The founder of the Sundance Film Festival talks about what it’s like to start from scratch and change an industry.
Think of Robert Redford, and you picture an actor, environmental activist, Oscar-winning director, or, perhaps, heartthrob. You’re probably less likely to think of Redford as a serial entrepreneur, even though he’s the founder of multiple successful businesses and not-for-profits.
Over more than three decades, Redford has accomplished the ultimate entrepreneurial goal–changing an entire industry, and our culture. In his case, he did it by providing an incubator and showcase for independent film.
Along the way, Redford, like many entrepreneurs, has tangled with inappropriate investors and learned first-hand the difficulty of convincing doubters to get on board. “Nobody votes for a new idea,” says Redford, who notes that convincing those first festival-goers to see the films he was promoting was like “standing in front of a strip joint and saying, ‘Come see the girls.'”
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