To the overly-ambitious lot of young entrepreneurs, putting in 100-hour weeks has a little something to do with fear of either a) not being at the forefront of the next big thing, or b) relaxing for two seconds and being edged out by the competition. For Ari Horowitz, founder and chairman/CEO of New York City-based Opus360 Corp., an integrated Internet solution platform, it's the latter. "I'm working 24 hours a day, almost. And the reason? Competition," he says. "It's the first time in history when the new entrant has a competitive advantage over the incumbent. If you have any experience doing this stuff, there's an unlimited supply of inexpensive capital available to you. Private financiers are much more willing to fund [just] an idea."
That's what concerns Bo Peabody, the 28-year-old first-generation Netpreneur who initially founded Tripod Inc. in pre-Web 1992 as a proprietary online service and sold it to Lycos in February 1998. "Almost every person I talk to is like `I want to make a million dollars, and I'm going to start an Internet company,' " he says. "As a result, I've seen some of the worst business plans where the word `IPO' is mentioned 500 times. If that's their focus, ironically, they're never going to get there."
But Horowitz, 31, who, like Jayson Adams, no longer needs to work, contends fast money isn't motivating his endeavors. "If you're doing this for the money, go into investment banking," he says. "It's almost bad to an extent, but I have people who manage my money, so I don't really pay attention to it." Horowitz adds that the $100 million acquisition of his former company Gray Peak Technologies by USWeb/CKS, a Santa Monica Web service firm, wasn't a premeditated get-rich-quick scheme from start-up. "We thought Gray Peak was going to be a big, public [networking solutions] company," he says. "But USWeb had a very compelling business model, and we felt we could leverage their sales channel, which would accelerate our growth and more rapidly increase the value for our shareholders." You'd figure Horowitz would endlessly tout the bottom line or market position of the 200-employee Opus360 he founded in 1998, but he didn't even mention its 1999 sales of $15 million. It was more important to explain the rewards of receiving positive feedback. "The most satisfying thing is when people say `I think what you're doing is awesome.' "