Lessons Learned: Plaxo founder Todd Masonis says don't focus on money or obstacles

John Shinal · December 1, 2007 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/a9

Focusing on funding will slow you down; you'll face other challenges than you think at the start

Plaxo founder Todd Masonis has a piece of advice for entrepreneurs which runs against the grain of what many others have told us about raising money.

The gist of it is: If you have a good idea, don't get stuck in the mode of thinking that you need someone to give you cash. Just go out and do what you want to do.

"A lot of people don't realize that funding can actually slow you down," says Masonis, who now serves as VP of products for the social networking company, which is best know for helping people manage their contact lists.

A lot of entrepreneurs who come to him with the idea of starting a business often get caught up listing all the reasons why they CAN'T do it, which is obviously not the right mind set.

"It's never going to make sense on paper to go out and start a company," Masonis says. "Statistics say companies are likely to fail, and the odds of success are low. But if you think like that, you're probably not cut out for it."

Besides, there's no way to know what the real challenges will be. 

Plaxo faced a backlash a few years ago from people who, like me, didn't appreciate getting unsolicited emails from Plaxo users asking for updated contact information.

Illustrating how sensitive the company is to those concerns, the first executive listed on the company's online masthead is its chief privacy officer,  Redgee Capili.

 "All the problems people think they're going to have are not the ones they really have," Masonis says.

He also offers valuable insight into a challenge faced by many founders whose biggest strength is technical expertise: when to turn over the reins.

Plaxo named it first chief executive in 2005, when it brought in Ben Golub, a veteran of VeriSign and Sun Microsystems.

 "We decided we could use some professional management experience, " Masonis says.


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