There is something unsettling about Ruef’s data. We think of entrepreneurs, after all, as individuals. If someone has a brilliant idea for a new company, we assume that they are inherently more creative than the rest of us. This is why we idolize people like Bill Gates and Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. It’s also why we invest in the meritocracy: We believe that we can identify talent in isolation. But Ruef’s analysis suggests that this focus on the singular misses the real story of entrepreneurship. Unless we take our social circle into account – that collection of weak ties and remote acquaintances who feed us unfamiliar facts - we’re not going to really understand the nature of achievement. Behind every successful entrepreneur is a vast network.
Be sure to read the rest of the article. It's reading things like this that makes me want to moonlight as a bartender.