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The Bob Johnston Podcast
64 minutes | Sep 19, 2022
Alan Patricof – Venture Capital's Founding Father
My guest today is Alan Patricof, founding father of venture capital and author of a new book entitled, "No Red Lights: Reflections on Life, 50 Years in Venture Capital, and Never Driving Alone." Alan and I dig into the book and we also cover a potpourri of topics that had me feeling inspired for many days after our conversation.
65 minutes | Jul 12, 2022
An OS for Immigration – Amir Hemmat, CEO, WelcomeTech
Amir Hemmat is Co-Founder and CEO of Welcome Technologies (Welcome), the “digital Ellis Island '' and future operating system for immigration. Welcome is a venture funded technology platform that is building innovative financial solutions for this cohort, including a digital wallet, to ensure access to previously elusive opportunities and to propel this consumer sector, and our society, forward. Welcome is currently focused on the Hispanic community, the largest immigrant group in the world, through its consumer platform SABEResPODER® (SEP). The platform reaches over 9 million immigrants a year across 50 US markets and connects these consumers to custom financial services. To date, Welcome has raised $50 million from TTV Capital, Owl Ventures and SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund, with participation from Crosscut Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Next Play Capital and Owl Capital. Prior to Welcome Tech, Amir co-founded an educational platform also called SABEResPODER (SEP). SEP provided informational content to the Hispanic community and produced comprehensive and practical information for navigating life in the United States, including topics such as healthcare, financial services, education, technology, and governmental services. Through SEP, he conducted in-depth market research on the U.S. immigrant market and co-authored educational guides on financial literacy, with millions of copies distributed nationwide.
59 minutes | Jun 2, 2022
Compassionate Leadership – w Donato Tramuto, Phil Johnston, Tom Riley, Kurt Small, and Laurie Cameron
Donato J. Tramuto is the author of The Double Bottom Line, How Compassionate Leaders Captivate Hearts and Deliver Results. Donato joins Bob to discuss his new book along with a superstar panel including Kurt Small, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for the Government Business Division at Anthem, Inc., Tom Riley, Chairman of the Board of Seniorlink, Laurie Cameron, Founder of PurposeBlue, and Phil Johnston, President & CEO of PWJ Associates.
65 minutes | Feb 5, 2022
Ken Goldman – On the Tech Industry, Board Roles/Lessons, and Running Eric & Wendy Schmidt’s Family Office
My second guest of the new season is Ken Goldman, who currently serves as President of Hillspire, which is Eric and Wendy Schmidt’s family office. Eric, of course, being the former executive chairman of Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Ken is widely known in Silicon Valley and the broader business world, as well, having served as CFO of Yahoo, Fortinet, Siebel, and currently sits on a number of corporate, startup and non-profit boards. Ken and I cover his high school days in Peabody, Mass. – where only 25% of his graduating class went to college, yet he managed his way to Cornell through grit and a competitive spirit – to his time at Cornell and Harvard Business School, and why he chose the technology industry as a career path at a time when it was an outlier. We also discuss why picking the right place to work when first starting out can make a huge difference (and the advice he gave his kids on this front). Ken also provides his views on why Silicon Valley is still a meritocracy (hint: there’s a lot of money around for the right ideas) and industries where he feels entrepreneurs should consider creating new companies, such as the political arena. As a longtime observer of the political sector, I agree completely. Of note, there are nearly 100 “decacorns” roaming around – unicorns with over $10Bn in value – and this number is growing every quarter. As such, Ken discusses his own investment philosophy as an angel investor as well as the focus at Hillspire, ranging from environment to human rights to non-profits. Finally, Ken and I dig into the notion of ethical businesses (and the importance of transparency with your boards), the non-profits that he’s involved in…what’s on his browser (fun fact: he’s a big weather buff)...and more. PS: You’ll notice a trend with Ken and the conversation with my first guest of the season a few weeks ago, Mark Hawkins – both Ken and Mark have developed a widely respected personal and business ethos and have imbued this ethos in their teams, industry peers, and startups in which they invest. Dissecting this ethos is an overarching theme in both podcasts. Ken and Mark are leaders to whom other leaders look up. Lots of great learnings! Ken’s Bio Ken Goldman is the current president of Hillspire, a family office responsible for financial and administrative functions, along with real estate, aviation and maritime activities.Goldman is the former chief financial officer of Yahoo. He joined Yahoo in 2012 and throughout his five-year tenure was responsible for Yahoo’s global finance functions, including financial planning and analysis, controllership, tax, treasury and investor relations.
62 minutes | Jan 19, 2022
Mark Hawkins – On Silicon Valley, Second Acts, and Startups
Mark Hawkins is an award-winning executive who, for four decades, has led finance organizations at global software and technology companies including Salesforce, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard.Raised in Michigan, Mark attended Michigan State where he studied operations management. His first job was at Hewlett-Packard where, at just 21, he was a buyer for the supply chain by day and getting his MBA in finance from University of Colorado Springs by night. Hewlett-Packard later sponsored him to attend the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.Mark was the President and CFO of Salesforce until 2021 and is currently a board member at Toast, Plaid, DataRobot, Secureworks, and sits on the NYSE Listed Company Advisory Board.
87 minutes | Sep 22, 2021
Longevity & Anti-Aging – Eric Marcotulli, CEO, Elysium Health
Hi Gang, we’re kicking off the Fall podcast season with a deep dive discussion around longevity and anti-aging with Elysium Health’s Co-founder and CEO, Eric Marcotulli. I interviewed Eric at the Executive Council’s annual Health & Biotech Summit in 2017, which feels like forever ago, particularly given all of the buzz around anti-aging regimens and the popularization of the space from various industry leaders and mainstream press. To start off, Eric and I discuss why it’s important to track aging. This might seem like a basic questions but the idea of “aging” isn’t so much about “old age” as it is about addressing health in a more holistic manner, as you’ll learn. Chronological age is only a number, in a sense, and what might matter most is cellular age. More on that in our discussion. We also talk about quantifying and measuring products such as Elysium’s Basis, which is Eric’s core product. Elysium also has a product called Index which measures your biological age and also tracks your cumulative rate of aging which may be the most important metric of all. Absorption rate of products like Basis is also an important factor and we hit on that, as well. On the personal front, we touch on Eric’s evolving daily regimen vis a vis supplements and routines (AM/PM, exercise, diet, etc.). It’s always fun to discuss this particular topic with guests because I personally get tips that I can use and of course you can hopefully gain some actionable tips, too. Finally, we talk about what’s coming down the pipeline for Elysium and across the industry and what Eric is most excited about. Eric Marcotulli, Elysium Health co-founder and chief executive officer, graduated from Harvard Business School and joined Sequoia Capital as its youngest partner to lead growth investing in mobile technologies. While in Silicon Valley, Marcotulli realized that despite the significant, positive impact of new technologies on our understanding of health and disease, there remained a lack of innovation in the consumer-facing portion of the healthcare market beyond wearables and basic mobile apps. With a keen interest in aging research and its potential to have a profound impact on the most important areas of health, he wanted to create a company focused on developing compelling compounds found in nature that support long-term health.
58 minutes | May 16, 2021
Innovation in Voting ("GovTech") – Nimit Sawhney, CEO, Voatz
Nimit Sawhney is Co-Founder and CEO of Voatz, Inc, an elections platform that uses identity proofing, biometrics, and blockchain technology to enable end-to-end verifiable and accessible remote voting via smartphones and tablets. Voatz has run more than 76 elections in partnership with both major political parties at the state level, as well as with state/county governments, towns, cities, universities, professional organizations including the country’s first mobile voting project with West Virginia in 2018. Nimit’s background is in mobile security and software development, previously serving as Director of R&D at Oberthur Technologies, and prior to that, as Director of R&D at MoreMagic Solutions. Nimit holds a graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Business Management and is an alumni of the Harvard Business School’s YALP (Young Americans Leadership Program) Class of 2019.
50 minutes | Apr 24, 2021
Health eVillages CEO – Donato Tramuto
Donato Tramuto is CEO & Founder of Health eVillages. Founded in 2011, Health eVillages bridges that gap in health education with mobile technology. Our lifesaving resources include medical reference and clinical decision support tools for medical and public health professionals in the most challenging clinical environments in the U.S. and abroad. It is our belief that by delivering technology, facilitating access and empowering health care providers, we can help “heal the villages” and move the needle on global health care. Donato recently retired as CEO of Tivity Health, one of the largest health improvement, nutrition, fitness and social engagement platforms in the world and parent company of Nutrisystem. Donato is one of my favorite people – he talks about compassionate leadership and lessons for CEOs, regardless of the times. He’s had his fair share of adversity (legally deaf, schedule to be on a 9/11 flight, etc.). Yet, despite all of that, he started and sold two businesses to Merck and United Health, became a public company CEO, launched several not-for-profits and was a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. Most importantly, he has led with compassion. We also discuss his theories around "Herd Kindness," giving back/legacy, and a phrase he's coined called "collab-ovation.” Donato is an all-around exceptional human being. Donato J. Tramuto is the former CEO of Tivity Health, Inc (NASDAQ: TVTY), a leading provider of fitness and health improvement programs, with strong capabilities in developing and managing network solutions in healthcare. A recognized innovator and industry leader, he has more than 35 years of healthcare experience, with a deep commitment to global healthcare access, a steadfast focus on patient outcomes and a keen understanding of digital solutions. In less than a year after being named Tivity Health’s CEO, Tramuto executed a turnaround of the company’s performance by harnessing the lessons he learned through various adversities and “bulldozer” moments, and engineered a creative sale of one of the company’s non-performing divisions, adding nearly $1 billion of valuation to the company. In 2008, Tramuto founded Physicians Interactive Holdings (now known as Aptus Health), a global provider of insight-driven digital engagement solutions for healthcare professionals and consumers. There he served as CEO and chairman prior to joining Tivity Health, Inc. In 2011, Tramuto founded Health eVillages, a non-profit organization which provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology in the most challenging clinical environments. He is also the chairman and founder of the Tramuto Foundation, which helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and healthcare goals.
61 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Startup Stories – Gr8nola CEO, Erica Liu Williams
It’s no easy feat starting a business. Are entrepreneurs born fearless or can this mindset be tapped into and developed through life experiences? Today’s guest, Erica Liu Williams, founder of Gr8nola, is a driven founder, yet it took her a few steps to get there from A to B. Erica attended Stanford on a swimming scholarship and, upon graduation, wasn’t particularly career-driven. Instead, her ambition was to be a homemaker. However, after her parents divorced, she decided that she wanted to be financially independent. She watched others build their passions and decided, “if they can do this, why not me?” Erica and I dig into the mindset of an entrepreneur, her intense (and frankly grueling!) schedule as an elite swimmer from the age of 13 onward, how she thinks about work-life balance, her work cadence on a given day on the weekends – something that all founders struggle with – along with other personal daily rituals. On the biz front, we cover Erica’s thoughts around growth and raising outside capital vs. growing your business from customer revenue. We also discuss an epiphany that she’s had this year, managing challenges (and why they should be meaningful challenges…). And, finally, we cover her personal and business metrics for success, the importance of mentorship, and tools and platforms that she uses on a daily basis. Erica’s Bio Erica Liu Williams is a former Olympic Trials swimmer and Silicon Valley techie-turned-food-entrepreneur. She came up with the idea for gr8nola by accident when she was searching for a delicious, yet healthy snack for a post-Super Bowl "cleanse" she and her NFL hubby do each year. Stuck with few options, she created her own low-sugar granola recipe using clean ingredients and unique and functional superfoods.Her granola was such a hit that she created a side business out of it in 2013, selling it at the farmers market while working full-time. 4+ years later, Erica officially left her 10-year tech career to pursue gr8nola full-time and has hustled her way into becoming Silicon Valley's favorite granola, supplying gr8nola at some of the biggest tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Linkedin and more. The gr8nola line features seven superfood flavors (The Original, Cacao Crisp, Cinnamon Chai, Black Coco Chia, Matcha Vibes, Golden Spice and Peanut Butter) that are free of soy, dairy and refined sugars and have only 5g sugar per serving. You can find gr8nola on Amazon Prime, gr8nola.com and 100+ grocery stores. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.
34 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
Energy for Success - Dr. Barry Morguelan Part II
In Part II of my conversation with Dr. Barry Morguelan, we provide you with a short, instructional video that has a number of simple exercises you can do at home to increase your energy levels (using me as the guinea pig). With demanding schedules and hectic lives, we all want more energy. In this podcast, Dr. Barry Morguelan explains how we can tap into Source Energy and increase our awareness and productivity. We also cover Dr. B’s four categories of human behavior, which revolves around people who either add to your energy or deplete it. For me, I can now spot who in my life falls into which category and this has allowed me to set boundaries, when needed. The techniques shown in the video can be done anywhere and anytime – before or during a Zoom or face-to-face (remember them?) meeting, before a big presentation…or even before your mother-in-law comes for a visit. They are meant to add buoyancy to your life without the mumbo jumbo. Just straight up, simple exercises that make you feel more energetic in the moment and throughout the day. About Energy for Success and Dr. B. Energy for Success offers a simple, practical solution that eliminates stress and anxiety while promoting clarity, peace, and authentic connection. A world-renowned surgeon and pioneer in gastroenterology, Dr. B scoured the planet for the world’s most practical and effective systems of healing, well-being, and personal success. Following a harrowing 30 year apprenticeship under the guardianship of a powerful sage deep in the mountains of China, Energy For Success presents an ancient tradition of personal energy mastery reimagined and adapted for the modern world by its only western Grand Master. Dr. B proves we can feel younger as we age. We are in control of our lives and happiness, and his practice will get us to our destination. Hit play to listen as we discuss the obstacles Dr. B faced while learning this methodology in China and how he ultimately became one of only seven living Grandmasters. Dr. B is offering you, our listeners, access to his programs through a special URL: www.energyforsuccess.com/executive This intensive program addresses all areas of your life and includes a set of very simple, fast, easy to adapt practices you can use in daily life. Regain balance and reclaim your mind from whatever distractions and problems and stay calm and focused in the face of life’s challenges. Remember, a calm mind is a brilliant mind. This program is more hands-on including facilitator calls & more! This podcast is brought to you by Grammarly Premium, which helps me write like a pro with real-time feedback. The Premium features include advanced suggestions on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style. It’s the perfect writing tool for anyone who wants to stand out with every word. Do more than just spellcheck. Say what you really mean with Grammarly Premium. Get 20% off Grammarly Premium by signing up at Grammarly.com/BOB Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast,
54 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Titans of Finance – Jon Korngold, Blackstone
Despite a global pandemic, it’s been a remarkable year for the markets, both public and private. The Dow and NASDAQ reached (and are still reaching) record highs and the number of private equity and venture capital deals has been at a fever pitch. My guest today, Jon Korngold, has a front row seat from the world’s largest investment firm – Blackstone. Jon is the Global Head of Blackstone Growth (BXG), which provides capital, resources and a deep network to high growth companies. Jon and I dig into the current markets as well as BXG’s investment philosophy, focus and incredible resources that the firm brings to its portfolio companies. Of note: Jon started fundraising last March at the beginning of the pandemic and recently closed the fundraising with subscriptions in excess of the $4.5Bn initial target (Boom!). Many VC and Growth Equity firms have an incentive to invest in a lot of companies because a bull market naturally encourages more activity when “all boats rise” and so that they can deploy their funds faster en route to raising their next funds. In contrast, Jon and his BXG team have differentiated themselves with an investment philosophy characterized by a comparatively more-focused portfolio construction, along with a more operationally intensive approach to partnering with entrepreneurs to build companies of significance over a long-term horizon. We touch on a number of other areas in our conversation, as well, ranging from his view about sitting on boards (hint: less is more) and taking a thematic approach to investing…his early career at Goldman Sachs and working in Beijing…plus Jon's background coming from a family of doctors and why that instilled a strong sense of commitment in him to support children’s charities. Jon’s Bio Jon Korngold is the Global Head of Blackstone Growth (BXG), which is focused on providing capital to companies seeking to manage the execution risks associated with high-growth environments. Jon is a member of both the BXG and Tactical Opportunities Investment Committees. Prior to joining Blackstone in 2019, Jon was head of General Atlantic’s Global Financial Services and Healthcare sectors, Chairman of the firm’s Portfolio Committee, and was a member of the firm’s Management and Investment Committees. Jon also previously worked at Goldman Sachs in the Principal Investment Area and in the Mergers & Acquisitions groups in London and New York, respectively. Jon has spent extensive time in China, where he studied Mandarin Chinese at Peking University and did pro bono work for the U.S. Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service in Beijing. Jon is active with Harvard University, where he serves on the Harvard College Fund’s Executive Committee. He is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations and has been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Commissioned Kentucky Colonel, and a member of the Rockefeller University Council. He also serves as a Trustee of The Dalton School, of The Central Park Conservancy and of the 92nd Street Y. Jon received an AB in Economics from Harvard College, graduating with Honors, and he received his MBA from Harvard Business School. This podcast is brought to you by Policygenius. While you’re gearing up for spring cleaning, don’t forget to dust off your home and auto insurance policies with Policygenius. Re-shop your rates and you could save up to $1,055. Head to Policygenius to get started right now. Policygenius. When it comes to insurance, it’s nice to get it right.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts,
87 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Energy for Success – Dr. Barry Morguelan Part I
Imagine if you could tap into your own energy supply to feel better. Dr. Barry Morguelan will teach you just how to do that, and more. “Dr. B.” has spent the past 25 years teaching a special approach to using energy for success, which is a 5,000 year old approach that he learned in China. Dr. B. Is the fist English-speaking person to be trained in this methodology.Simply put, his thesis is that we all want to connect to that force we had as kids – tapping into energy without a lot of forethought. He also believes it’s important that we all harness our energy to stave off challenges in the right way, improve relationships with the people in our lives who we care about…and get joy out of our jobs not just the grit. Who wouldn’t want that? Dr. B feels that just because we grow older each day that life doesn’t have to be a little bit harder and a little less vibrant. Not true! We get control over the things we want to have happen in our life and his practice allows you to look forward to the day ahead. We discuss some of the obstacles that he faced while learning this methodology going back and forth to China for years and how he ultimately become one of only 7 living Grandmasters.“Going faster is not the way.” – On why going too fast will make you miss the purpose of why you do what you do“Get joy out of your job instead of just the grit.” – On harnessing the right type of energy from within usListen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.
64 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
The Bob-Robert Podcast
Bob Johnston and his PR guru, Robert Dowling, riff on current events in the first (and maybe the last!) "Bob Robert Podcast." In the immortal words of Monty Python, now for something completely different…my guest today is Robert Dowling, who might win an award for being the most interesting person. He also happens to be one of the most accomplished and connected PR execs on the planet, having cut his teeth heading up Weber Shandwick’s Silicon Valley Office, running Fleishman-Hillard’s east coast office, and now operating his own firm, Hudson Cutler, which has offices in New York City and Los Angeles.Robert is an old friend and I trust his firm to handle my own PR. He and I have had a lot of riff sessions over the years and we decided to video our latest chat, since we had many topics to catch up on. He and I cover Bitcoin, Tesla, and GameStop…and also discuss cancel culture, why President Biden needs a CMO…and wrap with some banter on cannabis, longevity and anti-aging hacks…plus we get a tour of Robert’s loft in SoHo NYC (fun fact: his wet bar a re-purposed perfume bar from a major luxury retailer on 5th Avenue) and his one-of-a-kind motorcycle…enjoy!Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.
55 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
On Bitcoin – Michael Saylor, Chairman & CEO, MicroStrategy
One of the major seismic shifts in the markets since last Summer has been the increasing (and massive) adoption of Bitcoin by financial institutions, corporations, family offices, and retail investors (i.e. you and me). My guest today is Michael Saylor, Chairman & CEO of MicroStrategy. MicroStrategy has purchased more than $2Bn in Bitcoin since last Summer, using both cash and sales of convertible debt. As of today, it’s worth close to $5Bn. Michael and I do a deep dive around Bitcoin on a number of fronts – his framework for Bitcoin as a store of value for your corporate Treasury, how it’s fared versus other assets (hint: it’s crushing them), time of entry and cost of entry into a position, allocation size…and a lot more. We also hit on market size and where it’s potentially headed, whether to buy through a fund or buy Bitcoin directly, and a super deep dive on the dynamics that are driving price and the growth of Bitcoin network. Finally, we talk about the overfixation on whether we’re in a Bitcoin “bull cycle” or not, why big banks will likely support Bitcoin, what’s in it for payment platforms such as Google Pay and ApplePay, and Bitcoin as the apex monetary asset as well as the first digital monetary network. My favorite quotes: "Bitcoin has a 10-year compounded growth of 199%, gold 1.8%, S&P 11%, and NASDAQ." – On why Bitcoin is a proven Treasury reserve asset "Will the war between Google, Apple and Facebook be won by which platform stores your photos the best? Or which stores your money the best?" – On why Bitcoin is a material competitive advantage for big tech companiesThis podcast is brought to you by Policygenius. While you’re gearing up for spring cleaning, don’t forget to dust off your home and auto insurance policies with Policygenius. Re-shop your rates and you could save up to $1,055. Head to Policygenius to get started right now. Policygenius. When it comes to insurance, it’s nice to get it right.
57 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
The A.I. (R)Evolution – Google's Barak Turovsky
Will A.I. eat the world, as Elon Musk and others are predicting? My guest today is Barak Turovsky, Director of Product for Google A.I.. He’s been working on “A.I.” for so long that there was no name for it during his days doing video and audio surveillance in the Israeli Military Intelligence Corps. The numbers are, indeed, staggering and you can see how A.I. is truly taking over the world ever day…and in every way. Google Translate in and of itself went from a ho-hum product to over a billion users in just 2.5 years. That said, we discuss why Barak believes that adoption across text, speech and other forms is ‘evolutionary’ and not revolutionary. We also discuss deep neural networks, Barak’s upbringing in Communist Russia – his father was an engineer but also a political activist and imprisoned for his activism. We hit on how his father’s experience shaped Barak’s life and career…his early days in the Intelligence Corps, the roadmap for A.I. moving forward, why less human involvement will enhance a human…and much more. Barak Bio Barak Turovsky is responsible for product management and user experience for Natural Language Understanding AI and Google Translate. Barak focuses on applying cutting edge Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to deliver magical experiences across Google Search, Assistant, Cloud, Chrome, Ads and other products. Prior to joining Google in 2011, Barak was Director of Product in Microsoft’s Mobile Advertising group, Head of Mobile Commerce at PayPal and Chief Technical Officer in an Israeli start up. He lived more than 10 years in 3 different countries (Russia, Israel and the US) and fluently speaks three languages. Barak earned a Bachelor’s of Laws degree from Tel Aviv University, Israel, and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. My favorite quotes: “Humans talk in imperfect language,” – On why we have a long way to go for A.I. to speak back to humans “Social networks can make extreme views seem like the mainstream ideas.” – His contrarian view about social networksThis podcast is brought to you by Grammarly Premium, which helps me write like a pro with real-time feedback. The Premium features include advanced suggestions on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style. It’s the perfect writing tool for anyone who wants to stand out with every word. Do more than just spellcheck. Say what you really mean with Grammarly Premium. Get 20% off Grammarly Premium by signing up at Grammarly.com/BOB
70 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
Life Inside a Fast Growth Startup - Zach Garippa, CEO, Negotiatus
Creating something out of nothing is a mystery for many of us, particularly if you’ve worked in the corporate world for many years. In today’s podcast. I sit down with Zach Garippa, Co-founder and CEO of Negotiatius, to look under the hood and discuss life inside a startup. We dig into the business and personal sides of launching a startup and de-bunk myths about the entrepreneurial mindset. Counter-intuitively, risk mitigation – i.e. “calculated risk tolerance” – is one of the overall thematics of successful founders. Zach left a good job at Morgan Stanley and his co-founder, Tom Jaklitsch, dropped out of college to launch the business. Clearly, they both had high conviction and courage. And, would it surprise you to learn that they spent nearly 24 months researching the industry before deciding to quit job and school? That’s a lot of smart leg work around calculated risk tolerance. We also discuss (the necessity of!) Flinstone-ing things in the early days of a startup...pressure as a constant...the hunt for traction and learnings...and how to get through problems quickly (i.e. "indecision is the killer"). And, finally, Zach gives us a primer on raising money as well as finding and keeping talent and customers – note that there are parallels across all three areas. Zach is also a big fan of picking up the phone and talking with industry folks to help problem-solve and solicit views that are contrary to his own. He also is a fan of short-form material when it comes to reading for business but prefers long-form reading for personal pursuits (hint: baby #2 on the way in March). Zach Garippa is the CEO and Co-Founder of Negotiatus, a category-creating B2B software at the intersection of finance, operations, and procurement that radically simplifies spend decisions. Founded in 2016 with a mission to empower businesses to make better spending decisions faster, Negotiatus serves hundreds of customers across the small and medium sized enterprise space. Negotiatus establishes itself as core spend management infrastructure by working within their client’s existing purchasing and payment process - from spreadsheets to ERPs and everything in between - and adding simplicity, automation, and insights to deliver value every step of the way. Negotiatus has been recognized as a pioneer by industry publications including Spend Matters and Inc, and is backed by leading investors such as Rally Ventures, 645 Ventures, Green Visor Capital, and Stage 2 Capital. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform. This episode is brought to you by Stamps.com. With my promo code "JOHNSTON" you get a 4-week trial plus free postage and a digital scale. No long-term commitments or contracts. Just go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the TOP of the homepage and type in JOHNSTON.
58 minutes | Jan 24, 2021
Titans of Finance – Sir Ronald Cohen on Impact Investing
Each of us has an ‘origin story’ about our childhood, family and their effect on our adult lives and career. In the case of today’s guest, who is considered to be the “father of impact investing,” I walked away from our conversation with tremendous admiration and respect for how his early years have influenced his life’s work. At age 11, Sir Ronald Cohen’s family fled Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956. His father lost a thriving business and they were forced to start over in the UK, as refugees. Flash forward just six years later and Sir Ronald earned acceptance to Oxford University – where he was President of the Oxford Union no less, followed by a full scholarship to Harvard Business School. Flash forward another handful of years and Sir Ronald joined Alan Patricof, who now runs Greycroft (listen to my podcast with Alan here) at Apax Partners to form one of the world’s first venture capital firms. Sir Ronald got into venture capital to back tenacious individuals who came from nothing – just like he did – with a goal of using venture as a tool for good to create jobs in the UK, at a time when three million people there were unemployed. It made an enormous impact and he was knighted for his efforts. Fun fact: the first fund at Apax was just $15m (sizable for the time)…and Apax’s latest fund raised a whopping $11Bn! In the podcast, we discuss Sir Ronald’s latest book, Impact: Reshaping Capital to Drive Real Change, the program he chairs at Harvard which measures the environmental impact of over 1,800 companies, how impact is directly correlated to a company’s stock price, how a cost can be ascribed to a corporation’s pay gaps and a corporation’s lack of diversity…his thoughts for the new Biden administration as it relates to impact…and much more! My favorite quotes: “Do you really want your headstone to read: ‘He delivered 30% IRR (Internal Rate of Return)?’” – On why venture capital should be more than just making money “We bring in the ‘Invisible heart’ of markets to lead.” – On how to tame the wild beast and ‘invisible hand’ of the markets
49 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
Stephen Revetria – President, San Francisco Giants Enterprises
One of the big issues that’s top of mind right now for all businesses is the ability to innovate around meaningful customer experiences. Not just because they lead to customers who are ‘delighted' (bow to Tony Hsieh at Zappos) – but also because they drive massive loyalty and lifelong engagement. My guest today is Stephen Revetria who, as President of San Francisco Giants Enterprises, is on the cutting edge of curating and developing new fan experiences. Stephen was the first to experiment with blending entertainment experiences alongside the typical sporting event way back in 1999, when the team ownership tasked him with solving the conundrum of what is now known as ‘fan engagement.’ 20 years on, his approach is now the gold standard for sports teams worldwide. Stephen is also board chairman of Meeting Professionals Intetnational, sits on the U.S. Dept. of Commerce Travel & Tourism Advisory Board. and is on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Travel Association. We dig into how he got started in the business – chartering luxury yachts. We also discuss the key tenets of fan experiences and the importance of leveraging real estate to drive these goals. Finally, we talk about the invitation that Stephen received, among other global sports leaders, to sit with Pope Francis to discuss principals that people globally feel about sports, ranging from compassion and respect to empowerment, balance and joy. Enjoy!
44 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
Titans of Finance – Raoul Pal on Bitcoin & Macro Investing
There’s a lot of scuttlebutt about Bitcoin these days. Perhaps its most prominent proponent is former Goldman Sachs executive and RealVision founder, Raoul Pal. I’ve been eager to have Raoul on the podcast to discuss his vision for Bitcoin because he’s not a tech or diehard Bitcoin person – instead, he comes from the world of finance and has a more objective and surgical thesis on Bitcoin, which he believes is the best asset to come along in generations. We also discuss RealVision’s macro lens on the world and markets and how it’s democratizing the very best financial information. We dissect the show Billions, assess a contrarian view he holds (spoiler alert: inflation is never coming back), why he left London and got out of the rat race (a.k.a. “lifestyle arbitrage")...and a whole lot more. As a fun fact: Raoul now lives directly on the beach in Little Cayman and runs his businesses from there. You can learn more about RealVision at this link. They have a 30-day trial of RealVision Essential for just one buck. I'm a RealVision Pro member and love it.
63 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Pauline Brown on Aesthetic Intelligence ("the other A.I.")
Q: Why do we love brands like Apple, Yeti (love a cooler – yes!) and Vespa? A: Because we feel them. The leaders at these companies have figured out how to decipher what feel and look good to them and mobilize teams to embed it in the products. This is pure magic. My guest today is Pauline Brown, former chairman of LVMH and author of the book, Aesthetic Intelligence. She also worked at Bain, Estee Lauder and The Carlyle Group and served as a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Pauline and I discuss and decipher what, exactly, it means for a brand – whether B2C or B2B – to infuse aesthetic intelligence into their strategy, thinking and products to delight the senses of customers. Little did I know that Vespa products have a far greater re-sale value than competitors – they’ve figured out how to tap into A.I. and Pauline shows us how you can do the same. We also cover ground on the state of Retail, what’s in store for Black Friday / Cyber Monday, the 4 steps to adding A.I. into your personal life, plus leading a life of not just success…but significance and meaning.
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