The tech industry and its investors have been captivated by the spell of the Unicorn for too long — and the ambitious goal of a billion-dollar valuation has done more harm than good. Instead, founders should aim to be resilient Dragons. That’s the view of Maëlle Gavet, who as CEO of early-stage investment business Techstars has unmatched insight into the hopes, dreams, and challenges of thousands of founders. Maëlle also shares her experience as a “Fixer and Scaler” and offers important lessons for all entrepreneurs, from pre-seed start-ups to corporate change agents.
Some aspects of your brand will be defined by what customers tell you; others, by what you tell them. In their stories of how they scaled Warby Parker from scrappy e-commerce site to comprehensive eyewear and eye care juggernaut, co-founder and co-CEOs Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa give a master class in how to articulate crystal-clear brand values while also building and iterating based on fast customer feedback. Their lesson? Branding isn’t static. It’s a conversation.
To complete an audacious journey, you need to set short, achievable goals — or waypoints — to avoid getting wildly lost. But waypoints also need to be flexible because when you’re knocked off track, you need to be able to realign your waypoints to get back on course. Aurora’s Chris Urmson shares how he keeps returning to short, flexible waypoints on his daunting journey to make autonomous vehicles part of our everyday lives.
When is it time to double down on your instincts, and when is it time to open yourself up to feedback? Sometimes it comes down to a hard call… that you might get totally wrong. In Part Two of our episode with Patreon’s Jack Conte, you’ll hear how he was able to raise capital by telling his authentic story after a series of pitches that went disastrously wrong! And you’ll hear how his worst mistake as a founder helped him reconnect with Patreon’s mission and community, and build Patreon into a $4B company. How can being wrong accelerate your business? It takes running at the solution with insatiable curiosity.
How can small businesses survive in times of volatility? How should an entrepreneur balance limited resources with big ambitions? Reid Hoffman and Bob Safian answer questions from small business owners in the Masters of Scale community. Plus: another round of Pivot Point, and a Need to Know segment.
Every company has its own internal factions: engineers vs. designers, East Coast vs. West, IT vs. everybody. The trick is turning factionalism into healthy competition that propels you toward your shared mission. At Motorola, Cisco, and now her start-up Fable, Padma Warrior has tapped into the power of internal divisions. It’s not about separating people into warring camps; it’s about building bridges from our differences, rather than divisions.
How can a small business survive a David vs. Goliath competition? If two sets of stakeholders have opposing needs, how can a start-up pivot to keep them both happy? Reid Hoffman and Bob Safian answer these questions and more from small business owners in the Masters of Scale community. Plus: another round of Pivot Point!
Entrepreneurship is an essential tool for building a more equitable society — which is why Kathryn Finney is laser-focused on encouraging people who don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical founder to jump in. Her new book, “Build the Damn Thing,” taps into wisdom from her years at the venture studio Genius Guild and beyond. She brings a message to founders: The universe is conspiring for your greatness.
It’s easy to have a grand idea; putting that plan into action is not. Victoria Yampolsky conceived of a global concert in support of Ukraine. Without any experience in entertainment or international aid, she shares how she didn’t accept “no” for an answer in her quest to book big-name guests like Pink Floyd and negotiate a streaming deal — to pursue a fundraising goal of $10 million.
How do you create authentic partnerships to build scale? In Part 1 of our two-part series featuring Daymond John, founder of FUBU and one of the original “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank, Daymond shares lessons from FUBU’s earliest days in Queens, where he partnered with bouncers, bodegas, his neighbor LL Cool J, and his earliest collaborator and investor (his mom) to turn a great idea into a billion-dollar urbanwear brand. Coming in Part 2: Transcending the transactional with Shark Tank, the Kardashians, and more.
How do you best prepare for entrepreneurship? Reid Hoffman answers five burning questions from our Masters of Scale Members about tough pivots, growth targets, name changes and more. With Members Antoni Gruca (HEC-42 Launchpad), Krystal Lucado, Tudor Mihailescu (SpeechifAI, Inc.), Hoda Mehr (Stock Card), and Shamini Dhana (D/Sphere).
Throughout her career, Natalie Massenet has proved her ability to spot – and act on – a trend. Natalie and Reid share tactics about how to deliver the future to consumers, manage pushback, and navigate uncharted territory.