Were the founders of the world’s biggest companies born with the genetic propensity for success that the rest of us were not, or are they doing something special we have not tried?
Former White House fellow and strategic advisor Amy Wilkinson hopes to put that question to rest in her new book The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills Of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs.
“Creators are not born with an innate ability to conceive and build $100 million enterprises. They all share fundamental skills that can be learned, practiced and passed on,” Wilkinson said. Her book draws on five years of research and more than 200 interviews of the world’s leading entrepreneurs from companies such as: Jetblue, LinkedIn, Chipotle, Tesla Motors, Spanx, PayPal and Yelp.
“I got the idea for the book when I was observing my friends in Silicon Valley who were starting companies and truly changing the world; I wanted to know what they were doing differently,” Wilkinson said. “I found that all these entrepreneurs had six things in common. Six things that anyone could use to find success on their own or even champion an idea in their existing career.”
Some of those skills include “fail wisely,” “network minds,” and “find a gap” in the marketplace, like the founders of Airbnb did when they launched their home rental business.
“The Airbnb founders—two designers and a techie—were having trouble paying the rent, so they started charging other designers to essentially stay on their sofas,” Wilkinson explained. “The concept seemed strange when they launched the business, but now it is a $10 million global brand.”
But the biggest secret to their success may lie in their inability to rest on their laurels, constantly scanning the horizon; the fifth skill “drive for daylight.”
“They are at the apexes of their fields and there is so much hero worship in the marketplace, you would think they would be comfortable with their successes,” Wilkinson said, adding “They are not; they are always looking to do more.”