Morning Jo: Passion and Purpose

First of all, I am proud of our founder John Harthorne and the whole MassChallenge team. Usually the Nasdaq bell ringers are CEOs of companies celebrating their IPOs, but when there is no IPO, they invite a non-profit to ring the bell, and today it was MassChallenge. John gave a short and inspiring speech, plus a couple of interviews, and then he invited the team, MassChallenge alumni startups, and some sponsors and supporters up to the podium with him to ring the bell.

Second of all, my picture was up on the big screen in Times Square! How cool is that? OK, so I was with a bunch of people in the shot, but I was there and clearly visible. My friends and family all texted me photos, and I saw it with my own eyes! I have to say, I never really dreamed about ringing the bell, but now that I got to do it, I see how cool of an opportunity it is – it’s a big deal!

What this event really represents is the culmination of a lot of hard work. It’s experiences like these where you get wrapped up in the excitement of the moment, but afterwards need to pause and reflect on how we got here. Not everyone gets chosen to ring the bell, so although it’s over in an instant, it is a huge accomplishment.

You can hear it in John’s voice – that passion and purpose he feels for our mission. He inspires the team and all our supporters to want to help entrepreneurs create businesses: businesses that in turn create prosperity, jobs, and optimism in the world. One time I was asking John some questions to help me write a proposal for MassChallenge, and I asked him, “what would you be doing if you weren’t running MassChallenge?” Without skipping a beat, he answered, “suffering!” That’s passion and purpose!

When I think about what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur, those are the two words that come to mind: passion and purpose. I actually believe those are the key ingredients. Some people say ideas are a dime a dozen and it’s all about execution, and of course, you have to execute well to build a successful and sustainable business. But realistically, you’re going to have to build a team to execute.

No one person can do it all, so it’s really the founder’s role to build that team and inspire the best people to perform at their peak. With passion and purpose, an entrepreneur will wake up every morning wanting to do more, give more, and work harder to solve problems and build something of value. 

I’d love to hear your feedback on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and how you celebrate the wins in your business. Comment below or email me at