About Author: John Greathouse

Posts by John Greathouse

I always walk away smarter after speaking with Steve Blank. In addition to being a thought leader within the Lean Startup Movement, Steve is also […]

Lean Startup Legend Steve Blank Discloses His Most Daring Guerrilla Marketing Tactics

I always walk away smarter after speaking with Steve Blank. In addition to being a thought leader within the Lean Startup Movement, Steve is also a professor at Stanford and Berkley. However, many people are not aware that prior to entering academia, Steve was a wily and creative marketing entrepreneur.
This article previously appeared in Forbes. Not surprisingly, the most influential startup bloggers are those with the largest number of Twitter followers. However, given the […]

Startup Thought Leaders With The Most Authentic Twitter Followers

This article previously appeared in Forbes. Not surprisingly, the most influential startup bloggers are those with the largest number of Twitter followers. However, given the rash of accusations regarding Internet personalities purchasing bogus followers, it seems fair to ask, "Which startup bloggers have the most legitimate Twitter followers?"
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. One the most frequent questions asked of me by entrepreneurs is, "How can I become a […]

How To Become a VC

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. One the most frequent questions asked of me by entrepreneurs is, "How can I become a Venture Capitalist?" The inquiry is common because being a VC is (to an entrepreneur, at least) a sexy job. You control substantial amounts of capital, have tremendous autonomy, a flexible work schedule and you get to play Santa by bestowing financial gifts upon worthy entrepreneurs. You also can vicariously share in the success of those around you and, if you are so inclined, you can give yourself more credit than you deserve for other people's success. There are many paths into the VC world, but they can generally be lumped into two categories: (i) serial entrepreneurship, and (ii) tech-oriented investment banking. I define a "VC" as, "a professional investor who deploys third-party funds into relatively early-stage companies." In contrast, an Angel Investor is someone who invests their own capital. All you need do to become an Angel is identify a promising venture and write a check.
Nearly every entrepreneur has heard the refrain, "Get back to me when you have some traction,” while seeking funding. From an unsophisticated investor, this response […]

What The Heck Does “Traction” Really Mean To A VC?

Nearly every entrepreneur has heard the refrain, "Get back to me when you have some traction,” while seeking funding. From an unsophisticated investor, this response might be a non-confrontational way of saying "No." However, when uttered by most Venture Capitalists (VCs) it conveys a desire to obtain validation of your venture's value proposition from dispassionate, objective third parties. In this context, your "value proposition" is defined as the utility you claim users will derive from your solution. When you hear the word "traction" think "objective validation." Once people who do not know you and have no vested interest in your company's success begin expending their time, money and resources to leverage your value proposition, you are gaining traction.
I was shocked by the headline: "71% Of President Barack Obama's Twitter Followers Are Fake." By this measure, of the President's nearly 19 million followers, […]

Celebrities With The Most (Allegedly) Fake Twitter Followers

I was shocked by the headline: "71% Of President Barack Obama's Twitter Followers Are Fake." By this measure, of the President's nearly 19 million followers, 13.5 million are bogus. Irrespective of your political affiliation, one must admit that nearly three-fourths is an extremely high percentage of phony followers, suggesting that some shenanigans were employed to bolster the President's social status.
In 2003, the lead singer of the country music group, The Dixie Chicks, criticized then-current President George Bush during a concert in London. The reaction […]

Shutup And Sell: Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Discuss Religion, Politics Or Sex(ual Orientation)

In 2003, the lead singer of the country music group, The Dixie Chicks, criticized then-current President George Bush during a concert in London. The reaction among the group's American fans, who were largely politically conservative, was visceral and negative. One irate fan sent the group a death threat, which offered them "clemency" if they would, "shut up and sing." Business leaders should not need a death threat to encourage them to follow similar advice, substituting "sell" for "sing."
The following guest post is from some of my former UC Santa Barbara students. I thought this post might be of interest to some of […]

With Greathouse Comes Great Responsibility

The following guest post is from some of my former UC Santa Barbara students. I thought this post might be of interest to some of my readers, as it offers a glimpse into my approach to teaching entrepreneurship.  Fall quarter of Sr. year proved to be a crucial time for the progression of brightblu – Ben, Sid, and Taylor see this as the period that sparked their entrepreneurial passion. Along with taking Sr. Design together, the course that introduced the idea for brightblu, they were concurrently taking three other classes: Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Marketing and Art of the CEO. These courses all proved to be serious influences on turning the dream of starting their own company into a reality. The biggest motivator for starting brightblu was John Greathouse’s Entrepreneurship class. He delivered a message to his students from the very first day that in order to reach your aspirations, you must be able to work hard and take risks. He conveyed his message in various ways, but the most memorable was a piece of literature he had them read called The Mouse Driver Chronicles, a true story about two Wharton MBA roommates who passed on their big salary job offers and followed the dream to launch their own business. After reading this book, Ben, Sid and Taylor realized they could do the same thing and become their own bosses. On the first day of class, Professor Greathouse told his students, “Take a look around the class, these are the people you will most likely start a company with,” and boy was he right. Every aspect of his course was aimed at preparing his students to build, execute and run their own business. Each week he brought in passionate and successful entrepreneurs to speak to his students and give advice about the different facets of creating a startup. Some of these influential speakers included Kevin O’Connor, founder of FindTheBest.com & DoubleClick and Simon Dixon, CEO of Idea Engineering. Along with bringing in a hall of fame cast of serial entrepreneur speakers, Professor Greathouse assigned his students weekly projects where his students would create their own venture and produce an executive summary. At the same time the brightblu team was building their actual company, they were learning and refining necessary business skills by creating made-up ventures. These weekly assignments not only equipped Ben, Sid, and Taylor with a strong foundation and critical knowledge of the most important aspects of creating a business, but also proved to be essential to building their entrepreneurial spirit. Once brightblu began to take off and started developing their product and technology, it was brought to their attention that there was an upcoming business contest called the UCSB New Venture Competition. From that point forward, the team felt a responsibility to not only win the competition but to do so by carrying out the entrepreneurial desire instilled in them by John Greathouse For a video interview between John Greathouse and Kevin O’Connor, check out: Kevin O’Connor Shares The Secrets Of Business Success. Ben, Sid and Taylor started BrightBlu while still students. Recent graduates, they are now pursuing the opportunity full time. Be sure to sign up as a Beta Tester of their innovative home automation solution here.  
 This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE From a venture capitalist’s point of view, there are no “trick” questions. However, certain questions can be tricky for […]

Five Trick Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Answer Before Asking For Money

 This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE From a venture capitalist’s point of view, there are no “trick” questions. However, certain questions can be tricky for an entrepreneur to answer. Below are five common questions an entrepreneur will encounter when seeking venture funding. These questions, which manifest themselves in numerous forms, all share a common underlying objective: to divine your motivations, expectations and desires. Handled appropriately, these questions provide investors a window into an entrepreneurs’ soul, which minimizes the chances of a future misalignment.
What American tech company is the coolest? A subjective, yet important question. The rest of the country may be in a recession, but hiring within […]

The Crowd Has Spoken: Check Out The Coolest US Tech Companies

What American tech company is the coolest? A subjective, yet important question. The rest of the country may be in a recession, but hiring within the tech community remains highly competitive. Talented employees look for a number of tangible and intangible factors when deciding among multiple employment offers, including a company's cool factor. As such, a reputation as a cool company is a competitive advantage to be cultivated and coveted. With that in mind, Forbes readers have an opportunity to help crown America's Coolest Tech Company via a new crowdsource polling widget, created by Ranker, a Rincon Venture Partners' portfolio company.  
The following guest post is from Dan Monarko, Online Marketing Manager at The Resumator, a SaaS applicant tracking system and hiring platform trusted by many of the […]

Quick Tips For Hiring Your First Employee

The following guest post is from Dan Monarko, Online Marketing Manager at The Resumator, a SaaS applicant tracking system and hiring platform trusted by many of the fastest-growing companies in the world, including: Pinterest, Tumblr, Hootsuite, Klout, Posterous, Bitly, Atari and Mashable. I am a Board Member and an investor in The Resumator via Rincon Venture Partners. Your business is off the ground running and months or years of work brought you to this point. You, my lucky friend, are ready to hire your very first employee. This can be a very stressful exercise for many given the success or failure of your company can be directly tied to making the right choice for your first hire. What should you look for in hiring your first employee? Here are some tips to consider while prospecting and interviewing candidates for your first employee:
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