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Passion Gives You The Eye Of The Tiger

Famous investor and successful entrepreneru, Peter Thiel, recently was covered on TechCrunch saying that the best predictor of a startups success is the salary that he/she decides to pay themselves.  You could make the case that how hungry the CEO is creates an engagement and focus on the enterprise
versus someone who is paying themselves a hefty salary.  I agree somewhat with Thiel's point. But, isn't this really an operating tactic that stems from passion?  Passion around your company's idea is really what drives success.  It drives innovation.  It is what makes you get up in the morning.  You want to do something great. As part of that, I would argue the CEO of this kind of endeavor will most likely be hungry to preserve cash and focus on powering the business versus themselves.

What about the CEO that has tasted success but is still hungry?  Some of my recent meetings that I have had with some very well-known and successful entrepreneurs made me think about this.  Some of these gentleman were the eponymous heroes and/or brainchilds of some big companies.  Some are still fighiting and still starting up new and interesting ventures.  I think the key with these types of CEOs is that they feel that they have to be as successful as their last endeavor.  It matters to them.  I sometimes get visions of Rocky Balboa hitting raw meat training for the big fight against Apollo Creed (btw, a cool ESPN interview with Sly can be found here).  The key element in these discussions has been passion.  Passion around the idea, passion around creating a big idea and big business. 


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