To be authentic means letting your true voice be heard. By definition it entails going out on a limb, exposing yourself as vulnerable, so it can be a scary thing. For your inspiration, here’s four examples of entrepreneurs who demonstrate authenticity in an impactful way.
The authentic context
First, for a quick background and to set the context, let’s take a look at two instances of digital media of today: Podcasts and “Best of Quora”. Podcasts are all the rage in Sweden, and the three or so biggest ones are not podcasts about business, technology, entertainment or fashion. Instead they are human-focused storytelling platforms that tell reflections and anecdotes from the lives of the hosts and their guests. From low-key personal interviews to more hysterical studio banter, what I have listened to has surprised me with its level of candor and… mundaneness. And it feels refreshing.
“Best of Quora 2010-2012″ is the fantastic 442-page collection of some of the most highly-voted answers on the Quora Q&A site. Sorted in topics such as food, law, life advice, professions and personal experience it (as the Quora.com site itself) will blow your mind and warm your heart from the generosity, insight and vulnerability of the contributors. Highly recommended.
Four authentic entrepreneurs
Gary Vaynerchuk. Need I say more? You’re on social media right now, so shame on you if you don’t already know about him. He likes to use the word “authentic” about himself… almost as much as other people brand him so. This keynote presentation from the Web2.0 Expo 2008 is a must-watch in its entirety, and it will get you fired-up every time. “Stop watching Lost!” is an immortal quote.
Mats Ingelborn, a friend from the social media and e-commerce scene in Stockholm, just announced that his next book (he has one out already) will be about “Antipreneurship”, and will share all the reasons why the entrepreneurial path is so much harder than it looks like.
“Entrepreneurshit”, a blog post and presentation by startup founder and venture capitalist Mark Suster, is about the same thing: “I like to speak about this topic with first-time wantrapreneurs because if you read the tech press every day you’d get the impression that it all glamor. It’s not.”
Randy Gage is a successful business leader and author, and has since long been a person I’ve looked up to for his leadership, genius-level marketing skills and eloquence as a speaker. When he shared this highly personal blog post I was floored by the openness and strength. Even if you don’t know his story from before, just read it and prepare to get a new hero.
The topic of authenticity is ever-relevant in today’s digital media landscape, and as entrepreneurs we can’t afford sending out ambigous signals. In what ways can you be more authentic in your presence and your communication?