Patrick Grady

Brainstorm Tech Spotlight: Patrick Grady, chairman & CEO of Rearden Commerce

June 6, 2013: 12:22 PM ET

Patrick Grady argues entrepreneurs see the world not as it is, but how it could be

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 12.18.21 PMFORTUNE -- Fortune's Brainstorm Tech Conference (July 22-24 in Aspen, Colo.) regularly brings together the best and brightest minds in tech innovation. Each week, Fortune will turn the spotlight on a different conference attendee to offer his or her own personal insight into business, tech, and entrepreneurship. This week, we asked Rearden Commerce Chairman and CEO Patrick Grady to answer 10 questions about life outside of work, the company he admires most, and industry advice for young entrepreneurs. His responses follow.

Fortune: What is the best advice you ever received?

Grady: My mother told me every single day -- literally -- when I was growing up that I could be anything I wanted to in life if I put my mind to it. It imbued me with a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility.

What was the last book you read?

Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics

What would you say to a group of young people looking to enter the tough job market?

There are a lot of smart young people with resumes that "check the boxes." Demonstrate genuine intellectual curiosity, understanding, and passion about the job you're interviewing for and be able to concretely explain how you're uniquely suited to fill it.

What would you do if you weren't working at your current job?

I'd start another software company. Marc Andreessen is right -- software is eating the world, and I don't think we're through the appetizers yet.

What do you do for fun?

Raise two epic daughters.

MORE: YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse: How to make it in tech

What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?

Jeff Bezos [CEO of Amazon]. He has a remarkably rare combination of vision, operational excellence, and commitment to ambitious long-term goals.

What other companies do you admire? Why?

Google (GOOG). They possess similar DNA to Amazon (AMZN), believing that anything is possible and backing it up with the intellectual and financial resources to make it happen. I believe that they're actually underrated despite the respect they receive and the $300 billion market cap that they currently enjoy.

What do you do to live a balanced life?

My balance comes from my time with my daughters. It's sacrosanct, and I've got a team that respects that and works around it.

What is one characteristic that every leader should possess?

Character.

Is business school necessary for entrepreneurs?

No, in fact it's more of a liability than an asset or necessity. Entrepreneurs see the world not as it is, but how it could be. That purity of vision shouldn't be tainted by looking at the world through a conventional lens.

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