A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Bill Grundfest, Founder of the Comedy Cellar, Golden Globe winner and three time Emmy nominee, recently spoke to an audience of entrepreneurial students as part of UC Santa Barbara's Distinguished Lecture Series. Mr. Grundfest has a nose for comedic talent, discovering and the launching the career of many notable comedians, including Steven Wright, Bill Maher, Ray Romano and Jon Stewart. He was also instrumental in Richard Pryor's comeback campaign.
A version of this article previously appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Balance is one of the most important aspects of skiing. A solid foundation formed by two strong legs is key, especially at a competative level. Balance is also an extremely important factor among a founding startup team. Although it is difficult, balance can be achieved on one leg. Just ask Paralympic Champion Michael Milton, who has hurled himself down mountains at 133 miles per hour on a single ski. His time compares favorably with the two-legged world speed record of 157 miles per hour. Just like starting a company as a sole founder, it is possible to excel without a partner, it's just a lot harder.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. The broad implications of the sharing economy are only beginning to be felt. The ability for people to turn their time, residences, cars and other personal assets into viable income streams is revising the traditional definition of "employment." The sharing economy is also proving to be a significant source of bootstrap startup capital. In the past, a struggling entrepreneur's options for paying the bills were limited. Part time jobs typically generated minimal income while requiring the entrepreneur be at a specific place at a specific time, thus restricting their ability to work on their venture.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. With the 4th of July around the corner, Zack Brown had potato salad on his mind. As any enterprising entrepreneur would do, he initiated a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $10. His appeal is written in a hilarious, deadpan style. For instance, he notes in the Risks section of his campaign that, "It might not be that good. It's my first potato salad." At the time I am writing this, he has enticed nearly 6,000 backers to commit over $49,500, and counting.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Steve Benson, Founder and CEO of Bay Area Badger Maps, intends to hire so many interns this summer that he will effectively double the size of his startup. According to Steve, "Startups are, by their nature, a great place for interns, because there are more essential things that must get done than there are people to complete them. At the same time, most startups are small enough that the interns are able to interface with people that actually have expertise, so they gain real-world skills while performing meaningful work."
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Dirty Franks is a dive bar located in Philadelphia, which is also home of The Wharton School. Although only a short Uber ride away, it is seldom frequented by the business students. Too bad, as they would be well served to study Dirty Franks marketing plan, which has withstood the test of time.
A version of this article previously appeared in The Wall Street Journal. It has never been easier to network with really busy thought leaders who can have a huge impact on your career. Ironically, the same tools that facilitate connecting with people beyond your current network, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora and Facebook, also make it more difficult for highly networked individuals to sort through their inbound messages and determine which are meaningful and which should be ignored.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. I just suffered through the worst "can you help me" call of my career. It was a rather hapless soul who was seeking my help networking within Santa Barbara's startup community. Fortunately, this particular call was brief. In the fifteen minutes that we chatted, the caller made some shocking networking mistakes.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Founder ≠ King Everyone around you knows that you have it, but you are in denial. You say things like, “I am open to giving control to the right person at the right time”. However, the reality is that the “right person” does not exist and the “right time” never arrives. Founderitis, Founder’s Disease, Founder’s Syndrome; by any name, this my way or the highway approach to running a business is the same affliction. When Founderitis strikes, the Founder’s drive, energy and vision(characteristics crucial to the startup’s initial success) become a hindrance to the company’s maturation into a self-sustaining entity.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Quick - name a phone company. AT&T? Verizon? Maybe you said Apple or even Google, but I bet Facebook didn't come to mind. Yet, that’s exactly who the Atlantic called out in an article last week (along with Apple), and they’re right. According to the author, 60% of Facebook’s revenue comes from mobile ads, double that of the prior year. Yep, Facebook is a phone company.