With all due respect to Malcolm Gladwell, who’s latest article in The New Yorker explores the nature of entrepreneurship, a lot of factors go into making a successful entrepreneur, not just the conservative vs. risk-taking approach that he contends.
In fact, I was mulling over the nature of entrepreneurship over the weekend as I reported on TopTenReviews (TTR), an Ogden, Utah-based operator of product review websites. You can read my full story about the company raising an additional $1.5 million in funding on the Reuters website.
In reporting about the work of CEO and founder Jerry Ropelato and President Stan Bassett, I heard from investors Mark Solon, managing partner of Highway 12 Ventures, and Bo Peabody, managing general partner of Village Ventures. To date, the two firms have invested $7 million in the company.
The VCs both praised the TTR execs for their calmness and for being great team players. Yes, I know, they aren’t likely to badmouth their portfolio company execs, but read what Solon said to me and judge for yourself.
“They kind of remind me of the way Joe Montana ran the two-minute drill. They’re cool, calm and collected,” said Solon, a TTR board member. “Remember that story about Joe Montana in the Super Bowl saying, ‘Hey, isn’t that John Candy,’ while in the huddle on their last drive in the Super Bowl? That’s Jerry and Stan, very cool customers.
“Another thing that I admire about them is their willingness to experiment. They don’t think they have all the answers. TopTenReviews business model could be considered formulaic, but there is many ways to skin that cat and it can be complicated. Jerry and Stan do a tremendous job of making sure that they look at a new category that they’re about to launch from many different angles, experiment with multiple landing pages so that they can optimize the opportunity. They’re very result-driven,” Solon said.
So take that, Gladwell.
By the way, you can read Connie’s excellent post on the latest Gladwell thesis, not to mention a bunch of reader comments, by clicking here.