Serial entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis, is a character I’d like to have lunch with. He talks straight and straight talk is what we need more of in this politically correct, “we’re all winners” culture.
Writing about the entrepreneur’s innate fortitude in BusinessWeek, he says:
You see, there are two types of entrepreneurs in this world: real ones and the folks who play entrepreneurs for some portion of their lives. From a distance, most folks can’t tell who’s who. It’s only when the tide goes out that you know who’s naked, to paraphrase Warren Buffett.
The differences between the two types of entrepreneurs become clear when the fan and the manure meet. The faux entrepreneurs run for cover rather than dealing with the storm. They go back to their plush, somewhat mindless jobs as vice-presidents at mega-companies, while the real entrepreneurs suit up and clean up the mess.
Calacanis also shares the personal toll a company in decline can have on its founder.
Silicon Alley Insider went from $11.6 million in revenue one year to $600,000 the next. From 70 full-time people to 12. From leasing a 20,000-square-foot office to subletting 10 desks at a public relations firm.
Personally, I went from being on top of the world, with appearances on Charlie Rose, 60 Minutes, CNN, and Fox News, to being savaged in the press as a fraud who got lucky and whom no one would ever hear from again.
Calacanis anticipates rough seas for today’s captains of new industry. Hence, his words to the wise.