The Workish Guide to Preneurs

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Contrary to what you might read in BizBizToday, the notion of behaving like a start-up while working at a large organization is nothing new. Using classic tenets like Fail Fast and Name Your Company Google, Entrepreneurs spawned Intrapreneurs (enterprise innovators) after 3M developed adhesive yellow stickers for the world’s grocery lists.

And as global brands designate labs-esque environments for industry disruption, varying types of these “Preneurs” are quickly emerging. It’s no longer enough to be an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, and if you’re in the business of innovating at work, focused descriptors are critical when describing your methodology and point of view. Any of these sound familiar?


You’ve heard the phrase “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” While chasing profitable pursuits, the Ultrapreneur is actually more like ultra marathoner. The Ultrapreneur skips catered lunches from Pumpernickels and instead chugs GU Roctane Enduro Gels to prevent (literally) hitting the wall. The Ultrapreneur builds water stations between programming sprints, mirrors pace-setting co-workers during email response power sessions, and clutches a Mylar insulated blanket after shock-filled beta tests.


Patterned on a theory of strength in numbers, the Staffapreneur takes human capital surplus to the extreme. Instead of streamlining workflow, the Staffapreneur creates new line-ups to execute small mandates, such as the Department of Capabilities One-Pagers and the Division for Bathroom Key Oversight and Distribution. A true champion of surplus, the Staffapreneur avoids budgets, email, and above all, temporary personnel.


Wherever Jamapreneurs go, sparks follow. Like a band meandering through extended songs you’ve never heard, the Jamapreneur moves in any direction at any time, so long as it’s part of the jam. Exempt from meeting room calendaring etiquette, the Jamapreneur poaches the nearest table and chairs, gets comfy, and starts jamming. And instead of launching collaborative digital tools, the Jamapreneur attends huddles wearing portable A-frame whiteboards to facilitate idea capture, concept extensions, and of course, more jam.


Think your decisions take too long? The Polopreneur can be found approving landing page URL’s at a snail’s pace while stalking fallow bucks in the Scottish Highlands. With untested apps financed through hereditary revenues from the Crown (and professional headshots on paper money), the Polopreneur is no stranger to pomp and circumstance: project announcements are paraded through the IT department with horse carriages, trumpets, and flag-waving dignitaries from 3rd party distributors.