Do we really think Mark Zuckerberg cares one bit what others think of him or that he somehow thrives off the praise of journalists, critics, politicians or peers? He is known for being short with his time and for not suffering fools. He has a higher-level purpose above money alone.
Real entrepreneurs are driven by the need to fulfil a market demand, make consumers happy and most importantly chase a higher-level purpose beyond profits. The drive is already there built within them. External factors are not really at play - although of course politicians would like to think they play an important role in "rallying the troops". My view is that the best thing they can do is relieve taxation on start-up companies and then just get out of the way.
It is regularly commented that Britain doesn't have any success stories comparable with the US in the internet world. I draw attention to Betfair - an enormous success story, born out of London. Betfair floated on the Stock Exchange for around £1bn. Certainly not something to be sniffed at and a good example of what British entrepreneurs are capable of.
Boris' argument in the Telegraph is that there is a different state of mind towards wealth-creation in Britain. One point I have to agree on is that envy and resentment are more prevalent this side of the pond, whereas success is more likely celebrated stateside. Perhaps that's why Betfair is so often overlooked; the success was not celebrated highly enough on a public stage. In fact, as I recall there was a generally negative viewpoint taken by journalists at the time that these guys were "scooping up £300m" each as though they had merely struck lucky and won the lottery! Nothing could be farther from the truth and I think this is exactly the point that Boris was making.
However, I also think that this is something that true entrepreneurs can get over pretty quickly and it is unlikely to have a significant effect. In order to become wealthy, entrepreneurs know that they have to be "ok" with creating their own wealth and be able to brush off simple-mindedness or envy. I've never heard of an entrepreneur who hasn't pushed as hard as they can for fear of not being praised enough or being resented by others, even at a deep subconscious level.
True entrepreneurs know that building great companies is helping the economy, creating jobs and providing a service that is useful to the public. They don't necessarily seek or want further praise; they already know their existence is what provides the backbone of society.Suggest a correction