City of Asheville IT director weighs in on entrepreneur “virus”


“Bully bosses” and micromanagement got you down? On Information Week, Asheville’s own CIO, IT Director Jonathan Feldman, shares his opinion on the “micropreneur virus” taking the best and brightest out of the cubicle and into life as an entrepreneur.

His piece is inspired by his recent trip to the 2012 World Domination Summit in Portland, a conference for people seeking a “remarkable life in a conventional world.” From the article:

Your best and your brightest are starting to realize that there are options out there, and it doesn’t bode well for those of us who are stuck in the ’50s with our management philosophies. Like water over an earth dam, the erosion will happen quicker and quicker, and we’re eventually going to see the dam burst.

I am the first to admit, I was fairly cynical, going in, that WDS might just be some multi-level marketing morass of mumbo-jumbo. It’s an easy conclusion to come to. Many of the folks that I saw associated with the conference were leaders of the movement, and thus offering a certain amount of content for free (actionable plans of how to start your own micropreneur business), and some paid content. It was easy to interpret this as a kind of twisted MLM scam. But, having now been on the ground and challenged a number of people, both the organizers and the attendees, I’m pretty sure that nothing could be further from the truth.

And, as the CIO for a midsized enterprise IT organization, that’s what scares me. It’s hard enough NOW to attract and retain the best and brightest. If this micropreneur virus starts infecting more and more people, we’re in big, big trouble.

We need to take action, now, to retain them. During WDS, Pam Slim, author of “Escape From Cubicle Nation”, pointed out to me that there are two kinds of people, someone who is fundamentally wired to be an entrepreneur, and those who actually enjoy the corporate environment because they like the social aspects, the relatively resource-rich environment, and so on. You’re not going to keep the first kind of person, but unless we significantly change the way that we manage people in a corporate environment, we’re going to lose the second set of folks.

Read the full article here.