The best very smart entrepreneurs I know are not driven primarily by money.
Because if you are wicked smart, there are much better ways to make a lot of money, risk adjusted. Go work at a hedge fund or PE firm and make $2m-$20m a year, every year, once you prove yourself. Potentially a lot more. A ton of very, very smart people do just this.
Or go work in a very senior role at Google or Facebook or another tech leader that pays very, very well. The top 1% at the best tech companies make millions a year, sometimes a lot more.
And the risk in these scenarios is real, but much lower than the <1% odds of every even making $1m starting your own company.
So … if all you want is money. You don’t start a company. At least, not a traditional internet/tech start-up.
But if you want a shot at making a lot of money as a by-product of doing something big and amazing.
You start something that could be amazing.
I’ve made a decent amount of money as a founder. I’m incredibly proud of what we accomplished, the lives we saved, the careers we launched, the category we created. But I’d give it all back to be running a great unicorn today, on its way to $1b in revenue.