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A Dozen Reasons Why Missionaries Build Better Businesses & Are More Successful Than Mercenaries, Tren Griffin, Microsoft

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Tren Griffin will explain, the entrepreneurs founding startups with the biggest impact are missionaries who are laser focused on implementing the insight at the core of their business. Mercenaries are driven by monetary rewards and fame. Mercenaries seldom have the necessary desire to change the world, a desire that would otherwise enable them to persevere through hardship and create a world-changing business.

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A Dozen Reasons Why Missionaries Build Better Businesses & Are More Successful Than Mercenaries, Tren Griffin, Microsoft

  1. 1. “Mercenaries are driven by paranoia; missionaries are driven by passion. Mercenaries think opportunistically; missionaries think strategically. Mercenaries go for the sprint; missionaries go for the marathon. Mercenaries focus on their competitors and financial statements; missionaries focus on their customers and value statements. Mercenaries are bosses of wolf packs; missionaries are mentors or coaches of teams. Mercenaries worry about entitlements; missionaries are obsessed with making a contribution. Mercenaries are motivated by the lust for making money; missionaries, while recognizing the importance of money, are fundamentally driven by the desire to make meaning.” John Doerr
  2. 2. “Great entrepreneurs are far more missionaries than mercenaries. The missionaries are true to their insight, and the money is secondary to it. Mercenaries, whose primary goal is money, fall somewhere on the middle of the entrepreneur bell curve. They seldom have the desire to change the world that is required for a really big outcome, or the patience to see their idea through. I don’t begrudge them their early payouts. They’re just not the best entrepreneurs.” Andy Rachleff
  3. 3. Teledesic- “Internet in the Sky” During its life, the Teledesic team raised over a billion dollars at a valuation that was as high as a $3 billion. Teledesic was a triple Unicorn in its time.
  4. 4. A Dozen Things I Learned Being a Missionary at Teledesic: • It is more fun to be a pirate than join the navy. Pirates know how to break the eggs needed to make the necessary omelet. We broke a lot of eggs. • Most people are not cut out for the startup life. It is not for everyone. • Certain periods in your life are right for being involved in an audacious startup, and other periods are not. • Flying 500,000 air miles a year for five years takes a big physical toll on your body. I still pay a physical price for that time in my life. • Almost everything in life that is technically interesting and important involves trade-offs. This is especially true in space. • The more great people you hire, the easier it is to hire great people. Positive feedback can be powerful.
  5. 5. A Dozen Things I Learned Being a Missionary at Teledesic: • The better the quality of your existing shareholders, the easier it is to attract new high quality shareholders. • Having smart, talented and accomplished lead investors is invaluable in raising funds. • Space is very big. The distance to a non-geostationary orbit around the Earth is not so big, but launching any mass into that orbit is still relatively expensive. • There are no electrical outlets or power cords in space. This creates hard problems for systems that need power. • Since power density of an electromagnetic wave is proportional to the inverse of the square of the distance from a point source, space-based communications isn’t easy. • Billionaires love space and rockets. A rocket launch is like a big very controlled explosion. Explosions that are very controlled and hurt no one can be great fun. Billionaires like to have fun.

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