Apr 25

Leadership Lunch with Chris Dixon

Anyone recruiting references the “airport test.” That is, if you were stuck in an airport with this candidate, could you sit at a bar without it getting awkward? Well, as if any confirmation was needed, Chris Dixon (@cdixon) passes this test easily. Recently, six InSITE fellows, including myself, had the unique privilege of talking tech, startups, hiring and venture capital with Chris in his company Hunch’s office.

Chris shed some light on a number of topics including how successful entrepreneurs have to be aggressive and have meaningful opinions, which means potentially coming across as, well, a dick. InSITE fellows would agree that most of the entrepreneurs we know and meet are amazing. Persistent, yes, dicks no. While aggressively pursuing your vision comes with the territory, the entrepreneurial community understands that business is business, not personal.

One of the stories Chris shared concerned hiring programmers when he started SiteAdvisor. I suggest reading this exact story on Chris’s blog, as he followed up our meeting with an appropriate blog post called “Showing Up.” The story and Chris’s comments to our group highlighted important, but not always followed lessons for any entrepreneur. First, how just putting the effort in will get you further than you can imagine. Also, call it what you want, but persistence is a necessary cornerstone for building a great company from the start. In regards to aggression and persistence, Chris asked the obvious question, “what do you have to lose?” The downside is someone says no. The upside is your startup is closer to changing the world.

Aggressive, but humble entrepreneurs have more success with hiring and converting any idea into the next big thing.

– Contributed by InSITE Fellow and VP of Alumni Jonathan Cooper, NYU MBA ’11

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