At the source organizations the entrepreneurs significantly out produced their technical colleagues along the conventional output measures of papers and patents. Many had already risen into technical supervisory roles. Indeed, starting a company might be just another avenue for the productive energies and knowledge of these outstanding people.
Their work backgrounds evidence that not only are entrepreneurs more likely to come from engineering rather than science, but especially from the developmental (not research) end of the R&D work spectrum. Translating technology into use is more likely to spawn entrepreneurs than is the more basic creation of new technical knowledge. Going from a challenging and satisfying work environment in search of still further challenge is typical of most technical entrepreneurs.
Technical professionals who are considering starting a company should also gain comfort from the wide diversity of goals, personalities and motives included among actual technical entrepreneurs. From a personality perspective, technical entrepreneurs are likely to be more extroverted than their rather introverted technical colleagues. As a group they represent extremes in orientation to both intuitive and analytic thought processes, both dimensions already strong among engineers and scientists. The technical entrepreneur is also perceiving oriented, generating a personality profile that Keirsey and Bates have rather aptly (for many) labeled the inventor.
Motivational studies show wide ranges of basic needs within the technical entrepreneur population. Despite the fact that all those studied are indeed entrepreneurs, they do not all have high need for achievement, although of course some do. The median technical entrepreneur has moderate need for achievement, moderate need for power, and low need for affiliation.
Most technical entrepreneurs seem to be fulfilling a long felt need (or at least ambition) in starting their companies, reflecting at least several years of prior general contemplation about going into their own businesses. But when asked to state why, these technical entrepreneurs reveal primarily a heavy orientation toward independence, being their own boss, some reflection of a continuing search for new and bolder challenges, and considerably less focus on financial gains than might be expected by cynical observers of entrepreneurs. More specifics about precipitating events in forming the business are discussed in the next chapter.