If You Could Choose One Entrepreneur to Join Your Startup Who Would it Be? : Under30CEO If You Could Choose One Entrepreneur to Join Your Startup Who Would it Be? : Under30CEO
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If You Could Choose One Entrepreneur to Join Your Startup Who Would it Be?

| September 23, 2013 | 20 Comments


Over the past several months, I’ve been asking entrepreneurs through Under30CEO’s interview series and interviews for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), “If you could pick one entrepreneur in the world to join your team at (company), who would it be and why?”  The results included a variety of interesting entrepreneurs and achievers including a Shark from ABC’s Shark Tank, a dead industrial genius, multi-billionaires, a fictional movie character, young entrepreneurial go-getters, and even a couple of retired professional athletes.

In a July 30th post, 10 Nerds Who Are Rich as Hell, super successful nerds were featured along with their accomplishments and worth.  In the comment section, Murray McKercher asked the question, “And which nerd would you invite into your startup?”  That question inspired me to compile a post of all of the answers I’ve received from young entrepreneurs and seek out additional thoughts on who entrepreneurs would want on their team.

Entrepreneurs’ Picks for the 1 Entrepreneur They Would Want on Their Team:

Brent Beshore – Founder & CEO of adventur.es: Aaron Levie from Box.  Intelligent, funny, intellectually honest, and one of the best Twitter philosophers.

Chuck Gordon – Co-Founder & CEO of Sparefoot:  Elon Musk. He seems to be the awesomest entrepreneur.  He would be a huge asset to any team.

Cory Levy – Co-Founder & COO of One: Ray Kurzweil or Jeff Hawkins.

Craig Cordina – Co-Founder & CEO of Cordina Cocktails: Mark Cuban. I know he’s a little arrogant and cocky, but having him on your side would be fun.  He understands branding, and would be a cool one to have on our side.

David Blake – Co-Founder & CEO of Degreed: Well-known: Mark Zuckerberg. Lesser-known: Jon Bischke.

David Tisch – Investor, Co-Founder of TechStars NYC, BoxGroup: Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky. “They just win.”

Derek Weber – Founder of goBRANDgo!: Brad Feld. I love the perspective he brings to all the things he does.  He’s just got a great perspective on life and business.

Elizabeth Presson – Working Remote.ly:  Jack Dorsey represents the ultimate entrepreneur to me, and it’s all because of his CEO as Chief Editor talk. I’ve never felt more inspired to get the things that didn’t matter off of my to-do list and focus on the important things– to edit. Whenever I’m feeling like there’s too much going on to focus, I watch that video and re-analyze. Now, it seems like everyone is talking about the ROI of extreme focus, but the first to reach me with that message was Jack.

Erin Walter – Co-Founder & CEO of nuphorIQ: Jack Stack, Ari Weinzweig, and Paul Spiegelman.  “Any of those three would be a perfect addition.”

Hannah Davis – Founder & CEO of BANGS Shoes: Steve Jobs.  He was the master of simplifying a task at hand.

Jeffry Harrison – Co-Founder of RoverTown: Richard Branson. “Has a great vision and likes to have fun.”

Kathryn Minshew – Founder and CEO of The Muse: The women of the Gilt Groupe, Tyra Banks, and “who wouldn’t want to sit down with Steve Jobs?” That’s a hard question for me to answer because there are so many people I think I could learn a lot from.”

Kelsey Meyer – Co-Founder & President of Influence & Co.: Hands down Tony Hsieh. What he’s done with the Vegas Downtown Project is unbelievable to me and I would just love to pick his brain.

Lili Balfour – Founder & CEO of Atelier Advisors: Richard Branson.  Atelier uses the phrase ‘rethink investment banking,’ and is trying to bring a new vision to finance and investment banking – similar to how Branson’s Virgin Airlines has been able to revolutionize the airline industry.

Mickey Hernandez – Co-Founder & CEO of Imagoo: Kevin Systrom.  He revolutionized the world with Instagram, and I feel that he would be the biggest asset to our app.

Nik Bonaddio – Founder & CEO of NumberFire: Mark Cuban for a variety of reasons.  He’s a Pittsburgh guy, sports guy, and a monster – his track record speaks for itself.  “Mark Cuban if you’re listening, please email me at Nik@Numberfire.com.”

Ryan Rundle – Co-Founder of NEON Concierge: Alec Baldwin…from Glengarry Glen Ross.  We’re knee deep in sales right now and his no-nonsense approach pumps the team up.  “Coffee is for closers.”

Sachin Kamdar – Co-Founder & CEO of Parse.ly: Henry Ford, He was able to bring what was a pie in the sky product (cars), and come up with a working execution and changed how people lived.

Stacey Ferreira – Co-Founder of mySocialCloud: Elon Musk. He’s successfully gone into three of the toughest industries (Energy, Space and Transportation), and created innovative and useful solutions to problems in each of them. I’d love to be able to learn from him and see how he thinks about things.

Tim Huntley – An Entrepreneurial Life:  Jeff Bezos at Amazon.  He continues to take chances, even today. Interesting to see what he does next.

Tom Walter – Co-Founder & CEO of Tasty Catering: Jack Stack.  Humble leader who gives uncommon common wisdom.

Trevor Owens – Founder & CEO of Lean Startup Machine: “Abraham Lincoln because he’s the best President of the United States and he’s also a wrestler.”

Zoe Damacela – Founder & CEO of Zoe Damacela Apparel: Steve Mariotti. “He has been an incredible role model and impact since I was a teenager.”

Who would you pick?

What entrepreneur (past or present) would you choose to work with on your startup and why?

Image Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

About the Author: Michael Luchies

Michael Luchies is an entrepreneur and passionate supporter of everything entrepreneurship. Michael is Co-Founder of PitchJam and is National Growth and Programs Manager for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO). He has been covering entrepreneurship over the past 5 years and has been published on Under30CEO, Yahoo!, Yahoo! News, ThinkEntrepreneurship, PitchingGreatness, and other websites and publications. On Twitter @MichaelLuchies.

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Category: Entrepreneurship

  • Saulo Marti

    Bezos is at the top of my list.
    Followed by Jack Dorsey, Brin, Page, Zuck. Guys like Ben Silbermann would also be very welcome.
    Pierre Omidyar would be on the list as well.

  • Michael Luchies

    Nice list. Bezos is hard to ignore. Thanks for commenting!

  • Saulo Marti

    If I could place a non-entrepreneur on the list (or at least an executive who isn´t a founder) it would be Marisa Mayer hands down. I love her take on business and user interaction. After her, probably Ballmer who would be awesome, even if only to have a beer with.

  • Katie Sowa

    Jeff Hoffman – always inspirational. And Richard Branson – has built an empire and his private island doesn’t hurt either!

  • Michael Luchies

    Really good suggestions Katie! Jeff Hoffman is definitely underrated.

  • cesar romero

    @michaelluchies:disqus I would add Noah Kagan because he is NOT about “build it and they will come” but he is all about “Ask them and they will tell you what to build”

    Testing, Validating, executing :)

  • Michael Luchies

    Thanks Cesar!

    That is great advice as well. Too many young entrepreneurs, myself included, think about building the best possible product without building the best product that customers actually want/need and will use.

  • Saulo Marti

    I agree that user feed back is definitely the most important regardless of your strategy but I don’t think it’s one or the other because to me they are both equally important and done in different moments. For example, you must build it, have them come, and then ask them what they think. A lot of the time it’s just not worth reading into consumer reaction before you actually have something rolling. Think of how FB had that atrocious reaction to it’s new design, the new photo system and etc.. eventualy people got around to it and now love it. It kind of depends on your product and what the plausible and actual feedback from your customers would be. How many would’ve said that they really needed a service like Twitter? And so on… Regardless, Noah Kagan is very underrated and would be pretty cool as well.

  • Ryan Rundle

    I would take that a step further and say “Show them and they will tell you if they want it.” Customers won’t innovate for you, they’ll just say they want a slightly better version of something that exists. You can show them screenshots or prototypes so you don’t spend a ton of resources building something no one wants.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Love this. Great engagement here with some awesome entrepreneurs.

    I’d pick Richard Branson, I think he and I would have some crazy ideas together for Under30Experiences. All work, no play of course hahaha.

  • Tyson Hartnett

    As an entreprenur, I have to think outside the box here and say Sheryl Sandberg. She is interesting, and could provide some valuable feedback and visions.
    but, if we’re working with this list, I would have to go with zuck zuck

  • http://www.atelieradvisors.com/ Lili Balfour

    Thanks for including me. Rethink everything!

  • Saulo Marti

    Obviously the meetings would have to be done 10 thousand ft above ground, at least, in a Virgin plane. Right?

  • Tom Egelhoff

    Jeff Riggs Bozeman, MT

  • http://www.transpiral.org/ Yasmine Khater

    As an entrepreneur, I would be like my mother, I know its lame, but she really just gets what she needs to gets to done, and inspires me always to work hard and hussle!

  • http://www.corylevy.com cordor91

    Thanks for including me! Great article!

  • MichaelEFear

    Love this article Michael! Brilliant idea.

    I’d have to go with Jack Dorsey. Mainly because it seems like everything that guy does, turns to gold. Plus I think he’s in an interesting spot: Square and Twitter. What if they were combined to pay with our Twitter accounts?

    That’s a guy I want on my team!

  • http://jglimited.tumblr.com/ Jason P.

    I’d have to say Elon Musk AND Richard Branson. They are both daring dreamers who seem to execute while maintaining that enthusiastic hunger for adventure.

  • Ciara

    I would pick Alan Sugar because he is my role model and although he can be quite brash with his opinions he is honest, straight forward and his strengths lie in negotiation and sales

  • Caleb Harris