Sunday's New York Times profile of PayPal and Slide founder Max Levchin tackles the phenomena of serial entrepreneurs. What makes them start multiple companies after a multimillion-dollar IPO or sale? The short answer: Money, but not in the way that you think. Levchin talks about how Slide's exit needs to be more than the $1.5 billion PayPal received, plus inflation, for him to be pleased with the outcome. (Look no further than fellow PayPal Mafia membes Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who sold YouTube for a PayPal-topping $1.65 billion, for another example of this behavior.) Netcape cofounder Marc Andreessen, who was interviewed for the article, points out the obvious in Silicon Valley: No one here really cares about money in the consumption sense, but everyone cares about having more than the other guy. San Francisco society blog SF Luxe begs entrepreneurs to become conspicuous in their consumption, and we'd like to agree. It's more fun for the rest of us.
The other secret? No one sleeps around here. Levchin offhandedly mentions his life without a company:
"I enjoy sitting on nice beaches and hanging out with my girlfriend and playing with my dog, but that's three hours a day," Mr. Levchin said. "What about the remaining 18 hours I'm awake?"
Unless Levchin has mastered the 30-hour day, we're counting a mere three hours reserved for sleep. Are we sure he's not a cyborg?