Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Stanford eCorner
Each week, experienced entrepreneurs and innovators come to Stanford University to candidly share lessons they’ve learned while developing, launching and scaling disruptive ideas. The Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series is produced by Stanford eCorner during fall, winter and spring quarters.
Maëlle Gavet (Techstars) - Ruthless Empathy
Maëlle Gavet is the CEO of Techstars and the author of Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech's Empathy Problem and How to Fix It (Wiley, 2020). In this conversation with Stanford lecturer Toby Corey, she explores how to deploy “ruthless empathy” in tech by combining big ambitions and cutting-edge ideas with a deep respect for other people.
May 12
48 min
Howie Liu (Airtable) - Building Startups, Fast and Slow
Howie Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Airtable. Inspired by his own experiences learning to code and building customized business apps, he co-founded the company in 2013 to democratize software creation. Prior to that, he was the founder of Etacts, an intelligent CRM tool that was acquired by Salesforce. While Etacts was a furious one-year sprint to acquisition, Liu followed a very deliberate, long-term approach with his second startup. In this conversation with Stanford lecturer Ravi Belani, he offers advice to innovators who seek to create complex products that can’t be prototyped in a week-long hacking session.
May 5
50 min
Miriam Rivera (Ulu Ventures) - Diverse Businesses Are Better Businesses
Miriam Rivera is the co-founder and managing director of Ulu Ventures, a seed stage venture fund focused on IT startups. Previously, she was a vice president and deputy general counsel at Google, where she joined as the company’s second attorney. In this conversation with Stanford adjunct lecturer Heidi Roizen, Rivera discusses the state of diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley, how she evaluates investment opportunities to eliminate bias, and the importance of great mentors.
Apr 28
48 min
Michelle Zatlyn (Cloudflare) - Scaling with Resilience
Michelle Zatlyn is the co-founder, president, and Chief Operating Officer of Cloudflare, an internet security, performance, and reliability company that is on a mission to help build a better internet. In this conversation with Stanford lecturer Ravi Belani, Zatlyn discusses the intense challenges involved in scaling a high-growth business, and offers insights about how to find optimism and build a great team amid those challenges.
Apr 21
49 min
Othman Laraki (Color) - It’s All About Access
Othman Laraki is the co-founder and CEO of Color, a distributed healthcare and clinical testing company. From population genomics programs to high-throughput COVID-19 testing, Color provides the technology and infrastructure to power large-scale health initiatives. In this conversation with Stanford lecturer Toby Corey, Laraki discusses the genesis of Color, the immense challenges and opportunities in the healthcare sector, and Color’s race into COVID testing when the pandemic hit.
Apr 14
53 min
Research Insight: New Data on Lean Startup
In our first-ever ETL Research bonus episode, we look at one of the first empirical studies of lean startup. In a recent paper published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, researchers Michael Leatherbee and Riitta Katila find that lean startup’s emphasis on “customer discovery” — that is, directly testing business hypotheses with potential costumers during product development — does help teams converge on business ideas. They also find that MBAs are both hesitant to embrace the method and especially successful when they choose to employ it. Katila is a professor in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering and research director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and Leatherbee is a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile as well as President of the Advisory Board for Startup Chile. In this conversation they are joined by Stanford adjunct professor Steve Blank, whose Lean Launchpad class and 2003 book The Four Steps to the Epiphany were foundational to the lean startup movement.
Mar 24
23 min
Hemant Taneja (General Catalyst) - Build, Don’t Break
Hemant Taneja is a managing director at General Catalyst, and has been an early investor in market-leading companies like Digit, Grammarly, Gusto, Livongo, Mindstrong, Samsara, Snap, and Stripe. His 2018 book Unscaled articulates the need for accountability, transparency, and explainability in AI technologies, and his 2020 book UnHealthcare proposes a new model for impactful healthcare innovation. He is also the author of the influential Harvard Business Review article “The Era of ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ is Over.” In this conversation with Stanford professor Tom Byers, Taneja discusses recent technological paradigm shifts, and urges founders and investors to build responsibly and drive positive social change by measuring and valuing impact as much as financial returns.
Mar 17
46 min
Aicha Evans (Zoox) - Driving Innovation
In January 2019, Aicha Evans was named CEO of autonomous vehicle startup Zoox, which was acquired by Amazon in 2020. Prior to joining Zoox, Evans served as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Intel, where she drove Intel’s transformation from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company. In this conversation with Stanford adjunct lecturer and former Zoox board member Heidi Roizen, Evans discusses building cutting-edge technology in a crowded market, dealing with skeptics, and leading an innovative team.
Mar 10
48 min
Katrina Lake (Stitch Fix) - Making Entrepreneurship More Inclusive
While attending Harvard Business School, Katrina Lake saw an opportunity to combine data science with human stylists to reinvent the retail space. Lake founded Stitch Fix in 2011 to help women everywhere discover and explore their style through a truly client-focused shopping experience. In this conversation with Stanford lecturer Ravi Belani, Lake discusses experiencing and fighting bias, achieving massive and unexpected financial success, and leading with authenticity.
Mar 3
50 min
David Rogier (MasterClass) - Finding the Right Motivation
David Rogier is the founder and CEO of MasterClass, a streaming platform that allows members to watch video lessons from top-performing professionals like Steph Curry, Margaret Atwood, Martin Scorsese, Sarah Blakely and Serena Williams. In this conversation with Stanford lecturer Ravi Belani, Rogier discusses why he created MasterClass; how he engaged the right investors, advisors, and talent; and how he dealt with hundreds of people telling him that his idea was impossible.
Feb 24
50 min
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