Why Do Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs?

I spend a lot of time being curious about what makes some people great entrepreneurs. I recently found an article in BusinessWeek that discusses the fact that an abnormally high percentage of entrepreneurs are dyslexics. They raised the question – Does the struggle that is required to overcome dyslexia prepare dyslexics to become great entrepreneurs? And if so, what are these traits?

According to BusinessWeek, the ability to grasp the big picture, persistence, and creativity are a few of the entrepreneurial traits of many dyslexics.

In a study that was published in 2008, Julie Logan, professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London found that 35% of entrepreneurs in the U.S. show signs of dyslexia.

“The broader implication” says Logan, “is that many of the coping skills dyslexics learn in their formative years become best practices for the successful entrepreneur. A child who chronically fails standardized tests must become comfortable with failure. Being a slow reader forces you to extract only vital information, so that you’re constantly getting right to the point. Dyslexics are also forced to trust and rely on others to get things done—an essential skill for anyone working to build a business.”

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

James LeVoy Sorenson, a highly successful entrepreneur in the medical field says that overcoming dyslexia trained him to be persistent and to solve problems in new ways. He says “I like to add one word to the end of many sentences: ‘yet.’ Instead of saying, ‘I can’t do it,’ I say, ‘I can’t do it—yet.'”

I am not a dyslexic, but I think this is a good lesson for all of us who want to be better entrepreneurs. – RICK

See: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/dec2007/db20071212_539295.htm

Top Dyslexic Entrepreneurs

Take a look at the following list of Entrepreneur Dyslexics and see if you recognize a few names…

  • Charles Schwab
  • Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple)
  • Paul Orfalea (Founder of Kinkos)
  • John Chambers (CEO Cisco)
  • Richard Branson
  • Henry Ford
  • Ingvar Kamprad (Founder of Ikea)
  • William Hewlett (Founder Hewlett Packard)
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Ted Turner (Turner Broadcast)
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Alan Meckler (CEO of Jupitermedia)
  • Walt Disney
  • Nelson Rockefeller
  • Thomas Edison
  • Anita Roddick (Founder of Body Shoppe)
  • Alexander Graham Bell

See: http://www.incomediary.com/top-30-dyslexic-entrepreneurs/

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Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Kill the Cow

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwerfeldein/1934917078/What will Norway live from when the North Sea oil wells run dry? I believe that some answers lie in empowering young entrepreneurs. The following cow story made me think about the fact that sometimes we get very creative when we are forced to do so. What are your cows?

Kill the Cow (by Conor Neill, www.conorneill.com)

A family lives in the outskirts of a remote village on a small plot of land.  The family owns one cow.  Each day they live from the milk of the cow.  If there is little milk, they eat little.  If there is lots of milk, they eat well.  The lives of the mother, the father, the children depend upon the cow.

One autumn day, a lone traveler stops in the village.  He is hungry.  The family share their milk.  The traveler is grateful. The traveler wishes to return the favour and help the family.  He doesn’t know how to help the family.  He hears that there is a wise man in the village.  He walks over to the home of the wise man.
“I was hungry and the family fed me.  I would like to help them.  How can I help this family?”
The wise man said “Kill the cow.”
“Kill it?  How can that help them?  They depend for their lives on that cow.”
The wise man repeated “Kill the cow.”
The traveler was nervous about following such strange advice,  but the reputation of the wise man was such that he went ahead and killed the cow.
A year later the traveler happened to pass again through the village.  He noticed new shops and a thriving market.  He saw a new hotel that provided beds and food to the travelers who came for the market.
The traveler entered the hotel.  Behind the bar he found the eldest son of the family of the cow.  The man was standing tall, smiling and happy.  The traveler greeted him and asked “What happened?”.
“We lost our cow.  There was no milk.  We had to go out and do something to eat.  We set up a small market, it grew.  We set up this hotel, it is growing.  Without the milk from our cow, we had to try new things.”
Silently to himself, the traveler reflected on the power of the wise man’s words.  “Kill the cow.”

“Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironical thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.” W. Somerset Maugham

What is your cow?

Conor Neill (author of The Rhetorical Journey – www.conorneill.com)


Today’s blog post was written by my friend Conor Neill, who is a professor of communication at IESE University in Barcelona.

Conor and I frequently collaborate on webinars for entrepreneurs. Watch the EVENTS page on this site for future events. I strongly encourage you to visit his blog site and to subscribe to his posts. – RICK

Entrepreneur Self Sabotage

We all have 2 different minds. One is logical, the other is emotional and they don’t always agree with each other. Sometimes they will do whatever they can to sabotage each other.

Consider the following entrepreneur story:
Gauri Nanda was a graduate student at MIT who got an $80K loan from her parents to start a business. Her first product is called CLOCKY. It is an alarm clock on wheels. You set the alarm to ring at 06:00 in the morning. When the time comes, the clock wheels itself off your bedside table and races around your bedroom making loud and annoying robot-like noises. You have to chase it down in order to shut it up. It is a great gimmick, Nanda has sold over 100 thousand clocks already and was featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine.

But why would 100,000 people want to chase a loud and annoying alarm clock around their bedrooms each morning?

Back to the two minds… One mind (the logical one) wants to get up at 06:00. The other mind (the emotional one) wants to stay in bed and sleep a few more lazy hours.

So Why do we fight with ourselves so often?

I coached an entrepreneur last week regarding his long-term goals. He was very clear on what he wanted to achieve long-term with his startup company but when we discussed what factors were keeping him from achieving success, the list was endless. The conclusion we reached was that he is not really sure if he is willing to do the work – to pay the high price that is needed to make his company a success. He keeps hoping he will find a short cut or an easy path to success, but in the meantime his company is moving very slowly. After lots of questioning, he sited several examples of situations where he had setup a specific goal and then sabotaged the result by either failing to follow-up or by prioritizing other tasks. His one mind wants success. His other mind wants an easy lifestyle.

Reaching this conclusion did not solve his problem, but it did shed a lot of light on it. He went away from the coaching session much more conscious of self-sabotage and with a new resolve to remove the excuses and to re-focus on accelerated success.

This is all about Values. People who are clear on their values don’t have the big internal conflicts. People who are not clear often end up sabotaging themselves. Working with a coach on clarifying your own values can be a fun and really interesting experience.

Are you ever of two minds? Do you ever sabotage yourself? If the answer is yes, then maybe you should contact me about a coaching trial and then put the Clocky on your Christmas wish list.

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Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

If there is no struggle, then there is no progress

“If there is no struggle, then there is no progress” The title of this blog is a quote from Fredrick Douglass. He was born a slave in America in 1818. After two failed attempts to flee from a brutal slave owner, he finally succeeded in escaping to freedom and went on to educate himself and become a leading writer, newspaper editor and champion voice of the slaves during the American Civil War.

If there is no struggle, then there is no progress.
What does this say for entrepreneurs?

I attended a seminar on entrepreneurship last week where co-founder of Opera Software –  Jon von Tetzchner was one of the speakers. He made an interesting statement. He said that while Opera used over 2 years to get their first seed capital, he said that he is 100% certain today that if they had gotten the funds right away, that they would not have survived. His claim was that the the very process of having to struggle and go through a long and demanding process of searching for capital was one of the things that made them stronger. Tetzchner said that in the process, their business focus sharpened and that each “no” made them tougher.

How important is diversity to an entrepreneur? I often ask groups of entrepreneurs to list the most important characteristics or traits that they must have in order to succeed. “Stubbornness” is always one of the top 5 traits. Stubborn as a mule.

Churchill said something like: “Success is moving from one defeat to another without losing heart”.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck”.

Carolyn Salmon (Rick’s Mother) often said “Remember that God’s delays are not God’s denials”.

What do you think? Leave your comments.

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Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.