- Champion – one that does battle for another’s rights or honor
- Cheerleader – one that calls for and directs organized cheering
- (Cheer – a shout of applause or encouragement)
If you’ve spent time with me in real life or online, it likely comes as no surprise that I think Wisconsin is a good place for biotech – or perhaps to better capture the way I think of it, developing valuable products through science. I’m also a fan of supporting entrepreneurs as they create new businesses. Every so often I run into an interesting phenomenon that I’ll call the champion vs. cheerleader effect – the difference between encouragement and pushing.
Cheerleader – A cheerleader is a wonderful thing to have – someone who is rooting for your success. Encouragement can be a powerful force in the face of setbacks.
Champion – The title champion conveys a sense that what is being fought for is deserved – that the capabilities of community are the focus. A champion should understand strengths and weaknesses.
The danger of too much cheerleading and not enough championing is two-fold. The first is the classic problem of overpromising and under-delivering. Cheering for Wisconsin biotech as a player on the same level as places such as Massachusetts or California is unlikely to rally anyone but the most ardent fans. The second issue relates to self-improvement. Focusing on a rah-rah message can drown out the message of what needs improvement.
Overall, cheerleading serves a very important function – especially in building a business or supporting a community – but progress requires the critical eye of a champion.