Archive for January 23rd, 2007

Startup rate over the world

The Global Enterpreneurship Monitor published a study (summary pdf) about the rate of the population starting or running new businesses throughout 74 countries in the world. A couple of highlights, in the USA every tenth person is trying to make a living on its own, while in Germany, 24 of 25 people are wage-slaves, so many, that Deutsche Bank is touting the need for more European venture funds (pdf). China and India, the two large emerging markets have similar numbers to the US with 16 and 10%, respectively.

What do these numbers mean?

If you look at the report, the highest quota of adults engaged in enterpreneurial activity is in Peru, with 40% and the lowest is in Belgium, with 2.7%. Yet, Belgium has a GDP per capita of $31,800, a literacy rate of 99% and a life expectancy of 79 years. Peru, on the other hand, has the Machu Picchu, a seemingly amazing climate and much lower levels of GDP. This article says “Peruvians […] when facing adverse conditions, will rapidly engage in almost any (usually small) entrepreneurial activity to survive; they cannot expect governmental support to help them find jobs or get any sort of allowance” – according to that logic, a higher number of persons running their own businesses would hint on the economy being in bad shape. If you think about what it means to have a job as opposed to being self-employed is, from a point of view that you team up with someone in order to be able to specialize more in an area and hopefully create better products / give higher quality service because you can focus yourself more on what you are doing. Of course, most jobs also include giving up on the part of taking risk (and partially, responsibility) for your actions which has the side effect of getting a salary every month regardless of whether the company makes a loss or millions of profit.

That is, if enterpreneurship is not coupled with prospects of big wins, it really isn’t getting you much further than a job.

Add comment January 23rd, 2007

Measuring learning

Aspiring to a new career in case the software-thing doesn’t work out, I am taking dance and singing lessons since october last year. Since I tried learning to dance a couple of times already and it invariably ended up in me getting frustrated by the lack of progress and giving it up, I set out to enhance my approach this time.
I started measuring my work.
In the last four months I managed to take lessons (and practice) worth 14,5 hours of singing and 56 hours of dance. I would love to be able to tell: An average person needs about 200 hours of dance practice before they get really good, so (being Joe Average) I am 29% towards my goal of “learn to dance”.

No way.

I still don’t have any reliable way of measuring my progress. The only information you seem to be able to get out of people is “it takes many years”, “don’t rush it, give it time” and the occasional “To the dark side, give in thou shalt not.” I know I still can’t sing or dance altough I definitely made a lot of progress in both areas. Of course what I could do is measuring my progress in a sort-of binary way: Either you know it or you don’t. This is not great (I don’t like to get zeros) and I am trying to focus on what I achieved instead (I do not suck as bad as I used to) and setting small goals and figuring out the shortest way to get to a point where it comes together to be something I can actually enjoy. 

Update 3rd of July 2007: In the meantime I am at a little bit more than one hundred hours of dancing (with about 20-30 hours worth of private classes) and the progress has been great – I still have a lot more to learn but now I am able to dance through multiple songs and my dancing is enjoyable both for me and my partners.
Still not much progress in singing though, after about 30 hours.

2 comments January 23rd, 2007


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