Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Sean Parker

by Scott Edward Walker on July 6th, 2011

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we share a favorite video of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present Sean Parker, a brilliant entrepreneur and visionary; the co-founder of Napster and Plaxo; and the former President of Facebook.

In this lengthy interview with Jimmy Fallon, Sean provides some interesting quotes and solid nuggets, including the following:

“I really don’t feel like I’ve succeeded.  I feel like I have failed systematically.… But then somehow failure was transformed into some sort of success that I wasn’t expecting.” (at 8:08)

“Napster left me pretty much bankrupt, and with this huge shadow that I had to deal with….” (at 11:40)

“[In 2002,] nobody would fund consumer … Meanwhile, I was raising money for one-and-a-half years unsuccessfully, sleeping on couches; I had to set-up a set of rules for myself how long I would freeload off any one individual.” (at 12:10)

“iCloud is like a feature; it’s just not that significant.” (at 17:50)

“You actually don’t really want people thinking your product is cool…because then you’re a fad.  What you want is people using your product because it’s part of their life and they can’t stop using it.” (at 19:40)

“Where did Myspace go wrong?  Failure to execute the product development.  They weren’t successful in iterating and developing the product quickly enough.  The product was basically this junk heap of bad design that persisted for many, many years.” (at 20:52)

“[Facebook] was a real long shot.  Nobody actually believed, outside of us three or four people in Palo Alto, that you could enter the market through this niche market and then gradually through this carefully calculated war against all the [social] networks become the one network to rule them all.”  (at 21:33)

“I’ve always been much more interested in building great products than building technology.” (at 22:33)

“I was interested in this problem of identity…. There was no identity layer for the internet. There was no verifiable, accountable, persistent identity that could follow you from place to place that you maintained and curated in an accurate way; and Myspace was not doing that.” (at 32:16)

I hope you enjoy it.  Many thanks, Scott


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