Lessons From Pat McGovern for Entrepreneurs

Opinion

Very sad about the passing of Pat McGovern, the Chairman of International Data Group (IDG). He was my mentor and friend for over 30 years, and a giant in the technology, media, market research, and venture capital fields.

Today, I took some time to reflect on what Pat taught me as an entrepreneur and investor.

Pat McGovern was a global role model for entrepreneurs, constantly traveling around the world, rewiring his brain with the best ideas from every culture.

Here are a few lessons from my experiences with Pat:

1. Focus on the customer. Listen to them intently and help them to be more successful by serving their needs. (Easy to say, hard to do.)

2. Do not dwell on the past. Focus on the future, what you will do next to make a better product or service.

3. Constantly be learning as much as you can from those around you—from your colleagues, your customers, and everyone you meet everywhere.

4. Constantly be thinking of better ways to do things. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.

5. Hire the best, smartest people that you can, empower them to serve customers, and get out of their way.

6. Work in small, decentralized business units as close as possible to the customer.

7. Build and maintain long-term relationships with customers, employees, investors, and friends.

8. Never bad-mouth your competition. Focus instead on your business and what you can do for your customers.

9. Think globally, act locally. Great local managers with local knowledge and experience will always outperform managers shipped in from elsewhere.

10. In every organization and in the world at large, show respect for every individual.

[Editor’s note: Steve Woit worked with Pat McGovern, Chairman of IDG, for 17 years, beginning as Assistant to the Chairman in 1980 and finishing as General Partner, IDG Ventures in 1997. He is the Founding Publisher of Xconomy, a business that reflects the IDG model of local news coverage and events in top technology clusters.]

Steve Woit is the Founding Publisher of Xconomy, a Yale graduate (Y 1980), and a mentor for the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. Follow @stevewoit

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