What makes Oklahoma entrepreneurs different?

My grandfather, in overalls, with his siblings, in front of one of the family’s pumpjacks near Wilson, Oklahoma around 1920. Looks like a good day on the prairie!

My grandfather, in overalls, with his siblings, in front of one of the family’s pumpjacks near Wilson, Oklahoma around 1920. Looks like a good day on the prairie!

As we announce LaunchOklahoma, I’ve spent some time looking backwards. I’ve been looking backwards at what we’ve accomplished so far with VentureSpur, and what we plan to accomplish with LaunchOklahoma. I’ve also been thinking about my own entrepreneurial history and the history of my family in Oklahoma.

As a fourth-generation Oklahoman, whose grandparents, great uncles, and great-grandparents included a turn-of-the-century Oklahoma oilfield wildcatter, a Norman furniture maker and store owner, an Oklahoma aviation pioneer, and various other rascals, Oklahoma entrepreneurs have a special place in my heart.

There are great entrepreneurs all over the nation and the world. So, what makes Oklahoma entrepreneurs unique? I decided to make a list. Here are my top 5:

 

1. We’re gritty.

We get businesses built in the face of what are, sometimes, overwhelming odds. Sometimes those odds involve raising capital, recruiting talent or business challenges that others say cannot be overcome. Oklahoma entrepreneurs are uncommonly persistent and resilient in the face of challenges, and it makes all the difference.

 

2. We’re hands-on.

We’ve got red dirt under our fingernails. Oklahomans won’t wait for somebody else to do it for them. Among entrepreneurs, owner/operators dominate here, which means that skills and productivity are highly prized. There are certainly some financial entrepreneurs, who mainly buy and sell companies, but the majority of Oklahoma entrepreneurs are hands-on, Made-in-Oklahoma maker-doers, who have a vision, build something, and then hustle to get it to market.

 

3. We’re thrifty.

While I know this isn’t always a virtue, if you know how to stretch a dollar, you can get amazing things done that other people just can’t. I’ve seen Oklahoma entrepreneurs build highly competitive technologies and assets for $50,000 that they were told would cost $1Million. Yep. Oklahomans know how to stretch a dollar.

 

4. We’re casual and approachable.

Oklahoma entrepreneurs don’t stand on ceremony. Heck, we don’t even keep our boots on half the time. We’re comfortable, friendly, down-to-earth and focused on the job and not on appearances. I like that.

 

5. We’re generous.

In my experience, Oklahoma entrepreneurs are always looking out for both other entrepreneurs and for the disadvantaged in our community. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs all over the world and you won’t find a more generous entrepreneur corps anywhere.

 

So, what do you think makes Oklahoma entrepreneurs unique? Feel free to share your own list with us on Twitter!

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This blog is dedicated to providing advice, tools and encouragement from one entrepreneur to another. I want to keep this practical and accessible for the new entrepreneur while also providing enough sophistication and depth to prove useful to the successful serial entrepreneur. My target rests somewhere between the garage and the board room, where the work gets done and the hockey stick emerges.

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