Sunday, April 14, 2024

5 questions for Mac Lackey

Mac Lackey is a Charlotte-based entrepreneur who has built and sold five companies that have been featured on CNN and in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Business North Carolina, USA Today and The New York Times. Notable ventures include: KYCK, acquired by NBC Sports; Mountain Khakis, acquired by Remington; and iSoccer Network, acquired by Sky Sports. He served as a director at LendingTree Inc. for more than five years and is an investor in more than 50 startups.

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What do you like best about your job?

Being an entrepreneur has been an amazing decision because it has allowed me to control my time and live what I call Life Wealth. That certainly means work hard, but also allows me to travel when I want to amazing places, go to all my kids’ events, watch soccer matches in the middle of the day, pursue my passions and generally optimize when/where and how I work. Control your time!

What inspires you?

I am inspired by impact. I believe we all have an opportunity to show up every day and choose activities that move the needle. Things that make a difference in our personal health, wealth and happiness as well has have a positive impact on our society. I try to look back at the end of most days and ask myself if I moved the needle … and start the next day asking “how” I’m going to do it today. That ability for individuals to create impact inspires me. Anyone that chooses a tough path and overcomes the odds that are stacked against them inspires me —people are amazing.

Who should we be paying attention to?

There are a few people who choose (or are able, perhaps) to march to a different drum. To not fall into the trap of conformity, or the conveyor belt that pulls most of us into boring, repeatable loops that sadly define lives. The people who are challenging the systems are the ones to watch. Chamath [Palihapitiya] at Social Capital Partners — he is redefining investment models and trying to solve the world’s biggest problems. Elon Musk — redefining what is possible. … No one can create a car startup, or compete with NASA, right?

I’m also interested in finding those in and around N.C. who say things like, “We can build an amazing textile company here,” or “N.C. can reinvent healthcare.” Those are the people we need to watch — and learn from — because where others see challenge, wreckage or risk, they see opportunity.

What was your biggest challenge this week?

I’m working on launching a really cool new platform that I’m super excited about to help entrepreneurs. The challenge is, despite my actual experience and credentials for this, I’m competing with people who have no experience but are amazing social-media stars. I’m all about actionable strategies and results, so this week I’ve been fighting with the reality that to have the impact I want and to help everyone I want to help, I have to compete on social media as well. Hashtag, I’m old 🙂

Favorite N.C. vacation spot?

I’ve been very fortunate over the past few years to live in Europe (Barcelona) as well as take my family on trips to over 15 countries. Some amazing experiences and truly breathtaking places. So as odd as it may sound, what I really love about N.C. (I’m native, and I think sixth-generation) is driving around and through the little towns that still exist all across our state — stopping for great BBQ and a Cheerwine in a Pilot Mountain or a Hillsborough. Seeing old barns, tobacco stalls and textile mills along stretches of winding roads. The history and feel are awesome. it reminds me to sometimes stop and smell the roses, but also to keep an edge because today’s hot company can be tomorrow’s deserted mill or forgotten town.

Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at

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