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.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. I recently received an email from a former student in which he described how he was able to secure a lunch meeting with a high-profile entrepreneur who is operating multiple ventures in parallel. Benedikt Scholz is an exceptional student whom I had the pleasure of instructing when he recently studied at UC Santa Barbara. A native German speaker, he will soon graduate from University of Münster.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Noted American architect Frank Lloyd Wright famously cautioned his design disciples that form should not compromise function. However, for many online startups, form should drive the design process. I hesitate to write about design, as I have never considered myself to be a "color or font" person. Steve Jobs might have felt that an improper level of font worship was grounds for termination, but I usually erred on the side of utility. Good thing I was never entrusted with product design. At Expertcity (acquired by Citrix), I have had the pleasure of working with two executives who shared astounding aesthetic sensibilities: Klaus Schauser and Brian Donahoo. This dynamic duo, who now head up AppFolio, led the design and development of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Their focus on ease-of-use form over function resulted in a series of products that defeated stalwart incumbents, including marketing-leader Symantec.
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. Bob Wood has been a mentor to dozens of professionals during his long career in public service. Despite retiring several years ago, he continues to provide guidance to young (and not so young) professionals. As noted in You're Never Too Old (Or Too Successful) For A Mentor, Bob has become not only my mentor, but also my friend. Thus, I was honored when Bob agreed to share his insights regarding mentorship with my UC Santa Barbara entrepreneurial students.