No Bull

Call it what you will. Nerve. Backbone. Cojones. A borderline-irrational mindset that overcomes you, as swiftly as a cyclone, not letting go until you've reached your targeted finish line.

However you identify it, you can be sure every young entrepreneur needs it. Unshakeable confidence in this dotcom world is just as important as capital, location and an imaginative URL. A significant part of that equation is the ability to demonstrate mettle-to raise the stakes even when you're only holding a pair of tens. Enter Sean Rones, founder and CEO (the acronym aptly translating into Cowboy, Entrepreneur, Oddball) of World Footprint LLC, a San Diego media firm. The 35-year-old bull rider brings his no-holds-barred grit from the bullring into the workplace, invariably arriving at business meetings decked out in full cowboy garb-spurs, chaps and bull rope included-ready to bombard companies with his array of ideas. Unrelenting until his proposals are discussed, understood and met, he has no qualms about handcuffing himself to the doors of an office or going John Wayne style and riding his horse outside a building, demanding to speak with the company president. Rones, in fact, saddled up and mosied into our very own Start-Ups headquarters in full cowboy garb, prepared to camp out until we talked to him.

Inane? Maybe. Excessive? Probably. Effective? No question. How else would you describe it, given that Rones has used his eccentric ways to launch the only media firm on the planet with the rights to sell outdoor advertising for dotcom companies during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia? "At the end of the day," he says, "if I haven't maintained the same passion I had in the beginning, then I'm not successful."

Certainly, several other factors have helped facilitate his company's rise, but at the root of it all is Rones' unrestrained, fearless attitude. Here, we take a close look at his success and try to figure out how far this approach to business can take you.

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Bull.

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