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Unformatted text preview: e: "We were spinning like a tornado.
We were desperate for leadership."
Barksdale, who calls himself "the president of doin' stuff" and Andreesen "the vice president of thinkin' stuff up," says his first
reaction was "to put the pedal to the metal. Let 'er rip." He lifted Netscape's hiring freeze, ramped up R&D, opened foreign
offices, broadened the target market, and cut prices. His message to employees: Netscape is like a rocket. If it fails to reach
escape velocity, it will crash back to earth. "We've gotta go full speed," he says. "We've got low barriers to entry and
incredible competitors. If we can't establish presence and a brand name, we'll die." Inside Netscape, Barksdale promotes the
strategy in two words: "Netscape everywhere." He describes the fight with the enemy (Microsoft) this way: "We're like an ant
climbin' up the elephant's leg, with rape on its mind."
Many people figured Barksdale was cracked when he set a goal for Netscape to become the fastest-growing software
company in history, based on first-year revenues. Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker says that judging by recent financial
results--including an unexpected profit in the third quarter--Netscape should hit its target and beat Lotus Development's
ROMANT ICIZE RISK. Charismatic leaders relish risk. T hey feel empty without it. "Fear of failure," says Barksdale. "T hat's
the thrill. It's what gets your heart rate up." Great optimists, charismatic people long to do things that haven't been done
before. Whether they succeed or not, a remarkable thing often happens: T heir audacity enhances their charisma. T ake the
case of Michael Jordan, baseball player. He hit .202, with only three home runs, for the Birmingham Barons two seasons
ago. But he didn't strike out in the charisma game. Quaker Oats, which pays Jordan to promote Gatorade, surveyed
consumers daily as Jordan floundered on his field of dreams--and found that his appeal never waned. Most people, in fact,
related even more personally to Jordan the baseball player, in part because he seemed less superhuman--and more like
one of them.Jordan, a master of modesty and swagger, understands this: "T he picture painted of Michael Jordan always is,
Whatever he does, he's great at it. A lot of people thought I wasn't successful at baseball because I didn't make it to the
major leagues. Baseball gave me a more humanistic side."
Charismatic people speak emotionally about putting themselves on the line. T hey work on hearts as well as on minds. Arthur
Martinez, the former vice chairman of Saks Fifth Avenue, knew he had big problems when he joined Sears in 1992 to rescue
its sinking retail unit. "T he old joke about the T itanic was not too far off the mark," says Martinez, 56, a polished Irishman
(with a trace of Spanish blood). He was intent on luring top talent to Sears. "So I felt I had to be...
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- Spring '10