One person saving the world: that mutual ambition is what draws entrepreneurs to superheros. The Iron Man movies were inspired by Elon Musk, and in turn, Musk appeared in Iron Man 2 and created computer interfaces inspired by the movies. Microsoft founder Paul Allen has an incredible collection of superhero and pop culture artifacts--enough to fill the entire Experience Music Projects Sci-Fi museum in Seattle. Richard Branson has had a long relationship with the Bond films, culminating in a blink-and-you'll-miss it cameo in Casino Royale. Sam Altman's Stanford lecture reiterates this idea citing James Bond as the ideal co-founder: someone who is unflappable, tough, decisive and ready for anything. What sets James Bond apart are his gadgets, his resourcefulness and his never-say-die attitude.


With his gadgets, James Bond is prepared for almost anything (see: laser watch and ejector seats). Consider your smartphone your Q-provided lifeline and tool. With Google, you can research anything in any depth at any time. With chat, there is no problem that you can't immediately address with your team. In addition to the smartphone, when I was pitching daily, I armed myself with a pouch of all the perceivable tools I'd need for a pitch: a remote for my laptop, a cable for my phone to make sure tethering would work, batteries, a notebook, flashcards with pitch ideas, and a usb stick just in case my laptop let me down. I was prepared dor conceivable emergencies. However, when you're building a company, there a million factors that could go wrong, and there are often problems that we cannot anticipate. That is when we have to be relentlessly resourceful.


You are tied to a bar of gold, just awoke from a car crash, and a laser is about to cut you in half. You don't have any gadgets and no one on your team is there to save you--what do you do? You talk your way out of it. You reference your very qualified team, your 008. You fake your knowledge of "Project Grand Slam" and proving your value--even to your enemy. For entrepreneurs, the laser equivalent can be a crashing server, a project behind schedule, or an angry client. What you need to do is awaken your inner 007: keep your cool, remain tough and draw on the best resource available to you, your team and your knowledge of the situation, no matter how thin it is.

Never Say Die:

Ian Fleming famously wrote that James Bond was created as a "blunt instrument of an irresponsible government." Bond gets the job done, no matter what the cost. Fearlessly leading the charge, he is always able to recruit an army. Bond villains have this same leadership ability, with their teams following them into their wildest plots. Fleming wrote of Largo, the villain from Thunderball, that he "made a fetish of clam, of the pause, of an almost judo like inertia.... He found it had an extraordinary effect in his accomplices." Prepared, resourceful and fearless, these are the qualities we must hone in order to bring out our inner entrepreneurial James Bond.

Published on: Oct 1, 2014