The Need for Achievement

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I had a great conversation with Brad Feld today in the comments on his blog post: An Honorable Run and American Power. To keep things simple, i pasted it below.

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@mattmireles· 1 hour ago

Funny how solo endurance sports and entrepreneurship attract the same kind of people. I think it has something to do with mental wiring: the endorphin rush that comes from beating back pain.

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3 replies · active 53 minutes ago

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Brad Feld 95p· 1 hour ago

Great observation.  I think it’s also the willingness to be disciplines, to be willing to be “coached”, and to have systematic determination to win over a long period of time.  The cliché “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is a really good one.

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@mattmireles· 53 minutes ago

There’s the solo component too, at least for me: I didn’t go into triathlons or start a company because all my friends were doing it. I did it because the idea of doing something really fucking hard is appealing, because I like to push my body (I used to fight forest forest fires on a hotshot crew), and because I think what I’m working on is gonna change how people use the web. That’s just me, of course. But my guess is that most people end up there based on a similar decision matrix, as opposed to the “because it was cool” pathway that drives lots of other behaviors.

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Brad Feld 95p· 50 minutes ago

The “need for achievement” is a well documented trait of great entrepreneurs.  Interestingly, it’s also a key trait of solo athletes.  So – this concept fits together nicely.

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@mattmireles· 43 minutes ago

Right. Clearly “the need for achievement” is gonna be part of what drives any athlete and any powerful biz exec, but it’s the solo part that separates the entrepreneur from the rest.

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4 replies · active 19 minutes ago

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Brad Feld 95p· 41 minutes ago

Actually, “need for achievement” isn’t a key driver for many business execs.  It seems to be a characteristic that stands out in a special way for entrepreneurs and athletes.  The powerful business exec is often motivated by thinks like “power”, “fame”, “recognition”, and “money”. [Emphasis added]


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@mattmireles· 34 minutes ago

Hmf. Wow. Crazy. I never thought about “achievement” that way. That explains so much. Something inside me has always valued and pushed for accomplishing something real, but I’ve never been able to put it into words or been able to explain it that way to others. Where are you getting this stuff from? I wanna read it!

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Brad Feld 95p· 26 minutes ago

The classic reference for this stuff is Ed Roberts (MIT Professors) book – Entrepreneurs in High-Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 1991).  Here’s a link to Ed’s bio -http://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/detail.php?in_sps… />

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@mattmireles· 19 minutes ago

Thanks dude!

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  • http://www.corylevy.com Cory Levy

    Wow! Great discussion! I have been playing tennis for 13 and out of the 18 years of my life. Essentially, I became an “entrepreneur” because of tennis. Will probably write a follow up blog post soon on this…
    -Cory

  • http://www.corylevy.com Cory Levy

    Wow! Great discussion! I have been playing tennis for 13 and out of the 18 years of my life. Essentially, I became an “entrepreneur” because of tennis. Will probably write a follow up blog post soon on this…
    -Cory

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1233532474s12769 Matt Mireles

    Glad to hear it. Send me the link!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1233532474s12769 Matt Mireles

    Glad to hear it. Send me the link!

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