Woodpeckers, Unicorns, and Cockroaches: What Type of Entrepreneur Are You?

The entrepreneurial petting zoo has a lot of interesting creatures. They all have one thing in common.

The entrepreneurial menagerie continues to expand.

First we had unicorns, private technology-driven startups that reached a valuation of $1 billion or more. Then we have woodpeckers. Angel investor Doug Doan describes woodpeckers this way:

“The most important quality of an entrepreneur is capacity for long, hard work and a ‘never quit’ attitude. No creature works harder than a woodpecker, which is known to peck at a tree 12,000 times a day. That kind of devotion and persistence can lead to success. The woodpecker, unlike many others, does not depend on the continued generosity of Samaritans who keep backyard feeders full for easy access. They are self-reliant and are happy to work hard for it, banging away at even the mightiest oaks.”

Add to those species the cockroach, a cockroach is a business that builds slowly and steadily from the get-go, keeping a close eye on revenues and profits. Spending is kept in check so that it can weather any funding storm.

The conventional wisdom is that entrepreneurial success is in having an “all in,” win at all cost, warrior mentality. I think we need to make room for the other players who don't exactly fit the mold, but, in their own ways, create user-defined value.

For example, there are the tortoises who methodically plod along, impervious to outside threats using their hard shells to protect themselves.

Hermit crabs get lonely from time to time. Here are 10 TED talks that might help provide inspiration.

Then there are those genetically unlikely breeds that find themselves being entrepreneurs almost by accident or serendipity.

Finally, there are the zombies, limping along, struggling to survive.

The entrepreneurial petting zoo has a lot of interesting creatures. They all have one thing in common despite their genetics and phenotypes

they all are trying to create user defined value through the deployment of innovation. Some survive, some evolve and others just become extinct.