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When I think about the great pioneers and disruptors of the past, I begin to imagine the character traits of these heroic individuals who have completely revolutionized the way we live today. Some of my favorites include Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, and Leonardo da Vinci. Among them, they disrupted the animation and film industries, as well as the arts, science, music and religious sectors.
Not only were they daring and disruptive, but also determined, passionate, humble, risk-takers, courageous, visionaries and highly imaginative. In other words, they possessed the common traits of your typical serial entrepreneur of the 21st century.
“Daring” and “disruptive” are two words to also best describe Lisa Messenger — Aussie serial entrepreneur and founder of Collective Hub. It was during a recent interview with Lisa, that I discovered the real qualities and attributes of this game changer, as well as her numerous accolades from her solid entrepreneurial career within the publishing and education sectors.
Why we need to disrupt.
In today’s complex world, disrupting an industry sector is part of every-day life and a critical component to survival for any business. For companies to remain competitive and ahead of their game, company founders need to look deep into the emotional DNA of their customers and needs of society as a whole. They also should identify the “gap” between what has been conventionally offered to the marketplace in the past and what consumer trends are now dictating.
We are witnessing a constant paradigm shift in the way our generation behaves on an everyday basis. This includes our reliance on new mobile technologies; our expectation of environmentally conscious solutions from manufacturers to combat global warming; smarter and more efficient ways to do our shopping, travel, communication, education; as well as engaging in social entrepreneurship to combat 3rd world poverty, hunger and other social issues. Initiatives of this kind are nowadays largely driven by privately funded entrepreneurial enterprises and their founders, like Elon Musk (SpaceX), Travis Kalanick (Uber) and Bill Gates.
Welcome to the digital revolution.
Over the past decade, we have witnessed a revolution in the print media industry, which is now largely dominated by the online digital space and social media. This change is as pivotal to society as the industrial revolution of the 20th century. In fact, statistics show that if Facebook alone was a country, it would be positioned number four, after China, India and the U.S. in terms of the number of people it attracts.
Gone are the days where print magazines dominate retail shelves in bookstores, newsagents, airport lounges and other consumer environments. Today, online magazines and newspapers dominate the arena, as does Collective Hub, a multi-media platform for people with big dreams and entrepreneurial spirits. It encompasses business, design, tech, social change, fashion, travel, food, film and art. According to a TEDx presentation by marketing expert — Michael Drew, “24 of the 25 largest newspapers in the U.S. are experiencing record declines in circulation.”
The entrepreneurial ‘grit.’
To be seriously disruptive, you need to go against the grain of conventional thinking; expose yourself to unprecedented risks, ignore the skeptics and follow your dreams and passions. Lisa describes this phenomenon as the entrepreneurial grit — a core constituent of the mindset of serial entrepreneurs and disruptors. So how do you develop this trait, and is it something you can learn through education and experience, or does it come from your DNA ?
My experience in life has taught me that success, in whatever shape or form, hinges on a resilient mindset. One that is able to tolerate daily struggles, set-backs and even failures over the long term. Looking at individuals like Lisa and many other great pioneers of the past, I firmly believe that “entrepreneurial grit” can be acquired from adaptive learning and practical education that encourages creativity, thinking outside the square, and even failure. A childhood upbringing that promotes entrepreneurial thinking, combined with an ongoing positive influence from parents, peers, mentors and other close connections, is also a powerful constituent for developing that entrepreneurial grit.
Some people might argue that your family DNA or gene dictates your overall ability to be daring and disruptive. According to Lisa however, “we are limited only by our own belief systems, our own ways that we perpetuate self-sabotage.” The good news therefore, is that every aspiring entrepreneur or pioneer has the power to leave an imprint on society and within their industry sector for future generations to come.