Monthly Archives: February 2013

Reading List: Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Empowering Startups, Letting Go

For much of the past 10 days, my reading has been conducted from a hammock on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.  For those seeking a break from the never-ending flow of startup news and opinion, I highly recommend the poet Richard Blanco (You’ll recognize him as the author of  One Today read at Obama’s second inauguration.  I also recommend this terrific Fresh Air  interview.) and Junot Diaz, who’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is beautifully written and worth skipping the Cliff notes you’ll find here.

But, alas, every good hammock nap must come to an end, and so I’m back at my desk and catching up on what I missed last week.


As brief as it is dense, this paper on “Diaspora Entrepreneurship” is a catalyst for conversation about immigration, economic development, and policy to support both.  The paper’s writer and entrepreneur Hamza El Fasiki floats a lot of ideas in his eight paragraph thesis, but none as on target as this:

“One of the factors that do not create suitable start-up atmospheres for diaspora entrepreneurs is the intervention of the government. “

Almost a companion piece to El Fasiki’s paper is Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s article on the HuffPo blog, in which she argues that entrepreneurship is the path out of poverty in much of the developing world.

“Often entrepreneurship remains forgotten on the list of leading answers to poverty by those who run programs aimed at helping the poor. This is not because they do not want to help, but because all too often small business owners either remain invisible or uncounted. And that is even more the case when it comes to women.”

While I generally accept her assertion, I have also come to recognize the very thin line between entrepreneur and the working poor that is very real, but rarely mentioned here at home.

As an adviser to Dell’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Ingrid Vanderveldt, I have seen close up the power of one person to empower thousands of others, often beyond what they even thought was possible.  Ingrid tells a bit of her story in this short post for Entrepreneur, and concludes with this encouragement:

Every one of the world’s greatest visionaries has gone through some significant adversity that would stop most other people in their tracks.

Which is to say that as entrepreneurs, we are not “most other people.”

And speaking of things that are hard for mere mortals and harder still for entrepreneurs, my friend Stephen Pieraldi writes clearly about the need to let go in this piece in which he posits that “treat letting go as a new kind of power.”

Tagged , , , , , ,