I just read the latest Inc. magazine. The last column in the Founders Forum asked the founder of Pandora 10 questions.

I decided to put myself to the test, answering the same ten questions that Tim Westergren answered. Along the way, I realized some interesting things about myself.

1. What company do you not want to start but wish someone else would?startups

An internet-based business allows Goldbelt shareholders located anywhere in the United States or Canada to work for that internet business. Telecommuting reduces the barriers to entry for technology jobs for shareholders. Goldbelt shareholders could be trained remotely via web conferencing, perform their jobs at the internet-based business, and make real wages. These types of jobs would allow shareholders to build their skill sets, allowing them to prepare for the next couple of decades.

More traditional companies like GE are investing in internet technology companies like Pivotal, diversifying their portfolio by getting into internet-based businesses.

I’d create a business like this if I had the right business model, start-up funding, and a small group of founders to get it off the ground. But I would be just as happy if someone else did.

2. Which TV or movie character would you like to go into business with?bone-angela-cher

I would like to start a company with Angela from Bones. She’s analytic. She’s tech savvy. And she’s super smart with her artist’s approach to solving problems. More importantly, she’s funny. Funny people who are smart help you keep going in a startup.

3. If you were to start your political party, what would the platform be?

Educate yourself as a voter.

There is disinformation or inaccurate information during campaigns. It’s up to voters to research the issues that will impact their lives and then vote for the candidate that best represents their values and position. Today, even the media has a point of view, so it’s almost impossible to get objective journalism, which explains the pros and cons, and the effects of a candidate’s platform. Also, does the candidate have a vision that speaks to you?

4. It’s 8:00 pm and you’re traveling on business, what do you do all night?

Play on my iPad, marathon some of my favorite TV shows on Netflix via my Apple TV, which would be hooked up to the hotel room’s flat-screen TV. I just finished marathoning Battlestar Galactica! I can’t believe I didn’t watch this show when it was on the air (2004-2009).

Battlestar Galactica

5. Whom would you trade places with for a day?

Winston Churchill painting at Chartwell. What an amazing man. What an amazing life. Winston loved art, champagne, and Chartwell. Me? I love his paintings, love champagne, and would love to live at Chartwell. Since I can’t trade places with him, the best I can do is collect books on Winston Churchill.


6. The biggest myth in business is introverted-thinkers

Introverts aren’t effective leaders. I think some of the best leaders I’ve worked with were introverts.

Believe it or not, I’m an introvert. People who went to junior high or high school with me may have a hard time believing this because of my leadership role in basketball growing up. But I find strength in being an introvert. I have had to alter how I manage my career because of it, though.

Read “Why Introverts Can Make The Best Leaders” by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler where she summarizes introverts as leaders. I agree with her five key points:

– They think first, talk later. Introverted leaders think before they speak. Unless I’m an expert on the issue, I always listen, think. Think some more, then speak.

– They focus on depth. Introverted leaders seek depth over breadth. My approach is depth, not breadth. I always drill down into a subject or issue rather than casting a wide net. I started out as a specialist (depth with expertise) in business, and then gradually learned how to balance being a generalist (casting a wider net) when necessary.

As you rise in your career, you’re a specialist, and then as you move up the ladder, you become a generalist. The most effective leaders are the ones who know how to do it all because they drill down into the issues from their specialist perspective, especially if it’s their area of expertise.

– They exude calm. Introverted leaders are low-key. I’m only low-key looking on the outside. Inside, I get excited about an idea or an issue; then I demonstrate my enthusiasm which tends to give me more credibility because I don’t look like I’m easily convinced on an idea or issue….because I’m not easily convinced.

The ideas or questions need to make business sense or have a return on investment, whether it’s an investment of money or time unless it’s a social good, then by all means, I’m all for the idea or issue.

– They let their fingers do the talking. Introverted leaders usually prefer writing to talking. My work always speaks for itself. I’m the one who generates most of the documentation for the executive team. I let my extroverted counterparts do all the talking, but I know when to speak up. So when I say something, people are attentive to what I have to say. I’ve been fortunate to develop good judgment around knowing when to speak up.

– They embrace solitude. Introverted leaders are energized by spending time alone. My big brother Mark took care of me because Mom and Dad both worked. When I was old enough, I became a latchkey kid. As a result, I love spending time by myself. Sometimes too much time, because I can quickly become untethered, floating in my bubble reading books or thinking my thoughts. I’m also a busy bee like my Mom while my brother Mark knows how to relax like my Dad did.

Mark and me in 1964IMG_0087

math7. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’re willing to admit here? I wish I would have taken school seriously in junior high and high school. It was all about basketball for me back then. However, I learned about teamwork, leadership, and that practice makes perfect.

But I wish I would have worked harder on math and science, so I’d have the grounding to become a developer – to write code to build my web and mobile apps. But my mind just doesn’t think that way!

I’m very proud of my cousin Ashley. She has all A’s cross the board, especially in math and science. The world is her oyster. She’ll be able to choose any career, learn any skills for any job she wants. That’s what math and science do for your career options as an adult.

8. If you could time travel, where would you be right now?IMG_0089

With my Dad! I have vivid memories of him. I would choose any moment with Dad. I credit him for teaching me how to improvise like MacGyver because Dad was a sheet metal specialist, and he had all these tools for his trade. He taught me how to use the necessary tools and also how to problem-solve.

I would give anything to travel back in time and spend time with my Dad.

Although maybe not back to the time Dad, Mark and I were biking on the North Douglas Highway when I was little. A Norwegian Elkhound rushed me as we were biking past it. I crashed my bike, causing Mark to crash. We both have scars on our knees because of me. When Dad explained what a happened to Mom, all she heard was “Lori was attacked by a dog?!!”

9. What have you learned about yourself while running your business?

That I love building something from nothing. Lack of coding ability aside, I’ve been fortunate to take ideas, make them a product or business, and then launch them.

I never saw this ability coming. Who would have thought that when I worked at SEARCH in Patient Accounts that I would become an entrepreneur and work for startups? Not me!

10. What have you sacrificed for success?IMG_0085

Time with my Mom. I lived in Manhattan two years, and it was too hard being that far away from her. It was especially upsetting when I couldn’t fly to Petersburg on the same day when we had a death in the family. Today, I’m fortunate to have regularly scheduled time with Mom during the year. I’m excited because I’m going to see her soon and we always have fun watching the NBA playoffs together!

So those are my answers. I think you should respond to these ten questions, too – you may be surprised at what you learn about yourself!