When talking to a lot of people interested in entrepreneurship and startups, I am often reminded of a talk from Bill Gross. A talk on the four different personality types that exist in bringing a startup to life.

Bill Gross is the founder of Idealab, a business incubator focused on new ideas. He's also founded a LOT of startups himself. He helped create GoTo.com, the first sponsored search company and also created the Snap! search engine, which allows users to preview hyperlinks.

Whilst at Idealab, he was curious as to why some startups succeeded and others failed. So he went about gathering data points from hundreds of companies. It's a great talk and I highly recommend it - on what matters most in startups.

Bill also has another framework which is on the four different personalities that are required to come together and make an awesome company. Every company or movement require these four personalities which come together in different order, they are known as EPAI:


The idea person. The one who explores what it might take to get ideas off the ground.

Say you’re sitting in a classroom. One kid will be looking out the window and there is grass and trees outside. One person, would see opportunity in that space. A vision based on a pain point or dream. What could go outside in the grass, a stall, a themepark, a carpark etc. This is the entrepreneur personality type.


The doer. The one to push projects forward and get them done.

The producer is the student that goes along with the vision and sees what comes next. They are the person who may not always come up with the vision but is very good at downloading it. Their brain makes sense of the pitch and the vision. However they are more on the sensibility and building size β€” their brain thinking about how the stall should be, what is needed in the theme park or carpark to operate. They build the vision out, taking the words into action.


The process builder. The administrator is concerned with planning, organising, and building out processes.

The E (entrepreneur) alone will have an idea but without the P (producer), the vision might have some value but it will peter out. The producer is needed to bring the vision to the next level. However with just the E and P alone, the vision, idea and organisation might just be a mess.

This is where the administrator is needed. They see the vision, the plan and take care of the operations. They are the student who makes sure the tasks get done. That everyone has the resources they need. That the finder details on what is required for the stall, themepark and carpark is taken care of. That the permits, regulations and rules are met.


The people person. The integrator fixes problems between people by helping address the emotional level of people.

The integrator, is the student in the class who is probably not looking out the window but looking at the other three, the E, P and A and seeing how the three of them should all work together. They figure out how to make the group more cohesive and how to get alignment.

The EPAI model is useful as it helps you introspectively examine your strengths, uncover what you are good at so as to figure out what you might be missing and whom you could partner up with. In knowing that different people see the world completely differently, you can gain the benefit of having the insights from what the other type sees from a unique angle to yours on the exact same situation. Having all four types of personality, will help bring your startup, organisation or movement to life.