The world of the Game of Thrones is full of interwoven plots of extremely interesting and diverse characters. This is an attempt to profile some types of start up founders among those characters. Don’t be surprised if you do not find Lord Varys or Littlefinger in this list, a similar list for types of start-up advisors and mentors might be coming soon.
- Qyburn: The Innovator – Hustler – Expelled from Citadel and saved at the hands of Talisa Stark, Qyburn worked his way up to the small council of King Tommen entirely aided by his ‘bold’ innovations and hustling abilities. Be it Jaimie’s infected stump or dying Gregor Clegane, whenever there was demand from the market he stepped up with the solution and hustled his way to gain trust of the customer. This is a start-up founder with some real solutioning skills and a self – awareness rather confidence in those skills. This kind is slated to churn out a lot of products and make good fortune with them – but they are very less likely to make an enterprise out of any single product. They make to sell and then move on to the next innovation – a trait for becoming a serial entrepreneur. With Varys off to Meereen, Qyburn now has identified the gap and has pivoted to fill those shoes. Good luck to him with his little birds!
- The High Sparrow: The Life-Timer – The man who had once just walked away from the family business he was highly skilled at, now runs probably the most powerful enterprise in the whole of Westeros and this enterprise doesn’t even sell a product of its own creation. The faith existed before, but not as the enterprise as it exists now. The Life-time is the founder who embodies an idea or a cause and then becomes himself the product. Their enterprise doesn’t sell a real product but yet hits a chord with people by appealing to their sense of judgement and fairness. This kind of entrepreneur are likely to start for a cause – a social enterprise where their idea and its impact on lives of people are the only product. They get life and growth solely by the sheer number of people believing and contributing to their cause. This enterprise may become a hindrance to commercial businesses which may not be sanitized to cause these guys are working for, just like animal rights and slaughter houses. Thus, The High Sparrow better look out for hurting commercial interests, they might just hit back at him!
- Arya Stark: The Wantrepreneur – Arya had a strong sense of purpose from the very beginning and every challenge in here path has hardened her resolve, yet she could never really take off. She is a wantrepreneur – a highly resolved person with clarity of thought, who wants to take the plunge but never really does that. A lurking self-doubt and lack of maturity always send this founder back in to the apprentice mode where they believe they still need to learn a big deal before they are ready for the real task. Their real learning need is not the skills they will require to start up, but the self-belief that they can start up. They need to open their eyes, put aside the reluctance and just start up. After getting her sight back, Arya might just head out now!
- Daenerys Targaryen: The Visionary – A visionary doesn’t just create new products or business, but they envision a changed world through their start up. Daenerys founding of her own Khalasar was driven by higher purpose of, first, keeping herself alive and second, winning back The Iron Throne. To achieve her purpose, she has a road map designed with smaller goal leading to her final vision. She worked her way through building a team, garnering resources and pitching to investors for aid in the greater plan. When funding didn’t come she hustled her way to rule the Meereen, also giving glimpse of her vision for the changed world order by abolishing slavery. This kind of founder is not motivated by number games, but the ultimate impact, the change they introduce to the world. Needless to say, for them the success matrix is completely different. They are not in it to win the game; they are here to change the game. They are skilled, they are great leaders and most of all, they are persistent. The going will be tough for them, but they will keep going until their vision is not realized. With the whole Dothraki Sea now bowing to her, Daenerys is most poise than ever to move closer to her vision!
- Aegon Targaryen: The Imposter – Only time Aegon featured in the TV series was as the dead infant who was Lannister’s shame and Gregor Clegane’s doom. But the book reader’s must be well aware of the prince in exile who came out of the disguise to took charge from his mentor – god father, and is now calling shots. While Aegon, also like Daenerys seems to have a grand vision which starts with winning the iron throne, he more than believing in the vision, believes in to the idea of having this vision. This the type of the start-up founders, who don’t really have a real zeal but believe that they are meant to be a founder and should take the plunge. They often possess the charm and for a time might make people believe in them. But in absence of a real plan, resources and skill, they are likely to either bow down and walk away or fall on their face. They are a lost cause and sunk cost – sooner identified, lesser a pain they will be to those who believe in them. Now, that Aegon has landed at Stormlands, he better arrives before he is written off!
If any of this was a spoiler for you, I am extremely sorry but it only goes to show that you are way behind your time, buck up!