Question: Who is your favorite "startup celebrity" and what's the number one lesson they've taught you about entrepreneurship?
Tony Hsieh of Zappos
"Tony is definitely my "culture hero." I had the opportunity to tour Zappos in Downtown Las Vegas and was blown away by the positive energy coursing through the hallways. Tony preaches "causing collisions." Get your people to mesh well and enjoy spending time together. Millennials are changing the way we need to attract and retain the best talent, and all of them want a good culture fit."
Alexis Ohanian of Reddit
"Alexis Ohanian taught us the power of embracing and creating communities through the web. While you may never be able to meet your fans face-to-face, creating a platform for your users to engage, laugh and educate each other is a great way to create meaning in their lives. We're currently working on ways to connect our audiences to one another to help build a presentation community ourselves."
Amy Jo Martin of Digital Royalty
"I'm privileged to call Ajo a friend, client and mentor. Not only is she a female founder who has built a seven-figure business, she has committed herself to using her power and privilege to facilitate positive social change. Whether it's helping build wells in Africa or investing in her employees' leadership development, she has taught me to see my legacy as what I do in the world with my influence."
Peter Thiel of PayPal
"I just finished reading Peter Theil's book "Zero to One," and it has changed my life. His premise is that there are two different types of progress: horizontal (globalization) and vertical (technology). I've realized that I've been focusing a bunch of time on the horizontal, but not investing in things that can make the world better by leaps and bounds."
Jason Fried of Basecamp
"I'm a big fan of Basecamp co-founder and author Jason Fried. Basecamp is vital in the day-to-day operations of ZinePak, and Fried's books, "Rework" and "Remote" are staples for new employees of our company. My favorite lesson from Jason is to not be afraid to rethink a problem to find a new solution. If something has been done the same way for a long time, chances are it needs to be redesigned."
Richard Branson of Virgin Group
"Branson teaches us all to follow our passions, even in spite of our lack of experience or expertise. He has built a conglomerate made up of unrelated businesses, simply because he wanted to. Impressively, he has turned a number of them into wild success stories. At One Mall Group, we hope to do the same, while marrying happiness and success."
Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank
"While Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank may appear to be ruthless at times, from watching him on Shark Tank I've learned that there's a potential opportunity in every deal at the right price."
Marcus Lemonis of Camping World
"I don't know that this is necessarily a startup celebrity, but Marcus Lemonis has always been a favorite of mine. I'm addicted to his TV shows. He takes startups and other small businesses from struggling to successful with a proven and stellar strategy. He taught me that making tough business decisions are a part of life for an entrepreneur."
Steve Wozniak of Apple
"My "startup celebrity" is Steve Wozniak. He taught me that you should create things for the love of creating them. People will always desire things created by passion, and that's what I experience with our presentation folders. People love our products because we're passionate about creating them."
Derek Sivers of CD Baby
"I admire Derek Sivers, the Founder of CD Baby, so much. Not only does he have a model entrepreneurial startup story of "see problem/fix problem," but all his work on the venture stemmed from his passion. His hard work eventually led to a very financially rewarding acquisition for him. Instead of taking the money and retiring, he set up a trust and donated most of it to charity. What a guy!"
Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks
"Mark Cuban is a sharp entrepreneur and investor, and one of his top pieces of advice is about not being afraid to work hard! He is always sharing insight about how putting in effort can be one of the biggest determinants of success, and that his only regrets are the times when he was "outworked" by someone else. The big takeaway is that each of us controls our own effort to achieve our goals."