Category Archives: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Find Your Venture's Emotional Core

Title: Find Your Venture’s Emotional Core
Date: 2015-05-27
Speaker: Susan Koger (ModCloth)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Part of the drive that will you to start things will never let you be satisfied.There is no right way to be an entrepreneur.
When you are making big decisions sit down and think about what are the worst case scenarios. Write them down.
Part of the drive that wills you to start things will never let you be satisfied.
Work on the practice of celebrating your wins.
It is okay to be a rookie. It is okay to not know what you are doing.
Resist faking it because you might miss opportunities to find your own path.
Don’t be afraid to go into an industry you don’t know anything about.
It is okay to look back and cringe.
You have to get out there and do stuff.
Once you actually get things in front of your community–in front of your users–that is where you get the feedback that actually matters.
The emotional core of what you do–the purpose of what you do as an entrepreneur–is really important. It is what endures.
Your purpose is what connects your team to the work. It is what makes everyone move in the same direction.
It is important to understand your audience.
You have to have the drive. There are going to be some days where you need something to get you out of bed.
The emotional core is what gets you through tough times.
The concept of an overnight success story does not exist.
All entrepreneurs have different stories.
If you feel good about it get it out there. Don’t sit on it and hold it in because it isn’t perfect. It will never be perfect.

Entrepreneurship Takes Flight

Title: Entrepreneurship Takes Flight
Date: 2015-05-20
Speaker: William Marshall (Planet Labs)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Be different.Keep on iterating the technology.
Take an agile approach to software development.
Finding the right investors is really key.
Do something meaningful to help the world.
Don’t do an MBA.
The best business people didn’t study business. They were entrepreneurs in some other technical discipline and then they applied themselves (to business).
You need a great idea and that is not related to business skills.
If you have an idea where is the best and optimal place to affect that problem?
Hire people smarter than yourself.
Do something you love.
Have humility.
It is good to wait until you have done something before announcing it.
Only talk to the people making decisions.
You’ve got to be adaptable.
Be different.
We are already on a spacecraft–it is called the earth.

Creativity Unleashes Value for the World

Title: Creativity Unleashes Value for the World
Date: 2015-05-13
Speaker: Chinedu Echeruo (Constant Capital Partners)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Creativity plays a big role in success.Ideas matter.
The true source of human capital and potential is the ideas you come up with.
Product matters. Product solves so many problems in so many ways.
Ups may actually be downs and downs may actually be ups.
Creativity plays a big role in success.
There are real competitive advantages with being first to market.
Technology represents a huge opportunity for Africa.
To have a successful company in the early years you need to have a great idea, a well-functioning team, a product with some traction, and capital.
Build systems around people, product, and capital.
Entrepreneurship is solving problems profitably.

Blue is Where You Should Be

Title: Blue is Where You Should Be
Date: 2015-05-06
Speaker: Mike Rothenberg (Rothenberg Ventures)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
The more stupid you feel asking questions the more you need to ask that question immediately.It is really important what people are trying to do and what their mission is.
Entrepreneurship is an incredibly exciting place to apply pattern recognition and problem solving because those are unsolvable problems.
Everybody is more complicated (than a resume).
What you have to decide is what are your values? Are they good for you and are they really what you should be pursuing?
Be relentlessly open to feedback.
The first time you ask someone for feedback, even if it someone you really trust, they will tiptoe.
The more stupid you feel asking questions the more you need to ask that question immediately.
Great founders are amazing at getting support.
Entrepreneurship is getting support outside of things that you can control.
You can observe who are good entrepreneurs by observing who they are building relationships with.
The network is the only thing that matters in seed.
Everyone in a network must benefit from it.
Some of the first choices you make matter a lot.
To engage a community you actually have to do things that people care about and you have to do it on a regular basis.
Everyone is rational. Everyone is an incentive creature. If you think someone is acting irrationally then you don’t understand them.
You know awesome when you see it.
Philanthropy is really awesome.
Execution is vastly more important than ideas.

Simple Rules for a Complex World

Title: Simple Rules for a Complex World
Date: 2015-04-29
Speaker: Kathleen Eisenhardt (Stanford University)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Rules let you scale.Simple rules are simple.
Simple rules are unique.
Simple rules relate to a defined activity.
Boundary rules and how to rules are the easy ones to learn. Priority ones are a little harder.
You can spend an endless amount of time in business in meetings.
Highly creative people are often using rules.
Rules around creativity force you to think more.
The hardest rule of all to learn is when to stop doing something.
Rules let you scale.
Sometimes you’ve got to break the rules.
Be sure you’ve got a really good first boss.
A rule takes the emotion out (of a decision).

Non-Linear Path to Leadership

Title: Non-Linear Path to Leadership
Date: 2015-04-22
Speaker: Kyle Forster (Big Switch Networks)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
You respect a company more when you are outside and competing against it than when you are inside of it.If you hire well you wind up recruiting a lot of people that have more experience than you do.
Book: From Good to Great
Balance the brutal facts with the preservation of hope.
Visionaries are quirky to work with. They are very demanding.
Sitting (near a visionary) is an early adopter.
You have to win the first group (visionaries) to get to the second group (early adopter). They are the gatekeepers to the mass market.
You respect a company more when you are outside and competing against it than when you are inside of it.

Impact Will Keep You Motivated

Title: Impact Will Keep You Motivated
Date: 2015-04-15
Speaker: Ron Gutman (HealthTap)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Look for people that won't endure the journey--look for people that will enjoy the journey.It is all about the mission.
Waking up in the morning knowing you’re doing something meaningful gives you amazing amounts of energy.
The one thing that never gets old is a mission.
Look for people that won’t endure the journey–look for people that will enjoy the journey.
Try to bring the people that you wouldn’t mind getting in trouble with.
You want to make sure that the people you are with are compatible with you when things are not going that great.
(The mission) is the glue that keeps it all together.
Keeping the values, and not just writing them, is something that will help you keep it all together.
Helping other is better than anything else.
Think big. Think strategy.
In order to make better products you need to keep iterating on them all the time. Start simple and then iterate and iterate. Listen to users.
Don’t be afraid to launch products very quickly.
Test small. Don’t test big.
Don’t wait many months and years to build big things because you are going to be too late.
Smiling has amazing power.
It is possible to build positivity into your life by just being conscious of it.
Live the moment.
Deciding to remain positive is very important when you are trying to conquer these kinds of challenges.
Really think about how to hire the best person in the world for the job you that have at hand.
The most important challenge as an entrepreneur is really finding the most amazing person for every position in the company.
Create an environment where failure doesn’t exist–learning does.

Experience is Your Reward

Title: Experience is Your Reward
Date: 2015-04-08
Speaker: Sean George (Invitae)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
The best thing to do is what is right for the mission.One reason to go do something that is big and disruptive is that it is so incredibly difficult to do. If you’re going to spend all that time then you might as well do something that is big and important.
Do something if you can’t stop thinking about it.
You will have your highs and your lows.
You cannot put enough energy into your team.
The best thing to do is what is right for the mission.
The people that are going to move the company through the next phases are going to be different people than the people you started the company with.
(As you grow) the culture you build from day one gets challenged consistently.
You’re going to have a lot of downs with your ups.
For all of the chances of failure–you gotta have it mean something.
Workforces are getting distributed.

Injecting Innovation into Intractable Systems

Title: Injecting Innovation into Intractable Systems
Date: 2015-03-04
Speaker: Laurene Powell Jobs, Tom Byers (Emerson Collective)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
You have to be data driven.You have to be data driven.
The same principles apply in the nonprofit space as they do in the for-profit space.
Education is big business.
When people are not satisfied with what is happening in our country and our output they should fight for change.
Social entrepreneurs generally do not make a lot of money. The intrinsic rewards are off the charts.

The Startup Journey: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Title: The Startup Journey: A Marathon, Not a Sprint
Date: 2015-02-25
Speaker: Joshua Reeves (ZenPayroll)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
The magic of entrepreneurship is the idea of wanting to take the impossible and make it real.Academics tie to what you do in a work environment.
(For college) the actual mindset is more valuable than the coursework you are going through.
Discover who you are. Discover what you care about. Understand the things that interests you. That requires experimentation.
With school there is no right or wrong answer.
When you choose what you want to do when you graduate think about who you want to become like.
There are two main types of learning. There is academic learning and there is tactical learning.
Tactical learning is learning whatever it is you need to learn to overcome the obstacle in front of you.
You can have ten years of work pass by without ever taking a step back to determine if you like what you are doing.
Set up your own quarter or semester system. Set up that (introspective time) otherwise life will pass you by.
Solve a problem that you can imagine spending the rest of your life working on.
Deciding who you are going to start a company with matters way, way more than skills or expertise. Understand what their motivations are and that they align with your motivations.
Solve a problem by creating a business rather than creating a business to solve a problem.
Payroll is more about people than payments.
Don’t be intimidated by your lack of knowledge. It can be a huge asset for you as well.
Starting a business is a labor of love.
Celebrate the human aspect of what it means to work.
It is a very intense experience to build a company.
Fundraising is not about capital–it is about people.
You can almost apply the same lens to fundraising as you do to hiring.
It is not a zero-sum game.
We can always get better.
Values are who you are. They are what you stand for.
Giving equity aligns economic outcomes and every person is an owner of the business–literally. Nobody should be treated as an employee. Nobody should be treated as if they are there to complete a single task.
Building things that are really great, and have a big impact on the world, take time.
Trust your team.
Fire yourself from as many jobs as you can.
It is an incredible time to be in technology and startups.
There are a lot of problems out there and a business exists to solve problems.
As long as there are problems there are opportunities for new businesses to be created.
Find a problem that really matters to you.
There are a lot of problems out there waiting to be solved.
The magic of entrepreneurship is the idea of wanting to take the impossible and make it real.
Interviewing isn’t just them learning about you. It is you learning about them.
If you are in a business that doesn’t have a lot to do then you are probably not in a very interesting business.
Mentorship can happen in many ways.
All that matters is the way that you spend your time.
It is not just what you do but who you do it with.
It is not just about accomplishing the goal but how you accomplish that goal.
You can never go wrong by overly focusing on people.
Heroism doesn’t scale. Heroes become martyrs.