The Entrepreneurial Slope
By: Baxter Brew ’21
Staff writer for The Landon News, a Student Council representative, and a member of the varsity cross country, squash, and tennis teams
Elliott Bisnow ’04, an example of how being a true “Landon Man” can take you far in life, gives insight into his journey through the world of entrepreneurship. His true work started long before he launched his own T-shirt and real estate news businesses... and bought a mountain.
He stressed the importance of values he gained from Landon. “The real world takes hard work, and you can’t just show up and think you’re going to succeed if you’ve never worked hard before,” Elliot said. Commenting on work ethic, he said, “Looking back to Landon, some of the really hard classes at the time, the ones that were extremely challenging like Humanities, ended up teaching me what real hard work meant.” Work ethic provides the basis for his demeanor and persistence in creating businesses.
Landon instills integrity into its students, which Elliot has projected into his professional career: “Business is a lifelong endeavor, and the relationships you make there are going to last not just a couple of years, or five years, but ten or twenty years. If you want to be successful in business, you need long-term relationships, and you can’t build long-term relationships without the value of integrity.”
One teacher jumped to Elliot’s mind when discussing important values and role models: former Middle School Head and varsity tennis coach Mac Jacoby. “He embodies the best a person can be,” Elliot said, discussing how the energy, values, kindness, and love that Jacoby expresses really resonated with him.
Once in college, Elliot saw that he was built for entrepreneurship, explaining that he knew it would be a perfect place of opportunities and security to start a business. As any college student does, Elliot needed money, so he decided to start a T-shirt company. He designed and sold t-shirts with funny phrases on them, but the business never really took off. He then tried again, this time consulting creative students with the local shops on the Main Street to brainstorm ideas for shirts. Once again, Elliot found that his idea had not panned out as well as he had hoped.
“After two years of trying to start businesses, people were looking at me as if I had failed, but I had learned a lot of skills.” Eventually, these skills paid off. Elliot and his father began a news company for real estate. They realized that there was no news source in terms of real estate, so his dad became the writer, and he became the ad-sales worker. “I would wake up at 5 o’clock, and cold call real estate companies, trying to get them to buy ads.” Eventually, he realized that he did not know any other entrepreneurs, and had the idea for Summit, an enterprise dedicated to connecting would-be entrepreneurs.
“Summit is a business meeting meets a music concert; all for millennial entrepreneurs,” Elliot said. Summit hosts networking gatherings for millennial entrepreneurs, allowing people to connect, share ideas, and get their businesses up and running. Summit events started with just a few people, but now have thousands of attendees, and the numbers keep growing.
From Summit came the birth of Powder Mountain. Once Elliot realized that Powder Mountain ski resort was closing in 2011, he decided to buy it and remake it. His idea for the largest ski mountain in the USA, in terms of skiable terrain, was to “reinvent the American mountain town.” Elliot wanted to create a community-based ski resort. Powder Mountain resembles Landon in a sense, a community with friendly neighbors, shared values, and a lot of fun.