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The Founder Formula
44 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
How do you solve a problem before you even know it exists? This Founder has the answer.
How do you know when you’ve built a winning culture? More importantly, how do you know when you’ve succeeded in instilling your core values across the entire company? We’re talking this week to Ian Tien, CEO at Mattermost, an enterprise messaging workspace for teams to collaborate securely and effectively. His career has taken him through various areas of the entertainment industry including founding Spinpunch, an independent game studio. Our conversation on this episode centered all around: Building a company to address a customer need when YOUR company is the customer Listening to the market Building open source platforms and why they’re so beneficial The 5 core pillars of culture at Mattermost and why each one is crucial to their success Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
48 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Creating Voice Robots and Making Them Video Stars w/ Evan McMillan
When was the last time you or your company made a product video? If you’re not using video to communicate your message, odds are that you’re missing a huge array of potential investors, consumers, and users. And before you make excuses about your company not being exciting, or your product not sexy enough for video, take a listen to this episode of The Founder Formula. We’re talking this week to Evan McMillan, CEO and Co-Founder at Gridspace, an AI-driven, voice automation company. Evan has an incredibly rich background. He was born in Silicon Valley, and his dad worked at Sun Microsystems and rubbed shoulders with legends like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Evan went on to Stanford University at the same time as another famous alumni, Mark Zuckerberg. Evan even spent some time at Stanford's version of the Harvard Lampoon called the Stanford Chaparral Our conversation on this episode centered all around: What Silicon Valley USED to be like before it became the tech playground that it is today. What he learned from Product Design Seeing a problem that needed solving… Better voice based customer service leveraging video as a MUST for your company and your product What it looks like to scale, and the hardest part of scaling effectively lessons learned from his previous successful start-up Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
26 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Part 2: Bushnell and Jobs: Two Titans Cross Paths
Last Episode we spoke with a man who has been called the Father of Video Games. Silicon Valley legend Nolan Bushnell. If you haven’t listened to that interview, make sure you go back and do so, because we talked all about his career up through his time at Atari, and ultimately the sale of Atari to Warner Media. So again, if you haven’t listened to that episode, make sure to go back and do that. In part 2 of our interview with Nolan, we’re covering the second half of his career. With someone as storied and experienced as Nolan is, he wasn’t content to just sell Atari and fade into the background. The second part of our conversation centered around: Nolan’s first adventure after leaving Atari His fascinating relationship with the iconic Steve Jobs Why Chuck E Cheese was more of an arcade business than a restaurant business The technology that he sold that became the bedrock of Pixar Did Steve actually solicit help from his Buddy Steve Wozniak How would Nolan describe their relationship? What percentage of Apple did Steve offer Nolan when seeking investment? Why did Nolan turn him down? Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
26 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
A Crash Course in Founding from one of the Greats
For the 25th episode of The Founder Formula, we thought we’d pull out all the stops, and invite one of the most famous founders in Silicon Valley history on the show for a two part extravaganza. If you spent any amount of time in the 1970’s & 1980’s playing Atari, you have our guest, Nolan Bushnell to thank. Nolan founded Atari, and brought video games to the home user, selling over 30 million units. As if changing the video game industry wasn’t enough, Nolan also went on to found Chuck E. Cheese, which at the height of its popularity, had over 200 locations. Not to mention the countless boards he sits on, advisory roles he’s taken, and incubators he’s founded. The first part of our conversation centered around: - The history of Atari and what led to it’s founding - The concept of “eat your babies” (Don’t worry, it’s not what it sounds like) - Straddling the line between leading a company and inventing forward at the same time - How the University of Utah & Silicon Valley had equal impact on his career Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website
39 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
Making Company Culture a Priority
On this week’s episode of The Founder Formula, we talk with Renen Hallak, Founder and CEO of VAST Data. In 2019, he was honored for entrepreneurship by Goldman Sachs at their annual Innovator Summit. His company also recently made the news by raising $100M in Series C Funding — so it’s safe to say that Renen knows a thing or two about being a successful founder. Our conversation was incredible, and we were fortunate that Renen was so generous with his time. We discussed, among other things: The key differences between the hardware and software company and how those experiences differ greatly. The journey to four successful fundraising cycles and why the most recent $100M cycle was so unique. The complex decisions that go into selecting a board of directors for your company. Making the company culture a foundation from day 1. Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
43 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
When launching a company, start by knowing and never lose sight of your customer
On this week’s episode of The Founders Formula, we talk with Rehan Jalil. Rehan is a successful three-time founder, holds an AMP from Harvard Business School, has over 25 patents either granted or pending, and was named one of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year finalists. So it’s safe to say that Rehan knows a thing or two about the founder’s journey, and we were blown away with the wisdom and practical advice he had for us during this interview. We discussed, among other things: - What to look for when assembling the winning founding team - The most important part of the pitch - The most gratifying moments for a founder - The lessons he’s learned along the way that all founders should keep in mind Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
50 minutes | Sep 1, 2020
This 2-Time Founder Ignored Tradition & Went Bootstrap
Our recent podcast guest & 2-time founder saw entrepreneurship as a way to have an impact on the world. He & his employees wanted to do something to help fight against COVID-19, so they made their whole enterprise solution free to COVID-19 researchers. That’s true impact. That’s wanting your work to do good in the world. In this episode, we interview Justin Borgman, Co-founder & CEO at Starburst, about founding his second startup. What we talked about: - His impetus for entrepreneurship arrived at age 12 - The differences between his 1st and 2nd companies - Company culture & values (not “the Silicon Valley mentality”) - How he views his competitors Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
40 minutes | Jul 21, 2020
How a Liberal Arts Kid Turned into an Accelerated Analytics Founder
When I asked Todd what clued him in that he was destined to become an entrepreneur, he said, “Intense curiosity.” The first-time founder taught himself Arabic, programming languages, data science, and entrepreneurship. In this episode, I interview Todd Mostak, Cofounder and CEO at OmniSci, about his amazing startup journey. What we talked about: - Winning a contest for his first $100K - Thesis at Harvard, research fellowship at MIT, and Verizon Wireless as an early client - The mismatch between early hires, culture, and startup nimbleness Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
33 minutes | Jun 30, 2020
The Path from Accounting Major to Programmer to Ringing the IPO Bell
George Kurtz is the President, Founder, & CEO of CrowdStrike, but his journey to the CEO of a $20B+ company isn’t one that a lot of people would expect. On this episode of The Founder Formula, we sit down with George to discuss: - What nearly got him fired from PricewaterhouseCoopers - Why his lack of collegiate tech background makes him a more effective tech CEO - How CrowdStrike had a remote work force model in place before COVID19 hit - Why the IPO is the green flag for a company, not the checkered flag. Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
41 minutes | Jun 5, 2020
Want To Get Early Customers? Send them pizza and 5 hour energy.
After growing up in Anne Arbor and attending the University of Michigan, Jon Oberheide and his partner Dug Song started their career as offensive security researchers. They soon found that it’s really easy to break things in the security space but it's a lot harder to build something resilient. Jon joins us on this episode of The Founder Formula to share the story of their journey, and some of the simple solutions they were able to identify early on such as: - Changing the customer experience - Making free trials available - Offering a solution that can deploy in 5 minutes - Purchasing with a credit card (which at that time was unheard of!) Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
43 minutes | Jun 2, 2020
A Founder's Two Most important Relationships Revealed
"The only reason to launch a start-up is because you have to!" In this episode, we talk to cloud entrepreneur and innovator Craig McLuckie. He talks about the time to launch a startup when you see 2 things: 1) A total addressable market 2) A moment of disruption Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
32 minutes | May 29, 2020
From Successful Tech Start-up Founder to Successful VC Founder
Cindy Padnos has not only done it twice, she's in a great position to advise those who only need to do it once. Cindy is unique in that she founded her own tech company that was purchased by Oracle. She then found her second company, one that funds entrepreneurs. Her advice? Focus on the things that matter - then go off and build a great business! Cindy believes she has founder genes in her DNA - always thought like a founder. She launched her first company Vivant because, as she put it, she had no more excuses. When describing starting a company: It was back breaking, gut wrenching work - and the most fun she’d ever had! What does she look for in a founder? Someone scrappy, resilient, who demonstrates the ability to attract talent and knows how to celebrate wins. If you take away fear and uncertainty and focus on building a solid business you’ll be the better for it. Focus on getting a few things right then when the uncertainty is lifted you’ll be in a much better position.
39 minutes | May 26, 2020
Software as a Weapon: A Soldier Founds a Cybersecurity Company
“Software is a weapon.” And the thing about weapons is, they can be used to attack. Or they can be used to defend. And if you know how they can be used to attack, it only makes them all the easier to defend when the time comes. On a recent episode of The Founder Formula, we sat down with Lior Div, who traded his life in the Israeli army, for a life as a CEO & Co-Founder of a cybersecurity company. We talked all about: - His time in the Israeli army and how his experiences there set him up for a career as a CEO - What it was that prompted him to start his own company - Why it’s not a matter of IF you get hacked, but a matter of WHEN Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
37 minutes | May 20, 2020
Think COVID 19 is a bad time to start a company? Think again.
This is a terrible time to be trying to start a company. Right? Maybe not. While it might seem like the worst possible time to be throwing your energy, time, and money into starting a company, what if this were the best possible time to embark on this crazy journey? Gaurav Manglik thinks this might just be your time. And it’s not just about starting a company. If you are starting, what do you need to do? How can you increase your chances of getting funded? Gaurav was a guest on The Founder Formula recently, and was kind enough to talk with us all about: - Some of the most common myths about working for a VC - Why your business plan could be the thing that makes the difference between success and failure - What it was like having your company purchased by one of the largest enterprise tech firms in the word: Cisco Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
31 minutes | May 5, 2020
Executing Someone Else’s Ideas Inspires a 25 year old Intern to Launch a Start-up
After graduating from Cornell University, Tim’s first gig was executing the ideas of others. He soon realized the Data Science and Insight work he was doing wasn’t solving the pain point that was creating usable data. The solution didn’t exist. It needed to be created – and he knew how to do it. Thus, the launch of a new start-up and a founder's journey. Tim Delisle started his company at just 25 years old. He did his first pitch between college classes, and rather than using a power point or whiteboard, he used a notebook and some sharpies from his backpack. On this episode of The Founder Formula, we sat down with Tim to discuss: - Finding his co-founder at a Hackathon - Building culture by cooking and eating together - Not knowing any VC’s when he started - 3 keys stages: Seed Stage, Series A, and large growth rounds - Translating gut instincts into clear communication Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
45 minutes | Apr 22, 2020
From Guitar Hero to Oculus VR: Surviving a Start-Up
What happens when you get the chance to sit down with someone who was the co-founder of Oculus VR, and was one of the chief IP leads for the famed Activision franchise Guitar Hero? Someone who has made a career out of innovation and knows what it takes to succeed in the startup world? You drop everything and have that conversation. On the Season 2 kick off episode of The Founder Formula, we sat down with Jack McCauley to talk about: - The story of the development of Oculus - The soft skills needed to survive in a startup environment - Advice for folks who want to hang on to their IP - So, so much more Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
40 minutes | Nov 26, 2019
The Design Sprint. Why You Need It.
Today’s guest is Jake Knapp, Designer, Advisor, & New York Times Best Selling Author, and someone who cut his teeth on Microsoft Encarta. Who remembers Microsoft Encarta? Show of hands. For those of you under the age of 30, it was essentially Wikipedia on a CD-ROM. You’d buy it, and then at the end of the year, it would get updated and you’d have to buy it again. On this episode we talked about: The theory behind The Sprint What he took away from Google and Microsoft Success stories from companies that have embraced The Sprint. How to write a book on the side while still being amazing at your job. Listen to this and all of the Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
42 minutes | Nov 19, 2019
A Great and Terrible Idea: Founding a Company With High School Buddies
Today’s guest is Benjamin Hindman, Co-Founder of D2iQ (formerly Mesosphere). After founding a company with buddies from high school, would you undertake a CEO search and an entire company rebrand? If you did, here’s what you’d learn: Why founding a company with high school buddies is a great and terrible idea What it’s like to search for a CEO The process of rebranding Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
35 minutes | Nov 12, 2019
Embracing Design Partners Rather Than Beta Testers
Today’s guest is Nir Polak, Cofounder and CEO at Exabeam. Founders of tech solutions should sign design partners. Not beta testers. What we talked about: Design partners and how they’re superior to beta testers Benefits of refining your product market fit early in your to market process Creating a heat map of scaling communications Finding investors Find this episode and more Founder Formula at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.
34 minutes | Nov 5, 2019
3 Traits of People You Want to Found a Company With
Today’s guest is Elik Eizenberg, Founder & CTO at BigPanda. On this episode, he speaks with us about his enduring love for data algorithms. The more you think about founding a company, the more you don’t want to do it. At some point, you’ll have to stop analyzing all the reasons not to and get started. What we talked about: Why analysis will keep you from founding your company The kind of people you want to found a company with Elik’s process of finding his target market Starting with mockups Why “Panda” To hear this episode and more like it, subscribe to The Founder Formula on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or tune in on our website.
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