Entrepreneurs Should Forget ROI And Focus On Return On Life: The New Measure Of Wealth

image001A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes.

According to Tige Young, Founder and CEO of Tui Tai Expeditions, entrepreneurs should de-emphasize ROI and focus on a more accurate measure of wealth, Return On Life.

I became acquainted with Tige, when I was researching examples of exemplary online customer service. In the resulting article, I describe Tige’s deft handling of online trolls via the deft use of social media. My subsequent correspondence with Tige led me and my 13-year-old son to Fiji, where we experienced the Tui Tai firsthand.



As luck would have it, a large group cancelled their reservation at the last minute. As such, my son and I had the boat essentially to ourselves. Fortuitously, Tige’s children were on school holiday, so he and his family joined us for several days.

As I got to know Tige, I became intrigued with his story. How did an American software engineer come to own an adventure travel company cited by National Geographic as, “one of the best adventure travel companies on earth?”

Continue reading “Entrepreneurs Should Forget ROI And Focus On Return On Life: The New Measure Of Wealth”

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.

Continue reading “Lean Startup Legend Steve Blank Discloses His Most Daring Guerrilla Marketing Tactics”

Guerilla Marketing, Brad Feld Style

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



Continue reading “Guerilla Marketing, Brad Feld Style”

Why A Prominent Startup Executive Wants You To Fail, Get Fired And Focus

Article first published as Why A Prominent Start-up Executive Wants You to Get Fired and Fail on Technorati.

FailureKim 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. Continue reading “Why A Prominent Startup Executive Wants You To Fail, Get Fired And Focus”

Steve Blank Discusses The Origin And Future Of The Lean Startup Movement

Article first published as Steve Blank Discusses Origin And Future Of Lean Startup Movement on Technorati.

The Startup Owner's ManualI 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.  Continue reading “Steve Blank Discusses The Origin And Future Of The Lean Startup Movement”

7 Tools of Entrepreneurial Awesomeness

Kenny Powers 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. Continue reading “7 Tools of Entrepreneurial Awesomeness”

TechStar Co-Founder Brad Feld: Are We Experiencing A Startup Accelerator Bubble?

IncubatorsIn 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. Continue reading “TechStar Co-Founder Brad Feld: Are We Experiencing A Startup Accelerator Bubble?”

Mark Suster’s Advice To Emerging Entrepreneurs – “Do Not Do, As I Have Done”

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. Continue reading “Mark Suster’s Advice To Emerging Entrepreneurs – “Do Not Do, As I Have Done””

Steve Blank Discusses: The Ideal Venture Capitalist

Steve Blank circa 1978I 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.
Continue reading “Steve Blank Discusses: The Ideal Venture Capitalist”

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