Jim Dolan, founder and CEO of The Dolan Company, started his entrepreneurial life early, having had an epiphany as a young lad. He had bought firecrackers for 25 cents in the summer and had some leftovers come Christmas time. He was about to do the normal thing boys do and set them off, when a friend said he’d pay $1. With a 300% profit locked in, an entrepreneur was born.
Other founders had similar experiences growing up. Howard Tullman was a professional magician by age 8. One of the Groupon co-founders set up a company to sell rugs while in college.
Maybe there is something here? The summer job mowing lawns or the early lemonade stand by the side of the road may be a stepping stone to greatness. It led to big things for Jim, and in this video interview, he makes some great points:
- It may appear that public companies can at times rest on their laurels, but Jim is adamant that is false. You have to keep growing. It is a never-ending process.
- Jim’s company is an expression of who he is – it is a calling, not a temporary thing where he has an exit point. He specifically acknowledges that he has different goals from his investors. Before taking someone’s money, he is upfront that he’s in it for the long haul, because he knows investors always have a time horizon, a due date when they want to sell and move on.
- The quality of great entrepreneurs is restless curiosity, and its opposite is not cynicism. Cynics have filters, and Jim doesn’t discount both qualities playing together simultaneously.