Linda Rottenberg: Crazy is a Compliment [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

May 13, 2014
Stanford eCorner
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Linda Rottenberg: Crazy is a Compliment [Entire Talk]

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In this video, Linda Rottenberg, the co-founder of Endeavor, shares her experiences supporting entrepreneurs around the world. She talks about the importance of self-belief and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, especially in emerging markets. Rottenberg also discusses the key lessons she has learned through her work and offers insights into the mindset and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the most important lesson Linda Rottenberg learned from her meeting with Wences Casares?

The most important backer anyone needs to start a venture is themselves. Rottenberg learned this lesson from Casares, who convinced his two sisters to drop out of college with him and faced many struggles before selling his company for $750 million.

Q: How does Endeavor support entrepreneurs?

Endeavor is an organization that focuses on the scale up phase of entrepreneurship. They screen thousands of entrepreneurs every year, looking for high impact individuals with big ideas and potential for growth. Once selected as Endeavor entrepreneurs, they receive a suite of services including access to talent and capital.

Q: Can you give an example of a successful Endeavor entrepreneur?

One example is Leila Velez, who started a business to provide products for the curly haired Afro-Brazilian population. With support from Endeavor, her business, Beleza Natural, now generates over $80 million in revenue and employs over 2,300 women.

Q: How does Linda Rottenberg view entrepreneurship in different cultures?

Rottenberg believes that entrepreneurship is a global phenomenon and that entrepreneurs everywhere have a desire to make a positive impact and create jobs. While there are cultural differences, she sees more commonalities than differences among entrepreneurs.

Q: How does Endeavor deal with the issue of equity for employees in different parts of the world?

Endeavor educates the investor and business community in each country about the importance of giving equity to employees. While there may be initial resistance, many entrepreneurs in Endeavor's network have become role models for giving equity to their employees.

Q: How has Endeavor's business model changed over time?

Initially, Endeavor focused on being a neutral provider of support and did not invest directly in companies. However, they have now created Endeavor Catalyst, a co-investment fund that allows them to passively invest in their entrepreneurs alongside other qualified institutional investors.

Q: How does Endeavor find the right entrepreneurs for their program?

Endeavor has offices in 20 countries and spends a lot of time locally, working with top business leaders in each country. They rely on these leaders to identify and recommend high-impact entrepreneurs for the program.

Q: What are some of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in emerging markets?

In addition to the lack of access to capital and resources, entrepreneurs in emerging markets often face cultural barriers and a lack of trust in entrepreneurship as a viable career path. Rottenberg emphasizes the importance of role models and mentorship in overcoming these challenges.

Q: What are some important characteristics of successful entrepreneurs?

Successful entrepreneurs come in different types and have different strengths. Some may be focused on branding, metrics, innovation, or impact. The key is to know your strengths and surround yourself with a team that can complement those strengths.

Q: What are some areas of research that Linda Rottenberg believes should be explored?

Rottenberg believes that there should be more research on the scale up phase of entrepreneurship, as well as on the intangible factors such as role models, mentorship, and the psychology of entrepreneurship. She also suggests studying the impact of giving equity to employees on motivation and success.


Entrepreneurship requires self-belief and the willingness to take risks. Successful entrepreneurs focus on pain points, not just PowerPoint presentations. They stop planning and start doing. They minimize risks and build strong teams. Trust, mentorship, and access to talent are crucial for success. Entrepreneurship is a global phenomenon and has the potential to solve social problems and transform economies.

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