Jim Lanzone started his career as an entrepreneur in 1997, a year before graduating from business school. By the time he graduated with a JD/MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, his startup, eTour - a predecessor to Stumbeupon - already had eight employees.
Jim raised $50 million for the startup from a number of high-profile investors, including Neocarta, Imlay Investments, Royal Bank of Scotland, etc. Others who invested significant amounts plus were on his board were Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD), Jeff Levy (founder of Relevant Knowledge, which merged with MediaMetrix, were he became Vice Chairman), Taylor Glover (Ted Turner's investor and godfather to many Atlanta companies, including WebMD).
With money and smart backers, what could go wrong? As many entrepreneurs know - sometimes too much money is not a good thing. Most companies overspent during the boom years, only to find themselves out quickly out of cash. Jim's story isn't that different.
"We overhired," he explained. Jim then sold eTour to Ask for "not a lot of money" and became head of product and eventually CEO at the search engine.
In this "Lessons Learned" interview segment, Jim shares his lessons from being an entrepreneur duing the boom-and-bust years. For one, he tried to do everything himself and was "probably the bottleneck for a lot of things," he explained.
He also explains why he wanted to try his hand at entrepreneurship again.
"In some way, it was a lifestyle decision to be in control... to not have quarterly earnings as my master or layers of people above me," he said.
"I like making Web sites, I like building features... that’s where I draw my personal energy."