Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Pete Cashmore of

Jessica Grieves

Pete Cashmore carries a quiet sense of urgency wherever he goes, despite his easygoing demeanour. As founder of the influential technology blog Mashable, the 25-year-old has been labelled everything from a tech wunderkind to one of the U.K.'s "Britons of the Year" in 2010. But the accolades do not impress him. Mr. Cashmore sees success as an ever-moving target, which drives his compulsion to be "on top of everything all the time."

Growing up in rural Banchory, just outside of Aberdeen, Scotland, the self-described geek was a sickly child for whom the Internet was a bedside companion. Missing too much high school to graduate with his peers, he earned his diploma two years later - an early example, he says, of his tendency to be "ridiculously persistent."

Intrigued by the Web and its democratizing power, Mr. Cashmore opted out of college and launched Mashable at 19. He started the blog in 2005 in an effort to decipher technology for a mainstream audience. Today the 44-employee company, with offices in New York and San Francisco, draws more than 12.5 million unique visitors to its site every month.

Story continues below advertisement

On discovering a passion: "The Internet was appealing partly because it was something I could do in bed and feel like I was achieving something. I had an operation when I was 13 and ended up with complications, so I was in and out of the hospital. The bottom line is you can get through health challenges. It's part of why I was so driven."

Biggest startup challenge: "Not only did I not have connections, I wasn't in [Silicon]Valley. But I did have an outsider perspective, and as it turned out that was an advantage because there's a mass market that wants to know what the coolest gadgets are and how to use Facebook, Twitter and other [technology]to get ahead."

How my parents learned about Mashable: "I always had the sense I'm not really where I need to be, so I thought, 'Maybe I'll tell them, if it takes off.' I never did. About a year into it, they found out when a Daily Mail reporter knocked on the door, wanting the story of who was I and where did I come from."

A single obsession: "If it doesn't come through the Internet, it's not really compelling to me. I don't have a TV or watch movies. I don't like to be broadcast to, I want to participate. The Internet is an engaging experience. If I can't engage with it, it's frustrating and I don't feel like I have any influence over it, so what's the point."

Justified play: "I like gaming on my iPad and iPhone. But I'm thinking this is the next wave, so it's kind of justified."

Biggest lesson learned: "Execution really shapes whether your company takes off or not. I'm very much a creative person, but you've got to do the follow-through. A lot of people start out with an exciting thing and they want to take over the world, but really the people who do take over the world have a good plan of how to get there and the steps along the way."

On being the boss: "The talent that has to be learned is finding out what someone's passion is and setting them up to realize that. You don't get the best work from people if you're guiding them versus them guiding themselves.

Story continues below advertisement

"Loyalty is incredibly important. There's a base of stability in [our] organization that [feels]like we can weather anything because we have these relationships with key people and they're going to be with us whatever we do."

On creative space: "It takes a long time to recalibrate if you let people pull at you all the time. A lot of stress comes from reacting to stuff. You have to keep a certain guard [on your availability]if you're a creative person. You need space to try things and create."

Favourite niche news source: " Every month there's a big article on what's changing and what should businesses be focusing on, if they want to benefit from it. I read every word a hundred times. I like that big-picture thinking."

Three people I wish I could invite for dinner: "Richard Branson. Albert Einstein, who was a little zany - I think eccentricity is good. And Bono [lead singer of U2]because of the awareness he brings to charitable causes and there's a lot we could do together. He'd be great for our Social Good channel."

On starting young: "I kept my age quiet for a good few years. I didn't see it as a positive. I worked remotely, so I just didn't tell people. I tried to look older as well. I keep as much facial hair as it takes to do that. (Laughs.) You just want to be judged against everyone fairly."

Tip for entrepreneurs: "There's an advantage to having a certain degree of naivete about the challenges and the way things were before, so you can build something in a completely different way."

Story continues below advertisement

The opposite of me: "My parents told me not to take risks. They're still like, 'Well, I don't know if you should do that, it sounds risky.' It's also somewhat of a British thing to be anti-risk."

What I learned from dad: "My dad is good at sticking with stuff and he has a strong work ethic, which is imbued in me. Growing up, he would constantly ask what I was doing and was I achieving anything. Now, he's the opposite. (Laughs) He's like, 'Oh, you should work less. It seems like you work the whole time.' I say, 'I do. Well, you told me!'"

Teri Evans is deputy editor of Follow her on Twitter @terievanswriter.

Copyright © 2010 Entrepreneur Media Inc., All rights reserved

More Leadership stories:

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies