Hiring Lessons From Annie Duke: World Series Poker Champ

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

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Earlier this year, I had the pleasure to hear Kit Cooper interview World Series of Poker champion Annie Duke. Annie touched upon a number of compelling topics that will be covered in her forthcoming book Thinking In Bets (due out early 2018), including how she provokes job candidates to show their true colors during interviews so she can read their “tells.”

It is clear that Annie enjoys interviewing candidates, a role in which she makes people uncomfortable in order to peek into their souls.

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Which Of These 7 Fears Are Keeping You From Being An Entrepreneur?

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

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Marketing automation company HubSpot recently surveyed its users, asking them a variety of startup questions. Some of the responses to this non-scientific study were predictable and others surprising. In particular, I found the answers to, “What is holding you back from starting a company?” to be especially enlightening to emerging entrepreneurs.

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High School Dropouts Use Common Sense To Amass Millions

 

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A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Note: This is Part II of High School dropout growth hacks. Part I can be found HERE.

Growth hacking is currently fashionable, yet it precedes the Internet by centuries. Entrepreneurs have been seeking ingenious shortcuts to spur their growth and defeat their competitors since the dawn of commerce.

By looking backward, modern entrepreneurs can co-opt the hacks from a pre-digital age that remain relevant today. These clever ideas often come from unusual sources, including: a teenage runaway who started a laundry and an immigrant restaurateur who left school at the age of 13. That’s right, the growth hacks described below were created by High School dropouts.

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This Startup Should Have Fired Uber, Tinder, Pinterest, Dropbox, Evernote, Tumblr, HootSuite and Instagram

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

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Despite the fact that JazzHR was a nascent startup in 2012, it boasted an impressive customer roster, including: Uber, Tinder, Pinterest, Dropbox, Evernote, HootSuite, Tumblr and Instagram. Surprisingly, it was these same customers that caused the company’s focus to blur, and therefore temporarily lose its way. NOTE: I am a Board Member and an investor in JazzHR, thus I share responsibility for the company’s target market missteps.

Continue reading “This Startup Should Have Fired Uber, Tinder, Pinterest, Dropbox, Evernote, Tumblr, HootSuite and Instagram”

This Student Talked His Way Into Google Through Courageous Networking

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

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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.

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Why Skateboarders Suddenly Became Scary Good In The Mid-80’s

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

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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.

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Objective Sports: An Indicator Of Startup Success

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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.

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Good Things Happen When Two Transformative VC Trends Collide

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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.

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Graph via CB Insights

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