Skip to main content

Trends from Entrepreneurs’ Starts on NPR

National Public Radio (NPR) has a great podcast called “How I Built This” anchored by Guy Raz. From the show:
How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands.
There are some really fascinating stories including Spanx’s Sarah Blakely, WeWork’s Miguel McKelvey, and Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia.

Here are some trends I heard from these stories:
  • They’re opportunistic. Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard started life out by becoming a metal worker to make climbing equipment when he couldn’t find what he wanted.
  • They start things with people they haven’t known for a while… or they go it alone. WeWork’s Miguel McKelvey shared how he met his cofounder through his roommate after he wanted to work in NYC. He moved there. He met Adam Neumann who was highly complementary in skill sets and the ability to hook people on vision and sell.
  • They fake the sh!t out of it. Spanx’s Sarah Blakely would pop up her display in department stores on her own without getting official consent. People thought she was legit and bought her product.
  • There’s the hustle we all think we’re doing, and there’s the hustle they do. It’s next level. Toms’ Blake Mycoskie rolled from idea to idea, startup to startup – from a laundry delivery service for his college peers to doing giant advertising displays on the side of buildings only after seeing them work in LA. Then, he spent weeks in S. America to help hand-craft over 2,000 pairs of shoes when orders started piling up when he first started.
Go listen to the podcast. It’ll be motivating and inspirational.

What podcasts do you listen to?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Life-Defining Moment Happened When I Failed to Make Varsity in High School

Ever stop to think about who you are? What makes you tick and tock? How about what you truly enjoy and what you’re good at vs. not good at? Or what/ who has shaped you into the person you are today?
I’m at this stage of figuring out whether to continue independent consulting while iterating on ideas for the next startup or take on some full-time employment (consulting, product management, or otherwise). My recent post about my daily/ weekly schedule was an interesting exercise in stepping back and recognizing what I’m actually doing in a day, and made me really think at the macro level.
In one of my recent reflections, I thought about defining moments in my life. One of those watershed events that truly transformed me was my failure to make the Varsity soccer team in high school. I won’t rehash the whole story here – shared the story almost a year ago in my post titled “Getting Through Dark Moments and the Most Vulnerable Story I've Ever Told Publicly”. It’s this moment that I w…

Vertical SaaS? Horizontal SaaS? It’s All News to Me

Not sure why, but I have only recently heard of a term called “Vertical SaaS”. Okay, there’s also “Horizontal SaaS”, too. Based on some light research, looks like vertical SaaS is also a growing trend and the number of companies fewer than horizontal SaaS providers.
Vertical SaaS borrows its moniker from the concept of vertical integration whereby there is more control over a supply chain from raw materials to point-of-sale. Here, vertical SaaS companies focus on a niche market (industry) offering a solution that enables more process control.
Horizontal SaaS providers get really good at a particular offering, and widen their market to reach scale. Their focus is on breadth of market, and thus, its sales and marketing strategies can require more resources.
Many vertical SaaS companies (such as Veeva Systems, Guidewire, Fleetmatics) are doing well usurping legacy systems of traditionally slow-tech-adoption industries. Here, vertical companies develop a best-of-breed product, and focu…

Role of A Startup Advisor

Over the last year or so, I have become an Advisor for a couple startups. It’s been a great experience for me to teach and continue learning as an entrepreneur. I do meet with several startups and entrepreneurs weekly, but not officially as an Advisor save for a couple.
During (and especially after) Body Boss, I realized the importance of having Advisors. Advisors help startups and the executive team navigate the go-to-market waters bringing specific experience to the table – industry, technology, etc. With that comes connections, too.
The role of a startup Advisor includes: Guiding the startup on its directionProvide valuable insight into the industry, competition, market, etc.Share connections to move the company forward – prospects, new hire candidates, otherEstablish cadence around metrics for progress In exchange for devoting time and attention (and reaching success, hopefully), startups typically provide stock or cash to Advisors. This ensures both parties are aligned on objecti…