Entrepreneurial Qualities

What the greatest technology investors say about Entrepreneurial Qualities

ENTREPRENEURIAL QUALITIES POSTS (30 posts)

The following is a list of the post titles by author under this topic.  Scroll further down this page to find the actual blog post by your selected author.   Author’s posts appear in reverse alphabetical order.  For example, following this list, Fred Wilson’s posts appear towards the beginning of the blog page, and Marc Andreessen’s  post appears towards the end of the blog page.  

MARC ANDREESSEN (1 post)

Marc Andreessen:  The Most Important Attribute for Entrepreneurs is Courage

JEFFREY BUSSGANG (1 post)

Jeffrey Bussgang: What Drives Entrepreneurs

JASON CALACANIS  (1 post)

Jason Calacanis: Probably 95% of Successful Businesses Pivot

JEFF CLAVIER  (1 post)

Jeff Clavier:  Jeff Clavier: What I Look at When Investing

DAVID COHEN (3 posts)

David Cohen:  David Cohen Wants to Immediately Invest in These Entrepreneurs

David Cohen:  Filters to Exclude Potential  Investments

David Cohen: Many Successful People are Deliberate about Randomness

RON CONWAY (1 post)

Ron Conway:  What Ron Conway Looks For in a Deal

BRAD FELD (1 post)

Brad Feld:  Brad Feld's Investment Criteria

BILL GROSS   (2 posts) 

Bill Gross: Balance Entrepreneur's Strengths

Bill Gross:  The Great Thing about Failure

ROB HAYES  (1 post)

Rob Hayes:  Successful Entrepreneurs’ Common Trait

REID HOFFMAN & BEN CASNOCHA (4 posts)

Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha:  Curiosity

Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha:  Entrepreneurial Hustle: Get Resourceful or Die

Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha:  What Sets Great Entrepreneurs Apart

Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha:  Achieve Big Success:  Be Contrarian and Right

MIKE MAPLES JR.  (1 post)

Mike Maples Jr.:  Mike Maples Jr.: What I Look For

HOWARD MORGAN (1 post)

Howard Morgan:  How to Get a Second Meeting with Howard Morgan

BASIL PETERS  (1 post)

Basil Peters:  Basil Peters: What He Looks for in Successful Entrepreneurs

MARK SUSTER   (2 posts)

Mark Suster:  Successful Entrepreneurs have these Qualities

Mark Suster:  Great Entrepreneurs Pivot

PETER THIEL (3 posts)

Peter Thiel:  Answers to Contrarian Questions  Look into the Future

Peter Thiel:  A New Company’s Most Important Strength

Peter Thiel:  The Single Most Powerful Pattern in Successful People

DAVID TISCH   (1 post)

David Tisch:  Startups are Constantly Failing

ANDY WEISSMAN   (1 post)

Andy Weissman:  Overnight Successes Never Are

FRED WILSON  (4 posts)

Fred Wilson:  Fred Wilson Admires Creating Simplicity

Fred Wilson:  Wear your Failures as a Badge of Honor

Fred Wilson:   What Great Entrepreneurs Have

Fred Wilson:   Entrepreneurs Have to Have the Hustle

 

 

What Great Entrepreneurs Have

Fred Wilson venture capitalist and Co-Founder Union Square Ventures

“He [David Karp, Tumblr CEO] has that thing that Ev Williams has, that Jack Dorsey has, that Mark Zuckerberg has, and lots of great entrepreneurs have:  he just knows how to build a great product and he has instincts about it, he knows what to do and knows what not to do.”

This Week in Startups, Fred Wilson, episode # 523, Mar 10, 2015 @ approx. 24 min.  

http://thisweekinstartups.com/fred-wilson-launch-festival/

Fred Wilson Admires Creating Simplicity

Fred Wilson venture capitalist and Co-Founder Union Square Ventures

Wilson discussed a quality he admires in entrepreneur Joshua Schachter. Schachter founded Delicious a social bookmarking web service out of a server in his closet while working at Morgan Stanley.  “I was immediately struck by the way Joshua looked for lightweight simple ways to do things. He told me that reduction was the key to getting something right.

Delicious was so simple to use. It didn't do much. But what it did do, it did well.”

Wilson admired that quality of creating simplicity.  Fred Wilson, Feature Friday: People Tagging Apr 6 2012;  http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/04/feature-friday-people-tagging.html

Overnight Successes Never Are

Andy Weissman venture capitalist and Partner  Union Square Ventures 

“These things often times look like overnight successes but they never are. About a year ago I was at a conference and Dennis Crowley the founder of Foursquare was at the conference and Foursquare at the time was maybe two years old.  And someone [] [asked] Dennis [] how does it feel to be [] an overnight success [] [with] millions of users [].  And Dennis said actually [he’s] been working on it for 15 years, and 13 of those were failures before [he] got to the last 2 years, so it hasn’t been an overnight success.”  Andy Weissman , #startupstories: Failure @ .10 min into video, Published on Sep 10, 2012 ; NewYorkTech Meetup #Startup stories , http://nytm.org/resources/startupstories;  

Failure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS3o2Pv355U

Startups are Constantly Failing

David Tisch angel investor, Managing Partner The Box Group and Co-Founder TechStars NYC

 “You are constantly failing as a startup.   It’s how quickly you rebound from that failure that might lead to success.” David Tisch, #startupstories: Failure @ 1.3  min into video, Published on Sep 10, 2012 ; NewYorkTech Meetup #Startup stories , http://nytm.org/resources/startupstories;  

Failure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS3o2Pv355U  

The Single Most Powerful Pattern in Successful People

Peter Thiel General Partner Founders Fund and former entrepreneur

“[] this book [Zero to One] offers no formula for success. [] because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative.  Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.”   Peter Thiel, Zero to One, copyright 2014, pg 2-3

Answers to Contrarian Questions Look into the Future

Peter Thiel General Partner Founders Fund and former entrepreneur

“Our contrarian question- What important  truth do very few people agree with you on? – is difficult to answer directly.  It may be easier to start with a preliminary: what does everybody agree on? [] If you can identify a delusional popular belief, you can find what lies hidden behind it: the contrarian truth.” 

“The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.”

“The business version of our contrarian question is: what valuable company is nobody building?  This question is harder than it looks, because your company could create a lot of value without becoming very valuable itself.  Creating value is not enough – you also need to capture some of the value you create.” 

“Most answers to the contrarian question are different ways of seeing the present; good answers are as close as we can come to looking into the future.”  Peter Thiel, Zero to One, copyright 2014, pg 12, 22, 23, 6

A New Company’s Most Important Strength

Peter Thiel General Partner Founders Fund and former entrepreneur

“A new company’s most important strength is new thinking []. This book is about the questions you must ask and answer to succeed in the business of doing new things [].  Because that is what a startup has to do: question received ideas and rethink business from scratch.”   Peter Thiel, Zero to One, copyright 2014, pg 10-11

Great Entrepreneurs Pivot

Mark Suster Partner Upfront Ventures and former entrepreneur

 “Great entrepreneurs pivot.  Evan Williams [] and David Sacks are great entrepreneurs.”  Williams was a co-founder of Odeo a predecessor to Twitter.  Sacks originally founded Geni.com which beget Yammer, a business social network. Yammer was purchased by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion. Mark Suster What Makes an Entrepreneur (3/11) – Ability to Pivot, December 17, 2009; http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/17/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-310-ability-to-pivot/

Successful Entrepreneurs have these Qualities

Mark Suster Partner Upfront Ventures and former entrepreneur

 Suster believes successful entrepreneurs have these qualities:  “1. tenacity, the most important [].  2. street smarts []” including “[] know[ing] [] how customers buy and how to excite them [], [an ability to] spot opportunities that aren’t being met and [] design products to meet these needs. []”. “3. ability to pivot []” which “[] might just be a totally different business model.[]”  “4. resiliency  []. 5. inspiration [].  6. perspiration [].  7. willingness to accept risk []. 8. attention to detail [].  9.  competitiveness []. 10. decisiveness []. 11. domain experience []. 12. integrity  []”.    Mark Suster, Entrepreneur DNA, December 15, 2009;http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/entrepreneur-dna/ What Makes an Entrepreneur (2/11) – Street Smarts December 16, 2009

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/16/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-210-street-smarts/

What Makes an Entrepreneur (3/11) – Ability to Pivot December 17, 2009

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/17/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-310-ability-to-pivot/

Basil Peters: What He Looks for in Successful Entrepreneurs

Basil Peters angel investor and Principal Strategic Exits Corporation

 “[Peters doesn’t] require [teams to have prior business experience].  I don’t think it’s a good filter, because if you look at the track record of entrepreneurs, there’s very little correlation between whether it’s their first venture or their third or fourth or fifth and success. Very often the greatest success is from the entrepreneur’s first company.

[][Peters doesn’t] usually invest in single entrepreneurs. [Most] of the time, it’s a team that is successful. [] If there’s only one person, there are a lot more failure[s].”

Peters discusses what he looks for in successful entrepreneurs.  “Some of the characteristics are that the successful entrepreneurs are always incredibly driven, [] very bright, [] absolutely honest, and [] good leaders. They often have personality defects [and] usually have a significant amount of self-doubt.  All entrepreneurs have self-doubt, but the good ones have more self-doubt than the mediocre ones, interestingly.”  Basil Peters,  Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Basil Peters, CEO and Fund Manager, Fundamental Technologies II, July 2010;   http://www.sramanamitra.com/2010/07/05/seed-capital-from-angel-investors-basil-peters-ceo-and-fund-manager-fundamental-technologies-ii

How to Get a Second Meeting with Howard Morgan

Howard Morgan Partner First Round Capital

 When asked “How [an entrepreneur gets] from first meeting to second meeting [with him]”, Morgan said, “Personal qualities are the first filter:  integrity, intelligence, and not too dogmatic.  Then [he considers] if it is a big enough market. [] [Morgan said the most common mistake in the] first pitch is to say something that is not credible [like] wildly overstating a market size.   Chemistry with the entrepreneur is also important considering you will be working together for the next few years.”   Howard Morgan, Want to Know How First Round Capital was Started? by Mark Suster, April 20, 2011; http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/04/20/want-to-know-how-first-round-capital-was-started/

Mike Maples Jr.: What I Look For

Mike Maples Jr. Founding Partner Floodgate and former entrepreneur

“We just love the companies where the entrepreneurs have a really authentic, passionate understanding of the area and they want to just do something massive.

[] [The] first thing that we look for [in people] is authenticity.[] [The] term serial entrepreneur is not always a positive virtue. We like people who say to us, This is the only company I ever want to do.

The second thing that we look for is completeness in the team. Experience and completeness aren’t necessarily the same thing.  A complete team has a combination of business and technical vision and business and technical execution. If you have all four of those bases covered, the probability that you will be stopped by something where you had a blind spot goes down [].

[The] third thing that we look for is how experienced is the team. [] [Those] first two things matter to us more. Execution can be hired; vision can’t. So, it’s that authentic voice and a team that meshes well together in a special way . . . that’s the stuff you can’t hire and fix later. If you get it right when the company starts, then you have a better chance, in our view.”  Mike Maples, Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Mike Maples, Founder And Managing Partner, Floodgate, July, 2010; http://www.sramanamitra.com/2010/07/13/seed-capital-from-angel-investors-mike-maples-founder-and-managing-partner-floodgate

Achieve Big Success: Be Contrarian and Right

Reid Hoffman angel investor, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman LinkedIn and Partner Greylock & Ben Casnocha entrepreneur

 “Warren Buffett [the acclaimed investor] has a mantra:  “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”  It’s a competitive edge for him. [] In public market investing, as in many things, you achieve big success when you’re both contrarian and right.”    Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha; The Start-up of You book,  pg 183

What Sets Great Entrepreneurs Apart

Reid Hoffman angel investor, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman LinkedIn and Partner Greylock & Ben Casnocha entrepreneur

“[] what sets the great entrepreneurs apart from the pack is not a high tolerance for risk per se, but their ability to judiciously assess and manage it.  They strategically pursue only those opportunities with enough upside to justify the possible downside.  It’s one of the key skills that makes entrepreneurs successful.

 [] “[I]f you are not genuinely pained by the risk involved in your strategic choices, it’s not much of a strategy,” says Reed Hastings [CEO] of Netflix.”  Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, The Start-up of You book, pg 176 

Entrepreneurial Hustle: Get Resourceful or Die

Reid Hoffman angel investor, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman LinkedIn and Partner Greylock & Ben Casnocha entrepreneur

“[Entrepreneurs’] ability to [hustle] well can comprise a competitive advantage.  Entrepreneurs, forever operating with constraints, are the kings and queens of hustle []”. You can’t study in a textbook the “[] entrepreneurial opportunity-generating strategy of [] hustle.”

The founders of Airbnb a short-term property rental marketplace hustled to raise cash by selling cereal, while determining how to scale the business.  “[Investors were impressed with their resourcefulness, enabling them] to raise outside financing, including a Series A investment [Hoffman led at Greylock].”

When Internet radio service Pandora’s business model was threatened with federally-mandated unsustainable cost increases, it organized a lobbying campaign in Congress to buy time to renegotiate royalty payments.  Despite almost 10 years of “lawsuits, unfavorable legislation and [bankruptcy threat], [] resilience [] kept them [alive].” Pandora eventually raised additional Greylock-led financing and completed an IPO in 2011. 

“Both [Airbnb and Pandora] were [] at one point operating with severe resource constraints, [lacking] money,[] know-how, [] connections, [] employees, advisors [and] partners.[] When you have no resources, you create them. [] Caterina Fake the co- founder of Flickr says that the “less money you have, the fewer people and resources you have, the more creative you have to become”.  Get resourceful or die.”  Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha; The Start-up of You book (pg 162-167)

Curiosity

Reid Hoffman angel investor, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman LinkedIn and Partner Greylock & Ben Casnocha entrepreneur

“There’s one [] mind-set that must be “on” [] to power all the other opportunity-seeking behaviors: curiosity.  Entrepreneurs brim with curiosity: they see opportunity where others see problems, because while others simply complain, entrepreneurs ask Why?  Why the heck doesn’t this annoying product/service work as well as it should?  Is there a better way? And can I make money off it? [] For entrepreneurs this mix translates into supreme alertness for new business opportunities”.   Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha, The Start-up of You (book), pg 147  

Successful Entrepreneurs’ Common Trait

Rob Hayes Partner First Round Capital

Hayes says that a common trait for entrepreneurs to succeed is that “they stay the course even through the rough times. [] They tend to be very optimistic and very confident but also they’re not afraid to talk about what they don’t know.[] [They’re] resourceful.”    Rob Hayes This Week in Start Ups  #249, @ 53-57 min. Published Apr 18, 2012; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEPqy0ad0BU