John Warrillow

My goal with my writing is to help business owners build valuable—sellable—companies. Part of the reason I write is ego gratification—I like getting your emails and tweets; the other part is needing to feel that I’m making a contribution in some small way.

I’ve started four companies, the most recent of which was a research business I tried to sell in 2004 only to be told by an expert that it was too dependent on me personally. Learning that my business was unsellable was frustrating. First I denied it. Then I got angry. Finally, I set about remodeling the business into one that could thrive without me. After lots of trial and error, it started to take off, and we were acquired in 2008 by a publicly traded company. I learned a lot in those four years, and those lessons became the inspiration to start my blog.

I think the world needs more entrepreneurs. If I had to rely on anyone to get me off the side of a mountain, I’d want a creative, tenacious and tough-minded entrepreneur beside me. When I vote, I prefer candidates who have started a business. I believe entrepreneurs will be the ones to solve our biggest problems and bring the developing world the quality of life that Westerners enjoy, which is why I’ve created a team of Built to Sell readers who lend money to entrepreneurs in the developing world through an organization called Kiva.

Most of the year, I live with my wife and kids in a town called Aix-en-Provence in southern France, where the climate enables year-round cycling and running, which is important to me because one day I’d like to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Until then, I will have to settle with being a middle-of-the-pack age-grouper in the few races I do each year.