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IT and the entrepreneurial age

Thornton May | Nov. 6, 2015
Today, if you want to be hired as a C-level executive in a major global enterprise, you are going to have to be capable of delivering high-growth and high-margin revenue streams. In short, you are going to have to be entrepreneurial.

Many people have the idea that you have to be young, or a software developer or an inhabitant of Silicon Valley to be an entrepreneur. None of those things matters, though. You just have to have an entrepreneurial mindset. Sure, the person behind the next big app might be a young software developer in the Valley, but that’s not the sum total of what makes an entrepreneur. Remember Harland David Sanders? He was 62 and living in North Corbin, Ky., when he franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

So what exactly is the entrepreneurial mindset? It exists between two poles, which you can think of as little “e” entrepreneurs and big “E” entrepreneurs. Little “e” entrepreneurs start, own and operate small businesses. When you hear statistics regarding entrepreneurship — number of businesses formed, number of workers employed — you are typically hearing data about little “e” entrepreneurship. That’s why, in global surveys, Egypt is classified as being more entrepreneurial than the U.S.; it has a whole lot of small shop owners.Big “E” entrepreneurs create new industries, disrupt existing industries and assault the status quo.

For the longest time, IT has hitched its wagon to little “e” entrepreneurs. In the very near future, IT shops will become driven by the vision of being in service to big “E” entrepreneurs. Get ready.

Futurist Thornton A. May is a speaker, educator and adviser and the author of The New Know: Innovation Powered by Analytics. Visit his website at, and contact him at


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