Marc Lore, Walmart.com CEO
Marc Lore, Walmart.com President and CEO on when to take a risk, even if you're not sure what you'll do if it goes wrong. — Walmart

What’s the difference between a visionary destined for success and an entrepreneur wannabe in it for the adulation?

CO— put that question to Marc Lore, Walmart.com’s president and chief executive officer, who is also founder and CEO of Jet.com. Lore answered the question with a question: “Are you prepared to lay it all on the line and go all in — financially and emotionally — with no easy way out?”

That sobering insight was among an array of nuggets Lore served up during a lively “Ask Me Anything” online exchange he hosted on LinkedIn, where hundreds of admirers tapped his brains on a wide range of topics.

Prior to joining Walmart in 2016 to head up U.S. e-commerce, Lore founded Jet.com, the Amazon competitor that Walmart acquired. Earlier, he co-founded and served as CEO of Quidsi (parent of Diapers.com and other e-commerce websites) and The Pit. Amazon bought Quidsi and the Topps Company acquired The Pit, a sports card trading marketplace.

Lore shared perspectives on launching a new business, courting investors, “missionary versus mercenary” mindset, the six traits he seeks out to hire top talent, creating an inclusive, kind workplace culture and other strategic issues entrepreneurs encounter.

I’ll never know if it would have been better not to pivot, but in the end, I think it was a good decision.

Marc Lore, Walmart.com’s president and chief executive officer

'Pivot without an escape hatch'

One aspect of going “all in” is a willingness to pivot on strategy without an escape hatch, even if uncertain about the outcome, Lore said.

“Building a business comes with selling a vision and having a strategy to execute against. And every day you receive new signals about what is and isn’t working. It’s important to take an objective look at the data and use it, even if it means dramatically altering your strategy.” Lore pointed to Jet.com, created as a shopping club with big savings for dues-paying members. “We were receiving signals it wasn’t working, so we pivoted to a non-membership model,” Lore posted. “It was a really tough decision that we knew would get a lot of scrutiny from investors, press and employees because it dramatically altered our strategy. I’ll never know if it would have been better not to pivot, but in the end, I think it was a good decision.”


CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published February 25, 2019