Do you think Entrepreneurs are born? or made?

Check out this vlog I did with Omar de Silva who joined me from The Plato Project @CreativeCubes.Co today

Whats The Plato Project?
Here you go:

I can’t wait until Omar is back on the vlog… it was such a juicy topic and so much more to explore and discuss.


Tobi Skovron: We’re back. How are you?

Omar: I’m here for the first time. I’m good.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah?

Omar: How you doing, man?

Tobi Skovron: I’m really well.

Omar: All right.

Tobi Skovron: This is Omar from Plato Project.

Omar: Hello, world.

Tobi Skovron: This is 5272 followers on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Omar: Nice.

Tobi Skovron: Don’t be shy.

Omar: Hello, everyone.

Tobi Skovron: So Plato Project.

Omar: Mm-hmm

Tobi Skovron: Tell everyone, or tell us what it’s all about.

Omar: Yeah, sure. So Plato for me was a response to a few different frustrations that I had and my co-founders had.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: In no particular order. Number one, the gap between education and industry.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Omar: And I what I mean by that is, the formal education system for a whole bunch of really valid reasons struggle to provide an outcome focused business education, which actually meets the current needs of industry.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Omar: And we can get into a whole bunch of really valid reasons for it.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: But the simple fact of the matter is, it can take minimum six to twelve months for a university or a formal education provider to make a curriculum change.

Tobi Skovron: Right.

Omar: And we all know that industry moves a heck of a lot faster than that.

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Omar: So closing that gap was one thing.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: Second thing was this idea of entrepreneurialism. And in my opinion and those of my co-founders, entrepreneurship’s become this thing that’s all about the modern day rockstar.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And setting up a startup and becoming really rich really quickly.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Omar: And I think that that narrows the power of entrepreneurship and the opportunity of entrepreneurship.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: So what we wanted people to realise is that entrepreneurship can be a whole bund of different things. It can be setting up a corner shop if that’s what’s gonna make you happy. It doesn’t have to be about that. So helping people understand what entrepreneurship is and what it can be. It’s something that’s got me into a lot of trouble.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And got me out of a lot of trouble-

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Omar: … and turned my life around. So it’s something I’m really, really passionate about.

Tobi Skovron: So you see a lot of people that come into your courses.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: Do they see themselves as entrepreneurs? Or are they looking to become entrepreneurs?

Omar: Yeah. So good question. We’ve got programs across a whole variety of topics and subject matters. Leadership, strategy, innovation, customer experience, and startup.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And so the people that come to the startup program are either aspiring entrepreneurs, or people that work with entrepreneurs and wanna have a better idea of what it’s actually like to become an entrepreneur.

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Omar: Into our other programs though, leadership, innovation, et cetera. What we get … Sorry. Just got something in my eye. What we get are people that like the idea of entrepreneurship, but they wanna deploy it within the established frameworks of their employment or their existing organisation. And they’re trying to wanna understand-

Tobi Skovron: Essentially entrepreneurship?

Omar: Yeah. Exactly.

Tobi Skovron: So do you … I mean, you see a lot more people … I mean, maybe … You see a lot more people in a formal environment than I do.

Omar: Yeah. Sure.

Tobi Skovron: Obviously I’m exposed to a lot more people just because I am an entrepreneur.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: And a lot of people come to me because they’ve got ideas, all the rest of it.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: Do you think entrepreneurs are born or made?

Omar: Yeah. Great question. Depends on how you define entrepreneur-

Tobi Skovron: Okay.

Omar: … right? So ironically, the best definition of entrepreneurship that I’ve come across is out of Harvard Business School.

Many people will say it’s the antithesis of entrepreneurship. But that definition is that ‘entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regards to resources currently controlled’. So in other words, you see an opportunity or you find an opportunity, and you make the most of it wherever you are.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: Whatever you’ve got-

Tobi Skovron: I like that.

Omar: … or you don’t have.

Tobi Skovron: That’s a very different spin to what I’ve always visualised-

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: … is an entrepreneur. So just to dial back onto this-

Omar: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … side of the table for a minute. It was only in my sort of … I believe that I was born an entrepreneur.

And I grew up in a very entrepreneurial household. Where I used to walk out of my bedroom, and there were placards, and awards that my dad had won being an entrepreneur. Who, by the way, dropped out of school in 10th grade.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: Became this amazingly success … Built an amazingly successful business off an idea. And I used to walk out of my bedroom and see all these placards and all of his awards. And I very distinctly remember my mum made a birthday cake for my dad.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: And actually got his face printed on it with-

Omar: Amazing.

Tobi Skovron: … a little speech bubble that said, “I did it my way.”

Omar: Love it.

Tobi Skovron: And I was kind of, my bedroom, bathroom. My bedroom, bathroom. And these sort of subliminal messages. At the age of 23, I really understood what an entrepreneur was. Because intrinsically, my wife said, “Tobes, we just need a patch of backyard on our balcony.” And I kid you not, for the next 10 years I had an out-of-body experience.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: Following this path and this journey just felt so natural.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: I wasn’t trained, educated. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. And before you knew it, I had a company that was 150 countries of distribution.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: And we sell a lot of great product. The point of the conversation of the jostle-

Omar: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … is that I can tell you with full confidence that the entrepreneurial instinct in me took over.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: And then I came to that realization that I’m an entrepreneur.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: Because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

Omar: Totally.

Tobi Skovron: And stuff was happening.

Omar: So I think … Where I think you just made a really interesting point. ‘Cause you said your entrepreneurial instinct took over. That’s what I think you can be born with. You think you’re born with an entrepreneurial spirit, an entrepreneurial instinct. But I think it’s only when you apply that in a variety of ways do you actually become an entrepreneur.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And so your story around Pet Loo.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: That’s what it’s called, right?

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: Yeah. That made you an entrepreneur.

Tobi Skovron: That sort of brought me out-

Omar: Yes. Sure.

Tobi Skovron: … as an entrepreneur. That actually, it defined me in many ways.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: It was like, “Holy shit. This is like, I get it.”

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: But I wasn’t trained and educated.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: And I never aspired to be one.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: In fact, as a student-

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … by the way, I hated school. I don’t know if-

Omar: I was the same.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: I got kicked out.

Tobi Skovron: I didn’t go that far. But I quick uni-

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … because I tried to keep up with kids and my friends who were all lawyers, doctors, so on and so forth.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: And I became a pediatrist.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: And then after three years of studying fungus and disease I was like-

Omar: Yeah. Also.

Tobi Skovron: … “This isn’t for me.” But I didn’t know who I was professionally.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: And then that, “Hey, we just need a patch of backyard on the balcony.” It was like, boom.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: The lights went on. And then I had this out-of-body ex just kind of executing this vision.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: With no formal education.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: Just inside came out.

Omar: Yeah. Totally. And so I get that. And I love that. And I think that is exactly what we need to, to use a wonky word, to empower in everybody. But I don’t think that we need to say, “The only way you can become an entrepreneur is if you take that route,” which is a route that should be absolutely celebrated and congratulated.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: But if you had that same idea, and then you went to say somebody you were working with, and said, “I have this freaking idea. I think there’s something to it. Let’s do it.” And then that, let’s say the employer said, “Cool. Let’s make that happen. I’m only gonna give you a few hours a week, and 10 grand to make it work.” Is that person any less of an entrepreneur?

Tobi Skovron: No.

Omar: Exactly. And that’s the thing I think we need to really [crosstalk 00:07:28]-

Tobi Skovron: But that’s … So I agree.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: And actually when I think about the way you’ve positioned it based off the Harvard description-

Omar: Yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … it’s a very different lens-

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: … to the same point that I’ve always visualised.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: But that person is no … So in your example, that person is no less an entrepreneur. I feel like that’s that person coming out-

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … going-

Omar: Exactly right.

Tobi Skovron: … “I’ve gotta be relentless in the pursuit of my vision. I’ve gotta get people subscribed to my mission. And I gotta charge towards the goal. And I’ve gotta be relentless. And when I get kicked in the nuts, that’s sort of … ” That’s almost like validation.

Omar: Yeah. Totally.

Tobi Skovron: And the weak quit, and the strong sort of tolerate the-

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: … storm, and continue forward.

Omar: Yeah. So I think what’s interesting, a couple of different things. So something we talk a lot about is this idea of the growth mindset.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And that is this idea that through a concerted effort, anyone can develop a capability.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And so the idea of being born with entrepreneurialism or entrepreneurial spirit, I think absolutely exists.

But I don’t think that people that aren’t born with that are precluded from being able to train their mind to find opportunities and to develop genuine passion and commitment, to capitalising on that opportunity.

And I think if we can embrace that and we can make that available to more people in employment, in corporate world. I think number one, we can solve a lot of social issues.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And number two, we can create a lot of financial value for everybody. And that’s a really exciting thing.

Tobi Skovron: I got goosebumps, genuinely. I really like that. You see a lot of people like this all day, every day at Plato?

Omar: Yeah. We do. I mean, there are the I’ll say, the ready few that are prepared to do what it takes to go and start their startup, and work for themselves.

That idea of jumping off a cliff without a parachute, I can get it. But it’s not the only way. And so what we see a lot of is that people are sort of halfway, and they’re looking for that support.

They’re looking for that education, the community to help them take that leap. But then there are people that simply don’t wanna do that, but they wanna make their existing organisations better.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Omar: And that’s where we sorta, through leadership, through innovation, through other things, through mindset we can established and existing organisations to become more entrepreneurially minded.

And again, create that flow through. So across that broad spectrum, everybody is somewhere on that spectrum. What Plato’s about is trying to take everybody where they are and help move them along.

Tobi Skovron: So


Tobi Skovron: I’ll link it in the description below. Mate, thank you so much.

Omar: Pleasure. Nice meeting you.

Tobi Skovron: I wanna do some more of this.

Omar: Yeah. Let’s do it.

Tobi Skovron: Because I think that a lot of people … I’m sure a lot of people come to you, and you have a portfolio of-

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: … solutions and courses for people to work through. A lot of people come to me and say, “Hey, I’ve got this idea. But I have no idea what to do.”

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: And I’d like to be able to try and foster that. I think Australia, like I spent the last eight years in the U.S.

It’s go time over there. Here I feel like we have, there’s cracks that are just appearing, in a positive way.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: As if a breakthrough is about to happen.

Omar: Sure.

Tobi Skovron: And I wanna try and sort of help foster that.

Omar: We’re gonna put Melbourne on the map.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Melbourne, Australia.

Omar: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: I think across all sectors of entrepreneurship.

Omar: For sure.

Tobi Skovron: So mate, thank you so much.

Omar: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Tobi Skovron: I will link all the descriptions in the below. That’s a wrap for this week. We’ll be back, or I’ll be back next week. We have a great list of … A great lineup coming. And continue to tune in.

Omar: Awesome.

Tobi Skovron: Thank you so much.

Omar: Thanks, guys.

Tobi Skovron: All right.

Author Tobi Skovron

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