The Best Entrepreneurs Are Hyper Competitive & Hate Losing

Posted on Jan 29, 2010 | 147 comments


ultimate fighterThis is part of my series on what makes an entrepreneur successful.  I originally posted it on VentureHacks, one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs.

I started the series talking about what I consider the most important attribute of an entrepreneur : Tenacity.  I then covered Street SmartsAbility to PivotResiliencyInspirationPerspirationWillingness to Take Risks and Detail Orientation.

The list is getting quite long.  Funnily enough I was at the Twiistup conference yesterday and I was chatting with an engineer whom I really like and he told me that he enjoyed reading this series but that now he wasn’t sure he was ready to see me because he wasn’t sure that he scored highly enough on all attributes.  So I thought I better set the record straight.  First, I personally am not super human – I hope I’ve never implied that.  I’m just a normal person with strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies – just like you.

Nobody can be super human all all fronts.  Mark Zuckerberg seems to be me to be one of the most talented young technology professionals of his generation and seems to have an amazing vision for technology and product.  He has a willingness and ability to both pivot & take risks in a way that is astonishing to me.  Yet I don’t find him to be personally inspirational nor have I heard that he is from those who have worked around him.  So I’m personally not looking for a 10/10 on every front.  You need to be extremely gifted on some fronts to be enormously successful as an entrepreneur – but still human.

OK. I had to say it.

9. Competitiveness - One attribute that I believe most VCs look for in entrepreneurs is competitiveness.  I know I do.  I like to work with people who hate to lose.  Anyone who has ever been around me when I’ve lost at anything I care about will tell you I’m not pleasant.  I’m not a poor loser at all.  It’s just that I stew on it.  I don’t recover easily.  I lose sleep.  If I have any angle of changing the outcome I will.  I replay things in my mind about why I lost and I try to correct my mistakes.  If you haven’t read my post on the topic it’s here –> why you need to embrace losing to learn.

I look for people who share this obsession about winning.  If you stumble on to a really good idea believe me it will get competitive really quickly.  It amazes me how quickly a modest success story gets replicated and any initial product / market advantages get narrowed.  You can’t accept simply ceding part of the market to someone else because it’s big.  You need to fight for every inch.  Every win.

The trait spills over from personal life to business and back again.  My wife finds it curious.  Family scrabble games are fun – but I still want to win.  We played against her parents and I was focused.  I wanted to take them down!  Poker night is social, but if I’m playing, it’s to take your money.   GuitarHero is seriously chilled out way to hang out with friends.  But even more so if my score is higher than yours.  I ran a marathon with my colleague in 2003 – I’m still bummed that he beat me even though he was clearly more athletic.  For me winning IS the fun.

I know that people who aren’t competitive always find competitive people slightly distasteful.  They feel that there’s something egalitarian about everybody getting a trophy.  They complain that trying to win at everything is in being over zealous and is unnecessary.  Maybe.  Anyway, I’m sure this will play out in the comments section – it won’t be the first time I’ve heard it.

It is what it is. But I want to work with people who thrive on winning.  I look for that fighting spirit in those that present to me. Entrepreneurs play to win and they take losing seriously.  Think Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have some sleepless nights about Twitter despite having more than 350 million users himself?  Think Yelp doesn’t wake up daily thinking about how to crush FourSquare?  Think Marc Benioff is content with being a billionaire?  I’m sure he seethes at any losses to Larry Ellison.

Steve Jobs is famously known for being obsessive about people not leaking Apple information prior to announcements (unless it’s intentional.)  It is rumored (and much debated) that Jobs dropped McGraw Hill (the book publisher) from any iPad announcements because their CEO went on CNBC the day before and talked about the iPad.  Certainly sounds plausible to me.  You don’t like leaks? Send a message and people will think twice next time.

leo the lipDon’t take it from me.  Take it from Leo “The Lip” – “nice guys finish last.”  Steve Jobs isn’t a “nice guy.”  Nor are Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Marc Benioff, Larry Ellison, Tom Siebel, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller or any number of people you’ll find who built empires.

I’m not looking for people to be mean and certainly not unethical.  Just people who play to win – every time.

Simple example. We were once looking at a very hot market segment (which I can’t name or the people I’m speaking about will be obvious).  We were considering funding one of the players in the category – call them Company A.  I knew the CEO of one of their competitors – Company B.  I called her to talk about her business and disclosed that I was talking to one of her competitors so that she didn’t feel compromised talking with me (we also disclosed to Company A that we were talking to multiply parties before reaching a decision).

Company B had already lined up a significant funding round ($20 million) from some of the most elite VCs on Sand Hill Road but hadn’t signed the term sheet.  She asked if she could fly the next day to meet with me and my partners.  I didn’t understand why she wanted to do this if she already had lined up such A-list investors but it was in a segment where GRP Partners is very strong so I it sort of made sense to me.  We rallied the troops to do a 6-8pm session the next day.  She brought her key team members and emphasized why their strategy was so much better than Company A and other players in the market.  It was very compelling.

In the end we decided not to invest in either company (retrospectively a good decision as the market is no longer “hot” and both companies have struggled).  I later reflected on why the CEO of Company B was so eager to meet my firm and at a moment’s notice was willing to fly her team to LA to take an evening meeting.  We’ve never discussed this but I’m convinced it was her competitive juices.  She couldn’t stand the thought of her main competitor locking us (or anybody else) up as an investor.  My gut says that she came 70% as a spoiler for Company A and 30% because GRP has a great reputation in this space.  I only say this because if you’re close to closing with A-list VCs – why rock the boat?  Closing funding of her own wasn’t enough – she wanted to affect the ability of her competitors to raise funding.

This competitive streak paid off.  We backed off our investment consideration because we were convinced that Company B was going to be a very fierce competitor (amongst other reasons).  Company A never raised their round.  6 months afterwards they laid off 75% of their staff and are existing on fumes to protect their IP to this day.  Brand name Silicon Valley firms had put in about $20 million into Company A.  Company B is struggling, too.  But they’re a viable business today and they have one less fierce competitor to contend with.

Another example. Everybody these days is fascinated by the “private sale” concept offered by companies like Gilt, Ruelala and HauteLook.

There are some great companies in this category but the initial category killer was a company called Vente Privee (which in French literally means private sale) from France.  From what I’m told the founders were already in the Schmatta (Jobber) business selling other people’s excess end-of-line inventory at bargain prices before there was an Internet angle.  There wasn’t the same end-of-life retail infrastructure that we have in the US (think TJ Maxx) so they had an early lead.  When the Internet part of their business took off there were a number of initial competitors.

Vente Privee already had market power.  They made it clear to suppliers that if they supplied these newly formed competitors then Vente Privee (by then a powerhouse) wouldn’t carry their products.  This was a bare knuckle industry.  It wasn’t good enough to win the largest market share – they wanted to crush their competitors.  Money was at stake.  Good competitors fight to win (within the boundaries of legal practices, of course).

Just ask Overture about Google (the “do no evil” company) and how they competed in international markets.  It wasn’t all smiles, hugs and let the best man win.  A lot was at stake and Google competed fiercely.  And won.

Whaddayouthink?

*** oh, and to close with some Leo Durocher quotes that are fun:

“As long as I’ve got a chance to beat you I’m going to take it.”

“Buy a steak for a player on another club after the game, but don’t even speak to him on the field. Get out there and beat them to death.”

“How you play the game is for college ball. When you’re playing for money, winning is the only thing that matters.”

“Show me a good loser in professional sports, and I’ll show you an idiot.”

“What are we out at the park for, except to win?”

  • RichardForster

    Hey Mark I wasn't calling you out at all….and in the sense you mentioned it, it was probably a good call!

  • http://www.fiftybyfifty.com/lifeoffarhan/ farhanlalji

    Mark, really enjoying the series. Agree with most of this, but I would disagree with the assertion that being nice and being competitive are polar opposites. I'm the same way when it comes to wanting to win – first christmas with my wife's family, we played charades, boys vs girls, we won, my wife threatened divorce, I still killed it.

    But you can be nice and be competitive, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. Friends close and all that…

    I believe that you have to be careful who you're not nice to, cause the guy you step on tomorrow, might take a name and come gunning for you later. I know it's happened with me, I have a list, and this year, as I leave the delayed life plan and start the entrepreneurial life, you better believe I'm coming after some of the people on my list :)

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks for the input. I knew it would be controversial to write but I still wanted people to hear what lengths people go to in order to win. I should say that I ended up working with Company B for nearly a month and almost did invest. It wasn't a total “spoiler” play but I do think that was in initial intent.

    I'd probably err on the side of saying it was “fair play” but I know it's a judgment call for everybody.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    For sure. Competitiveness and resiliency go hand in hand. Re: “no” I think that good entrepreneurs see it as a challenge. I must have pitched 100 VCs through 5 separate years of fund raising across 2 companies and only got about 16 “yes's,” which obviously means 84 “no's.” Not fun but sometimes what drove me more than anything was wanting to prove to those 84 people that they were wrong.

    BTW, aren't you on PST? It's the middle of the night!

  • jwaller

    Yeah, PST. But I HATE losing! ; ) Aren't you on PST too?

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Ha. Yes. I woke up at 2.30am and started thinking about the Founders Institute coming to LA. It chaps my hide that a NorCal group would be coming to LA to try and organize SoCal startups. I started thinking about how I had gotten behind in http://www.launchpad.la in 2010 and didn't want to get upstaged. Once I started thinking that the rest of the night was toast. See ya soon.

  • http://twitter.com/davidsmuts David Smuts

    Oh its absolutely true many have raised VC financing (and usually on very
    favourable terms)! And we all have heard their stories. I guess the point I
    was trying to make (albeit probably didn't do very well) is that having all
    the attributes is not a pre-requisite to obtaining VC funding and neither is
    VC funding always necessary if you possess all the attributes.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Fair points.

  • http://giffconstable.com giffc

    Going to bridge 3 posts here, which might not make any sense to some, but the point of your post is part of why I disagree with Roger Ehrenberg's conclusions against FRC's entrepreneur fund concept. Entrepreneurs want to WIN.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    I think it is cultural David. And a function of how what you do defines who you are.

    And generally I think Europeans have a more balanced view.

    For myself, as a mellow New Yorker, I'm hopeful that I can be driven without being to unbearable ;)

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Wow, most nested discussion ever! I'm sure we're all pretty aligned. I believe in high personal and business ethics. I think Lady B's moves were not out of bounds. Until a company is funded all is open. And all three of us: Mr. A, Lady B and GRP were all transparent that we were all talking (and they were both talking with other VCs).

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    No, you're point was right. Not competing for fear of losing is dumb. I was talking in the context of giving away money at poker, but even then it would be worth it (for small amounts!) to learn from a master.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's funny – thanks for the link. I grew up on NorCal and have lived in SoCal (including San Diego) for 11 years in total. I love both!

  • http://lmframework.com/blog/about David Semeria

    Hi Arnold. This post has been bugging me all morning. I can see what Marks' getting at: an intense obsession with the business which manifests itself in ultra-competitive behaviour. I buy the first bit, but not the second.

    I think “Lady B” could have spent her company's money and her team's time on more constructive things than flying into LA to try and screw up *one* competitors funding (if that was indeed her intention).

    You can be fully-focused and obsessed without being a dick head.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Most entrepreneurs ARE lunatics so that wouldn't be a bad thing. I disagree with Paul Graham (and most people) on the topic of how many co-founders to have. I talk about it all the time. Entrepreneurs are sooooo sensitive about every point of dilution from VCs but are happy to dilute by 66% before even starting to work with 2 other co-founders. I don't get it. I talk about it in this post –> http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/08/17/m

    BTW, I thought Paul was pretty weak at Twiistup. Maybe he was tired, but Eric Reis stole the show.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Without sounding like a consulting jargon machine, I would say that co-opitition is sensible. It's OK to be friends with the people at competitor and find ways to work with them (while also competing).

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Hi Mark

    Agreed. On alignment.

    Got to love Disqus for empowering these nested, tangential and very important discussions.

    How else could three guys–one in LA, one in NY, one in Milan follow through a nagging thought, in real time. It allows us to follow what interests us without Bogarting the flow of the post.

    In fact, the power of Disqus and the great value of your blog Mark (and it is a great one!) is that is provides a place for discussions to breed and bridge on themselves.

    If I haven't thanked you for adding leadership to this community, let me do so now.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I agree 100% – in fact I wrote it in the comment just above this one (to Gregory). In a post idiosyncrasies are hard. But I don't ever believe in being “mean” to people – life is too short. But I do believe in competing hard – as you say. I think there's a difference.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think Roger is wrong AND right – thank you for pointing out the link. He's wrong arguing against Josh. Diversification is what VCs do – why shouldn't entrepreneurs have a market to do this? FRC is leading the industry in coming up with innovative solutions like this. He is right that when a company starts to succeed and grow it is a great strategy to let founders take a little bit of cash off of the table.

    Thanks, again.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    And I think “Lady B” took the single most effective step she could have to increase her chances of success. Had Company A raised $20 million (their ask) or anything near it then she would have had one hell of a lot more competition on each customer pitch. By helping knock out funding she had much less distractions for the next 6 months. I actually think it was the single most effective competitive move. I know it's not pretty, but it is.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    David and Mark

    I'm between the both of you on this one.

    My first job and my first boss was Jack Tramiel @ Atari Corp. He was an Auschwitz survivor, founder of Commodore Computers who worked under the “Business is War” slogan. This individual was beyond relentless, brilliant and knew how to win. Consequently my first job was my first IPO.

    But I think times have changed and so has how we do business. A definition of competitive that equals a 'burn all bridges and take no prisoners' is not what I ascribe to and not who I would personally fund. Super focused and smartly relentless = super competitive today in my view.

    In fact, super focused and smart means that you know that there is no bridge you don't have to cross again and no person or company you may not have to be in a partnership with.

    So do I think standing up and say, “hey, we are the better choice because A,B,C is fine.” Yes I do.

    But I don't think that being focused and smart and competitive demands that you be a jerk. Cause honestly, no one likes a jerk and in today's world there is nowhere you can hide from these actions. They live with you.

    Smart folks don't create negative baggage to carry around.

  • http://sigma-hk.com Mark Westling

    It amazes me that some companies, including start-ups, don't know what their competition is up to and don't seem to care much about it, either. I see this as either stupidity, arrogance, or a lack of competitive spirit. I don't consider many start-ups to be stupid or arrogant so most likely it's the latter. My nightmare is pitching a potential customer and discovering that my product is clearly inferior to a competitor's — and I didn't even know it.

    Mark, how do you assess competitiveness? Personally, I'd ask what they know about their competition and what they're doing about it. Any other specific ideas?

  • http://lmframework.com/blog/about David Semeria

    Very well put Arnold, thanks for writing that.

  • http://lmframework.com/blog/about David Semeria

    All's fair in love and war, eh? From a military prospective, she was cutting off her enemy's supply line – a very effective move. Seen in that context, it makes sense.

    But you're right, it's not pretty.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Strategically doing what is right to win, is what we all do, ever day.

    Litigating against a misused trademark, buying the competitor to commoditize the market, locking down distribution to shut out the competitor, owning the keyword.

    But really, this doesn't make us Don Corleone sitting back and musing ” It's nothing personal, It's just business.”

  • http://lmframework.com/blog/about David Semeria

    But Don Vito got angry when he heard Santino went to war over his shooting. He believed wars were a distraction, and bad for business.

  • http://jayliew.com/ Jay Liew

    Hi Mark,

    We met at Twiistup the other day, I'm the guy you asked to meet up with Dimitry Shapiro and (.. ?), I didn't get to find them.

    It was a pleasure meeting you, and I'm a fan of your insightful blogs for entrepreneurs. This post actually hits the spot dead on in a situation I was right there at Twiistup. I was having a conversation with Paul Graham about his “single founder is bad” rule of thumb works very well for the majority of people – but not me. I've been looking hard for a cofounder, and just like fundraising, it's distracting – because it takes me away from running my business! So it's actually counter-productive (imho), and I am not interested in jumping hoops to get into an exclusive club, I am interested in building a successful company, that will make money and create jobs.

    There was an angel listening in that also said that “yes, you *NEED* a cofounder.” I understand the benefits of it, and it's not that I am against it (but that it is to the detriment of what is really important here). But there has been a lot of single successful founders (like Mint.com being the most recent I have heard), and whatever Aaron did, I can do too. I'm not afraid of hard work and I will slog it through and walk through hell for my startup. One of my favorite stories of all time of persistence and tenacity is the story of George Eastman (Kodak).

    I definitely hate losing (just like you I think about it *ALL* day & night long), and I *hate* it when people tell me I cannot do the things that I really REALLY want to do (which makes me want to prove them wrong even more). Doing a startup has been one of my entire life's goal, and when I am told that I should defer my plan until the stars and planets align, or that I can't do it – it makes me angry, I replay the words in my head, and it makes me want to prove them wrong so bad – because it's my life's goal and if I'll be damned if I don't die trying to make my dreams come true.

    My question is, how do you keep one foot firmly on the ground so that you know you're not crazy? We're talking about hating to lose, which is kinda related to being stubborn. I mean, I'm not going to grow wings on my back to take me to space; starting a startup much is easier ;) But I do think that as I work hard to make my vision a reality, and everybody tells me I am crazy – how do I stay firmly grounded that I am not genuinely a lunatic?

    Warmest regards,

    Jay Liew

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Yup, you are correct and the master Godfather interpreter David

    But there's a line (sometimes fine) between the tough move and war. Between grabbing the advantage and being a jerk.

    I think that is what Mark is saying. And I'm glad to leave this as grey for now.

    And the end of it all, I need to feel good about what I do. That's my final criteria.

  • http://twitter.com/piplzchoice Gregory Yankelovich

    There is a lot of talk about “ecology” and “partnerships” between startups. How does that work in this super-competitive environment, where today partner becomes fierce competitor tomorrow? I am asking about personal, emotional side of it. I can imagine instances where my intense desire to win can easily spook potential alliances.

  • http://lmframework.com/blog/about David Semeria

    Sure, there's no real divergence here – just different views on degree.

    We're all realists, we all know bad stuff goes on behind the scenes. At the end of the day, you set your own limits.

  • http://www.brekiri.com/blog/ Greg4

    Haha, there's another good example. The competitiveness theme must have been percolating while you were asleep. In that vein, you might like this “war of the Californias” bit: http://bit.ly/9Ejy5k.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Agree.

    It's been a pleasure discussing. I'm off to the gym.

  • http://www.startupboyo.com/ RichardForster

    Hey Mark I wasn't calling you out at all….and in the sense you mentioned it, it was probably a good call!

  • http://www.fiftybyfifty.com/lifeoffarhan/ farhanlalji

    Mark, really enjoying the series. Agree with most of this, but I would disagree with the assertion that being nice and being competitive are polar opposites. I'm the same way when it comes to wanting to win – first christmas with my wife's family, we played charades, boys vs girls, we won, my wife threatened divorce, I still killed it.

    But you can be nice and be competitive, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. Friends close and all that…

    I believe that you have to be careful who you're not nice to, cause the guy you step on tomorrow, might take a name and come gunning for you later. I know it's happened with me, I have a list, and this year, as I leave the delayed life plan and start the entrepreneurial life, you better believe I'm coming after some of the people on my list :)

  • http://giffconstable.com giffc

    Going to bridge 3 posts here, which might not make any sense to some, but the point of your post is part of why I disagree with Roger Ehrenberg's conclusions against FRC's entrepreneur fund concept. Entrepreneurs want to WIN.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Wow, most nested discussion ever! I'm sure we're all pretty aligned. I believe in high personal and business ethics. I think Lady B's moves were not out of bounds. Until a company is funded all is open. And all three of us: Mr. A, Lady B and GRP were all transparent that we were all talking (and they were both talking with other VCs).

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    No, you're point was right. Not competing for fear of losing is dumb. I was talking in the context of giving away money at poker, but even then it would be worth it (for small amounts!) to learn from a master.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's funny – thanks for the link. I grew up on NorCal and have lived in SoCal (including San Diego) for 11 years in total. I love both!

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Most entrepreneurs ARE lunatics so that wouldn't be a bad thing. I disagree with Paul Graham (and most people) on the topic of how many co-founders to have. I talk about it all the time. Entrepreneurs are sooooo sensitive about every point of dilution from VCs but are happy to dilute by 66% before even starting to work with 2 other co-founders. I don't get it. I talk about it in this post –> http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/08/17/m

    BTW, I thought Paul was pretty weak at Twiistup. Maybe he was tired, but Eric Reis stole the show.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Without sounding like a consulting jargon machine, I would say that co-opitition is sensible. It's OK to be friends with the people at competitor and find ways to work with them (while also competing).

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Hi Mark

    Agreed. On alignment.

    Got to love Disqus for empowering these nested, tangential and very important discussions.

    How else could three guys–one in LA, one in NY, one in Milan follow through a nagging thought, in real time? It allows us to follow what interests us without Bogarting the flow of the post.

    In fact, the power of Disqus and one of the great values of your blog Mark (and it is a great one!) is that it provides a place for discussions to breed and bridge on themselves.

    If I haven't thanked you for adding leadership to this community, let me do so now.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I agree 100% – in fact I wrote it in the comment just above this one (to Gregory). In a post idiosyncrasies are hard. But I don't ever believe in being “mean” to people – life is too short. But I do believe in competing hard – as you say. I think there's a difference.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think Roger is wrong AND right – thank you for pointing out the link. He's wrong arguing against Josh. Diversification is what VCs do – why shouldn't entrepreneurs have a market to do this? FRC is leading the industry in coming up with innovative solutions like this. He is right that when a company starts to succeed and grow it is a great strategy to let founders take a little bit of cash off of the table.

    Thanks, again.

  • http://sigma-hk.com Mark Westling

    It amazes me that some companies, including start-ups, don't know what their competition is up to and don't seem to care much about it, either. I see this as either stupidity, arrogance, or a lack of competitive spirit. I don't consider many start-ups to be stupid or arrogant so most likely it's the latter. My nightmare is pitching a potential customer and discovering that my product is clearly inferior to a competitor's — and I didn't even know it.

    Mark, how do you assess competitiveness? Personally, I'd ask what they know about their competition and what they're doing about it. Any other specific ideas?

  • Aviah Laor

    If you score high on this one, you are probably not too bad on all the others.

  • Aviah Laor

    If you score high on this one, you are probably not too bad on all the others.

  • http://twitter.com/billmcneely Bill McNeely

    I think Lady B was out of line and petty. I am sure she did not consider the unintended consequences of her actions .

    This story brought up an incident in my recent life. I worked for a male version of Lady “B” in Afghanistan on a defense contract two years ago. Super competative and overbearing. Unfortunately, his competition, corrupt police, took offense to his behavior and set up an Improvised Explosive Device to kill him.

    Manly “B”s unintended consequence? The bombers missed him and blew up a van killing a family of 15. If you have ever picked pieces of a 2 year old located at the opposite ends of a large poppy field it will change your outlook on hyper competition and insistence on winning every time.

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    lunatics ftw! lol i definitely got that attribute covered! phew! :D

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    hmmm, this is probably one of the dimensions i score lowest on. i used to be a more competitive person — but then i realized how much i hate losing! so now i just focus on myself. i studied martial arts religiously for 8 years, one of the big philosophical concepts that was emphasized in my school was that the enemy is within. i'm also into astrology, that's sort of like my religion, and the school of astrology that i most resonate with is also one that emphasizes self-improvement over a focus on external enemies/competitors. it's all in your head, so just focus on yourself, that's the only thing you can really control anyway.

    you know how there is the quarterback rating for quarterbacks in the NFL…..we need to come up with the suster rating for entrepreneurs. i.e. “hmm i'm not sure about funding this startup…..what's the collective suster rating on the founders?” it'll be the new VC buzzword!

  • http://twitter.com/billmcneely Bill McNeely

    I think Lady B was out of line and petty. I am sure she did not consider the unintended consequences of her actions .

    This story brought up an incident in my recent life. I worked for a male version of Lady “B” in Afghanistan on a defense contract two years ago. Super competative and overbearing. Unfortunately, his competition, corrupt police, took offense to his behavior and set up an Improvised Explosive Device to kill him.

    Manly “B”s unintended consequence? The bombers missed him and blew up a van killing a family of 15. If you have ever picked pieces of a 2 year old located at the opposite ends of a large poppy field it will change your outlook on hyper competition and insistence on winning every time.