"We don't need aging institutions to pave the way for 21st-century dynamism. What we need is will. And audacity," writes Katherine Boyle in Bari Weiss' Common Sense.

There’s a common question in Silicon Valley about what makes an extraordinary entrepreneur. Experienced investors point to various traits. Perseverance. Grit. Overcoming adversity. Hustle. Innate genius. A good childhood. A bad childhood. Luck.

But the trait that is most meaningful is the hardest to describe. It is the fire in the eyes, the ferocity of speech and action that is the physical manifestation of seriousness. It is the belief that God or the universe has bestowed upon you an immense task that no one else can accomplish but you. It is a holy war waged against the laws of physics. It is the burden of having to upend sometimes hundreds of years of entrenched interests to accomplish a noble goal.

When you see that kind of seriousness in a founder, the common response is to laugh or mock it. Who is he to believe he can colonize Mars? Who are they to think people will hop in cars with strangers? But investors like myself run toward such serious people because this rare quality—a potent combination of capability and will—inspires others to reach beyond what seems conceivable.

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