Top 5 Stories on LinkedIn This Week: Why We Are All Entrepreneurs Now

January 13, 2012

What is an entrepreneur? According to Eric Schurenberg, the editor of Inc.com, the singular definition was created 37 years ago by Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson:

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.

In other words, an entrepreneur spots a goal and ignores all the reasons why he or she will never achieve it. Lack of money? Lack of clear path? Lack of talent? Lack of outside approvals? None of those are deterrents. It's a great definition and nearly 40 years ago, it probably helped separate the careerists from the creators. But today, Stevenson's definition can be applied to just about everyone. To make it in business today, you have to either think like an entrepreneur or be one, a philosophy that can be seen by looking at our top stories of the week, which we compile by analyzing the articles most shared by LinkedIn's more than 135 million members. From Fast Company's opus on embracing the no-career-path path to Mashable's look at the top startups for 2012, it's clear that nimbleness and scarcity are things workers are starting to assume, not avoid. The list:

Top 5 most-shared articles on LinkedIn (Jan 5, 2012 - Jan. 12, 2012) Follow @LinkedInToday

  1. Give Your Employees Unlimited Vacation Days, 1/5 (Inc.)
  2. What's an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever, 1/9 (Inc.)
  3. Google Merges Search and Google+ Into Social Media Juggernaut, 01/10 (Mashable)
  4. Six Startups to Watch in 2012, 1/8 (Mashable)
  5. This Is Generation Flux, 1/9 (Fast Company)

The most-shared story of the week demonstrates the spread of the entrepreneurship-for-everyone idea best. Joe Reynolds, the founder of Chicago's Red Frog Events, talks about why every company should adopt his policy of having no vacation rules. Red Froggers can take as much time off as necessary, whenever necessary. His is a classic startup concept: When you've got everyone focused on a common goal, you can give people time off as they need because they'll always be working toward the cause (and they may never take the time off, anyway). Before they leave they'll make sure transitions are handled beautifully. And even on vacation, they'll still be thinking about work. "Every last Red Frog employee is unflinchingly focused and devoted to our mission," Reynolds writes. He also points out the policy helps when recruiting new people. Outside of a few big employers like Netflix, eradication of vacation is a nonstarter. Businesses have developed processes and checks to ensure that things move smoothly and that resources (which, according to the definition, entrepreneurs don't have) are monitored and controlled. Paid time off is part of the established company plan. Instead of offering unlimited time off, they offer salaries, career ladders, defined perks, and HR support. Yet professionals went crazy for the Reynolds concept, sharing the article to their networks and beyond. When a story on vacation plans goes viral like it's a LOLCats page, it's worth paying attention.

The other top story: Fast Company editor Bob Safian's tale at what he calls "Generation Flux” the workers of today who change titles and collect skills like they're frequent flier miles. For these professionals, there are always new opportunities to be pursued and they'll hop from resource-rich big company to startup as necessary to deploy what they've learned and to acquire new talents. The future of business whether you're running one, starting one or working for one "is pure chaos," says Safian.

Here's the conundrum: When businesspeople search for the right forecast--the road map and model that will define the next era--no credible long-term picture emerges. There is one certainty, however. The next decade or two will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm; if there is a pattern to all this, it is that there is no pattern.

Entrepreneurs have operated in this environment their whole existence. The rest of us are just now coming into the fold. I wonder what the singular definition of "worker" is?

Here are the most shared stories by professionals in the following industries:

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