The Reluctant Entrepreneur

I never wanted to start a business.  

I have no background in business.  I am not savvy in the ways of economics or finance, nor do I pretend to know anything about cash flow management.

But I have been involved in community organizing and activism (and ultimately started a business) because I felt I had to.  Nobody else was doing something and I wanted to lend a hand.  I had a set of skills, a splash of talent, and I felt that we could do better.  I also felt that my other options weren't very satisfactory.  

So I am dubbed an entrepreneur.  I don't feel comfortable with that term.  But I do feel comfortable stating that I feel the need to lead. I truly believe that leaders lead, it is in their DNA.  And when Gabe Klein gave example after example of cities and places that had made change happen in his presentation today, they each can be traced back to a leader or leadership.

Rochester is dying for leadership.  Authentic leadership.  The kind of leadership that has no problem saying something powerful or unpopular because they know it is the right thing to do.  The unanimous opinion in Brown v Board of Education was unpopular to many at the time; but who could argue it wasn't the right thing to do? 

We have a leadership vacuum.  A black hole of nothing where there is supposed to be fresh approaches.  This emptiness can be beneficial in the sense that it allows a blank space to fill with new ideas and creative solutions, but these new ideas need champions for implementation.  And when there is only opposition, it creates an adversarial relationship between the government and its citizenry.  We saw that last night at the City Council truth in taxation hearing.  To rectify that situation, we don't need a consensus-builder who strives for compromise.  We have a town full of those people.  

We need an entrepreneur.  Someone who says, "why not me?"  Perhaps you have thought, "I am not much for public service or leading the public."  Well, we don't always find ourselves in cookie cutter situations.  Often times we find ourselves struggling with the status-quo and wishing someone would do something about it. Well now we need someone who says, "fine, I'll do it myself."