Must startup founders be charismatic?

Culturally, we tend to associate leadership with extroversion and attach less importance to judgment, vision and mettle. We prize leaders who are eager talkers over those who have something to say.

Must great leaders be gregarious?

Susan Cain wrote an OpEd this weekend in the Times containing the quote above. In Silicon Valley, the culture seems very much to embrace the idea of introverted leadership. One might even say the two kinds of leaders live in harmony.

On one hand, there are the garrulous Jobs, Benioff, Ellison and on the other there are the taciturn Schmidt, Page and Zuckerberg. All six of these leaders possess judgment, vision and mettle. Some lead from the front, voices booming and flags unfurled, and some lead from the back, plotting and coding. But ultimately, they all lead. And that’s the most critical part.

Published 2012-09-17 in Startups 


I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 18,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


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