News from ExitEvent: 'Are you a founder or a Number Two?'
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Editor's note: ExitEvent and WRALTechWire will be cooperating in presenting news about the region's entrepreneurial sector. Today, ExitEvent founder Joe Procopio writes about the "execution guy" - the "Number Two" who helps turn the ideas of a founder into a success. As Joe notes, he has been both, so he writes from experience.
DURHAM, N.C. - Last week, I was in lurking in the back of a room (which is usually where you'll find me), listening to a rather successful entrepreneur give a talk to a bunch of young entrepreneurs, most of whom were students. At one point, he made this careful distinction:
"I'm not that guy. I'm not the visionary. I'm the number two. I'm the guy that you give me the idea and I'll get it started."
He then asked how many Number Twos were in the audience. Given that the room was full of students, and that most young entrepreneurs think they're the second coming of Elon Musk, I expected crickets. Instead, much to my surprise, several hands went up, including one young entrepreneur who had made a presentation earlier in the evening.
I was aware of the distinction, of course. The Number Two is the person behind the founder or founders who takes the idea and creates the product or gets it to market or otherwise makes it tangible and successful.
But I had never really given it much thought. Like most tech-founders or tech-CEOs, I've been both the visionary and the Number Two, sometimes at the same time, for the entirety of my career. I've had pretty much equal amounts of success and failure in both roles.
Note: ExitEvent and WRALTechWire are both part of the Capitol Broadcasting family. ExitEvent is operated by The American Underground in Durham. WRALTechWire is part of Capitol's New Media Group. The American Underground announced its acquisition of ExitEvent last week.
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