What Kind of Genius are You?

In a recent article I wrote how most successful entrepreneurs were not innate geniuses but got their success from relentless trial and error. As several of you pointed out, my description did not account for all of entrepreneurial successes out there. You were right. A recent study by the economist David Galensen suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types: quick and dramatic or careful and quiet.

“Conceptual Innovators” make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines when they are young and rarely ever reach again the success they had in their youth. These include Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, Scott Fitzgerald, Wolfgang Mozart and Paul Samuelson.

“Experimental innovators” progress through trial and error and usually do their important work much later in their careers. These include Mark Twain, Paul Cezanne, Alfred Hitchcock and Ludwig van Beethoven.

You can read the full article on Wired at:

  • Fabrice,

    Very interesting article, but I am not quite sure it applies as much to entrepreneurship. Granted there are many serial entrepreneurs who start bigger and better companies as the years go by. However they all attain success from some smaller ventures which enable them to move forward to a larger venture. I mean, look at Bill G, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry, Sergey, Ellison, youtube, Mark from Facebook, all were or are fairly young. Even yourself Fabrice with Zingy !!!

    I guess you have the Jim Clarks of the world as well, but then again Jim Clark did start SGI which was a billion dollar company before netscape.

    Again, perhaps I am being too myopic and looking at technology companies only (that too in software as I am sure hardware companies have older founder, at least nowdays).

    However the point I am trying to make here is that in art or literature or science, it is much easier for people to make small progress one step at a time until they reach a big breakthrough later on in life. There is not really the option of a failure which threatens your way of life if you are a scientist. However in Entrepreneurship, you are devoting far more resources and your livihood is dependant on having the startup become a success.

    Would be interested in hearing your thoughts here ??

  • guess fabrice is too busy being an entrepreneur so ill reply to you mike – 2.5 years later. I think im experimentally innovative. The ideas i have are innovative but my path to expressing it has been experimental. having said that i did have a brief glimpse of glory in my 20s. its now ten years later and ive still stuck to the original idea that i championed 10years ago but its taken a different form. and 5 years to develop. however ive learnt a lot ( experimental) of what works and doesnt in the media i choose to dabble in ( film and writing) so that once this idea takes off, i will be fully ready to exploit the opportunity.Entrepreneurship, to answer your question is the same as art.my business is implementing creative ideas to meet a demand. and ive sacrificed that amount of time without a steady job ( lots of partime and job skipping and caring for my brother), and although ive merged the two, anthony hopkins for attention is an experimental. the difference between experimental and innovative is time.time=resources and livelihood.failure is the stepping stone to success.