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History tends to mythologize entrepreneurial names in the tech world. We attribute to them black-and-white lifestyle characteristics, with very little room for gray. For example, Steve Jobs was a charismatic and publicly engaged leader, while Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was an introvert who preferred working in solitude.
It’s easy to invest in these caricatures, and then inquire as to which camp you belong. Are you an extrovert and a born leader, or a lone wolf better suited to behind the scenes? Do you need to find your ideally complementary co-founder, or is it better to strike out on your own?
Before launching Jotform, I worried about whether I had the personality to lead a company. I knew there was a track record of being a proven web developer, but I didn’t know if I had the right attributes to be a CEO — to execute the necessary strategic work and successfully communicate a vision. I launched anyway, and 17 years later have discovered that, in pursuit of the right company culture, working in solitude versus a team setting — introversion versus extroversion — is a nuanced affair. I’ve observed that people seek solitude for various reasons, and that understanding these motivations helped me better appreciate the overall wellness, creative and leadership benefits that can flow from working solo.