The Hypomanic Edge
A recent Times article explains how entrepreneurs with a certain type of manic streak seem to get preference from Venture Capitalists.
Venture Capitalists seem to prefer entrepreneurs who have an elevated and expansive mood, who talk about their grandiose plans and who are just crazy enough to build their start ups, yet not be considered cases for mental counseling- in other words, they prefer hypomanics. New York Times describes how this hypomanic edge got Seth Priebatsch nearly a million dollar seed money from Highland Capital Partners to fund Scvngr, a social game that encourages users to explore places and do challenges in return for real-world rewards.
A thin line separates the temperament of a promising entrepreneur from a person who could use, as they say in psychiatry, a little help. Academics and hiring consultants say that many successful entrepreneurs have qualities and quirks that, if poured into their psyches in greater ratios, would qualify as full-on mental illness.
“It’s about degrees,” says John D. Gartner, a psychologist and author of “The Hypomanic Edge.” “If you’re manic, you think you’re Jesus. If you’re hypomanic, you think you are God’s gift to technology investing.”
The attributes that make great entrepreneurs, the experts say, are common in certain manias, though in milder forms and harnessed in ways that are hugely productive. Instead of recklessness, the entrepreneur loves risk. Instead of delusions, the entrepreneur imagines a product that sounds so compelling that it inspires people to bet their careers, or a lot of money, on something that doesn’t exist and may never sell.