Who are the startup and entrepreneur influencers?


In the “popular” or “mainstream” side of business you find a number of regular articles or blog posts that tout startup founders that are the 30 under 30 and up and comers to watch. But the Kauffman.org data tells a different story and shows the age demographics (versus gender, industry, race, education, nativity) of startup founders to be roughly split in the 23-27% range of the workforce in 2013 (20-34, 35-44, 45-54, and 55-64 age groups).

The world tells us to watch the up and comers and what they might accomplish in the future, but God says to look to Him as He is the source of wealth.

Deut 8:17-18 “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. [emphasis added]”

Being in the media’s limelight and getting noticed is one thing, but there are others that do good, even great, work that go unsung in the world’s media.

We’ve all heard about Steve Jobs (the strategist and “showman”) and Steve Wozniak (the geek) who started Apple, the visible side of computers. The other side are the greybeards (middle-aged men with not quite black or white beards) made famous by the Condescending Unix Computer User in the Dilbert comic strip. Greybeards are mostly renowned computer scientists who have had a sweeping influence among computer geeks. Dennis Ritchie was one such greybeard. He is the father of the C programing language and, combined with the talents of Ken Thompson of Bell Labs, they used C to created the UNIX operating system (see this simplified genealogy of UNIX operating systems).

“The tools that Dennis built — and their direct descendants — run pretty much everything today,” said Brian Kernighan, a computer scientist at Princeton University who worked with Mr. Ritchie at Bell Labs (NYTimes).

While Jobs had the visual impact, Ritchie’s mostly invisible impact had a far greater affect to the marketplace, despite getting much less fame. For a Christian, the invisible impact can be the same.

A snowstorm in January 1850 cut short 16-year-old Charles Spurgeon’s travel, and he entered a small church where the main preacher was absent because of the same snowstorm. But, a church member accepted a challenge and gave a 10-minute sermon on the text, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. (Isa 45:22).” Spurgeon became a believer that day. A significant spiritual legacy was started from a small change, all because a snowstorm detoured a young teenager into hearing a lay person’s simple, short sermon. No one would guess how mighty the legacy results were from that lay person’s sermon. Estimates are that in his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people. One’s life does not have to be big in order to go big, take action with where you are with what you have. Have faith, even small actions have a major impacts with others.

Whether you’re a Christian starting a new business, a pastor starting a new church, a person starting a new Bible study, the process is still the same.

Start having an impact!

TheHighCalling.org Christian Blog Network

You’ll never know the impact and influence you have on others and their lives. Just as in the parable of the talent, the one lazy slave buried his talent because he was timid and unenterprising and was chastised for it. Jesus tells you and startup entrepreneurs to dig up, brush off, and put to work any and all of your talents. When you do, ensure that you  don’t “grieve” and “quench” the Holy Spirit in your life, but just as important, don’t bury or mock your neighbor’s God-given talents and spiritual gift and “grieve” and “quench” the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

You never know the next major positive influence and impact you or someone else will have on someone else’s life. It’s all about community.

Watch for my forthcoming book How Would Jesus Do Business? that will come out soon. Check back often to find the launch date.

This is a part of a linkup for the High Calling, “Rediscovering Community.” There, you’ll find similar stories where writers reflect on the power of community in the workplace, in society, and in our world.  You can add your voice here.


  1. Kevin

    I’m always interested to observe self proclaimed leaders who have no followers. Well, they’re really just going for a walk if no one is following. The same goes for influence. It takes one. Then another. And soon if the message is pure and resonates, it will multiply and influence will multiply. Love the Spurgeon illustration. And I love my grandmother, who maybe led no other person to Jesus except for me in her life.

    Thank you for participating in the High Calling Community linkup! Your voice is a welcome one.

    • LOL. 100%, David, especially when it comes to “leaders” or “thought leader” that is marketed by some. However, sometimes new ideas by “leaders” are a bit crazy. “The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.” Mark Twain. Since we follow God, I’m a thought follower. 😀

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