Written By: Kudakwashe Foya
Entrepreneurship can be traced back to 20000 years ago, in New Guinea around 17000 BCE. Back then locals would exchange obsidians for other needed goods like food and skin. This type of entrepreneurship in simple hunter-gatherer communities did not require many specializations. Which was a clear reflection of their economical system. However, this changed with the growing complexities of economical models that required more specialization. The Agrarian Revolution which ushered in the Industrial Revolution saw the popularization of statements like “ jack of all trades master of none,” to allow for easy assimilation within the economical models.
The industrial revolution saw the entrepreneurial space being dominated by specialization. Which in turn created a hierarchy of skills and positions within the specialization ladder. At the top of the chain business owners, bankers and factory owners or as Marx puts it the bourgeoisie and at the bottom, the factory workers who were referred to as the proletariat. This clear separation led to the development of a rift in the entrepreneurial space as to who can own a business. Most of the proletariat were alienated from the entrepreneurial spaces. Juxtapose this scenario to the entrepreneurial spaces in the digital age. The digital age has seen the rise and success of hybrid business models. Examples of such models include the rise of social enterprises, traditional and old models were replaced or merged to meet the modern entrepreneurial space. Consequently, this saw a change in the skills needed to start and sustain a business. With hybrid business models, there was a need for hybrid skills to correspond. Therefore nowadays an early start-up entrepreneur can have so many roles from graphic designing, speaking being the CEO of the startup and even handling financial decisions. This has been true of so many big companies formulated post-2008. This coupled up w h the advent of line learning platforms, an early startup entrepreneur can easily learn new skills to utilize competently in their startups.
The primary advantage of hybrid skills in the development of early startups is it cuts costs. It is a cost-effective incubation phase for the startup to reach maturity without experiencing extreme losses which could damage its integrity. Moreover, it will give the entrepreneur a better insight into the different facets of the business and even induce a better understanding of the market and the needs of the consumer. Imagine this a CEO, who is familiar with the UX and UI aspects of a product. The decisions they make will not be oblivious to the needs of the customer. However, in the long run, and ultimate scaling of a business, the idea of utilizing hybrid skills to fill out all the roles of a company will not be sustainable in effectively running a scaled business. Therefore, merging the new phenomena of
hybrid skills and specialization will prove to be much more sustainable. Ultimately, in the story of an early start-up, the utility of hybrid skills cannot be denied.