Last semester I interviewed Jeff Kaplan, Director for Venture Asheville. One thing he told me as advice for entrepreneurs has hung with me since that time. When asked about tactics for funding a start-up he said, “Personally, most of what I’ve done is bootstrapping, pinching pennies, and personal savings. It is really helpful to have a working spouse”. That working spouse piece has really stuck with me. For someone in a partnership to be “all-in” and really go for their entrepreneurial dream, sacrifices have to be made. His words have especially been poignant as I keep seeing the ridiculous controversy over the divorce of MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos, billionaires and founders of Amazon. Many news outlets keep making comments about “how much MacKenzie will get in the divorce” evoking rage in every spouse who has ever silently, or not so silently supported the entrepreneurial endeavors of their significant other. I could write a laundry list of reasons why these one-sided, sexist headlines are an oversimplification of the back story of any entrepreneurial couple, but I don’t have to because Louise Matsakis, a writer for WIRED has written a brilliant piece called, MacKenzie Bezos and the Myth of the Lone Genius Founder.
For those of us who are entrepreneurs, love an entrepreneur, or find ourselves in an entrepreneurial partnership (business and/or romantic), it’s important to recognize the PARTNERSHIP. The myth of the lone genius founder is indeed farfetched and rare.
3 thoughts on “MacKenzie Bezos Deserves Some Credit”
Hi Nancy! I can’t say this was on my radar until I read your post. (Sometimes I live in very cozy, toddler-filled bubble.) I thought it humorous to say that McKenzie would be the richest woman in the world because she is half of the richest couple in the world. It seems rather redundant that they would give her that title post-divorce as well. And yes, entrepreneurship, especially at the Amazon.com level is not a lone genius kind of journey. No doubt McKenzie made sacrifices and weighed in on issues. Not everyone has similar views on roles in the partnership of marriage. I bet they will be talking about this for a while…
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This hit close to home as well. During our time in business my husband worked all the time. We never took a vacation over 3 days in 12 years. He was the physical component to our business but I did everything else. He couldn’t have acheived the success he did if he had to take the kids to the doctor or if he had to be home by 5. I sacrificed my own career to balance his drive and our family….just saying she deserves anything she gets!
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What a great topic to write on and one that is very fitting for your focus in this course. I think the strength in partnerships has immense value and is something we should tap into more than we know. These partnerships can be from a significant other, friend, or business partner.