20 Serial Entrepreneurs: An Analysis

Serial entrepreneurs want to change the world and “make meaning” but successful ones also make money, and lots of it.

Here is a list of 20 serial entrepreneurs and the companies they helped create:

  1. Andy Bechtolsheim: Sun Microsystems, Granite Systems, Arista Networks
  2. Biz Stone: Twitter, Xanga, Blogger
  3. David Duffield: PeopleSoft, Workday
  4. Dennis Crowley: Dodgeball, Foursquare
  5. Elon Musk: PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors
  6. Evan Williams: Blogger, Twitter
  7. Jack Dorsey: Twitter, Square
  8. Jason Calacanis: Silicon Alley Reporter, Weblogs Inc., Mahalo, Launch, OAF/TWI
  9. Jim Clark: Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon, MyCFO, Neoteris
  10. Kevin Rose: Digg, Pownce
  11. Marc Andreessen: Netscape, Opsware, Ning
  12. Mark Cuban: MicroSolutions, Broadcast.com, 2929 Entertainment, HDNet, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres
  13. Mark Pincus: Tribe.net, SupportSoft, Zynga
  14. Max Levchin: PayPal, Slide, WePay
  15. Nick Grouf: Firefly, PeoplePC, SpotRunner
  16. Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis: Kazaa, Skype, Joost, Atomico, Rdio
  17. Scott Jones: Boston Technology, ChaCha
  18. Sean Parker: Plaxo, Napster, Facebook, Causes, Founders Fund
  19. Steve Jobs: Apple, NeXT, Pixar
  20. Wayne Huizenga: Blockbuster, Waste Management, Auto Nation

Birds of a feather flock together

Of the companies listed, you may have noticed some repeated names. When we sort the list by the companies with at least two serial entrepreneurs from our list, we get three companies:

  1. Twitter: Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey
  2. PayPal: Elon Musk, Max Levchin
  3. Blogger: Biz Stone, Evan Williams

Similar Industries

And of the companies listed, another trend emerges, which is the similarities in industries.  The companies can be narrowed down into a surprisingly small number of groups, which could be categorized as ‘Technology’ and ‘Other’, but broken we see a large amount of Web 2.0 and Entertainment companies as well as Transportation:

  1. Software: Twitter, Blogger, Xanga, PeopleSoft, Workday, Dodgeball, Foursquare, Netscape, Ning, Plaxo, Napster, Facebook, Digg, Paypal, Slide, WePay
  2. Hardware: Sun Microsystems, Arista Networks, Granite Systems, PeoplePC, Apple, NeXT
  3. Entertainment: Pixar, 2929 Entertainment, HDNet, Blockbuster, Zynga, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres
  4. Transportation: SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Auto Nation

This follows a pattern in economics called ‘barriers to entry’ of which software has the lowest barriers in terms of cost and transportation, the highest.  Hardware and entertainment, it seems, falls in the middle, which is what you would expect.  So in the future, we can probably expect more serial entrepreneurs in the software arena, probably culminating up through app makers, which has the lowest barrier of entry and the highest audience: a combination ripe for the next round of serial entrepreneurs.

My Media Heroes

I’d like to share who some of my heroes and inspirations in the publishing business (bloggers, media moguls, and Internet marketers) have been and are:

  • Nick Denton: President and founder of Gawker Media, an online publishing group which puts out titles such as Gawker, Gizmodo and Lifehacker. Nick has been involved in internet media since 1996, first writing on the subject for the Financial Times of London, and then founding two companies in the late 1990s. First Tuesday, an internet-era events business with branches in 80 cities, was sold in 2000. Moreover Technologies, which is headquartered in London, provides news search technology to Fortune 500 companies and portals such as MSN. After graduating from Oxford University, Nick began his career as a foreign correspondent for the FT during the revolutions in eastern Europe. Later, while investment banking correspondent, he co-authored All That Glitters, the definitive account of the collapse of Barings Bank.
  • J. Michael Arrington: Founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a blog covering the Silicon Valley technology start-up communities and the wider technology field in USA and elsewhere. Magazines such as Wired and Forbes have named Arrington one of the most powerful people on the Internet. In 2008, he was selected by TIME Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. Wired magazine also included him in a flowchart of “internet blowhards” citing his obsession with “Web 2.0”.
  • Walt Disney: During a 43-year Hollywood career, which spanned the development of the motion picture medium as a modern American art, Walter Elias Disney, a modern Aesop, established himself and his product as a genuine part of Americana. David Low, the late British political cartoonist, called Disney “the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo DaVinci.” A pioneer and innovator, and the possessor of one of the most fertile imaginations the world has ever known, Walt Disney, along with members of his staff, received more than 950 honors and citations from every nation in the world, including 48 Academy Awards and 7 Emmys in his lifetime. Walt Disney’s personal awards included honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of Southern California and UCLA; the Presidential Medal of Freedom; France’s Legion of Honor and Officer d’Academie decorations; Thailand’s Order of the Crown; Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross; Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle; and the Showman of the World Award from the National Association of Theatre Owners.
  • Rupert Murdoch: An Australian-born American media magnate and the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of News Corporation, often called News Corp. Beginning with one newspaper in Adelaide, Murdoch acquired and started other publications in his native Australia before expanding News Corp. into the United Kingdom, United States and Asian media markets. Although it was in Australia in the late 1950s that he first dabbled in television, he later sold these assets, and News Corp.’s Australian current media interests (still mainly in print) are restricted by cross-media ownership rules. Murdoch’s first permanent foray into TV was in the UK, where he created Sky Television in 1989. In the 2000s, he became a leading investor in satellite television, the film industry and the Internet.  Murdoch and News Corp now own MySpace, Fox, and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Alan Webber: An award-winning, nationally-recognized editor, author and columnist, he launched Fast Company, the fastest growing, most successful business magazine in history and winner of two national magazine awards, one for excellence and one for design. He was named Adweek’s Editor of the Year in 1999, along with co-founding editor William Taylor. Webber understands the important characteristics of a “fast company”: the ongoing competition for the best people, for great ideas, and for the right way to think about leadership.
  • Biz Stone: Co-founder, Twitter Inc. Stone helped found things besides Twitter: Xanga, Blogger and Odeo. He worked for Google with Blogger. He once won a debate at Oxford Union.
  • Mark Elliot Zuckerberg: An American entrepreneur best-known for co-founding the popular social networking site Facebook with fellow Harvard classmates, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes where Zuckerburg is now CEO. He is currently one of the youngest billionaires in the world with personal wealth of US$4 billion in 2010 due to his 24% share of Facebook.
  • Matt Mullenweg: The founding developer of WordPress, the blogging software that runs much of this site and millions of other sites around the world. He wrote the foreword to WordPress for Dummies and the French WordPress book. Matt worked at CNET Networks, but left in 2005 to found Automattic, which is the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, Gravatar, bbPress, IntenseDebate, and BuddyPress. Matt is or has been an adviser to Sphere, WeGame, Rescuetime, and Foodzie.

Microblogging Social Networks

A List of the 5 Most Popular Microblogging Social Networks: Jaiku, Plurk, Present.ly, Tumblr, and Twitter.

This list of microblogging social networks is listed alphabetically and includes their availability, rank, popularity, and features.

Jaiku

Jaiku is a social networking, microblogging and lifestreaming service comparable to Twitter. Jaiku was founded in February, 2006 by Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen from Finland and opened in July, 2006. Based out of Helsinki, Jaiku was purchased by Google on October 9, 2007.

The founders of Jaiku chose the name because the posts on Jaiku resemble Japanese haiku. Also, the indigenous Sami people of Finland have traditionally shared stories by singing joiks. On January 14, 2009 Google announced that it would be open-sourcing the product, but would, “No longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase,” leaving development to a, “Passionate volunteer team of Googlers”.
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