That’s a shame, really, because these days being an entrepreneur is pretty sexy. It’s sort of the thing to be. And over the last year or so, I’ve been tricked into believing that I’m one of these things. But I’m not. And that’s actually pretty okay.
Oh, I’m a serial creator. I just can’t stop making things. But while an entrepreneur makes things to generate sales and profit, I’m just out to create head scratching moments. For instance, when I created the Timekeeper Willis Workout DVD, and the 1-hour film Silly Faces, it was not so I could become rich. It was so that thirty years from now, someone would find one of these relics sitting on a bookshelf, watch it, and marvel that such a thing was ever created. It was to create the puzzling and out-of-context found footage of my children’s children’s children’s generation.
When I comissioned a script from a Kenyan email scammer… when I convinced thirty people to lick pickles to silly music… when I had a group of friends fail at pranking people in jean shorts and blank ballcaps… when I tried to sell t-shirts with two movie titles on them… when I sat in study hall creating the anti-comic with a ball point pen and a stick figure cat… none of this stemmed from the motivation of an entrepreneur. All of it was born from the chronic illness of thinking up silly things, needing to make them real, and slurping up as much attention and validation as I could.
I am not an entrepreneur. I accidentally became one for a while, though, when I started a stick figure cat drawing company and took it to a show called Shark Tank. Shark Tank is a TV show for entrepreneurs. And when the king entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, invested in my company… I, too, became an entrepreneur. For a little while.
But after a year of wearing that mantle, I’m excited to take it off. It’s exhausting. How do I know I’m not an entrepreneur? Because I spent the last year surrounded by them. Talking to them. Listening to them. Trying to be like them. And holy balls if it ain’t crystal clear – I’m not one of them.
Oh, I will still be doing my best to “grow my brand” and sell a mess of stick figure cat drawings. You see, I really do like drawing cats for people – meaning I love growing my customer base, and making people happy or confused by doing what I do.
I create because I love to create. This one time I accidentally created a business. And that’s fine. But I’m not ready to run it like a business. For me, it’s a launch pad and an opportunity to make more people scratch more heads.
So please don’t call me an entrepreneur. It’s a fine thing to be, but it’s not who I am. There’s no better and faster way to make me tune out than to talk to me in entrepreneurisms.
There’s nothing more depressing than talking about the human experience and the user experience as if they are one and the same.
What drives me to create is no more or less pure than what drives the entrepreneur. My currency is attention, and the satisfaction of making something where there was nothing. And I’d say in that respect, I’m just as much a billionaire as Mark Cuban.