Networking (Part III)
Networking is a Man’s Game (Part III of IV):
The Theory of Prior Knowledge
The Theory of Prior Knowledge (the Austrian School of Thought) states that by diversifying your knowledge into different topics, you can see greater opportunity for new business. Not all entrepreneurs can see the same opportunities when a problem presents itself, which is what allows certain individuals to be more successful than others. Each person’s knowledge base is unique and depending on their prior knowledge and experience, they will each have a different advantage.
“Prior Knowledge and the Discovery of Entrepreneurial Opportunities” by Scott Shane looks at how entrepreneurs with varied backgrounds saw how the use of 3D printing could be best applied. Results depended on the entrepreneur’s prior experience in different fields and their knowledge relating to their areas of expertise. Shane’s article displays how our prior experiences greatly influence our current opportunities and how we make decisions. Specifically for entrepreneurs, prior knowledge is stressed to be a large factor for being successful in business. By expanding our knowledge base, we can better understand the market and what it needs and therefore have a better competitive advantage.
Sahil Raina’s Harvard Business Review article discusses the challenges that female founders face in funding their companies. One point that Raina makes is that “tech startups imply a science and engineering focus, two fields that are known to be less popular with women.” Since women historically do not have an extensive background in science and engineering, they may be less likely to become founders of such startups and therefore less likely to be there to claim their piece of those markets. It will be interesting to see as more women seek to expand their knowledge base to include science and technologies that may be applied to different entrepreneurial opportunities, if these proportions will change.