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Tech People Shun Lord Sugar's Approach

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by Startacus Admin

When we consider the qualities of the quintessential entrepreneur, a few images spring to mind.  

For many it is the archetypal professional man of a certain age, ruthlessly single-minded, ferociously competitive, and immensely intimidating… someone along the lines of Lord Sugar, perhaps?  

But how many people would think of a mild-mannered, inoffensive, likable ‘geek’ such as Mark Zuckerberg? (Incidentally, Zucker is German for 'sugar')    Lord Sugar

Despite the fact that some of the world’s most financially successful entrepreneurs resemble this latter profile, the majority of people still associate ‘the world of business’ with the former.  

Not Altogether So


Perpetuated by the media through ‘strong personalities’ on shows like ‘Dragon’s Den’ or ‘The Apprentice’, there remains a belief that in order to be successful in business, certain attributes are essential.  


A recent report compiled by IT recruiter Randstad has uncovered evidence which debunks this notion, finding that 36% UK tech workers and entrepreneurs share the personality traits of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whilst just 5% emulate the profile of Lord Sugar.  (They have created a quiz which will reveal which tech entrepreneur you most closely resemble.)


Tech people shun lord sugarThe findings show that the UK’s tech scene is full of aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs, using their inquisitive minds, user focus, likeability, and creativity to make products with appeal and longevity.


But perhaps the most significant difference between these 2 opposing entrepreneurial ‘types’ is the approach they take to the teams built around them.  One takes the traditional view of the employee as a tool to be used to increase profitability, or discarded if performance proves less than satisfactory.  The other takes the standpoint that an employee should be nurtured, encouraged, and given reign over their creativity in a way which will give a much deeper sense of ownership of their work.  They foster an environment which gives allowance for failure and sees it as a crucial step towards eventual success.    


The fact that so many tech workers and entrepreneurs share the personality profile of Mark Zuckerberg has come as no surprise to us experienced in working with such people.  After all, how can one hope to create tech innovations within an environment where employees are terrified to express individual creativity for fear of screwing up and getting the axe?

Tech People Shun Lord Sugar Indeed, how many of us have observed with horror the unkindness displayed on shows like ‘The Apprentice’, where ‘Britain’s toughest backer’ and his would-be minions seem to occupy a world that is downright Dickensian in its approach to people and profit?  What’s more the ruthless and cut-throat culture demonstrated therein is so far removed from what most of us experience that it seems an almost offensive portrayal.


We should not ignore that on a more broad scale these findings by Randstad highlight one of the most significant barriers which people face when considering entering the world of entrepreneurship… the idea that because they do not conform to the expected entrepreneur ‘archetype’ they are not suited to running their own business.  Which is complete codswallop of course.  


It’s an important myth to dispel if people are to feel confident enough in their own abilities to create and grow successful businesses, and at Startacus HQ, we welcome anything which helps in that endeavour.


We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, pop them into the comments section below.



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Published on: 11th January 2016

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