Why Hitchhiking?

For me, the parallels between hitchhiking and entrepreneurship are stark. Both involve an adaptable yet independent journey that is accompanied by freedom, risk, decision making, consequences and rewards. Progress relies on seizing the idea, initiative, effort, a bit of luck and the ability to make the most of encounters and relationships.

And whilst different people will measure their own success in different ways, the spectre of failure is never far away from anyone.

Having hitchhiked from the age of 17 to the age of 30 (I got my first car at 24!) and created and run businesses since 1989, experience has helped to uncover the similarities between the subjects. I’ve also discovered over time that like many other entrepreneurs I am a strong visual learner.

Therefore, when I am asked to talk about entrepreneurship and business to students, teachers and/or budding entrepreneurs, it is very useful to link issues to hitchhiking because the subject is such a powerful and appropriate visual metaphor.

As such, in writing the articles within this blog I have sought to include a hitchhiking example wherever possible in order to make the main issue within the text easy to digest and understand.

For the record, I don’t think you should ‘teach’ entrepreneurship. For me, the best way to help people learn about this subject is to allow them to go on a personal journey. When help is required you just need to be there to offer the necessary thought, guidance and questions.

By the way, if you wondered why you see so few hitchhikers on the roads these days, have a listen to this Freakonomics Podcast on the subject.

Peter Harrington

November 2011