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Beware the binary views  

Sometimes, we feel like painting the world in black and white. A sudden insight reveals a dichotomy that feels like there's truth to it.

A common example of this is what I would coin the "born again entrepreneurs" - the startup version of born-again christians. Newly independent entrepreneurs (whether freelancers or startup founders) are often evangelical about the benefits of running your own business, to the point of nausea. I know - I've been there, done that, got the push-back from a few honest and direct friends at the time.

Entrepreneurship is one way to make a living. It's a way that I love and greatly respect, and, for me, it seems like it's the only sane way. But I have many friends who are still working the corporate ladder game, and are happy with it. They don't have the stresses and uncertainties of running a startup. They don't have the freedom of it, either. They can switch off at 6pm when they go home and not give a damn about their business while they're on holiday. Conversely, they only get limited amounts of holiday every year.

I am no longer arrogant enough to claim that somehow entrepreneurship is a superior choice, to suggest that those who don't choose it are somehow missing out (whether because they are not capable of handling it or because they haven't had the opportunity).

Not everyone wants or should want to be an entrepreneur. So, when I read Chris Dixon's article today, I felt that it left the wrong kind of aftertaste:

You've either started a company or you haven't.

Yes, it's a superficially true statement. But is it a useful statement? It simultaneously reminds me of both George Bush's classic "You're either with us or against us", and of the old joke, "There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't".

All three are superficially correct but utterly useless and needlessly divisive statements.

We're all together in this, entrepreneurs, employees, and even homeless people on the street. Drawing divisions and claiming one generic category is better than another should be reserved for divisive politicians - a top notch VC and blogger like Chris shouldn't dabble in such things.

More from the library:
Three modern organisational structures
Corporations and companies are a responsibility
The choices we make when we build startups