in the US (and largely, western Europe): multiple, parallel ventures.

I understand this in the entrepreneurs who are emerging out of a "work for hire" service shop.  In those cases, many of the parallel ventures are off-shoots of ideas or products developed previously.

I also understand large groups of entrepreneurs. In that case there may be excess capacity at the leadership level that gets taken up by a new good idea that the team just does not want to let go.

However, it's surprising to me that a small team that's gone to work on a great idea can find time to focus on a second (or sometimes, third or fourth) project.  There's usually so much work involved in getting one idea off the ground that it should be extremely difficult to parallel process multiple projects.

One reason for the popularity of this model in Turkey may be the scarcity of capital.  Entrepreneurs don't want to put all of their eggs in one basket.  And if they don't have an outside investor who's directing them to focus on one idea, they try to progress several ventures together to see which one is getting traction.

In our investments, we try to get the entrepreneurs to focus on the idea at hand. Many times, there are previous projects they continue to be involved in, but the core focus always has to be in the company we've invested in.