Let’s All Change the Word Entrepreneur To Empresario

On Monday my friend Robert Jones of Penpoint Group posted 5 reasons we need a new word for entrepreneurs. They were:

  1. It’s French
  2. It’s ridiculously hard to type
  3. It’s not Twitter friendly
  4. It’s been thoroughly bastardized. (mompreneur, solopreneur, and intrapreneur, etc.)
  5. It’s begging for a lawsuit. (from Entrepreneur Magazine)

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The first four are enough for me. I’m ignoring that fifth point because I write for Entrepreneur.com and Entrepreneur Press published my last two books. I like the people there.

So we need a new name for entrepreneur.

Robert suggested venturist on Monday. I commented that it wasn’t catchy enough. Then he suggested venturer in his next post, yesterday, called Kicking Off the Antipreneur Movement. He adds:

I would argue for a term that’s as broad and inclusive as possible. Language adoption relies on usage, and you don’t gain users by excluding people. The best term is one that encompasses all the different varieties of those we currently call ‘entrepreneurs’ — founders and buyers, tinkerers and turnaround artists, profit seekers and social visionaries.
With all those criteria in mind, I wonder if ‘venturer’ might be the term we’re looking for.

And that’s why I like empresario. It’s Spanish, from empresa, which means company. And we’re all getting very familiar with lots of Spanish words that become common in American English. And empresario is easy and fun to say, easy to spell, and, in my opinion, kind of cool.

But it won’t work unless everybody does it. Robert suggested we start using the hashtag #venturer on Twitter instead of #entrepreneur. I think #empresario is even better. What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Let’s All Change the Word Entrepreneur To Empresario

  1. Thanks for taking up this cause, Tim. I’ve been saying “empresario” all day, and I have to admit it sounds, well, impressive. I love the weight of the word and the way it rolls off the tongue. It’s also less precious-sounding than “entrepreneur,” and it has a built-in user base, which would certainly help with adoption.

    As a practical matter, I think spelling could be a concern at the outset. (“Does it start with an I or an E? Does it have one S or two?”)

    Then there’s the open source issue. I know it’s not top of mind for you, but I’d hate to go to all the trouble of campaigning for a new word, only to have it co-opted and copyrighted by someone. We know from experience that the courts will uphold a trademark on foreign words like “entrepreneur.” My hunch is that it’s harder to trademark an English word being used in its dictionary sense. But I could be wrong about that. Maybe we should get a lawyer to weigh in.

    At any rate, it’s an interesting discussion and a worthy cause, and I hope others will weigh in. It’s not every day we have a chance to rewrite the dictionary.

  2. I agree with you on #1 – 4 but I’m wondering if entrepreneurs should lodge a class action suit against Entrepreneur magazine? 😀

    As for empresario – hmmmm, its kinda hard to pronounce and equally as difficult to spell as entrepreneur. Course, I’ve got nothing to contribute to a new name — at this time.

    1. Jackie, at you have to give me that I’m honest about it: I like the people at Entrepreneur Magazine, and furthermore they publish my work, so I don’t want to promote an anti-Entrepreneur Magazine movement. So I’m abstaining on that one, thinking that the other four reasons are good enough. It makes me wonder, though, whether magazines like Portland, Eugene (two of my local favorites) or New York, or New Yorker, have the same problem. I wonder if New Yorker ever sued New York? This is making me curious. Did Playboy object to Playgirl (or did they own it, maybe?)

      Because maybe most of us are guilty of the same thing. If somebody tries to name a software company Palo Alto something, I’m going to fight it, because it confuses people with my company, Palo Alto Software. And that doesn’t make me bad, or at least I don’t think so. Hmmmmmmm

  3. Umm… Tim, Someone already did: http://www.paloaltonetworks.com/
    Isn’t that close enough?
    (Btw, if you do sue them, and win, I’ll let you know where to send the finder’s fee to 😉 )

    But I have to agree @Jackie Nagel on this, emprasario is just as bad as entreparneur (sic). A simple to spell, easy to pronounce word is needed, I have no problem with “venturist” (but “venturer” is pretty hard to say properly without sounding foolish).

    But yes, I agree overall, a better word is needed – so thanks!

    1. @AviD, ha, I wondered if somebody would do that search when I made that comment; might be a fringe benefit. There’s just another example of how happy I am that I’m not running the company anymore, just blogging. 🙂 Thanks for the addition.

  4. The 5th point is I’m sure tongue in cheek, since you can’t sue people using a word for conversation. I’m not sure empresario (I had to think twice how to spell that) solves the core problems. If Spain’s economy crumbles, does that make it a good association compared to the French? It is much harder to bastardize than venturist though. I could see that taking on many distorted forms. Plus, although not the intent, venturist tends to invoke images of the financial side of entrepreneurism, at least to me. I certainly prefer emprasario over venturist.

    How about just “people who start businesses”?

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