Sean Parker Blasts Entrepreneurs for Playing It Safe
BY John McDermott
Rather than continue to create new companies, he argues, most entrepreneurs settle for the ease of being a venture capitalist.
Sean Parker, president of Facebook, holds forth on start-up funding
Sean Parker wants to know why you're slacking off.
The 32-year-old billionaire, Napster co-founder, and former Facebook president--who was portrayed by Justin Timberlake in The Social Network--says he doesn't think most entrepreneurs take enough chances.
"Every good entrepreneur I know ends up in the wasteland of being a venture capitalist. It's really frustrating," he said in a recent New York Times interview. "Most entrepreneurs don't remain entrepreneurs. It's just too psychologically draining to have to constantly start over."
According to the report, Parker thinks the list of entrepreneurs brave and talented enough to continually create new, successful companies is "incredibly short." The only person that Parker immediately thought of was Steve Jobs. (The Times generously adds Jack Dorsey--founder of first Twitter and then Square--and Elon Musk, of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX.)
Since Parker is so quick to judge, we presume he'd include himself on that list of brave entrepreneurs. But his track record is a bit spottier. In 1999, he and Shawn Fanning--Parker's best friend and business partner--created Napster, the seminal online music sharing platform that was the death knell for the record industry. From there, he founded Plaxo, an online address book company now owned by Comcast.
But Parker's entrepreneurial activity has leveled off a bit since then. He became the inaugural president at Facebook--yet although he is frequently cited as an integral part of the company's early success, it wasn't his endeavor.
JOHN MCDERMOTT is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com. @J_M_McDermott