Ulterior Motives

How goals, both seen and unseen, drive behavior

What Kinds of People Start Businesses?

I live in Austin, Texas, which prides itself as a center for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are people who start their own businesses. In Austin, we have many different kinds of new businesses ranging from high-tech companies that want to be the next Dell or Facebook to food-truck restaurants where someone just wants to follow their dream of cooking for others. Read More

The Silk Road

Are there businesses in Finland? Hong Kong, China, India? How about Chinatown? Koreantown ...how about the country of Japan?

I also heard the United Kingdom is rather introverted and I think a lot of Muslim countries are introverted. Can we have these research studies repeated over there -- to see if introverts socialize and run businesses??? Because some of these studies done in America give me the impression that only extroverts know how to socialize and run businesses! Is this for REAL???

Introverts rock!

And by the way, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Michael Dell are INTROVERTS...as are Eric Schmidt and Jim Goodnight -- also giants in the tech world. All of these men are highly skilled with technology backgrounds such as computer programming, so they know their shit inside out.

Translation for Personality Studies

The Myers Briggs equivalent to this study would be:

Openness = Intuition
Extraversion = Extrovert
Conscientiousness = Judging
Low in agreeableness = Thinking
Neuroticism = (there is no cross-over for this term).

Therefore, the authors of this study are saying the ideal profile for a entrepreneur is: ENTJ

As an aside, "low in agreeableness" equates to "high in logical decision making." Now doesn't that make more sense for a business owner? That's why Myers Briggs is much more useful than the Big 5 test. I prefer not to use the Big 5 because it labels people negatively (who wants to raise their hand and admit to not being agreeable?).

Beyond that, I think this study is full of holes. Statistics show that 70% of businesses fail. Obviously, those people weren't included in this study. And we know nothing about the people that took the test. What kind of businesses did they have? For example, were they working out of their homes selling cosmetics, or did they actually have a facility and people working for them?

There are many ways to succeed in business. Don't let a personality study like this one demotivate you. Go for it!


It seems natural to ask whether the personality trait of successful entrepreneurs depends on what type of business they start.

Paper doesn't support looking at any of these traits in isolation

The paper states that they found meaningful correlation for the Big Five (extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, and neuroticism) only in combination, but not for any of the traits individually. (p.33, abstract and discussion) So, for example, Art Markman erred in discussing why agreeableness might be detrimental to entrepreneurship. The paper doesn't support looking at any of these traits in isolation.

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Art Markman, Ph.D., is a cognitive scientist at the University of Texas whose research spans a range of topics in the way people think.


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