Book: Crazy is a Compliment

If you are in Boulder and you haven’t heard of Linda Rottenberg, you are in for a treat. She’s the founder / CEO of Endeavor and recently joined the board of Zayo. Dan Caruso, the CEO / co-founder of Zayo is hosting an event tonight at eTown Hall interviewing Linda about her new book Crazy is a Compliment.

I read the book last night. After a long Monday, I realized I had three physical copies on my desk at home (that had come from different friends) and I still hadn’t read it. That didn’t seem right, especially since I’m having dinner with Linda, Dan, and a small group of people tonight. So I gobbled it up last night.

Before I get into the book, there are still a few seats available for the event tonight. If you are into entrepreneurship, I highly recommend you attend the fireside chat between Linda and Dan from 5pm to 7pm (Tuesday, 1/13/15).

I’ve known of Linda for a while through her work at Endeavor and finally met her for the first time in March 2013 in Rio while I was at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Among other things, she roped me into giving a Day1 talk, which was extremely fun to do. If you’ve never seen mine, it’s below.

Ok – on to the book. It’s dynamite. Like my upcoming book Startup Opportunities (which you can pre-order now – hint, hint), it’s aimed at first time and aspiring entrepreneurs. Linda is an amazing storyteller and builds the book around stories from her own experience as well as many of the entrepreneurs who have been affiliated with Endeavor programs. Her stories are all in first person and powerful to read – very personal, easily consumed, and full of lessons.

She weaves the stories into three major sections: Get Going, Go Big, and Go Home. Get Going is about getting started. Go Big is about scaling. Go Home is about getting harmony between work and life.

Linda breaks entrepreneurial companies into four categories:

  • Gazelles: super high growth (I use the same word in Startup Opportunities)
  • Skunks: inside corporations – what is tediously referred to in academia as intrapreneurship
  • Dolphins: social entrepreneurship
  • Butterflies: small, local businesses

I loved her taxonomy and will use it going forward. Then, on page 90, I did something I rarely do when reading a hardcover book – I dogeared the page so I’d come back to it. On this page Linda defined four types of entrepreneurs using labels I’d never seen before.

  • Diamond: Visionary dreamers leading disruptive ventures (Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin / Larry Page, Ted Turner, George Lucas, Elon Musk)
  • Star: Charismatic individuals building personality brands (Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Richard Branson, Estee Lauder, Giorgio Armani, Jay-Z)
  • Transformer: Change makers reenergizing traditional industries (Howard Schultz, Ray Kroc. Ingvar Kamprad, Anita Roddick, Blake Mycoskie)
  • Rocketship: Analytical thinkers making strategic improvements (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Michael Dell, Mike Bloomberg)

This categorization totally nailed it and she went on to spend a lot of time discussing different entrepreneurial personalities. Throughout, Linda used examples from all over the world, drawing from the broad range that Endeavor has covered over the 17 years it has been around.

As someone who has spent the last six months immersed in writing a book aimed at first time and aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s pretty cool read one from a totally different experience set, with so many different stories, and feel lots of conceptual overlap. If I’m describing you when you see the phrase “first time or aspiring entrepreneur”, grab Crazy is a Compliment and pre-order Startup Opportunities. And, if you are in Boulder tonight, come check out the fireside chat.