Quotes from Marxist rebels. Marcus Lemonis’s naked confessions of his deepest fears. And that only barely scratches the surface. What were some of the highlights from today’s Inc. 5000 conference sessions and hallway chatter?

1. One has to begin with Gravity Payments’ Dan Price, who’s just your average, everyday entrepreneur who was home-schooled and listened to Rush Limbaugh, and who, as many now know, decided to pay all his employees at least $70,000. Who, of course, quoted Marxist rebel leader Che Guevara on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

“I would actually go to something Che Guevara said,” Price said. “They asked him, ‘what’s the number one thing you look for in a guerilla soldier?’” And Guevara’s answer? “Love. When you have love that’s inside of you that’s what it takes to be an entrepreneur. You’re going to start to do all these crazy things because love is an irrational force. But that irrational force will propel you to higher success than strict rationality.”

(I guess I should note that Price took pains to identify Guevara as a “brutal” guy, who not only killed people, but killed people close to him.)

2. The look on Wharton professor Maurice Schweitzer's face as Price said this, captured here by Inc.’s Burt Helm: 

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3. KIND founder Daniel Lubetzky’s startling and deeply moving account of the Nazi guard at the Dachau concentration camp who saved his father--by giving his dad a potato when he was starving. As Lubetzky puts it, “my father only survived because of the kindness of strangers.”

4.  An extremely candid--captivatingly and sometimes painfully so--session from Marcus Lemonis, in which he called upon attendees to confess their greatest fear. One founder confessed he feared he’d self-sabotage his business when he wanted out, because he’d done so before--which, it turned out was news to his partner, who was also in the room.

After eliciting many more fears from sometimes-tearful attendees, Marcus confessed his own: dying alone.

5. This fella, who was hanging out around American Airlines’ booth for most of the day, to the delight of conference goers who'd never met a real live lemur before. Zoological nerd fact, confirmed in person by this reporter: their palms are naturally tacky, which helps them hold onto tree branches. Nature!

6. InDinero founder Jessica Mah’s straightforward statement of purpose. She’s not bossy, she’s the boss: “No. I’m not going to apologize for being aggressive.”

7. Ditto Mah’s parents' slightly unorthodox career advice. “Being a doctor is pretty disgusting. Being a lawyer--you lose your sense of morals.” Therefore, Mah joked, she felt she didn’t have many options other than CEO!

8. Mah, after taking in the massive room from her perch on the conference main stage, reflecting on her last trip to Orlando: “Wow! The last time I was here, I was bankrupt.”

9. Vicky Tsai, the founder of luxury beauty brand Tatcha, responding to a question about what she reads these days: “I don’t read about the beauty industry,” she said. “I read about the music industry--which has gone through the changes my industry will go through.”

10. And, oh yeah, this.

 

Published on: Oct 22, 2015