Looking For The Passion

I was at TheStreet.com’s 10th anniversary party last night. We heard great speeches by co-founders Marty Peretz and Jim Cramer. But the line of the night award goes to Tom Clarke, the CEO of TheStreet.com for the past seven years, and the person who has provided the quiet leadership that has made the company first survive and then succeed.

Tom said something like this to the assembled room, which was largely current and former employees:

When you’ve got a new idea, something you want to do, don’t send me an email, come to see me. Because I need to look into your eyes and see if you have the passion to pull it off.

It’s so true. That’s one of the things we look for in entrepreneurs. The passion to pull it off. There are lots of good ideas, but it’s the combination of a great idea with the personal ownership and passion that leads to persistent execution of the idea that ultimately wins.

I like the idea that Tom manages by looking people in the eye. I am sure that’s harder as his company gets bigger. But the fact that he’s so committed to doing it that way gives me confidence that TheStreet.com will continue to succeed.