Multipliers: A Different Breed of Entrepreneur

I hold all entrepreneurs in high regard, but a subset separates themselves from the rest. I call these people multipliers. They’re driven and accomplished like other entrepreneurs, but they go beyond, seeking to multiply their success and impact. The easiest example is financial, but it could also be in other ways, such as impact on society.

Love him or hate him, Elon Musk is an example of a multiplier. He sold Zip2 in 1999 for over $300 million, personally pocketing over $20 million. He immediately rolled that into another start-up, (which later became PayPal). eBay acquired PayPal for about $1.5 billion in 2002, netting Musk hundreds of millions. He rolled that windfall into starting Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity. Last year, Elon acquired Twitter for $44 billion.

Most people would be content with $20 million, but Elon wants to multiply his impact (and, I assume, his wealth). He continues to multiply his impact with bigger moves.

Multipliers are intriguing to me. Even among a rare class of people, they stand out because they’re wired differently. When many would focus on preserving what they’ve achieved, these individuals continue to take on risk to keep multiplying.

I wonder why. Are these people driven by something materially different than other entrepreneurs are?