Newsweek’s Silicon Valley correspondent Brad Stone in conversation with successful entrepreneurs Vani Kola of Nth Orbit, Amnon Landan of Mercury Interactive, and Sergio Magistri of InVision Technologies.
Magistri: It means to find a strategy, to stay true to your strategy, and to bring in the necessary people and resources to execute. Once in a while, it takes a bunch of bright ideasbut more than anything it takes good people working together.
Landan: Being an entrepreneur is a state of mind, it’s an approach. It has nothing to do with size. First and foremost, it’s about innovation, whether it’s innovation of technologies, innovation of business models, or innovation of go-to-market approaches. It has to do, believe it or not, with a long-term approach. True entrepreneurs are not there for the quick kill. New and innovative approaches take time to mature, and the true entrepreneur is willing to stick to his guns for an extended period. Many people associate being an entrepreneur with being there for the quick hit, and it’s absolutely wrong. True entrepreneurs are really doing this because they want to accomplish something. They want to play, they want to win, they want to distinguish themselves from other people.
Kola: I think an entrepreneur is someone who is willing to disrupt and question and challenge the existing. That could be a new technology, a new business model, or an approach. But it is to question the status quo and the standard, and being able to see through that and connect the data points in a way that’s not obvious or clear to most people. In general, when entrepreneurs try to do the disruptive stuff, more people expect that to fail than to win. You don’t do this as a popularity contest or because you have a cheering squad that says ‘This is going to happen.’ You have to have the conviction and the commitment to see it through.