If you meet a lot of CEOs and startup founders, you will notice a personality trait that many of them share. No matter how many people tell them they are wrong or stupid, they remain unusually optimistic, almost blindingly so. In the Founder Stories video above, which is an outtake from last week’s interview with Bnter CEO Lauren Leto, host Chris Dixon talks about the importance of rejection. “Every day, I try to get rejected,” he tells Leto. Sometimes this requires him sending emails to Steve Jobs that never get a response.
But being able to handle rejection, and even seek it out, is a crucial skill for entrepreneurs. The flip side of getting rejected over and over again, of course, is perseverance. It doesn’t matter if 49 VCs pass on your startup if the 50th one hands you a check for $1 million, or if 24 engineers say No, but the 25th is a rockstar who says Yes. Getting to yes means letting the negativity wash over you.
Leto and Dixon also talk about pitching VCs and the need to own the room. Confidence matters. You need to leave the room with investors thinking there is a one percent chance your company can be the next Twitter, Google, or Facebook. Leto had this experience when she raised money for Bnter after Texts From Last Night took off. You can listen to the full interview here.
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While in law school, Lauren Leto conceived of and co-founded Texts From Last Night, a site that chronicles humorous user-submitted text messages that were sent the night before. After the site went viral, she dropped out of school to continue growing the business. Texts From Last Night has since spawned a book (published by Gotham) and a television show is in the works.
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Chris Dixon is a Partner at and co-founder of Founder Collective. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. He previously was the CEO and Co-founder of SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee, and Hunch, which was acquired by eBay. In addition to his work with Founder’s Collective, Chris is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, TrialPay, DocVerse, Invite Media, Gerson Lehrman Group, ScanScout, OMGPOP, BillShrink, Oddcast, Panjiva, Knewton, and a handful of other startups that...