A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. Andrew Fuller (left) and Jonas Bolduan I encourage my UC Santa Barbara entrepreneurial students to err on the side of action and to take chances. To this end, I give them extra credit if they exercise their networking skills by attending off-campus, professional events and practice their Personal Pitch: (i) who they are, (ii) where they are going in their life and, (iii) how they are going to get there. I was recently impressed with the networking skills of one of my international students, Jonas Bolduan, who hails from Germany. Most of my American students, for which English is a first language, networking in their home country, do not exhibit Jonas' courage or confidence.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. “Point of view is worth 80 IQ points.” Alan Curtis Kay, Personal Computer Pioneer I recently was asked to speak at an all-hands meeting at one of my portfolio companies, Earnest Research. I always enjoy such opportunities, as it allows me to share my point of view as a startup veteran with millennials on the front-end of their careers. When I was running my startups, I seldom took time away from nailing my daily To Do’s to objectively evaluate my team’s progress. Thus, as a serial offender of entrepreneurial myopia, I appreciate the perspective an experienced outsider can share regarding a venture’s true status.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. Skateboard legend and award-wining filmmaker Stacy Peralta recently shared a compelling insight as part of UC Santa Barbara’s Distinguished Speaker Series. He noted that when he inadvertently created the world’s first action-sports video in 1984, no one anticipated how it would dramatically accelerate the maturity of the sport of skateboarding. The knowledge imparted by the videos allowed mediocre kids to become good and good skaters to become great.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. I recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kobie Fuller, current Partner at Upfront Ventures and former All Ivy, Top Ten Nationally Ranked track star at Harvard. I spoke with Kobie as part of UC Santa Barbara’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Kobie made a number of interesting points during our discussion, including the fact that not all sports are created equal. While every sport contributes to the development of each participant’s character, objective sports distinctly hone people for success, because they instill the unambiguous correlation between preparation and results. From this reality, it is not a leap to conclude that people who are drawn to objective sports are also typically better suited to the stark measurement of success and failure in the startup world.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. Last week, LogMeIn completed its merger with the GoTo services previously owned by Citrix (GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining, etc.). Ironically, this merger might never have happened if I had been more persuasive back in 2003.
I was pleased and proud when I learned that two of my former UC Santa Barbara students, Sieva Kozinsky, Founder of StudySoup and Eric Posen, Co-founder of Naritiv, made Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 list. This caused me to wonder which schools generated the most awardees. To this end, with the help of Cameron Dennis, (one of my outstanding current students who will likely end up on the 30 Under 30 list someday), we researched the alma maters within Forbes’ startup and tech categories.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. I made many mistakes when I was building my startups. Though the outcomes were financially lucrative, the journeys could have been much more fruitful if I had done one simple thing differently.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. There are two macro trends occuring within venture capital (VC) which are combining to have a transformative impact. The VC landscape has morphed into a barbell structure, with lots of small funds on one hand and a handful of large, megafunds on the other end, with few moderate-sized funds in between. As shown in the graph below, the number of funds comprised of less than $100 million more than doubled from 2013 to 2015. Graph via CB Insights
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. Businesses typically use LinkedIn to recruit employees. However, savvy startups can leverage LinkedIn to create a customer acquisition and a churn reduction tool. In particular, one of Rincon Venture Partner’s portfolio companies, SimpleLegal, has had so much success mining LinkedIn for customers that the CEO was initially reluctant for me to name his company in this article, fearing his competitors will mimic their common sense, yet clever approach.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. A friend recently asked me to give his startup-minded daughter some advice to help her vet undergraduate entrepreneurial programs. As I thought about the characteristics that comprise a great program, I identified five criteria that a prospective entrepreneurial student can use to evaluate the efficacy of a collegiate entrepreneur curriculum.