4 Introverts Who Created Successful Startups
Gates. Shah. Zuckerberg. What do these names have in common? For starters, they’re all insanely successful. After all, who wouldn’t count running Facebook — which is used by well over a billion people on the planet — a success? Another common element between all of them is that they’re all introverts.
Yes: it may be hard to believe, but Bill Gates — founder of one of the most influential technology companies in history and one of the most popular people on the planet — is an introvert. He’s someone who doesn’t readily and willingly like talking to people and, in general, would like to spend most of his time alone.
You may be surprised to find there’s a handful of introverts out in the world who have managed successful startup companies in addition to Mr. Gates.
1. Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest
Have you ever scrolled for hours upon hours on Pinterest, maybe looking at cool recipes, trendy fashions or even just cat pictures? If you have, then you’ve experienced the idea of Ben Silbermann. Silbermann had the idea for Pinterest after designing his own apps. When Tote, one of his early apps, failed, he turned to his childhood and thought of an app for collecting. The rest is history.
Silbermann has learned that small victories are important to share with people. With an introverted personality, he has to remember to share his wins and not simply keep all his emotions to himself. A worthy lesson for anyone.
2. Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder of Hubspot
Social media is a natural part of our lives now. That may seem scary, but it’s the truth. Keeping this in mind, Shah and his business partner saw an opportunity to provide tools for this platform way back in 2006. Shah’s ability to accurately predict how social media would blow up led to his company becoming one of the first to provide social media marketing and web analytics.
Shah’s idea to treat customers like people really hit home with future buyers. Creating a company that has a personal touch is important when leading a company as an introvert. Recognizing that everyone has anxiety and doubts makes everyone human — and that makes everyone important.
3. Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder of Facebook
Facebook is everywhere. You can’t escape its grasp, no matter where you turn. As Facebook continues to grow, Mark Zuckerberg is a man who is wanted by the media more and more. The spotlight continues to grow on him. With this in mind, it’s difficult for Zuckerberg to be himself.
Naturally an introvert, Zuckerberg works through it by genuinely caring about and talking to people. Just because you may not like to socialize doesn’t mean you don’t have great ideas. Mark gets out there and listens to people when they talk. Specifically, he has a special relationship with one of his executives. With a two-man team, getting messages across is much easier. This is a great tool to use if you’re looking to use your introversion as an advantage.
4. Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft
Yes, the brilliant mind behind Microsoft and one of the biggest figures of the 20th century is an introvert. Bill is famously known for his shyness and his quirky side. Even though Mr. Gates doesn’t necessarily like to attract attention to himself through the characteristics of an extrovert, Bill harnesses one of the most important tools a successful introvert has.
You have to know what you’re talking about. Plain and simple. If you know what you’re talking about, no matter the subject matter, you’ll have a ton of confidence. If you have a ton of confidence, you don’t need to worry about people staring at you and secretly laughing at you. Rather, if you know your stuff, you’ll inspire and awe everyone you talk to.
Inspired yet? These folks stand as proof that great ideas don’t need to fall by the wayside just because you like to keep to yourself.
Kayla Matthews is a self-improvement writer contributing to publications like The Daily Muse, MakeUseOf, Lifehack and The Huffington Post. To read more professional development posts from Kayla, check out her blog, Productivity Theory.
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