Home » Starting a Business

Category Archives: Starting a Business

Think, Live, Be Positive Aggressive | Phil Soran

Think, Live, Be Positive Aggressive | Phil Soran

 

Phil Soran, a serial entrepreneur, shares his secret for going B to B (Basement to Billions) in his TEDxFargo talk. Phil started two successful technology companies in his Minnesota basement and attributes the success to creating a special company culture called Positive Aggressive. Through humor, stories, and concrete examples, Phil challenges the audience live with more intention by creating a Positive Aggressive Lifestyle.
 
Phil Soran is a serial entrepreneur in the technology field, founding companies that have generated thousands of jobs. Most recently, Phil was the founder, President and CEO of Compellent Technologies which started in 2002.

Build entrepreneurial equality | Chris Rabb

Build entrepreneurial equality | Chris Rabb

 

 

 

 We admire the spirit of the entrepreneur – but the fact is, it’s a lot easier to be entrepreneurial when you come from a community of wealth and privilege. Calling this out, Chris Rabb makes a bold case: It’s time to democratize entrepreneurship. Pulling stories from his own family history (and looking back to the days of US slavery), he shows why challenged communities often have a hard time sustaining new businesses – and calls for all of us to support those who are crazy and hard-headed enough to start a business, no matter where they come from.

When starting a business, sometimes hard work, a great idea, and a good attitude are simply not enough. Chris Rabb explores why in his book Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity, which looks at modern U.S. business in the context of structural inequality. He suggests that through developing commonwealth enterprises, our society can democratize entrepreneurial opportunity, which will lead toward greater social inclusion, economic sustainability and community wealth-building.
Chris teaches social entrepreneurship and organizational innovation at the Fox School of Business at Temple, after running a nationally recognized business incubator in West Philadelphia. A 2013 Knight Foundation BMe Leadership Award recipient, he conducts entrepreneurial literacy outreach to individuals and groups working in low-financial- wealth communities in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore. Chris is also known for his pioneering work linking genetic testing and family history.

Fireside Chat with Steve Blank, Hosted by Prof. Len Lodish

Fireside Chat with Steve Blank, Hosted by Prof. Len Lodish

 

Customer Discovery and Customer Validation: Fireside Chat with Steve Blank, Hosted by Professor Len Lodish
 
A retired eight-time serial entrepreneur-turned-educator and author, Steve Blank has changed how startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught around the globe. He is author of the bestselling “The Startup Owner’s Manual”, and his earlier seminal work, “The Four Steps to the Epiphany,” credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. During this fireside chat, Steve Blank and Professor Len Lodish discuss the Customer Discovery and Customer Validation phases of the Customer Development Model, a technique startups use to quickly iterate and test each part of their business model. 

Barbara Corcoran on the Best Time to Start a Business

Barbara Corcoran on the Best Time to Start a Business

 

Entrepreneur, author, and Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran on the best time to start a business 

Startup Company Challenges with Tomasz Tunguz

Startup Company Challenges, Dynamics and Best Practices with Tomasz Tunguz (Redpoint Ventures)

 

Tomasz Tunguz is a partner at Redpoint Ventures and the author of one of the most active and insightful blogs about startups on the internet today. Tomasz speaks to some of the more salient issues that he has written about and posted. These include trends in the early-stage financial markets; best practices when building a startup including marketing tactics, sales team construction, and unit economics; and more. 

The Importance of Picking the Right Investor with Carl Showalter

The Importance of Picking the Right Investor with Carl Showalter

 

A relatively recent phenomenon has complicated the investment landscape confronting the founder of the early stage company looking for funding. There used to be a time not too long ago when a founder had only two investor categories to choose from: angels or institutional VCs. Today, it is not that simple. The ecosystem of investors in the Bay Area includes angels, super angels, incubators and accelerators, corporate VCs, the institutional VC community (which itself has fragmented into side funds and specialties), crowdfunding, “demo” days, and the like. Even private equity firms and investment banking firms are coming “down market” to invest in startups, presenting the founder with a bewildering array of choices.

 

Our speaker, Carl Showalter, a partner at Opus Capital and an experienced investor with a long history in Silicon Valley, offers insights and wisdom on how a founder should think about the fundraising process. When is the right time to raise funding? How much money should the founder raise? What part of the investor ecosystem should a founder go to first? Is crowdfunding as good as it looks? What business models still require bootstrapping as a first step? When is the right time to bring in an institutional VC? 

Philip Evans: How data will transform business

Philip Evans: How data will transform business

 

What does the future of business look like? In an informative talk, Philip Evans gives a quick primer on two long-standing theories in strategy — and explains why he thinks they are essentially invalid. 

Start-up lessons from Patron Billionaire John Paul DeJoria

Start-up lessons from Patron Billionaire John Paul DeJoria

 

john paul dejoria

 

The founder of Paul Mitchell and Patron talks entrepreneurship, branding and the power of passion.

Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From George Lucas

Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From George Lucas by Evan Carmichael

 

george lucas

 

Today we’re going to look at how a young man who wanted to become a professional race car driver changed his career choice after connecting with the right mentor and rose to the top of his industry. This is the story of Star Wars creator George Lucas and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.

 

“The secret is not to give up hope. It’s very hard not to because if you’re really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side. You just have to hang in through that.” – George Lucas

 

George Lucas (born May 14, 1944) is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm and is best known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Lucas’ father owned a small office supply store that Lucas was destined to take over but he had other plans – he wanted to become a professional race car driver. Almost his entire childhood was dedicated to cars.

When he was in a near-fatal car accident just days before his high school graduation, Lucas gave up racing and went to college. He enrolled in the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television because he liked photography and thought “maybe that will be interesting.” The program would change his life. He met Francis Ford Coppola at the film school who served as his mentor and inspired him to become a producer-director. Upon graduation he committed himself to doing films as his profession.

Today Lucas is one of the film industry’s most financially successful directors/producers. His estimated 2011 net worth is $3.2 billion and he’s received numerous honours such as being named among the 100 Greatest Americans by the Discovery Channel and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film institute.

 

 

Action Item #1: Love what you do

Action Item #2: Find something you’re great at 

Action Item #3: Keep going

 

 

True Story

Lucas wrote the screenplay for Star Wars after being inspired by Flash Gordon and Planet of the Apes. While writing it he thought that it was “too wacky” for the general public but he insisted on finishing it. When the script was finished, only Twentieth Century Fox was willing to take a chance on the movie. In a groundbreaking move at the time, Lucas agreed to give up his director’s salary in exchange for 40% of the film’s box office take as well as all merchandising rights and sequel rights. Breaking all box office records and winning seven Academy Awards, Star Wars made Lucas an instant millionaire as well as a household name.

 

 

More Quotes

“I’m extremely grateful that I discovered my passion. I love movies. I love to watch them, I love to make them.”

“It’s hard work making movies…if you don’t really love it, then it ain’t worth it.”

“I got the licensing rights because I figured they wouldn’t promote the film and if I got T-shirts and things out there with the name of the film on them it would help promote the movie.”

 

Business Ideas – How to Learn, Not Waste Time, and Be Kind Like Benjamin Franklin by Evan Carmichael

Business Ideas – How to Learn, Not Waste Time, and Be Kind Like Benjamin Franklin

 

benjamin franklin

 

Today we’re going to take a closer look at the fifteenth child of seventeen children who only had two years of grammar school education and went on to become an entrepreneur and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. This is the story of Benjamin Franklin and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.

 

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

Benjamin Franklin (born January 17, 1706) did not come from a family of prominence. Instead, his family could only afford to send him to two years of grammar school and by the time he was 13, Franklin’s father sent him off to apprentice at his older brother’s print company. Here, Franklin helped to compose pamphlets, set up type, sell the paper on the streets and perform other printer-related duties. Franklin also began writing columns under the pseudonym ‘Mrs. Silence Dogood’, who he fabricated to be a middle-aged widow. Dogood was an immediate hit with her writings about the problems and social conditions of women, but when James found out it was actually his younger brother writing her column, he was furious. As a result of James’ ensuing harassment and beatings, Franklin became a fugitive and ran away from his family at the age of 17.

 

Franklin tried his luck as a printer both in New York and New Jersey, but to no avail. He then moved to Philadelphia, where he did manage to find a job with a printer. But, Franklin was unsatisfied with his prospects there. After a brief stint at a printer’s shop in London, England, Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1726. Four years and much borrowed money later, he had finally set up his own printing house. He began to publish a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette, in which he would regularly give himself space to comment on the most pressing social issues of the time. He cultivated an image of himself as an intellectual and a productive young man and his writings were the beginning of what would earn Franklin significant social respect.

 

In 1748, Franklin officially retired from the printing business, although he continued writing literature and satirical essays throughout the rest of his life. He began to take a more formal role in public life, becoming councilman, Justice of the Peace in Pennsylvania and elected member of the Assembly. Five years later, he was appointed Joint Deputy Postmaster-General of North America and several other posts. In perhaps his most well known feat, Franklin began working towards independence as part of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. In 1787, after he had retired from public office, he attended a series of meetings that would result in the United States Constitution. He became the only Founding Father to sign all three of the country’s major founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, The Treaty of Paris and the U.S. Constitution.

 

 

Action Item #1: Always be Learning

 

Action Item #2: Don’t Waste Time

 

Action Item #3: Be Kind to One Another

 

 

True Story

Benjamin Franklin had no real opinions on slavery until he went to England. His wife, Deborah, was not well educated and had problems even writing to him, but pressured him into visiting a grammar school for black children while he was stationed in London. After visiting the school, Franklin found, to his surprise, that black children were just as smart at white children. After coming to this realization, he changed his entire outlook on the way slavery was being conducted in the United States.

 

Unknown to most people in America, Franklin was one of the first American politicians to advocate the end of slavery in the United States. He had been socially active most of his life, even creating one of the first fire departments in Philadelphia. During the end of his life, he spent a lot of time speaking, writing and publicly admonishing other politicians that believed in slavery. He wanted to start schools for black children and offer them the same things white children had, but in the end, all of his talk would be disregarded. However, his beliefs would eventually lead Abraham Lincoln to the same realization.

 

 

Quotes 

 

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

 

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”

 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”