Recognition - The Khuram Dhanani Blog
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Khuram Dhanani

Recognition

Some entrepreneurs are especially motivated by the need for recognition or even fame, making this another powerful clicking point and source of entrepreneurial achievement. 

Long before he entered politics, Donald Trump was perhaps the best-known real estate magnate in the country. This was due to his penchant for marketing himself with the same intensity that he marketed his buildings and properties. Multiple hotels, casinos, and other projects prominently bore his name, as did such diverse items as steaks, books, and two different board games. 

The vast majority of successful real estate and construction entrepreneurs are virtually unknown to the general public, and while many of these individuals are incredibly successful at what they do, their primary motivation as entrepreneurs is not public recognition. 

When considering where this deep-seated emotional need for recognition arises, the answer becomes complicated and varies widely by individual. A common reason is attributed to emotional denigration or even abuse in childhood. Parents or other authority figures may have repeatedly condemned the person as worthless, promising they would never amount to anything. Victims of such treatment often grow up with the need to prove the abuser wrong by overachieving. Becoming a prominent entrepreneur is one way of meeting this goal.

William Randolph Hearst is another example of an American entrepreneur who seemed determined to attain celebrity, fame, and admiration. Born to a wealthy mining magnate, Hearst was flamboyant from an early age and often appeared to seek popularity no matter the cost. He was even expelled from Harvard for large-scale debacles which included hosting massive beer parties, playing practical jokes on professors, and many other antics that made him popular among students and infamous with university officials.

Hearst continued to court fame and notoriety into his adult years. After his father put him in charge of the San Francisco Examiner newspaper, he filled it with sensational content and soon made it the most popular paper in the city. Hearst went on to buy many more big-city newspapers, eventually owning more than two dozen. While most readers had no idea who owned or published their favorite papers, Hearst emblazoned the ones he owned with his name prominently displayed on the masthead.

Hearst’s attempts to gain fame and notoriety went far beyond the world of publishing. He also tried his hand at politics, serving two terms as a U.S. Congressman. He later ran unsuccessfully for President, Governor of New York State, and Mayor of New York City. A number of his biographers have suggested that these campaigns were more about gaining fame and respect than from a desire to serve the public.

By the 1920s Hearst had become as famous for his extravagant lifestyle as he was for his newspapers. He built Hearst Castle, an opulent estate beside the Pacific Coast where he threw lavish parties for celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. 

Most successful entrepreneurs, even those who become billionaires, do not yearn to become pop culture celebrities. For others, however, a deep emotional longing for fame, public approval, and celebrity develop into a desire they can satisfy with the fortunes they make through entrepreneurial activity. 

Seeking fame for self-approval is often disrespected, but there is no reason to be ashamed if this is a driving force for you. It’s just as valid and helpful as any of the other clicking points. 

Khuram Dhanani
Khuram Dhanani
Khuram Dhanani
kd@softstonecapital.com