There's no substitute in life for passion. Feeling passion towards your craft, whatever it may be, is the single biggest determinant of success and failure. Moreover, science shows it's one of the primary determinants of happiness or a lack thereof. Emily Abate and I got married this past weekend in Brooklyn. We planned the event for roughly a year and over the course of that planning, we partnered with various service providers - an event planner, caterer, band, rabbi, etc. As the event finally unfolded last Sunday afternoon and friends began approaching me saying it was one of the best weddings they had attended, I realized the driving force and differentiator was passion. We considered multiple vendors for each role in our wedding. Each and every person we chose as our partner had enormous passion for their craft and ultimately, that's what drew us to them. Matthew Robbins worked with us on design, laying the foundation for a magical evening. Yann Nury met us at least four times to plan the menu, taste the food, discuss wine pairings and optimize the presentation. Bobby Attiko and I had several meetings and numerous telephone conversations about how the night should flow and musical choices. He brought as much energy to the performance as any band leader I've seen. Each of these guys is tremendously talented and have immense pride and passion for what they do. It makes all the difference in the world in creating something special.
I think I have similar passion for entrepreneurship, business strategy and startups. In considering an investment in a startup, that passion for building something special; that drive and commitment to excellence is probably the single biggest quality that I now look for in CEOs of businesses where we are considering an investment. This personality trait, more than any other, serves a critical role in helping business leaders overcome the odds and build cultures of success inside their companies.