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The Leading Edge - Would you rather be king or rich?

A few years ago I was on an Ernst & Young "Milestones" panel in Boston speaking to an audience of venture capitalists, investment bankers and entrepreneurs.

One of the VC's told me one of the most clarifying questions he asks all entrepreneurs for which there is only one correct answer. He asks them: "Would you rather be king or rich?" If they answer, "king" he has learned to pass on them. He went on to explain that being an entrepreneur is part of process of going from: idea —> start up —> early stage company —>stable company where you have maximized its value and then sell it to begin the process with another company. He said that people who would rather be king than rich often become too attached to their company and don't realize that the company is just a part of a process and that such people will get in the way of what's necessary for that company because they will have trouble letting go of control.

Does that make sense to any of you?

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  • Victoria Wood

    It makes complete sense to me as the driving goal behind all entrepreneurs is wealth. The company is simply a step along the way, not the end goal.

  • Helen Whelan

    This totally makes sense from a VC point of view. From an entrepreneurial point of view, I'd bet on the king/queen because they'd do everything they could to make the company survive, which includes money, but not just that.
    There's so much more to success than just the bucks. What about creating world class products? Helping people through your business?
    What's that saying..."Follow your bliss and the money will follow." Pardon me if I paraphrased but you get the drift!