On Redefining Intellectual Entrepreneurship

The intellectual entrepreneur is one who develops, researches, discovers, or learns in order to fulfill objectives beyond the attainment of credentials, approval of peers, or furthering of career goals in a manner or process primarily outside the bounds of extant educational institutions, systems, and pedagogies.

Based on my current, independent study in entrepreneurship theory and practice, I’ve taken issue with the lack of a formal definition of what, exactly, an entrepreneur is. Is “the function of entrepreneurs is to reform or revolutionize the pattern of production,” as Joseph Shumpeter suggested in 1942? Perhaps we should shift our locus of attention from individual “entrepreneurs” to the entrepreneurial process, thus conceptualizing and defining entrepreneurship as a successful act of organizational founding. (see Carroll and Khessina 2005) Perhaps we should do as eighteenth century economists Richard Cantillon and Jean-Baptiste Say did and emphasize the literal translation of entrepreneur as those who “undertake” risks in starting a business or enterprise.

There are dozens of other possible, applicable definitions of what entrepreneurs do, how they do it, and the results of their doings. So, in the spirit of clarifying increasingly varied definitions of entrepreneurship qua entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship as modified by a preceding adjective (i.e. Social Entrepreneurship or Serial Entrepreneurship) I propose a new, radical redefinition of what’s currently come to be known as “Intellectual” or “Academic Entrepreneurship”.

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On Realism and Graduate School Applications

I applied and was denied admission to the University of Chicago’s Masters Program in Social Sciences summarily and without review of my application. This was, to a certain extent, expected. I am a third-year. I spoke with one of my professors, a well-known political scientist at the U of C, about my denial from the masters program. His advice:

“Here is the reason why you were denied: you posed an existential threat to the established system. Now, I know how tempting it is to make the argument that rules were made to be broken, that there are exceptions to expectations, but I implore you to evaluate the implications of your actions had you been successful. You would have turned over an entire institution, one predicated on a sequential acquisition of credentials. You don’t have to sell me on the fact that some undergraduates are more intelligent than graduate students; I’m trying, here, to sell you on the structural realist argument that how smart you think you are, or whatever intelligence you might exhibit–none of that matters. Okay? Do you see what I’m getting at here? Your actions, their potential outcomes, are defined through systemic constraints–you could’ve been omniscient, for Chris’sake, but because you don’t meet their parameters for admission–acquisiton of a bachelor’s being one of them–they won’t accept you. My best recommendation to you: game the system. Expose it, too. The College needs some shaking up.”

The Declaration of Student Involvement in the United Nations Academic Impact

Click the link to view & download the newly-revised Declaration of Student Involvement in UNAI/ASPIRE (in .PDF format).

In an earlier post, I publicized a Declaration student leaders of the UNAI initiative wrote. Not to take credit for the thoughts of other people, it was I who did the bulk of the writing. I did not, however, come up with the bulk of the ideas… that credit goes to my teammates Patrick Ip, Blaire Byg, Gladys Banfor, May Yeung, Vivien Sin, Ryan Bober, Jason Zavaleta, and Richard Pichardo–the latter of whom decided to cut out halfway through the drafting session but nonetheless was instrumental in fostering a boisterous bonhomie in the prim Manhattan coffee shop where said drafting session was hosted.

The Declaration went through a re-edit to incorporate the United Nations’s new program, ASPIRE. I do not know what the acronym stands for. It is the student-participation part of the United Nations Academic Impact.  Since its original drafting a month ago, it’s taken on its first amendment, a response to the general will among ASPIRE leadership to meet on an annual basis to foster further collaboration.

Thiel’s 20-20 Vision: Stop Out of College

Here is the first paragraph of a post I wrote for Flyover Geeks, the remainder of which can be found here.

The average cost of a college education at a private institution is just short of $37,000 per year, according to an NPR survey last October. One important question students ask themselves when entering is, “What will I get out of this?” It’s a question I’m asking myself right now, and although I’m still uncertain as to its answer, I am confident in answering that question’s converse: “What will I put into my college experience?”

On Life Imitating Fiction Imitating, Reifying the Abstract Transactions of Life

Below are three paragraphs that I had squirreled away in the Orphans folder. I like the idea so much I’m currently contacting professors in the music department at UChicago to see if I can do this as an independent study to render fiction real… And to fulfill the ridiculous A-M-D Core requirement.


Consider his most ambitious piece, which he called Progress. What started as a giant wall of sound decayed from cacophony to one oscillating eighth-note. Up two here, down three there only to go up again. The pitch steadily increased, as did volume. Then dropped in single instruments from other sections, and eventually the cacophony returned. It was ordered, though. Or at least order could be argued for, if not always perceived.

All instruments started on middle C, and radiated out from there. Din and randomness gave way to contrapuntal harmonic oscillations, slightly dissonant, as all components moved in unison—sheep herded by the dog of news just breaking. Order decayed into chaos once again as irrational behavior righted itself.

He took the movement of the thirty stocks in the Dow Jones and set their motions to music, the pitch increasing with upward and downward price movement, volume corresponding to volume. Anthropomorphized characters of companies reflected themselves in the instruments playing their parts. Alcoa was a lumbering, doleful French horn. It was genius. Critics fawned over him, and investors contacted him, looking for a hunter of harmonics within chaos. One programmed an algorithm with his help. They called it Orpheus, whose namesake’s playing staved off death itself.