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How The Wizard of Oz tells you everything you need to know about being a great entrepreneur

How The Wizard of Oz tells you everything you need to know about being a great entrepreneur

Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, left, and GeekWire co-founder John Cook at Inman Connect New York. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

NEW YORK — Is the secret to entrepreneurial success found in The Wizard of Oz? Rich Barton, the co-founder of Expedia and Zillow, thinks so.

Rich Barton at Inman Connect in New York.

Speaking at the Inman Connect real estate conference in New York on Wednesday, Barton offered several anecdotes from the landmark 1939 musical, which he said tie directly to entrepreneurship. (And, despite what some may think, it is not being the wizard behind the curtain.)

I moderated the session, and asked Barton what makes a great entrepreneur. He initially paused, and then said he first thought of Netflix founder Reed Hastings. (Barton sits on the board of Netflix, which is reporting earnings later today).

Barton then shifted to The Wizard of Oz. Here’s what he had to say:

“I am trying to think of the characteristics of Reed Hastings, and you guys can maybe channel this. I will call this the Wizard of Oz rules of leadership and entrepreneurship.

Everybody has seen the Wizard of Oz, so the scarecrow, what was he after? Brains. That’s a good one, especially in today’s information world, we have to be smart. Not only do we have to be smart in how we use information, but we have to hire people who are smart, and hire people who are smarter than us. I know that is trite, but I believe it.

The lion, the cowardly lion. What was he looking for? Courage. This is a super important characteristic for entrepreneurs because if we are caught holding our tails and shivering in the corner — when faced with the first little danger — we are not going to make it as entrepreneurs. We as leaders are not going to make it. We have to have the courage to power through. And we have to project that courage to those around us, and project that confidence. Because the people who work with you and work around you decide, because we are herd animals, they decide what to think, where to look, how to behave, based on you, the leader. So, courage.

And, finally, the tin man, maybe the most important thing, what was the tin man looking for? Heart. Yeah, heart, heart, heart, heart. People around you, as you run your businesses, they react to feelings more than they do stuff coming out of your mouth. They react to your energy, how you sit, how you speak. They react to how human you are. And how much you care, and how passionate you are. So, finding heart and projecting heart, I think of all things is probably the most important of the three Wizard of Oz characteristics of leadership.”

Startups – GeekWire http://www.geekwire.com/2017/wizard-oz-tells-everything-need-know-great-entrepreneur/

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