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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Insights: Reflections from 101 of Yale's Most Successful Entrepreneurs by Chris LoPresti

The 101 featured contributors reveal lessons learned the hard way to help you avoid common pitfalls and allow you to lead your company toward more streamlined success. This unique library of knowledge is available to reference as often as you need. 

Description:

What if you could sit with the founders of successful companies and discover the secrets to their success? 

Through INSIGHTS, Chris LoPresti has gathered 101 world-class mentors to share their invaluable experiences for the benefit of every entrepreneur. 

INSIGHTS grants you access to some of Yale’s leading entrepreneurs and the key learnings they’ve collected on their own entrepreneurial journeys. From founders of Fortune 500 companies such as FedEx, to the next generation of entrepreneurs like Thiel Fellows, to early investors in Apple, Cisco, Facebook, and other billion dollar startups, INSIGHTS is a collection of the best advice offered by a diverse group of leaders and innovators. 

The 101 featured contributors reveal lessons learned the hard way to help you avoid common pitfalls and allow you to lead your company toward more streamlined success. This unique library of knowledge is available to reference as often as you need. 

Thinking about starting your own company? Trying to improve your organization? INSIGHTS provides a wealth of information to guide you along your entrepreneurial journey.

From the author: This book was created to bring together a community of people to share their knowledge and pay forward the help they've received throughout their individual careers. All 101 entrepreneurs volunteered their advice and experiences in this book, and at many other times in their lives, they have offered their insights for free. They all share a common desire to support entrepreneurs of every type. 

The proceeds from INSIGHTS will go to ELIS Inc., a registered 501c3 organization created by some of the entrepreneurs in this book. The purpose of the nonprofit is to help future entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators gain access to resources--both mentors and money. 

Your contribution, by either making a direct donation or by buying this book, will help foster the next great organizations and businesses.

EXCERPT

STARTING A BUSINESS IS RISKY. ON ANY GIVEN DAY, any number of things represents mortal threats to a young company. I was told this time and time again while I was starting my first business. But what I wasn’t told was that while any individual venture is extremely risky, choosing entrepreneurship as a career path is comparatively safe. As an entrepreneur, you’re making a bet on yourself.

Starting a business is risky. This is indisputable. The vast majority of businesses fail, and some take their owners down with them. But many of those entrepreneurs bounce back to do bigger and better 
things, buoyed by the knowledge and experience of a failed venture. That experience not only enables new entrepreneurial successes, but tends to be the kind of broad-based, life-altering understanding that opens up all kinds of unexpected doors personally and professionally. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to leverage the experience of a failed venture to pay the bills by consulting in that vertical with larger companies. For example, a friend who was forced to shut down his business in the social media space leveraged the expertise he’d gained building his business to land consulting gigs he never would’ve been able to get before. There’s a reason you don’t see failed entrepreneurs panhandling in the street despite the high startup failure rate. Starting a business is risky. In the short term, we’re all in grave danger from our own stupid decisions. But over time, with the benefits of experience and wisdom, our biggest threat is counterparty risk, or the grave danger of others’ stupid decisions. And if the past decade has proven anything—from Enron to Lehman—it’s that the stupidity and short-sightedness of others can be the most devastating threat of all. Large companies are complex organisms, and while the jeopardies they face are less obvious than those of startups, they exist nonetheless. From partner disputes blowing up law firms to department-wide layoffs to large-scale fraud and accounting malfeasance, the forty-year career and path to the gold watch isn’t what it used to be.

Starting a business is risky. But the risk is clear and known from the start. And the risk is dependent on our own ability to make good decisions, plan appropriately, and find help when it’s needed. At the end of the day, it’s on us.
About the author:
Chris LoPresti is the Founder of TouchPoints, a consumer data technology company that helps brands connect with their community. LoPresti is also the founder and chairman of ELIS Inc., a nonprofit focused on promoting STEM education and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs. In addition to his work with next-gen doers at ELIS Inc., LoPresti is a member of the Thousand Network, a coach at The Future Project, a member of the NationSwell Council, and a proud Eagle Scout. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.


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