Dixon Doll is a highly-respected and successful venture capital investor. At the Red Herring East 2007 conference, Dixon gave a talk and answered questions regarding his views on venture capital investing, global markets, and other sundry and related topics. Given his background and track record, you can be sure that people in the audience listened closely.
I particularly enjoyed Dixon Doll’s list of traits commonly possessed by successful entrepreneurial leaders:
- Willingness to take risks and not being afraid to fail
- Self-assured — successful entrepreneurs (and investors for that matter, according to Dixon) are “infrequently arrogant”
- Focused but adaptive — the ability to change and evolve as required, but always being aware of the ultimate goal
- Ownership of the vision, strategy, and numbers — the entrepreneur cannot hand-off ownership of these items
- Magnets for talent — they know how to bring great people together
- They listen well and can motivate others to accomplish the shared goal
- Strong record of personal accomplishment — they know what success means and how to make it happen
- Understanding and internalizing the VC objectives — the ideal entrepreneur accepts, and is highly motivated to achieve, the VC’s goals. Presumably, the interests of the VC and entrepreneur are aligned, but that point didn’t come up during presentation of this list.
I was surprised and pleased to hear Dixon talk about the lack of arrogance that characterizes the best entrepreneurial leaders. I recently touched on the arrogance issue, so his comment was timely.