FEATURE Entrepreneur Interview With Atta Pilram

Q & A Interview

Q1: How would you define the term “entrepreneur”?

A1: A person who takes “action” on his “imagination”.

Q2 What personality traits do you think the most effective entrepreneurs posses?

A2: Constantly thinking, imagining, day dreaming but always action oriented.

Q3: What specific skill set should an aspiring entrepreneur have possession of, or be in the process of developing?

A3: I very much consider myself to be an entrepreneur. In my personal viewpoint, it is important to have the ability to share your ideas and participate in brainstorming with others, seek the opinions of people you respect, keep an open mind. And, learn the art of selection by elimination.

Q4: How did you get started on the path to entrepreneurship?

A4: I have always been a day-dreamer and I love story-telling, but my first conscious effort was when I put my imagination on paper through writing and painting. Photography is another way in which I begin to exercise the power of vision.

“One important aspect of entrepreneurship is visualization and an ability to make what is seen or sometimes unseen, accessible.

Q5: Can entrepreneurship be taught? Steph Korey

A5: Yes it can be taught, but to learn it is a different story. Entrepreneurship is very simple – “imagining” things, “discussing” those thoughts, and then taking “action”. This may be a cliché, but it is really true; to be an entrepreneur is a state of mind, if you can “imagine” and are “willing” to “communicate” about your “thoughts” then you are half way there.

Q6: Do you mentor men and women on entrepreneurship?

A6: Yes, I am currently mentoring at UCSF’s business course “From Idea to IPO”. I help physicians, post docs and other individuals to invoke their creativity and show them a process so that they can create a sound “plan” for their business idea.

Q7: Is it essential for an entrepreneur to have an MBA or can an individual achieve a high level of success through a combination of other attributes?

A7: I do not believe having an MBA is necessary, but the process of getting a MBA is very helpful. For some people, an MBA is a ticket to a better job or position and that can be a door opener to gain other skills that otherwise would not be accessible.

Q8: Are the requirements for today’s entrepreneurs different than 10 years ago?

A8: I believe there are more reasons to be an entrepreneur now than 10 years ago. In the past the end point of entrepreneurship was mostly focused on the financial reward. Even though finance is still part of the equation, the social aspect of entrepreneurship is now the driving force. The issues are very different than a decade ago and they touch everyone not just regionally but globally.

Q9: Apart from a strong knowledge base about the business an entrepreneur is pursuing, what other general abilities should they be able to bring to the table?

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