Creators Vs Curators – who is a better entrepreneur?

What do you think is the answer – Creators or Curators? And more importantly, who are you?

During my research, training and consulting engagements I constantly deal with entrepreneurs. I find that they come in all shapes and sizes. But they essentially belong to two broad categories:

  • Creators: These are typically people with technical backgrounds, training. They normally think product / service design. They are people who love their creations. They enjoy creating. They enjoy it so much that they often forget the commercialization aspect of it. The excuse is – passion. But if passion is for creation, then we should focus on partnering with others for commercialization. Even commercialization requires passion! But the creators are clearly entrepreneurial minds! They are entrepreneurs as well since they took a problem, designed and constructed a solution, and most importantly took it to the customer. This requires courage.
  • Curators: These are typically people who love trading. They are not typical traders (traditional understanding). They are people who are not stuck to their own ideas. They live and thrive on opportunities. They enjoy putting pieces together (created by others) and solve problems that customers face. They are passionate about what creates wealth. They have no attachment to specific products / services. They enjoy the market facing activities so much that many times they become over confident about their supply side – they assume that they can put together any solution. The careful and intelligent curators create innovations by using the fundamental creations of others. If they are for the long term they partner with the creators and formally create businesses. If they are fly-by-night operators, they simply copy and use the inventions, put pieces together and move on. It is difficult to be the former type of curator as it involves being on the field on both the supply and the demand side. It requires understanding not just the requirement of the market, but also digging through the creations to figure out the right pieces for the solution. These curators need smart perseverance.

The world is filled with both the types of entrepreneurs (two types of curators included). My work in entrepreneurship takes me often to engineering campuses across India. I meet number of engineers who have interest in becoming entrepreneurs. But many are stuck to being good creators. On the contrary I find on my visits to business schools that there are number of curators, but not of the first variety. There are occasions both the groups are situated on a common campus – with both floundering with their weaker halves. Why don’t they meet? Is there lack of interest or lack of commitment? Or is our ecosystem not allowing this cross pollination to occur?

While we hope that a lot more of our engineering and business school students interact and form start-up teams, the big question remains?
Who makes a better entrepreneur – Curators or Creators? Or is it as always – the ideal state: a combination of both?

If you have thoughts, ideas or experiences on this please do share so that we can keep this conversation going…

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