My post today is a Q&A with Jay Maharjan, author of the new book Winning Lessons for Entrepreneurs in the Conceptual Economy. He started the @4entrepreneur initiative in 2007, and is also the co-founder of Venture Loft. He is the Nevada statewide leader for the Startup America partnership.


Can you briefly explain what the conceptual age involves, and what the role of entrepreneurship is within that?

The knowledge economy brought about tremendous industrial discipline in the way enterprises were formed, scaled and sustained. We are seeing a fundamental shift in the way the knowledge economy is transforming into a more collaborative economy led by creative entrepreneurs.

Gone are the days when knowledge jobs guaranteed sustainable careers. The conceptual age demands entrepreneurial passion, combined with the right level of competence (with adequate knowledge in technology and business) and more importantly, combining with an art component in the overall thinking process.

As Peter Drucker would say, you do not have a business if you do not have customers. In the conceptual age, understanding customer needs has become more of an art than science. If you are selling a product, consumers are influenced by the way the product looks or is designed and presented to them.

What are some of the differences between what potential entrepreneurs should be aware of in the under-50 and over-50 age groups?

The under-50 groups tend to be more impulse consumers. With the advent of powerful social media tools and instantaneous tools to communicate with peers, this group tends to follow recommendations, and trends of their peer groups.

The over-50 group focuses on value propositions of products and services being offered to them. This group is also adopting evolving technologies and social media platforms. It is important for this group to see clearly how these products and services address pain points in their business and personal life.

What role has Peter Drucker played in your career, and how has it influenced your work as an entrepreneur and executive?

Peter Drucker has played an amazing role in my entrepreneurial career. I am truly fortunate to have followed Peter’s principles since an early age. In the 15 years since I was mentored by Peter, in hindsight, I do believe that I made many right choices. As a young entrepreneur, it is tempting to get your hands in multiple projects. I live by Drucker’s wisdom that “there is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”