Are Engineers Better Entrepreneurs?
August 29, 2015 Leave a comment
Do engineers make better entrepreneurs? It might sound like a silly question, but it makes sense when inspected closely. There are many characteristics that are common among both groups that allow them to become successful. Both of these professions attract people who are a healthy mix of meticulously analytical (a must when dealing with lots of numbers, people, and moving parts) and boundlessly creative (a skill useful for coming up with new and ambitious ideas).
These skills help entrepreneurs and engineers create new markets and new systems, respectively, from the conceptual level to the actual groundwork where the rubber meets the road. In the spirit of this duality (concept and practical application), let’s explore some professionals who actually prove the point—that engineering and entrepreneurship can be the perfect companions.
DocuSign CEO Keith Krach is our first example of engineer turned successful entrepreneur. He studied engineering at Purdue and pursued this passion by entering the GM Scholars program. However, instead of falling for engineering, he showed a deep interest in business. He went into the GM Fellowship program, which made it possible for Krach to attend Harvard Business School. Fast forward, and he is now the CEO of DocuSign, one of many “unicorn” small business companies and one that can boast of being the world’s leader in Digital Transaction Management.
Next, we have Sam Lytle, who is a civil engineer turned entrepreneur and business owner. Lytle is a licensed civil engineer and owner of Civil FX, a business that provides premium 3D visualization and animation services associated with civil engineering projects. Lytle’s situation is a good example of how both professions can coexist naturally, allowing Lytle to use his engineering background as a business platform. Learn more about Lytle’s story by listening to The Engineering Career Coach Podcast!
Finally, we have Terri Stripling, an engineer turned entrepreneur. Stripling has a background in chemical engineering at Georgia Tech University as well as at Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. However, Stripling followed her inspiration (in a similar way to Lytle) and put her engineering expertise and passion into a business: Ten80 Education. Ten80 is a company that aims to foster students’ understanding of STEM subjects in the classroom. As a woman engineer, this subject hit close to home, as she had to experience an education system that is infamously difficult for women. Luckily, she is able to give back through Ten80 Education!
What do you think about the relationship between engineering and entrepreneurship? Do you think that engineers can make great entrepreneurs, and perhaps the other way around? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!