I am an engineer entrepreneur. I am proud to be an engineer and I use most of the excellent principles of engineering. But there are some habits of engineering that I needed to unlearn to be a better entrepreneur:
Seven Habits(**) that engineer entrepreneurs should unlearn:
- In engineering, there are trade-off’s (*). For example if you increase flexibility you decrease performance, if you increase security, you compromise comfort. But as an entrepreneur I experienced hundreds of situations where customer demanded both speed and quality. Thus, my mindset shifted from “this or that” to “this and that”.
- Engineers are trained to evaluate the constraints first, and then work to solve the problem within those constraints. As an entrepreneur, I learned how to change my assumptions and shift my paradigm to see the opportunities in those constraints. I try to change the constraints rather than conforming to the constraints or try to introduce a product/service to the market that makes use of the constraints. Thus, my mindset shifted from “solving the problem within the constraints” to “seizing the opportunities that all those constraints offer”.
- As an engineer, I always liked challenging problems. That is like trying to park your car into a very narrow slot where most drivers can not able to park. However, as an entrepreneur I learned that “to be effective” is as important as “to be efficient”. I learnt that grasping the “low hanging fruit” is not a sin.
- In computer engineering, we have learned the importance of “know-how”, in business we have experienced both “know how” and “know-who“.
- Leaning the ladder to the right wall is more important than climbing to the ladder of success (even it is in the right wall). – Thanks to Stephen Covey.
- In engineering “failure” means “failure”. In business “failure” is a one step further towards “success”, like losing the battle but winning the war.
- As an engineer I can control all or most of the parameters. Thus, as an engineer I try to avoid “uncertainty“. But, as an entrepreneur I learned how to accept and embrace uncertainty. I learned that “chaos after order” is as natural as “order after chaos”. I learned that dynamics of business is not linear, but non-linear.
(*) Trade-off: Losing one quality or aspect of something in return for gaining another quality or aspect.
(**) I apologize for using the word “sin”. I aim to get more attention by choosing the word sin in the header but I choose to use “habit” in the article, which is a more appropriate term.