You hear a lot of metaphors for starting your own first business — “go out on a limb” and “leap into the chasm” are just a few. Sometimes they are given as recommendations, sometimes caveats. They all say that you have to be ready, willing and able to step into the unknown. But new to me was, “cut the lifeboats.” This was advice that a San Francisco State professor gave Chris Larsen. He says it was the best advice he received. And Larsen went out and co-founded E-LOAN, a company he sold in 2005.
Larsen is now CEO of Prosper, an online marketplace where complete strangers can loan money to one another. He says that as banks have retreated from lending during the past year, Prosper has seen a dramatic increase in credit-worthy borrowers. “The credit crunch is good for person-to-person lending,”
SF State Magazine tells about how seven alumni (including Larsen, whose story is #2 in the article) created successful companies in an article called Minding Your Own Business in their Spring/Summer 2008 issue. All seven stories are now available online. [Authors of the article are Adrianne Bee, Rachel Howard, and Jennie Lay.]