Co-founder of OKCupid and SparkNotes Sam Yagan has taken part in a Business Insider interview.
Yagan is also the Chief Executive Officer of Match, Inc.
In the interview, Yagan spoke about starting his first company SparkNotes and how he credits his success to being present, surrounding himself with people smarter than he is, and being willing to fail.
Yagan explained that he didn’t have a foundation on which to build his professional success: “If your first job is a CEO, like, normally you’d train for this job and you’d become a domain expert, or you manage people. There are whole creative-element plans to prepare you to be ultimately a CEO, and I had none of that. And so I showed up, made a ton of mistakes, obviously.”
Yagan was also asked what his biggest career advice would be, to which he responded: “Surround yourself with people smarter than you. When striving for success, you can’t sit around and wait to get lucky, because that doesn’t work. You’ve got to show up for the game, you’ve got to put yourself in positions to get lucky, then you’ve got to get lucky, then you’ve got to execute like hell, then you’ve got to actually deliver. I’ve gotten super lucky, and I’ve failed a bunch of times.”
He added: “You have just as many people who say, ‘Well, I started a company to solve a problem that I had. And then I think you can also take the view that if you bring fresh eyes on an industry, you can often come up with new paradigms or new products.”
Read the full interview here.