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Pursuing Mastery vs Entrepreneurship

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New Contributor
Jul 21, 2018

My name is Mathias and I'm a 31 yr old Norwegian man. I'm currently doing a second M.Sc. in Software engineering. I already have 2 B.Sc. in Physics and Computer Science and a M.Sc. in Reservoir Physics. I've always had the entrepreneurial spirit, but also see myself as a career person. It's kind of an internal battle. I would love to have my own company, but also could see myself being a Google engineer.

As for now, I'm looking for a self-selected master's project which I can later commercialise but it turns out to be really really difficult. The few good ideas I can come up with have already been executed, like for example:
-AI real estate price predictor
-Augmented Reality piano teacher

As I see it now, an alternative path is to really pursue mastery in software, start in a good software company and build competence and network. The book So Good They Can't Ignore You have inspired me to this direction. I believe it will be easier to start something with other highly skilled developers once I have more expertise, than dabbling on my own with some project which probably will fail.

For example I heard that the turnover in one of the companies (Bekk Consulting) I could work for is over 10%-15%, meaning 10-15% of its employees go to a (sometimes their own) start-up every year.

There are so many young and naive people calling themselves entrepreneurs, without having anything to offer. I mean unique, tangible skills gained after years of practice. It seems like pursuing the money and the idea of entrepreneurship is more important that becoming great and offering and build something unique. I guess you'd call them wantepreneurs. Is entrepreneuship someting to be rushed? Doesn't skills come first? Most successful entrepreneurs are in their 40s...

I'm not even sure that software engineering is the best pursuit for me. I don't "love" it and not sure if I ever will. But it seems to me like a logical choice for the future, and pursuing skills seems like the best choice.

If you have experienced similar internal doubts, do you have any suggestions?
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The Abundant Man

Gold Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Jul 3, 2018
People here on this forum follow the CENTS format.


Let's take Steve Jobs and Pixar for example. Steve Jobs bought Pixar in the mid-late 80's. At that time, Pixar sold Pixar Imaging Systems to Medical Centers. Ed Catmull knew absolutely nothing about the Medical Industry. But he learned how to sell. Eventually Ed told Steve , "It's always been my dream since childhood to make computer animated feature films." Steve said, "Let's go for it!"

Steve Jobs does not know a single thing about movies or making animated movies for that matter. But, Toy Story came out in 1995 revolutionizing the movie industry.

Control-Steve has complete control. He made a 6-picture deal with Disney before Tory Story eve came out
Entry-Nobody had ever made a computer animated feature film before
Need-See above
Time-Steve only ever visited the Pixar Office once a year. In fact, he got lost each time.
Scale-Pixar had their entire team of computer engineers and animators about 100 at the time.

Remember a business owner gathers all the best people to do the work for them. Because the average human lifespan is 70. Also remember from MJ's Egypt story about the brothers building the Pyramid. One brother built all the skills himself but he never finished the pyramid while the other brother built a machine to do all the work for him. The Pyramid was built in half the time.
Last edited:

George Appiah

Silver Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Aug 16, 2018
Accra, Ghana
People here on this forum follow the CENTS format.


That's the ultimate goal.

But very few people start there.

If you're in college (or fresh from college) and don't have any specific ideas you'd like to pursue, getting a job in a carefully chosen industry to gain domain experience is a sound path to take.


Legendary Contributor
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Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Oct 3, 2015
Phoenix, AZ
Welcome aboard Mathias. You're young and have time to get started on the path, if that's what you choose.

Comp sci pays well, and is a solid slowlane. I'd say stick it out for now and see what shakes out in the next few years.
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Bronze Contributor
Nov 14, 2018
Welcome to the board. Lots of information and support here.
Your 31 and still in school? Got to hand it to you, I was itching to get into the marketplace after HS. 4 more years of uni was painful. Many people are skipping uni all together and going to gorilla code camps then interning.


Beauty is Truth
Speedway Pass
Jan 1, 2015
Read Unscripted . If your skills have no problem to solve they have no purpose.
You probably love learning and practice, which I deduct from your amount of degtees, but it needs to translate into actual work or a project.

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