This is a tongue and cheek post that's part of my ongoing Series on Entrepreneurial Culture
In many of these instances, investigators learn afterwards that the animal was either taunted or enraged by someone before unleashing itself from its confines in spectacular fashion. These incidents, though sensational, provide clear evidence of the astonishing feats of which wild animals are capable when they've been pushed to their limits.
What we never see however are headlines like these:
Enraged Steve Jobs Vaults Apple Into Massive Profitability After Being Counted-Out
Maniacal Bezos Stuns Legions of Naysayers as Amazon Soars
Spurned and Resentful Zuckerberg Unleashes his Colossus Upon Humanity (actually- Sorkin got this right)
Steve Balmer in Seeming Roid-Rage Drives Microsoft to New Heights
Murdoch at 80 Still Has Massive Chip on His Shoulder
That's because the mainstream press generally puts out the same "approved narrative" concerning successful entrepreneurs wherein the storylines are variations on the following themes: "talented tech whiz kid with tousled hair changes world", "visionary entrepreneur turned philanthropist with great hair jets into Davos with entourage", " so and so pulled himself up by the bootstraps and is driven because he never wants to be poor again despite being a billionaire".
As I see it, for the most part these storylines reflect an alternate reality. Reality, (ie. company-building), never comes with this glossy sheen.
It's been my observation that very successful entrepreneurs are no different than the caged animals who shatter the zoo-keeper's "impassable" barrier when incensed enough. (If you're skeptical of the animal comparison definitely check out Desmond Morris' The Human Zoo at some point).
From what I've seen, more than anything else, they share this primal impulse to break free of behavioral restraints whether imposed by the corporate arena/working world, by the society/attitudes/belief systems in which they were raised, or by the "way things are done" in certain arenas/disciplines. Their mentality is primarily a roiling cauldron of any or all of the following traits: resentment/subversiveness/anger/mania/vision/piss & vinegar and/or sheer force of will. The "make-the-world-a-better-place" stuff comes later, (if at all).
The reality is that most of these wildly successful entrepreneurs have a real chip on their shoulders and something to prove. It's personal. They often have hard edges to them, have visceral reactions to people and ideas alike, make brutal sacrifices, and often drive themselves and their companies more than anyone around them can possibly imagine.
For Part 29 in in this Series, click here