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.
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.
As noted in Success, Santa Barbara Style, my definition of success includes living where you want to live and making money doing what you love. For many entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara, achieving such success would be much more difficult if it weren’t for the emergence of an innovative airline – Surf Air. Surf Air flies to 12 locations within California and members can fly as often as they like, paying a flat membership fee. I initially hesitated because I wanted to travel less, not more, and I was concerned that if I signed up to an “all you can fly” program, I would feel compelled to travel more in order to justify the fixed cost.
Article first published as Why A Prominent Start-up Executive Wants You to Get Fired and Fail on Technorati. Kim Kovacs, Founder and CEO OptionEase, recently spoke to a class of emerging entrepreneurs at UC Santa Barbara. With over 700 customers, OptionEase has become the leading enterprise class SaaS solution for stock option and equity compensation tracking and compliance. Kim shocked some of the students by telling them that she hopes they fail. In this 8-minute video excerpt from her talk, Kim describes why, “failure is my favorite word at my company now.” Kim also discusses the importance of focus and why she does not hesitate to hire people who have previously been fired.
Article first published as Steve Blank Discusses Origin And Future Of Lean Startup Movement on Technorati. I recently spoke with Steve Blank, author of the new book The Startup Owner’s Manual. Steve is also a Stanford Professor and noted marketing entrepreneur. He is credited with pioneering the Lean Startup Movement in 2005 via the publication of his bestselling, Four Steps To The Epiphany. No matter how much you think you know about Steve’s lean startup philosophy, Eric Ries’ contributions to the movement, or the methodologies by which companies have put lean startup tenets into practice, I am confident you will be enlightened and entertained by Steve’s frank and insightful remarks.
This entry originally appeared at Live Your Legend. “It is difficult to see the picture when you are inside the frame.” Eugene Kleiner, Co-founder Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers A small percentage of people in each free-market society generate the jobs for everyone else. These entrepreneurs do not risk everything, work outrageous hours and put themselves under extreme pressure because they want to. They certainly do not do it for the promise of riches. They do it because they have to, because they are driven to create something from nothing.
Note: This is Part IV in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE, Part II HERE and Part III HERE. This article originally appeared at Inc.com HERE They smile, they laugh on cue and they have a rehearsed response for every conventional interview question. They profess to be entrepreneurs, but are they actually Wantrepreneurs? A Wantrepreneur is a well-intentioned person who wants to be an entrepreneur, but does not have the skills, personality and/or risk profile to be successful. When the going gets tough (as it always does at any startup) the Wantrepreneurs get busy emailing their resumes to prospective employers. The costs of a mis-hire during the early stages of your adVenture are dramatic. As such, deploy unconventional tactics to separate the ATM Operating Wantrepreneurs from the Bank Robbing entrepreneurs.
This part two of a series; you can access part one HERE. Note: This is an installment in the Iconic Advice series. Other installments include: Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell and Larry Ellison. I recently reviewed Richard Courtney and George Cassidy's published business book, Come Together – The Business Wisdom of The Beatles in the first entry of this series. Although the Beatles' phenomenal career encompasses numerous startup lessons, many of the anecdotes cited in Come Together are trivial, while others are painfully obvious. However, despite the book's shortcomings, it contains a number of insightful lessons emerging entrepreneurs can apply to their startup careers.
As part of the UC Santa Barbara's Distinguished Lecture Series, Emmy Award winner Seth Epstein and current Founder and CEO of SocialStay, described seven practical, hands-on techniques entrepreneurs can use to enhance their overall awesomeness. Seth's comments were particularly intriguing, as he attended UCSB but departed school before graduating in order to start a successful clothing company.
While working, I often listen to YouTube videos in the background, much like a podcast. Depending on what I am working on and the degree to which the video is compelling, my focus on the video’s content fades in and out. Occasionally a video compels me to take a break and devote all of my attention to it. This occurred while I was listening to the embedded video below. I found this video compelling, because it provides insights into Jobs as an internal leader, rather than the externally facing, reality-distorting CEO. With that said, I realize that whenever a camera is involved, everyone’s behavior changes. Thus, if you are looking for rants, screaming tantrums or derisive putdowns, you will have to look elsewhere. Rather than an imperious Jobs, the video shows him addressing his team’s emotional rollercoaster; from the initial euphoria, to the harsh realities of life at a startup. This process is complicated by the external reality distortion which Jobs was concurrently propagating outside of NeXT. This is an important balancing act for all startup leaders – one best learned from a master.