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

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Stacy Peralta I 2_17

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.

Continue reading “Why Skateboarders Suddenly Became Scary Good In The Mid-80’s”

Objective Sports: An Indicator Of Startup Success

Kobie Fuller 2_17

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.

Continue reading “Objective Sports: An Indicator Of Startup Success”

Which School Generated The Most Startup/Tech Forbes 30 Under 30 Phenoms?

Forbes 30 under 30 1_17

I was pleased and proud when I learned that two of my former UC Santa Barbara students, Sieva Kozinsky, Founder of StudySoup and Eric Posen, Co-founder of Naritiv, made Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 list.

This caused me to wonder which schools generated the most awardees. To this end, with the help of Cameron Dennis, (one of my outstanding current students who will likely end up on the 30 Under 30 list someday), we researched the alma maters within Forbes’ startup and tech categories.

Continue reading “Which School Generated The Most Startup/Tech Forbes 30 Under 30 Phenoms?”

Good Things Happen When Two Transformative VC Trends Collide

VC Trends 12_16

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.

CB Insights I 9_16

Graph via CB Insights

Continue reading “Good Things Happen When Two Transformative VC Trends Collide”

This Startup Airline Lets You Fly Everyday / Any Day – For A Flat Fee

Jeff Potter Surf Air 9_16

As noted in Success, Santa Barbara Style, my definition of success includes living where you want to live and making money doing what you love. For many entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara, achieving such success would be much more difficult if it weren’t for the emergence of an innovative airline – Surf Air.

Surf Air flies to 12 locations within California and members can fly as often as they like, paying a flat membership fee. I initially hesitated because I wanted to travel less, not more, and I was concerned that if I signed up to an “all you can fly” program, I would feel compelled to travel more in order to justify the fixed cost.

Continue reading “This Startup Airline Lets You Fly Everyday / Any Day – For A Flat Fee”

This Startup Hacked LinkedIn To Recruit Customers & Reduce Churn

image002

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Businesses typically use LinkedIn to recruit employees. However, savvy startups can leverage LinkedIn to create a customer acquisition and a churn reduction tool. In particular, one of Rincon Venture Partner’s portfolio companies, SimpleLegal, has had so much success mining LinkedIn for customers that the CEO was initially reluctant for me to name his company in this article, fearing his competitors will mimic their common sense, yet clever approach.

Continue reading “This Startup Hacked LinkedIn To Recruit Customers & Reduce Churn”

The 5 Criteria That Matter When Evaluating A College Entrepreneurial Program

image002

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

A friend recently asked me to give his startup-minded daughter some advice to help her vet undergraduate entrepreneurial programs.

As I thought about the characteristics that comprise a great program, I identified five criteria that a prospective entrepreneurial student can use to evaluate the efficacy of a collegiate entrepreneur curriculum.

Continue reading “The 5 Criteria That Matter When Evaluating A College Entrepreneurial Program”

These High School Dropouts Crushed It With Some Simple Growth Hacks

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

image002
Novelist and High School Dropout Louis L’Amour knew the importance of seemingly unimportant people (AP Photo)

“Growth hacking” is one of today’s most overused terms, yet despite its trendiness, it predates the Internet by centuries. Entrepreneurs have been seeking clever shortcuts to spur their growth and circumvent 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 an uneducated carnival operator, an author who dropped out of High School at 15, the owner of a laundry company who ran away from home as a teenager and a restaurateur who left school at the age of 13. That’s right, all of the growth hacks described below were created by High School (and Junior High) dropouts.

Continue reading “These High School Dropouts Crushed It With Some Simple Growth Hacks”