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This blog represents my own views, not those of my employer, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

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The Leader of the Freemium World

I didn't write most of the following and the original text had nothing to do with entrepreneurship...

"All entrepreneurs are unsuited to the job, and therefore all entrepreneurs fail in certain crucial aspects of the job...  And all are mis-assessed while in their job, for reasons that typically depend more on luck and historical accident than on factors within their control...

Entrepreneurs fail because not to fail would require, in the age of modern communications and global responsibilities, a range of native talents and learned skills no real person has ever possessed. These include “smarts” in the normal sense—the analytical ability to cope with the stream of short- and long-term decisions that come at an entrepreneur nonstop... An entreprenuer needs rhetorical clarity and eloquence, so that he can explain to his or her team and other stakeholders, including customers, the intent behind his actions and—at least as important—so that everyone on that team understands company priorities clearly enough that the entrepreneur does not have to wade into every little product decision to enforce his or her preferences.

An entrepreneur needs empathy and emotional intelligence, so that he can prevail in dealings with his board and in face-to-face negotiations with business development partners--and particularly investors for new rounds, who otherwise will go away saying that this entrepreneur is “weak” and that the company's leadership role is suspect.  The entrepreneur needs to be confident but not arrogant; open-minded but not a weather vane; resolute but still adaptable; historically minded but highly alert to the present; visionary but practical; personally disciplined but not a prig or martinet. He or she should be physically fit, disease-resistant, and capable of being fully alert at a moment’s notice when the phone rings at 3 a.m.—yet also able to sleep each night, despite unremitting tension and without chemical aids.

Ideally the leader of a startup would be self-aware enough that, in the center of a tech community that treats them as emperor-god, they could still recognize their own defects and try to offset them...

Yet the test for entrepreneurs is not where they begin but how fast they learn and where they end up. Not even Marc Andreessen was Marc Andreessen at the start... Whether the entrepreneur is learning fast enough to have a chance to apply these skills in a second round—well, we’ll reconvene in the next funding cycle."

 

Most of this passage came from a must read article in the Atlantic called "Obama Explained."  It talks about the nature of a president and what they must do to accomplish success.  As I read it, I thought of how similar the role sounded to the role of an entrepreneur, so I swapped out "president" for "entrepreneur" and added a few other key words here and there.

My favorite line is that it "is not where they begin but how fast they learn and where they end up."


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