The Makings of an Entrepreneur
Creation of a high-technology entrepreneur occurs over a long time, critically affected by many elements of society: The entrepreneur's family molds her or him, schools and work organizations help the entrepreneur to mature and gain knowledge and skills, the surrounding community provides influencing role models and resources. Beyond those largely intangible influences provided by the neighboring environs, as discussed in Chapter 2, my quarter century of research provides concrete data on hundreds of individuals (almost all men) who have become entrepreneurs, their personal background, education, work experience. This chapter reviews the literature on both general and technical entrepreneurs and then evidences some primary influences on becoming a high- technology entrepreneur.
Until recently the creators of new enterprises have been treated in the literature only in the folkloric tradition of Horatio Alger. Extensive accounts of the lives of men like J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and the Rothchilds produce a feeling for the spirit and mystique of these capitalist giants. Entrepreneurship had not been subjected to much more careful scrutiny. The few empirical scholars, however, do provide some important concepts to consider for extension to the new high-technology entrepreneur.
Earlier scholars of entrepreneurship have backgrounds that range from economics to psychology. Joseph Schumpeter ( 1966), a great economist, glorifies the entrepreneur as the motivating force behind technological change and economic development. David McClelland ( 1961), primarily a social psychologist, also ties the entrepreneur to the elements of economic change and growth, but his writings are strongly oriented to those psychological characteristics of entrepreneurs that make them likely to become business innovators. With a strong empirical and psy-