I met with a senior executive at a top 5 bank last week and he said something that has stuck with me all week. When I asked him why he was interested in pursuing entrepreneurial activities after a nearly 20 year career at one firm, he replied, "I've decided the world is divided between attackers and defenders. Over the last few years, I've grown tired of being a defender. I want to be an attacker again."
This observation struck me because I heard it echoed by a senior executive at a top 5 media company who said nearly the exact same thing. "Over the last 5 years, it's been clear that my job has turned into being a defender. I want to be an attacker, instead."
There's something very profound about these statements. First, it shows that the disruptive impact of the Internet and the Digital Age is still cascading throughout our economy. The transformative power of technology is no longer merely impacting the narrow software industry, it is impacting huge swaths of our global GDP. Second, there still remains unlocked, unrealized entrepreneurial energy embedded in our big companies.
When mainstream senior executives are itching to abandon safe jobs for more challenging, dynamic environments, good things are bound to happen. Ask yourself: in your industry, are you an attacker or a defender? And what will happen when thousands more talented people decide it's more fun, and rewarding, to be the former?