Monthly Archives: July 2013

From Lockup to Startup

Title: From Lockup to Startup
Date: 2013-05-15
Speaker: Chris Redlitz, Beverly Parenti, Heracio Harts (The Last Mile)
Link: Podcast
The Last Mile is a program that teaches entrepreneurship to convicts.
Members pledge to maintain respect and integrity.
Don’t make judgements on something you know very little about.
California spends more on prisons than on higher education. Average cost per prisoner to taxpayers is $45,000.
The inmates are required to tweet on a daily basis. The tweets are hand carried out and entered by volunteers on the outside.
You don’t commute to work in prison.
Biggest challenge was getting the system to understand what they were trying to do.
Pay it forward.
You’ll get farther with the public sector if you don’t approach with your hands out.

Leading Big Visions From the Heart

Title: Leading Big Visions From the Heart
Date: 2013-05-08
Speaker: Justin Rosenstein (Asana)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
It feels like something is coming through me that wants to be expressed to the world.
Make the world a happier and more interesting place.
When people tell you something is impossible be very skeptical.
The number one most requested feature that Facebook gets is the dislike button.
Like button was designed as a way to help the world inform each other rather than a world in which we tear each other down.
The source of all of his passion is that multiple times throughout the day he has moments of complete and utter shock and awe and joy that we are alive.
It is very easy to get distracted by the day to day.
Live every single day to the fullest.
The way we achieve joy is by the giving of ourselves.
The kinds of things we’re capable of doing today are amazing relative to the kinds of things we were capable of doing before email, cell phones, telegraph.
Imagine if all of humanity could coordinate its collective actions seamlessly. Imagine if everybody could work together towards a single common goal.
Do we have the will and tools to align ourselves as a single species?
We have a giant opportunity right now to make the world a much more exciting place.
Values are things we repeatedly come back to.
Mindfulness is knowing what you’re doing and to reflect on what you’re doing. Make sure it is something you want to be doing and that it reflects your values.
Problems are just opportunities.
Every time you’re faced with a decision there are two extremes you can take. In general the extremes lead to negative consequences. The solution isn’t necessarily to find a compromise. Ideally you’ll find a middle way that transcends the negatives.
Pragmatic craftsmanship is that there is no intellectual answer on how to make the call. Hire people who are really good at making judgements.
Understanding the big picture can go down to the tiniest decisions. Focus more on providing people with context about their work, context about the overall goals of the company, and context about values rather than trying to control them.
The most important part of being a leader is managing your own psychology.
Don’t confuse self-doubt with self.
We are today writing the story of human history.

Own Your Own Success

Title: Own Your Own Success
Date: 2013-05-01
Speaker: Kate Mitchell (Scale Venture)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Stanford is not a trade school. It is a school that teaches you how to think.
The Internet thing worked out.
If you are interested in building a startup the Silicon Valley Bank has some incredible resources. They have a program called the Entrepreneur Services Group. (
Am I a horizontal or vertical person? Do I build cathedrals or hit golf balls? Neither is good or bad. Vertical is a speciality (engineering or Google’s search engine). Horizontally is bringing things together, conscious, pattern recognition, judgement, moving things forward. Knowing that about yourself early in is really helpful.
Understand not just what your strengths and weaknesses are. Embrace that you can’t be everything. The best people in any function figure out how to complement themselves with others whose strengths are the same as your weaknesses.
Your mentor can be a composite of people.
Mentors help you understand what you’re doing well and what you’re not.
Having champions for your career is really important–particularly early on.
Make it easy for somebody to give you feedback. It is incredibly valuable. Ask for it repeatedly. It is usually helpful.
Keep as wide an aperture as possible. You don’t know what is going to happen to you or around you. To become too narrow too early is a negative.
When you are interviewing for your first job the opportunity to learn is important. Think about whether you’re going to learn from the people you’re talking to. Look for an opportunity where you can distinguish yourself. Choose something where you’ll earn a little bit less if you think you can learn more.
Two phases of an investment: one, can you get the product to work? Two, can you get the product to market?
First investment decision is which markets do they think is ready to take off.
To make the returns they need they need to invest in not just a company that is dominant in a sector but a sector that has a tailwind behind it.
The initial tests of sales and marketing doesn’t take a lot of capital. You can do it online.
Scaling takes a lot of capital.
V.C.s want a company that can be one, two, or three in its sector. That is how you build a big company.
Venture capital is small. It is 0.2% of assets invested in the markets.
Venture backed companies generate 21% of GDP and 61,000,000 private sector jobs.
Venture capital is shrinking. Venture industry is down eighty percent from the peak in 2000.
Venture capitalists like exits just doesn’t like it when it is their own.
Not every successful company needs to be venture backed.
Entrepreneurs need thick skin to pitch.
The biggest challenge to get venture backing is if your opportunity is big enough. Is the market large enough? Is it a winning solution (doesn’t mean it has to be the best technology)? The best technology doesn’t always win.
The user and the buyer are sometimes two different people.
To get in front of a venture capitalist you need an introduction.
Be optimistic but realistic. Confident–not cocky.
You don’t need to start out as an entrepreneur.
Think about whether you’re an entrepreneur or a wantrepreneur. You have to decide if you really have it in you.
You have to own your own success.
Aim high and aim wide.
Speaking up matters.
Make a deposit into the karma bank. They best way to get help is to give it.
Making investments is a very hard thing to do. It is a high risk business.