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Zhang Weiying: Real entrepreneurship surpasses big data

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What is the difference between entrepreneurs and managers? Simply put, the knowledge on which they make decisions is not the same. Entrepreneur decision-making mainly relies on soft knowledge, and manager decision-making mainly relies on hard knowledge.

The decisions that are discussed in economics and most management are based on hard-knowledge decisions: given goals and options, how to choose specific means to meet a given goal. This is far from the real entrepreneurial decision. The decision of a real entrepreneur is not to choose a means to satisfy a given goal, but to find alternative goals and means. The level of entrepreneurship depends to a large extent on the ability of these choices. In other words, managers use tools and entrepreneurs are tools of creation. Managers are achieving goals and entrepreneurs are creating goals.

From a decision-making point of view, if the means and objectives are given and the same, then all rational people will make the same choice under the same data. Just like our exams, given the conditions, there is only one standard answer for each question, if you are not the same as the answer given by others, or you are wrong, or someone else is wrong. But when entrepreneurs make decisions, they are exactly the same data and hard knowledge. Different people make choices completely different. You can't say who is right or wrong, and even most people think it is right, but it is wrong.

why? Because entrepreneurial decision-making depends not only on data, hard knowledge, but also on tacit knowledge, individual imagination, perception, and judgment on market prospects, technology prospects, and resource availability. Judgment is not calculated. Entrepreneurial decision-making is similar to the discovery of scientists, unlike the so-called "scientific decision-making"!

Entrepreneurship is beyond data. Some people think that the emergence of big data may make the planned economy become feasible again, which is completely wrong. why? Hard knowledge and data, while very useful for entrepreneurs, do require data for entrepreneurs to make decisions, but these data are available to anyone. The true entrepreneurial spirit must transcend this knowledge and data, and beyond what we are talking about now. Big Data. Decisions based solely on data are only scientific decisions, not entrepreneurial decisions. Entrepreneurs must see what is behind the knowledge and data that most people don't see, and what different entrepreneurs see may be completely different.

Traditional economics believes that the main function of the market is to allocate scarce resources, assuming resources, technologies and preferences, and then choose the means according to the goals. In fact, the real most important function of the market is not to allocate resources, but to change resources, use new technologies, new products, new organizational forms to change the availability of resources, and even obtain new resources. These changes are the innovation we are talking about. The progress of society is largely brought about by entrepreneurial innovation. This kind of innovation is not provided by data, including big data.

As far as innovation is concerned, the help that data can provide is very limited. Before the car appeared, there was a postal carriage. The data on the postal carriage transportation business could not help Karl Benz, Daimler and Maybach to invent the car. Otherwise, the invention of the car should be the coachman, not Carl Benz, Daimler. Le and Maybach. Bill Gates created the software industry, not based on existing computer data. Otherwise, the software industry should be IBM, not Bill Gates. Similarly, telecommunications data is not likely to tell Ma Huateng to create WeChat, otherwise the invention of WeChat should be China Mobile instead of Tencent.

Therefore, the decision of the entrepreneur must be beyond the data.

Take the computer industry as an example. After IBM introduced its first commercial computer in 1945, the computer experienced many disruptive innovations in large computers, microcomputers, personal desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. But every time the subversive is not the original computer manufacturer. The monopoly of the mainframe IBM missed the micro-computer market; no manufacturer of a microcomputer company eventually developed into a major manufacturer of desktop computers; notebook computers were dominated by Japanese companies Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba.

why? Obviously it is not the reason for the data, not because the data of the leading companies in the past did not have much latecomers, nor because they did not pay attention to the needs of customers, but because they judged mistakes! Such judgment errors are independent of the amount of data.

The reason is related to the concept of uncertainty we often talk about. What does uncertainty mean? Based on the fact that the future cannot be predicted, this is why we need entrepreneurs. If you can use data to predict the future, you don't need entrepreneurs, you just need managers, even robots. Entrepreneurs' predictions about the future are not based on statistical models, not on calculations, but on their own minds, imaginations, vigilance, self-confidence, judgment, and courage. Any decision that can be made through a statistical model is not an entrepreneur's function, but a day-to-day management.

So it is not surprising that the judgment of entrepreneurs is usually not understood by ordinary people. During the industrial revolution, British steel king Wilkinson built the first iron ship in a doubtful voice and was considered an "iron madman". He wrote to a friend and said: "It meets all my expectations and persuaded those who did not believe. People, the number of these people is 999 thousand." Qi Hong, the founder of Qihoo 360, once said that no matter what he did during his Internet career, everyone did not understand, disdain, or even laugh at the beginning. . Almost all great entrepreneurs have been ridiculed and ridiculed.