This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. Serial entrepreneur, venture investor and startup accelerator pioneer Brad Feld has notoriously mocked traditional marketing throughout his career. Rejecting the paint-by-numbers approach to corporate communications deployed by most marketing executives, Brad has embraced unconventional guerilla marketing tactics to help establish his venture capital firm, Foundry Group, as a thought leader in early-stage tech investing. “…companies should… focus on building amazing products. If you have amazing products, the marketing of those products is trivial. If you have $hitty products, the marketing is impossible. Instead of focusing on marketing as an activity… integrate it into (your) products.” Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group
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.
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.
In 1961, after 70-years, professional baseball created its first expansion teams – the Angels and Twins. Naysayers harshly criticized the growth of the league, fearing that new teams would dilute the talent pool and ultimately lower the quality of game play. Since 1961, professional baseball has grown from 18-teams to 30. Over the same period, professional football and basketball leagues also expanded dramatically. Although sports purists would no doubt quibble about the impact expansion has had on professional sports, most fans agree that the overall talent level has remained relatively constant, despite the significant increase in the number of professional athletes.
Tal Siach is a life-long serial entrepreneur who has mastered social media as a guerrilla marketing tool. In my recent interview with Tal, he describes how his actions encouraged Intuit to play nice with Mint. He also describes how he used Digg to discover the ugliest person on Facebook.
As part of UC Santa Barbara's Distinguished Lecture Series, serial entrepreneur and noted venture capitalist Mark Suster recently shared his advice with a large crowd of emerging entrepreneurs. Mark is a Partner at GRP Partners and authors one of the most widely read startup blogs, BothSidesOfTheTable. Mark framed his comments around the major mistakes he made during his early ventures. By focusing on what he would do differently now, he was able to humbly convey a number of impactful lessons to a captivated audience of budding entrepreneurs.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Steve Blank, author of Four Steps To The Epiphany, Stanford Professor and noted entrepreneur. Steve was very generous with his time, allowing us to cover a variety of topics during our Skype conversation. The subject discussed in the video below is Steve’s belief that Venture Capitalists should begin their careers as operational entrepreneurs.
I recently reviewed Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson’s book Venture Deals, in THIS ENTRY. I concluded that it is an effective tool for leveling the playing field between sophisticated investors and emerging entrepreneurs. I have subsequently recommended the book to number of students as well as emerging entrepreneurs, all of whom expressed positive feedback. Thus, I was excited when Brad agreed to chat with me via Skype to discuss the book’s genesis, along with the reaction of his fellow venture capitalists to the book’s revelation of numerous fundraising “secrets.”
In Everything (Including Startups) Is A Remix, I discuss the brilliant series of films created by Kirby Ferguson, which focus on the origin of creativity in music, film and business. Kirby’s videos entertainingly illustrate that the building blocks of creativity, irrespective of the creation, are: copying, combining and transforming. In my recent interview with Kirby, he discusses the origin of his videos and how he called upon his entrepreneurial muse to bootstrap their creation. His tenacity and persistence are instructive to emerging entrepreneurs.