Note: This is Part I in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part II HERE Each generation, a few magnetic personalities emerge and generate a mania of public interest. Before Elvis, there was Sinatra. Before Sinatra, there was Bing. Before Bing, there was Caruso and before Caruso, there was Blondin. Jean Francois Gravelot, who wisely abandoned his given name and dubbed himself The Great Blondin, was a true rock star of the 19th Century. On June 30, 1859, at the height of his fame, he stood before a crowd of tens of thousands of people at Niagara Falls.
In August 2004, FastCompany published an article titled, Inside The Mind Of Jeff Bezos, written by Alan Deutschman. Although the article is informative, it is the accompanying sidebar that has remained with me over the succeeding years. Under the heading, “The Book On Bezos,” the callout lists ten actionable and impactful nuggets of startup advice. I review these tenets with my entrepreneurial students at UC Santa Barbara at the beginning of each quarter to reinforce many of the key topics we will cover in the following weeks. They are listed below augmented with quotes from Jeff Bezos taken from various points in his career.
Team Above Self - the Team’s objectives supersede those of the Individual The ninth tenet outlined in Core Values When I was an operational startup executive, I seldom lost my temper in the workplace. However, one of the few things that angered me at a base level was when an employee would place their personal interests above those of the company.
Nithin Jilla was 14-yrs old when he became involved in Kenya Dream. Over the past four years, Nithin has generated national coverage for his from several leading cable news networks, as well as a number of local and regional newspapers. He has also combined his passion for dance to further expand Kenya Dream’s audience by establishing a series of Ken-Ya Dance showcase events festivals. You can watch my interview with Nithin below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/sUex9TwXSjI
“Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he did not need the money.” William Lyon Phelps, American Author Growing up, I dreamed that one day I could say, “I don’t have to work.” My parents were both government employees of modest means who understandably viewed my lofty aspirations as an unlikely fantasy. My father passed away when I was in my mid-30’s, before he had a chance to enjoy the fruits of his lifelong labor. His premature death further solidified my desire to retire early. After an exhausting and exhilarating 13-years as a senior startup executive, I looked back on my career with satisfaction, having helped several companies create significant wealth, including: Computer Motion: IPO and later sold to Intuitive Surgical $148 million Expertcity: creator of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, sold to Citrix for $236 million CallWave: IPO, initial market cap ~$200 million At the age of 43, I decided that I would retire. I was convinced at the time that I would never work again. At the outset of my retirement, I shared this thought with a CEO whom I respected and without hesitation he replied, “You will be back in the game once you take a breather. I guarantee it.” Boy, was he ever right…
Article first published as Guerilla Marketing Fail – What I Learned From The Austin Police on Technorati. Acrobatic ninjas, the Austin Police and several livid tradeshow executives – a perfect recipe for a reality television show, but not a great combination for Seth Epstein’s startup, Social Stay. Seth discusses below what happened in Austin when he tried to rock the largest hospitality tradeshow of the year and what he learned from this humorous, but stressful experience. You can watch my interview with Seth below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/O9TEOY-QYhs To hear Seth verbally describe this enlightening story, watch the video. Below is a guest post in which Seth tells the story in written form. Both the video and Seth’s post are excellent primers regarding how to deal with guerilla marketing gone wrong. I suggest you check out both the video and Seth’s entertaining depiction below. Note: the story takes place in Austin, not Dallas, which I incorrectly reference in the video.
Randy Churchill and his team at PricewaterhouseCoopers meticulously prepare a quarterly report detailing the venture landscape, called Shaking The Money Tree. The data consistently confirms that: (i) venture capitalists are typically not adventuresome, and (ii) most startups lack the three intoxicating factors which cause venture capitalists to pull out their checkbooks.
Messenger: Scott Dinsmore, Co-Founder Cumbre Capital and author of the inspirational blog, LiveYourLegend. You can watch my interview with Scott below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/-H6QuivgHqo What follows is a summary which paraphrases Scott’s responses. For his exact quotes, watch the video.
TestFlight’s mission is to reduce app developers’ pain. The company effectively leveraged this credo at Apple’s 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). As Ben Satterfield, TestFlight’s CEO explains in the interview below, for the cost of some T-shirts and tacos, TestFlight was able to dominate the mindshare of many WWDC attendees. As Ben points out, successful guerrilla marketing is predicated on creativity and clever execution, not a huge budget. You can watch my four-minute interview with Ben below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/RzSrfTE87EY
Messenger: Mark Douglas, President & CEO, SteelHouse Media. Former Vice President of Technology at eHarmony and Vice President of Engineering at the Rubicon Project. In this interview, Mark discusses how his experiences at Oracle, eHarmony and the Rubicon Project contributed to the creation of his latest venture, SteelHouse Media. You can watch the video below or on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_NWWtIAM68 What follows is a summary which paraphrases Mark’s responses. For his exact quotes, watch the video. Value Prop Twitter Style: SteelHouse's Behavioral Commerce platform increases online conversions via targeted incentives based on shopper personality and behavior