The Star Trek Guide To Entrepreneurship
I must confess – I’m a huge Star Trek fan, and have been following Gene Roddenberry’s cult science fiction franchise since my college days.
If you believe that Star Trek is for geeks, think again. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry – the latest Star Trek movie has made more than US$300 million at the box office to date. It has influenced American pop culture, even challenging ideas of human moral and ethical issues. Social, cultural and financial impact aside, Star Trek has inspired real-world technological innovations. Arguably, the ubiquitous cell phone of today can be considered an early form of the Star Trek communicator and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology used in medicine could have been based on Dr. McCoy’s medical table.
The latest Star Trek movie got me thinking: Star Trek has some amazing lessons about entrepreneurship! Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the introductory phrase before each Star Trek episode:
“Space… the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
This is possibly one of the greatest vision and mission statements you’d ever hear, and also makes one helluva elevator pitch! So let’s see how this famous line can apply to entrepreneurship:
Space… the final frontier. (Defining your market)
The more successful entrepreneurs aim for the largest, most suitable market for their big idea. Whether you believe in the concept of addressable markets or not, entrepreneurs rightly need to understand their potential markets.
Good entrepreneurs know that they cannot prepare for every eventuality, but instead of feeling constrained by their limited resources they look at everything that come their way as opportunities.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. (Plan for the long haul)
Every entrepreneur I speak to tell me that entrepreneurship is a journey. They know that the road will be long and hard, and rewards may be long in coming. So while they take things one step at a time, they keep a long term view for their business.
Entrepreneurs also know that the current business they’re in is simply a vessel upon which they ride the waves of entrepreneurship. You know, there must be a reason why the spaceship in question is called USS Enterprise!
Its continuing mission… to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. (Explore, learn, and adapt)
Entrepreneurship is an unending learning experience. Entrepreneurs discover themselves in the process even as they learn the skills on how to run a business.
Challenges may come at them in all shapes and sizes, but true entrepreneurs learn to deal with obstacles and emerge better people.
To boldly go where no one has gone before. (Challenge your boundaries)
This is all about having the courage to face the unknown, and to go beyond the physical, mental, social and perhaps cultural boundaries that may limit the entrepreneur. Of course, it can also refer to entering totally new, untapped markets.
So what are you waiting for? As the good Captain Jean Luc Picard rightly points out, go ahead and “make it so”!
More Star Trek business advice:
*This blog article first appeared as a contributed post on Qvisory.org, a non-profit online advocacy and service organization that supports the health, financial well-being, and career goals of young adults from 18 to 34 years old.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.