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Web Summit

Saul Klein: can entrepreneurship be taught?

Saul Klein: can entrepreneurship be taught?

Facebook has an incredibly smart advertising tool.

Segmenting audiences by 4 categories, location, demographic, behavior and interest, advertisers are able to thrust targeted messages in front of audiences at astoundingly granular levels.

At the click of a button, you can send an ad to anyone that likes going on holiday to France, in May, with his or her dog, that has a pink collar and is also an Alsatian.

A slight exaggeration perhaps, but it’s not far off.

And lying amongst the billion or so daily active Facebook users is a growing movement of individuals citing interest in a trend that’s pervasiveness has skyrocketed throughout the 21st century.

So many in fact, it shocked one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs.

Whilst researching for a talk he was giving at the Web Summit tech conference, Saul Klein found that “56 million people were interested in entrepreneurship.”

“If that figure was 5 million I would have been shocked,” explains the man who sold Lovefilm for £200 million.

Surfacing in 1723, the word entrepreneur describes a person who organizes and operates a business by taking a financial risk.

The word has changed a lot since that initial definition. And so has the world. The growth of entrepreneurship has been rapid.

In part it comes down to the droves of people possessing instant access to affordable computing and treasure troves of information and data; new business owners can leverage the power of the cloud to set up a business in minutes.

Klein explains how the growth of entrepreneurship is not just about the high profile tech leaders building billion dollar business. It is far broader than that.

“Someone who is driving an Uber and earning their living this way is an entrepreneur, someone who starts a restaurant is an entrepreneur. It’s not just Mark Zuckerberg or Drew Houston and people who start unicorns. I refer to them as Zebras, the tens of millions of people who want to take charge of their own economic destiny,”

This week’s episode of the Hot Topics podcast features an interview with one of the most prolific businessmen in tech.

Saul Klein was an early executive at Skype, founded three seed funds with his father, Robin, and was also a Partner at the high profile investment firm, Index Ventures.

To hear Klein’s view on the growth of entrepreneurship, take a listen to this week’s episode above.

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