March 24th, 2006


The other day dan_o_m was writing about getting into podcasts, and I mentioned that I liked Venture Voice a lot. He asked me if I was interested in entrepreneurship, and it's got me wondering: am I interested in entrepreneurship? Or am I just interested in listening to people talk about it?

Although he probably wouldn't use the term to describe himself, my dad's an entrepreneur a couple times over. He's a farmer, which is a high-risk business in the first place, and he also owns and operates an off-farm ag marketing consultancy. He and my mom founded it about ten years ago after the ag marketing firm he was working for decided to close its doors, so in some ways I guess he had a leg up because he had a built-in clientele to start with; in other ways, he was at a disadvantage because it was a messy transition rather than a fresh start. Either way, I have a huge amount of respect for what he does.

But I'm having a hell of a time trying to decide what the hell I want to do. Sometimes I'm not sure I'm any good at music; other times, I'm not sure I'm good at anything but music. I'm not convinced that I will ever really be a good programmer. I know I'm not a great writer; not bad, but not great. I run marathons, but I'm kind of bad at it. So where does that leave me? To be fair, I know a number of people my age or older who are still coming to terms with being an adult; I'm pretty sure I'm okay with that part. But what do I want to do?

Okay, by elimination, then. Here's what I know I don't want to do:

  • Acting. I'll leave it to the people who aren't terrible at it.
  • Visual art. See above.
  • Stuff that would involve fluency in another language. I know, I know, that rules out a lot, but there it is. We IN*Js know our weaknesses, dude.
  • The messy side of lab science. ("Too much noise. There's just too much bloody noise!")
  • The same thing all the time.

It's that last one that makes me think that maybe I want to start a business. In my limited experience, smaller companies have always been better because they give me the chance to do some of everything, to contribute in lots of different ways instead of being limited to one. So if smaller is always better for me, would working for myself be the best? Or would I quickly get tired of having to literally do everything?