Yesterday my friend Mike Marian over at Synapp wrote a post entitled "You might not be an entrepreneur if."
I agree with many of Mike's points. There is one however that I believe is 100% wrong.
Before I go on I have to tell you that I have never referred to myself as an entrepreneur. Many years ago I had a conversation with Elan Amir, currently Chief Product Officer at Prosper Marketplace, that went something like this.
Elan: "What are you? A sales guy, a marketing guy, or a technology guy?"
Lance: " I'm a business guy."
I still am. So while others might define me as an entrepreneur and society somewhat glorifies the title these days, I don't really refer to myself as an entrepreneur. I am a business guy.
With that out of the way here is where Mike is 100% wrong.
I have never met a great entrepreneur that did it for the money. Every successful entrepreneur I have met has either had money or did not care if they had any money. Don’t misunderstand me; I love money. I think it's great. Exceptional entrepreneurs aren't driven by money. Money is a byproduct of the actions they take, not what drives them."
Here are a few local entrepreneurs that I have met and from my perspective did it for the money. John Imlay, Cam Lanier, Tom Noonan, Said Mohammadioun, Garry Betty, Jay Chaudhry, Tripp Rackley, John Baumstark, Reggie Bradford, Wain Kellum. All about the money. I don't know Jeff Arnold but he seems money motivated from afar. You think that David Cummings is doing the whole Atlanta Tech Village thing out of the kindess of his heart? You are not looking close enough.
Spreading the reach a little farther to the most successful technology entrepreneurs of our time I would argue that Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Jeff Bezos are all about the money. Even Zuckerberg, who always claims that it is not about the money, is in the process of pocketing a $1 billion of his Facebook shares. Larry Page and Sergey Brin started off not caring about the money but that changed along the way. Steve Jobs seemed to not care about the money. But then again there was that backdated options scandal at Apple.
Last night I was watching Shark Tank with my kids. Kevin O'Leary, a guy that sold his company for $3.8 billion, unabashedly exclaimed "I'm all about the money."
So are many, many exceptional entrepreneurs.