Seven sins that “engineer entrepreneurs” should unlearn?


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:

  1. 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”.
  2. 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”.
  3. 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.
  4. In computer engineering, we have learned the importance of “know-how”, in business we have experienced both “know how” and “know-who“.
  5. 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.
  6. In engineering “failure” means “failure”. In business “failure” is a one step further towards “success”, like losing the battle but winning the war.
  7. 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.

About ozgurzan

Professional: 1999- Co-founder and Managing Director of Done Information & Comm. Systems http://www.donetr.com http://www.donelabs.com Academic: 2008 Ph.D. Organization and Management - Yeditepe University 2002 MBA - Yeditepe University 1994 Computer Engineering - Bogazici University
This entry was posted in Engineer, Entrepreneurship, Management and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Seven sins that “engineer entrepreneurs” should unlearn?

  1. Melih odemis says:

    Eline saglık. Bu kadar iyi anlatilabilir.

  2. Cem Sertoglu says:

    I agree with all points except for #4. I personally find that the impact of connections and networking is generally overrated in business. Otherwise, every engineer-entrepreneur should think of these points and how these habits are reflected in their own work.

  3. Mehmet Erdoğan says:

    “İdare-i maslahat ile ıslahat yapılamaz.” M.K. Atatürk

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