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Steve Case: Entrepreneurs Must Focus on Passion

Steve Case is a busy man. In the past six months, Case, who is perhaps best known for co-founding AOL (s aol), has taken on the role of chairman of the Startup America Partnership as well as a spot on the board of President Obama’s new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Meanwhile, he still works as CEO of investment firm Revolution LLC and chairs his own Case Foundation non-profit.

I sat down with Case on Friday at the TiE Silicon Valley conference to get a few more specifics on his newest roles. A short video clip from our talk is embedded below.

Startup America is generally focused on “celebrating and accelerating” entrepreneurs across all sectors and geographic regions of the U.S. by providing tools to help them grow, Case told me. “We particularly help people in the speed-up phase, when you really see one of these companies on a growth trajectory,” he said. “What can be done in terms of giving them access to services, or access to customers, or access to talent, to increase the odds that they’ll make that transition to be a successful company.”

Meanwhile, with the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, he advocates for specific governmental policies that would make it easier for people to start and build companies. “That’s really more trying to get people in [Washington] D.C., the White House working with Congress, to put policies in place that are more entrepreneur-friendly.” He said the council is currently targeting policies on immigration, FDA regulations, and regulations around initial public offerings, to name a few.

In both roles, he’s hoping to create Silicon Valley-like ecosystems across the country and in sectors beyond technology. “There is something magical about Silicon Valley,” Case said. “It’s hard to get a healthy, vibrant, entrepreneurial ecosystem working… and Silicon Valley does have that.” 

Case also offered advice for what entrepreneurs themselves can do to position their companies for success: Don’t start a company just because you think it will be a quick flip. “A lot of people are starting businesses because they think it’s an opportunity to make some money,” Case said. “You occasionally get lucky, but that doesn’t really work. You have to be passionate about it.”

In this video, Steve Case talks to GigaOM about how he juggles his many roles, how Silicon Valley is the “epicenter of innovation” in the US, and why entrepreneurs should be motivated by more than money:

3 Responses to “Steve Case: Entrepreneurs Must Focus on Passion”

  1. Right-on Steve! Passion is a must in any endeavor you start or are involved in. When you have absolute Passion in your work your clients, vendors and employees can sense it. Your everyday work feels more like a hobby than a job!

  2. Great words from a well respected business professional. I couldn’t agree more with Case’s argument for entrepreneurs to have a passion. Thanks for the added video, really adds another element to the post!