Sean Parker: the man, the role model, the institution. For many of us, Sean Parker became a very real inspiration after seeing Justin Timberlake play his role in the movie adaptation of “The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher.
The film followed Mark Zuckerberg, but also trailed Parker, a young entrepreneur from Virginia who, after graduating from high school, founded Napster with a friend.
Napster revolutionized the music industry in the United States, but later lost relevance as a result of the ongoing issue of illegal downloading. Years later, Parker founded Plaxo, a social networking tool that reached 20 millions users.
At the age of 25, Parker met Mark Zuckerberg and joined in the Facebook venture with big ideas and the ability to lead the company to the next level as the president. For Parker, the rest is history, as Facebook is one of the most powerful Internet companies today, with a recently launched IPO and continuous growth.
Many of us saw "The Social Network" and immediately wanted to be like Sean Parker: successful, carefree, brave, partier, and above all, a genius. With startups in a more advantageous position than ever, entrepreneurs are emerging without fear of failure, able to grasp opportunity and find success.
If you want to find success like Sean Parker, here are the 10 traits to turn you into a successful entrepreneur.
1. Believe in yourself.
Perhaps the most important advice anyone can give you when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur is to believe in yourself. Believe in your skills and your knowledge; believe in what you do. Believe you can change the world and make it a better, more fun, more exciting place.
One of the most notable attributes of Sean Parker is that he had a very high level of self-confidence. If you want something, fight for it, without thinking of what could happen. If there is something you seek to do, just do it. Believe in yourself and you will get what you seek.
2. Defy the rules.
Sean Parker founded Napster with his friend Shawn Fanning, and the two literally turned the music industry upside-down in the United States.
In one year, the service reached 10 million users. After a short-lived success, Napster was shut down after several music industry associations (recording labels, Recording Industry Association of America, etc.) and bands, such as Metallica, filed lawsuits against the music downloading service.
Despite its defeat in the courts, Napster was a success, as it revolutionized the music industry forever and is considered a forerunner of later services like iTunes and Spotify. Sean Parker was not afraid to challenge the rules and he succeeded because of it.
3. Start young.
Parker founded Napster at 17, Plaxo at 21, and became the founding president of Facebook at just 25. He then continued founding companies, including Airtime.
The importance of this fact is that he identified at an early age what he wanted to do in life, and his young age was never a problem. It is a lesson we should all learn: there is no need to wait to start any kind of project. We just have to want to succeed and get going.
4. Do not expect to know everything.
When Parker founded his first company, he had no idea about laws, business strategy, finance, etc. He just learned through experience and the trial and error method. When starting a business, it is impossible to know everything about it. There will always be things we don’t know, and we have to learn those things through error, through experience.
Parker considers the time invested in Napster as an invaluable learning experience, calling it “Napster University.” Nobody can claim to know everything when starting a project. There will always be things we do not know, contingencies that will test us, but our ability to adapt to circumstances and learn from mistakes will determine our success.
5. Meet everyone.
In “The Social Network,” several features of Sean Parker’s personality are shown that don’t necessarily correspond with the real Sean Parker’s personality, but they do serve to teach us valuable lessons. One of them is extroversion, as Sean Parker has no qualms in interviews with Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin without even knowing them.
That shows the importance of making connections and being open to meeting people of all kinds, without rejecting anything or anyone. We don’t know who is going to help us along our path to success.
6. Identify opportunities in your day-to-day.
In one scene of the film, Sean Parker goes through his girl’s PC while she is taking a shower and that's when he discovers Facebook and sees in it a great business opportunity.
You have to imitate Sean Parker and always be attentive to what you have around you. At any time, in any place, could come the opportunity of your life. You can catch it only if you have your radar turned on. So never turn off your radar and always be a detector of opportunities.
7. Enter the game.
Once you detect the opportunity, do whatever it takes to carry it out. Having just discovered the existence of Facebook, Sean Parker contacted Mark Zuckerberg to make an appointment and learn more about the company.
When we have an idea, it is important to get going immediately. Take a step (however small) to start moving the road and start developing your business idea. Do not wait until the circumstances are all good. Start now.
8. Don’t be afraid of anything.
As we know, fear is the great brake of humanity - fear of failure, fear of the opinions of others, fear of not being good enough. Send all your fears to hell. You fail? Then you get up and try it again.
That’s it. Sean Parker was confronted in court by some of the greatest music producers in the country. He lost. They closed down Napster, but he didn’t let that stop him and followed his path to success, looking for more opportunities.
9. Be bold and daring.
Again, we don’t know if the movie accurately reflects the true character of Sean Parker, but the character shown is brash and bold, not afraid to speak his mind and do what he wants. At the scene of the first meeting with Zuckerberg and Saverin, in an oriental restaurant, Sean Parker arrives late, greeting everyone in the bar.
He knows the waitresses, and at the end of the meal, he is the one who pays the bill. He also says what he thinks and is witty and funny. Take note of his attitude and develop your personality to make it more attractive and self-confident. It will open you many doors in the future.
10. Celebrate the success.
The (sad) end of the Sean Parker-Facebook relationship happens when he’s arrested for possession of cocaine at a party. Parker lives on the edge and celebrates his success as he wishes – with great parties, alcohol, drugs, expensive cars and beautiful girls.
Perhaps some people see it morally reprehensible, but... why not celebrate success as you want? Our generation wants to work hard, set goals, achieve them, and once success is attained, celebrate as we deserve!
Top Photo Credit: Getty Images