Types of entrepeneurs

I have noticed three main recurrent archetypes in entrepreneurs: artisans, business people, and politicians. These, I think, are core motivations or predispositions that drive entrepreneurs to start new companies.

Artisans can singularly materialize ideas. They take pride in their work, pleasure in practice, and enjoy the process of increasing abilities over time. Their goal can be building something others can’t, building something simpler than others, or something more fun or beautiful. The artisan attends to details and respects the creative process.

Business people want power, principally in the form of money, but often they also wish for fame. They look for opportunities in others’ margins or for products where they can charge luxury margins. The biggest strength is a deep understanding of what people want to use and pay.

Politicians want to change the world. They want a group of people (which can include the entire human race) to relate to each other or to the world around them in a different and better way. They recognize that business is an excellent way for the creative and independent-minded to make a dent in the world.

No one is just one of these archetypes. Entrepreneurs tend to have different combinations of the three. To illustrate this idea, below I speculate on the archetype configurations of three famous entrepreneurs:


One of the reasons these three guys are legendary is that they are the best in the world in one of these archetypes and top 99% on the other two.

They did not start this way; people change and learn. As a result, these archetypes are not static: each person may start more heavily weighted on one dimension and change over time.

Still, what type of value entrepreneurs create will be influenced by their archetypes: some will bring better products, others cheaper products, and others novel products that change how we interact with each other and the world around us.

It is also interesting to think about how different startup advice matches different archetypes: I think “build something people want” aims at helping artisans become more business minded. the “MVP” philosophy is aimed at helping business people think about the iterative nature of a craft. “Move fast and break things” is meant to help artisans think more like politicians; to show how the world can be changed (hopefully for the better) if you put enough energy behind your efforts.


I personally find these archetypes useful in understanding my evolving motivations and understanding other entrepreneurs’ motivations. They serve as a useful mental model to use, at least for me (hopefully for you too?), when thinking about entrepreneurs.

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