13 Nov 2012
By Renee Sylvestre-Williams
“I’m your classic serial entrepreneur. I’ve never had a job and I’m probably completely unemployable,” says Brett Markinson.
While he may call himself unemployable, Markinson’s entrepreneurial skills have served him well. He co-founded the sales site Hautelook.com which was acquired by Nordstrom last year. This year he launched SoleSociety.com, a shoe club that provides “exclusive, designer quality, on-trend shoes” to members.
He breaks down his more than 20 years of work down to one sentence, “I have a natural allergy to inefficiency.” This allergy has led him to focus on technology and the internet with a focus on retail, all in attempts to create a better experience for the customer and the distributor.
It’s not SoleSociety that’s the main topic of conversation, despite the shoes, but the lessons Markinson has learned over his years of building and launching companies. He broke it down into a few points for us:
Think about the market
“Is the market ready for it? You have to be in the zeitgeist. I’ve had ideas that were too early for their time.” Once you have the idea and the market is ready for it, then it comes down to being able to execute that idea. “You have to have a vision and you need to understand and articulate your goals.”
“You have to be able to access the critical ingredient for success – talent,” says Markinson. “He who has the best talent wins.” Markinson says that part of great leadership is the ability to motivate people to see the same thing you see, especially when it’s a new idea.
Markinson says that young entrepreneurs suffer from what he calls “Entrepreneuritis.” “Young entrepreneurs have multiple ideas and focus on all of them,” he says. “That’s intuitively correct but practically incorrect because it dilutes focus on one particular idea.” He explains that this lack of focus on one idea can be a derivative of fear. “This is some primal fear that makes the entrepreneur think see the glass as half full. This is the other side.” While ‘entrepreneuritis can hurt an entrepreneur, Markinson suggests focusing on one idea at a time.
“Ideas are a dime a dozen,” says Markinson.