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This Week in Startups #42 Review

Posted by Al Doan under Online Media Reviews

25

Feb
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

So I’m going through back episodes of This Week in Startups and finding some great stuff, but after watching this week’s episode of TWiST your time this week is best spent watching the most current episode – #42 with Michael Robertson.

There are a few things I love about this episode.  First the caller in the ‘Ask Jason’ segment.  Here’s a lesson for anyone trying to get a break in life, be memorable.  The question the caller asked was a good one – if you’re considering a job with a startup, and they offer you equity or shares in the company, what questions do you ask to value that?  I didn’t know the answer myself so I was interested, and Jason gave an informative answer, which was helpful, then as the caller finished up, he says “btw, I ask because I’m interviewing with your company, good to meet you” obviously I’m paraphrasing, but this is a step up from FedEx-ing your resume to try and get the CEO to see it / know who you are.  Ballsy move, and I loved it.

Next, Michael Robertson is  a great guest of mp3.com fame.  He rates well with me because I like the guests who can think for themselves.  Jason appears to have a tendency to be surrounded by “Yes” men, I think due more to Jason’s extrovert/alpha personality than his desire to have everyone agree with him, but guests will fall into this category often.  Not consciously of course, these are smart guys, but Jason will push an argument out there then turn to his guests expectantly and say “you agree with that right?” and more often than not his guests will nod passively rather than rebut his argument.  Well the guests I love are the ones that are thoughtful to the point of responding with arguments of their own being unafraid of the debate, instead of nodding along with the discussion.

So Robertson has done quite a bit with his career, lots of lessons to lift from him, and really what a treat to have guests like this speaking directly to the entrepreneurial experience.  Check it out, runs about 2 hours, so play it in the background, or during lunch, or something like that, but get it going.

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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Are you a Samurai or a rice picker?

Posted by Al Doan under Online Media Reviews

17

Feb
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Here’s a great way to kick of the TWiST reviews.  A few weeks ago Calacanis gave an interview to a chump looking Penn State entrepreneur class (note the guy picking at his finger nails through the whole thing), but he retells his story of how he got to where he is today.  As is often the case with entrepreneurs he points to his struggles as the moments that made him successful, but it’s failures like things not going as well as he’d hoped, or in selling to late and not making as much money that were the difficulties Jason ran up against.  Honestly, I think the biggest motivation for Jason (and for many of us out there) is respect, whether it’s self respect or the respect of others, a lot of the drive from deep within is in proving yourself, or putting yourself beyond reproach.

Anyway, it’s more inspirational than informative, but if you need a quick pump up to get excited about creating your own opportunity in life, or a reminder of why you don’t want to sit in a building with 27 bosses above you, it’s because you are a Samaria in a sea of farmers (with all due respect to my farming heritage).

My favorite moments from the interview –

“Spend a year or two at a big company, but then leave and go to a startup.  Work any job for any price and just learn.  If it succeeds great, if it fails even better, you’ll learn more.  But whatever you do, don’t just check out and spend 10-20 years at a big company, because you get a limited number of times in life to do something great.” (paraphrased, but pretty close)

My exact same thought process in doing what I’m doing now, and then

“You have to at least try to be a Samurai at life.”

Even if it’s not necessarily for you, if you’re not cut out for it, if you’re place in life is somewhere besides the front lines, you can at least say you tried.  Nothing more depressing than thinking that you never even looked to see if you had it in you.

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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
   
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