I recently spent a week in Edinburgh, Scotland, a guest of the University of Edinburgh, where I gave a series of classes and lectures on entrepreneurship, business models and innovation. It was quite refreshing and exciting. I had done the same thing a year ago, as well, but was wondering how the global economic crisis would be felt among entrepreneurs there as well. Last year, I remembered plenty of enthusiasm, optimism and excitement. But would the state of the economy dampen that spirit?
It turns out: not one bit.
Here in Silicon Valley, this isn’t that surprising. Entrepreneurs breed like rabbits here, and you come to expect a certain level of “irrational exuberance” for the power of the entrepreneur. I love that enthusiasm and optimism (part of the reason why I live here), but I also find it worthwhile to get out of “the bubble” and see what’s going on with entrepreneurs around the globe as well.
And, indeed, I felt that same enthusiasm and optimism in Scotland as well. There was actually very little talk of the economic crisis. We did a Masterclass, involving a dozen entrepreneurs, where I did a short presentation, followed by nearly three hours of discussion on business models and opportunities. Each of the entrepreneurs had different challenges, but all was excited about possibilities — including looking at ways to use changing markets to their advantage. None seemed scared by the economy at all — but focused on the challenges at hand.
Later in the week, I went to BarCamp Scotland, which was as more geeky technology (in a fun way) focused event — and again, all around I saw optimism. People have fun, discussing ideas, excited about the possibilities. There’s so much negativity out there, and I was worried that perhaps Silicon Valley was something of a bubble, but it’s great to find that same sense of wonderous optimism halfway around the world.
So, if you’re feeling down or pessimistic about the economy and your own business, I highly recommend figuring out some way to spend some time with other entrepreneurs. Find a gathering, organize a meetup or just invite some enterpreneurs over for pizza and beer. I think you’ll find that the sharing of ideas and the general optimism will lift your spirits quickly.