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Traditional Business Skills: An interview with Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy is the founder of McCarthy Capital, an Omaha-based private equity firm. Prior to the 2010 Young Professionals Summit, Joe Olsen of Phenomblue sat down with Mike to talk about business skills, entrepreneurship, and more.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the interview:

  • We only learned to look for skills later on in the process – started out with very non-traditional skills
  • Looking for people with a passion for what they do
  • Looking for a product that has a wide audience and big market
  • The right people, with the right product, in the right markets – the numbers take care of themselves
  • Basic entrepreneurship rule: DNROC (do not run out of cash)
  • There’s no specific attributes which make people successful by background
  • Looking for people with a knowledge base, with a passion, and that can manage
  • Takes more courage than sense to start a business
  • We don’t value failure high enough in Nebraska
  • Culturally we need to get beyond whether we’re going to fail and spend more focus on whether we’re going to get started
  • Core strength that people don’t focus on: generating revenue
  • When building a team: look for differences rather than similarities
  • If you can only have two people, you better have one that can sell and one that can produce
  • Shared success is as important as shared wealth – investors want to be a part of successful ideas and successful businesses
  • The people with the most humility tend to end up with the most money
  • ADD is a big problem for entrepreneurs – lack of focus can be a great strength and a great weakness
  • Foundation of Omaha and of the country is entrepreneurs

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