Take some advice from a CEO whose companies have sold for billions of dollars. She didn't do it by playing it safe.
Everybody likes a comfort zone because it's safe and easy. But when it comes to business the most successful people intentionally seek out situations that are unfamiliar, stretching or uncertain. Take it from Ellen Rubin, CEO and cofounder of ClearSky, a Boston tech startup currently in stealth mode.
Prior to ClearSky she was vice president of marketing for the data warehousing company Netezza, helping to lead it through an IPO before it sold to IBM for nearly $2 billion in 2010.
She also cofounded CloudSwitch--a company that made it simple to connect to a data center and public cloud--which was acquired by Verizon the following year. The secret to her success? Starting companies focused on tech that's not her expertise. While you might think it would be easier for her to stick with subject matter she knows well, Rubin says getting out of her comfort zone has several benefits.
Here's her rationale.
- Experts can be too skeptical.
- Expertise can lead to entrepreneurial fatigue.
- Without risk-taking a startup won't succeed.
- The most successful people within a startup are the risk-takers.