243 The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche with Dave Jilk


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Frederick Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers of all time. In this episode of Follow Your Different, Dave Jilk and I talk about a new book that fuses Nietzsche and modern entrepreneurship in a fascinating, provocative, and very thought-provoking way. The new book is called Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche, and Dave co-authored it with Brad Feld (FYD 175). In this dialogue, we go deep on many of the dichotomies we face as company founders and builders. We examine the difference between passion and obsession, and what Nietzsche means by creativity and super abundance. We also talk about how to know you should keep driving forward with your idea or maybe change course. You can also listen to us discuss how founders should evolve their role in the company that they started over time. This is a super-smart, deep-insight bearing conversation about some ideas for company creators with a big-brain, been-there-done-that kind of guy. So fire up your cerebellum and get ready for a fun ride through thinking town! Dave Jilk on Fusing Nietzsche and Entrepreneurship The dialogue starts off with the elephant in the room: why fuse Nietzsche and the world of entrepreneurship? Dave explains that he wasn’t very fond of most business books, in general. For him, most of them contain a few important things, but wrapped around in 200 pages of text. Though reading them is an unavoidable occupational hazard for him and his co-author, Brad Feld. So he and Brad got the idea of writing their own book, containing their thoughts and experiences in entrepreneurship. But they don’t want it to be just another business book. That’s where their attention turned to Nietzsche and his works. “I was reading him (Nietzsche) a little earlier than Brad. When I was reading it, we notice things that apply to entrepreneurship. It was striking though, and of course his languages is very interesting and colorful, right? So we started playing with, “Hey, could we write something”, and we wrote a few of the essays and grabbed a couple of Brad's blog posts and stuck them in his stories to see how that worked and, and it kind of clicked.” – Dave Jilk From there, they managed to get enough content to write an entire book. Nietzsche, Entrepreneurs, and Being a Little Bit Crazy There are some people who referred to Nietzsche as sort of a crazy person. Dave thinks the better word to use is “Wacky”, and that Nietzsche himself revels in that description. As someone studying human nature, he was open to exploring different situations and experiences, which might have gotten him this reputation. Going back to entrepreneurs, Dave thinks that one has to be a little bit crazy and explore the possibility without worrying about looking bad or weird. That is especially true for startups and early stages of most businesses. “Some people would argue that you have to be extremely rational, analytical about this. But we say, to create something truly disruptive, you have to have a vision. You have to have a vision of what the world could be like, after your disruption is successful. What is the world going to be like, with no evidence whatsoever, no particularly good reason to believe that the world will adopt that. You have to have to be, as you say, a little bit crazy.” – Dave Jilk Being Brave and Different When asked if Nietzsche had been very courageous because he was challenging the preconceived norms despite the pushbacks, Dave agreed to some degree. For him, Nietzsche was more like someone who bravely dives headfirst into something before worrying about the consequences to his reputation and the like. “Nietzsche’s essential project was to transform the moral tradition of Europe. It's a moral tradition that that went back, at least, two millennia, and possibly longer. He was trying to dis to disrupt that, to change it to, and to explore what it would be like when it did change. And the that exploration is, was frightening to him.

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