MARK SUSTER: Here’s What Separates the Best Entrepreneurs From the ‘Country Club’ Entrepreneurs


Mark Suster likes entrepreneurs with chips on their shoulders, according to a recent blog post. We all do, right?

Suster says that entrepreneurs who believe the system is broken — mixed with a bit of “f*ck you” to the status quo — are the only ones who can make an impact, because “country-club entrepreneurs” can’t see the reality of their own distortions.

Suster points to Maker Studios as examples of talented founders looking to shake up the status quo. The YouTube network originally began when the founders — including vlog stars Shay Carl and Philip DeFranco — saw that the traditional doors to Hollywood and entertainment were closed. The team made their own opportunities, and are now being led by Ynon Kreiz, the former producer of ‘Deal or No Deal’ and ‘Big Brother.’

Shoulder-chips, however, aren’t always channeled positively, as the Foundry Group’s Seth Levine recently showcased by publishing an anonymous, 54-year-old founder’s bitter e-mails about the closed bubble of Silicon Valley’s closed bubble of power. The anonymous founder had been an entrepreneur for 30 years and — understandably — was frustrated by his failures, which included an ill-informed “social network.”

The difference between the late-aged, enraged anonymous founder and the fresh-faced creators of Maker Studios is confidence, says Suster. Even when the wolf’s at the door, even when the world feels like it’s imploding, entrepreneurs — and everyone, really — need to show confidence to investors, employees and family. It’s the only way to survive, and the only way to attract even more investors and employees.

And to those of you at the end of your rope — maybe you’re the anonymous founder from Seth Levine’s post — Suster says the only choice is to hold on. Success often comes from working long and hard enough to catch a lucky break.

And if you never catch your lucky break, let’s hope the journey to failure was more fun than joining the status quo.