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July 1, 2020
Joe DeSimone is the founder and executive chairman of Carbon, a global company that is driving the evolution of 3D printing from a prototyping tool into a scalable manufacturing technology. As a professor at the University of North Carolina, DeSimone made scientific breakthroughs in areas including green chemistry, medical devices, and nanotechnology, also co-founding several companies based on his research. In 2016 President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor in the U.S. for achievement and leadership in advancing technological progress. In this talk, he explores how diverse teams, perspectives and specialties can drive innovations in both technologies and business models.
June 24, 2020
Julie Zhuo is the co-founder of Inspirit, an advisory firm that partners with fast-scaling tech companies to build and scale products that people love. Prior to founding Inspirit, she was the VP of design and research for the Facebook app, and helped scale the service from 8 million users to over 2 billion. She is also the author of The Making of a Manager, a field guide for new managers that was named one of Amazon's Best Business and Leadership Books of 2019. In this talk, she focuses on how to channel user feedback into impactful product decisions, and also shares some powerful lessons about how to become a successful manager.
June 12, 2020
For the first time ever, we're extending our ETL series into the summer! We’ll be inviting some of our most impactful past ETL speakers to reflect on clips from their previous ETL talks, explore how they’re responding to the current moment, and point out strategies that remain as powerful as ever. Our summer season kicks off on Wednesday, June 24 with Inspirit founder Julie Zhuo. Later on we’ll hear from innovators like Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs, Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz (co-founders of the prison reform nonprofit The Last Mile) and Ann Miura-Ko (founding partner at the VC firm Floodgate). Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get new episodes delivered straight to you every Wednesday!
June 3, 2020
Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, first spoke at ETL in 2011, just seven months after Instagram launched. Here, he returns to ETL nine years later to draw some new insights about the startup's rocket-like growth. In an interview with Stanford professor of the practice and STVP faculty director Tina Seelig, Systrom reflects on the lessons he’s learned during the course of that journey, and also talks about his work on Rt.live, a new platform that aims to model the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 27, 2020
Alexi Robichaux is the co-founder and CEO of BetterUp, a mobile-based platform that brings personalized professional coaching to employees at all levels. In this talk, Robichaux speaks with Stanford lecturer Toby Corey about the motivations that drove him to found BetterUp, and reflects on key values, strategies and pivots that have helped sustain the venture’s mission-driven growth.
May 22, 2020
Ethan Brown is the founder, president and CEO of Beyond Meat. In this talk, Stanford lecturer Toby Corey interviews Brown about how his company has redefined “meat.” Brown shares some of the key lessons learned from Beyond Meat’s startup story and explores some of the pivotal moments of his journey from idea to IPO.
May 13, 2020
Andy Karsner is a senior strategist and “Space Cowboy” at X, the “moonshot factory” at Alphabet (Google’s parent company). He has spent two decades driving renewable energy innovation and other climate solutions, including serving as the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy from 2005 to 2008. In this talk, Emily Ma, Food Systems Lead at X, interviews Karsner about the nation’s preeminent natural security challenges and explores where he finds the greatest hope for designing solutions.
May 6, 2020
Joseph Tsai is a co-founder and the executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, a global Internet technology company based in China. He is also the owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, along with several other sports and sports media companies. In this conversation with Stanford professor Tom Byers, Tsai tells stories and shares strategies from a career that has built many important bridges between China and North America.
April 29, 2020
Amy Francetic is founder and managing partner of Buoyant Ventures, a venture fund that invests in digital climate solutions. In this talk, delivered on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Francetic sheds light on the evolution of the clean tech market and shares why now, more than ever, is an opportune time to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency.
April 22, 2020
Heidi Roizen, now a partner at Threshold Ventures, spent time as the CEO and co-founder of T/Maker and the VP of Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple before pursuing a career in venture capital. Along the way, she’s experienced several significant disruptions, including the dot-com crash of the early 2000s and the subsequent Great Recession. In this talk, delivered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she shares ten concepts that can guide leaders in times of crisis.
April 15, 2020
What does a venture capitalist actually do day-to-day, and how do they make decisions? Annie Kadavy is a managing director at Redpoint Ventures, and in this conversation with Stanford professor of the practice Tina Seelig, she shares what her job looks like, then presents five mini-case studies looking at how VCs scope investments and manage companies.
April 8, 2020
A new season of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series starts on April 15! While ETL won’t be a live, in-person event during this time of social distancing, we’ll be connecting with speakers digitally and sharing the conversations on our podcast as usual. And we have some great speakers lined up! We’ll kick off with Redpoint Ventures managing partner Annie Kadavy, then hear from innovators like Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown, Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai, and clean energy thought leader Andy Karsner. And we’ll end the season with Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get new episodes delivered straight to you every Wednesday
March 11, 2020
As a lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering, Ravi Belani regularly teaches MS&E 472, the Stanford course associated with the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series. He is also the managing director of Alchemist Accelerator, an accelerator program that focuses on enterprise businesses and has funded startups like LaunchDarkly, Rigetti Computing and Zipongo. Before Alchemist, he spent four years as an associate at the VC firm DFJ. There, he was instrumental in backing the company that later became Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. In this talk, he draws on his keen observations of the Silicon Valley ecosystem to identify the factors that align to create the most transformational venture-scale businesses.
March 4, 2020
Mark Gainey is the co-founder and executive chairman of Strava, a platform where more than 50 million athletes around the world track their workouts and compare their stats. In this talk, he explains the “inch wide, mile deep” strategy that informed both Strava and his previous startup, Kana Communications. He explores how, by first focusing intently on the niche category of passionate road cyclists, Strava earned a credibility that ultimately allowed the company to scale into many other sports.
February 26, 2020
Mar Hershenson co-founded Pear VC in 2013, and under her watch the firm has made seed and pre-seed investments in category-defining companies like DropBox, Gusto, DoorDash and Branch Metrics. Along the way, she’s spent a significant amount of time mentoring student-entrepreneurs. In this talk, she focuses on some of the most common questions and concerns she hears from student entrepreneurs, offering insights she’s gained both as a serial startup founder and as a seed-stage VC investor.
February 19, 2020
Backed by corporate investors that included Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, Omar Tawakol founded Voicea in 2017, and served as the company’s CEO until its acquisition by Cisco in September 2019. Voicea’s core offering was EVA, an  in-meeting AI assistant that transcribed meetings, generated highlights, and pushed relevant meeting content to productivity tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. EVA is now being rolled into Cisco’s Webex Assistant, and Tawakol is currently the VP and GM of the Cisco Contact Center. In this talk, he explores the strategies he employed as he scaled Voicea and landed it at Cisco. He also draws on his experience building BlueKai, a data exchange and data management platform company he founded in 2007 and sold to Oracle in 2014, and draws contrasts between the two very different B2B business models.
February 12, 2020
As a Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellow, Kate Rosenbluth was captivated by the unmet need to treat hand tremors. She discovered that the site of deep brain stimulation was accessible through the peripheral nerves in the wrist, and teamed up with Scott Delp, director of the Stanford Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab, to found Cala Health, where she is now the chief scientific officer. The company’s wearable neuromodulation therapies merge neuroscience research with cutting-edge technology to deliver individualized peripheral nerve stimulation. Here, she presents a framework for “needs-based innovation,” and explores how she emphasized a needs-based approach in the context of Cala Health.
February 5, 2020
Kulveer Taggar is the co-founder and CEO of Zeus Living, a tech-driven property management company focused on disrupting the corporate housing market. The company raised a $55 million Series B round in December 2019, and has hosted more than 17,000 residents in its furnished units. In this talk, he explores how thinking on a scale of decades rather than just a few years has impacted his company’s culture and strategy.
January 29, 2020
Drawing on her experience launching and leading health companies like CardioDx and ParAllele, Melinda Thomas co-founded Octave Bioscience in 2014. Octave is developing a care management platform for neurodegenerative diseases, starting with multiple sclerosis, and aims to improve patient management decisions and create better outcomes while also lowering costs. In this talk, Thomas offers strategies for building deep, skills-driven entrepreneurial confidence.
January 22, 2020
In 2013, Sam Yam teamed up with his former Stanford roommate Jack Conte to create Patreon, a platform that connects content creators with members who provide recurring revenue. As co-founder and CTO, Yam built Patreon into a service that has funded more than one hundred thousand creatives, channelling more than one billion dollars to musicians, podcasters, and artists of all kinds. He describes the intense grind of scaling Patreon and looks at three central challenges that face most entrepreneurs, then focuses in on what makes the entrepreneurial path worth it.
January 8, 2020
New episodes of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series return on January 22nd! Guests this season include Sam Yam, co-founder and CTO of Patreon; Mar Hershenson, managing partner of Pear VC; and Mark Gainey, co-founder and executive chairman of Strava. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get new episodes delivered straight to you every Wednesday!
January 1, 2020
Look back to one of our favorite talks from the ETL archives. Dave Evans, co-founder of the popular Life Design Lab at Stanford University, discusses the key concepts and exercises that guide students in their quest to figure out what they want to do in life. He underscores the importance of accepting who you are and connecting that to what you believe and do, while attacking dysfunctional notions like the one that dares you to be the “best version of yourself.” Can’t we have more than one?
December 4, 2019
Concerned with the ways that AI and machine learning often display biases against already marginalized groups, Laura Gomez created Atipica, a platform that uses those same tools to remove rather than exacerbate bias in the hiring process. Gomez is also a founding member of Project Include, a non-profit that aims to accelerate diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, and a member of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, as well as Code.org’s Diversity Council. She describes the trends that have contributed to her company’s growth and encourages founders from diverse backgrounds to engage with tech, build confidence, and drive change.
November 26, 2019
Look back to one of our favorite talks from the ETL archives. Entrepreneur Leila Janah describes how her social enterprise Samasource allows people in Africa and elsewhere to lift themselves out of poverty through dignified, fair-wage digital work like photo tagging for companies in Silicon Valley. She celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in those who survive on next to nothing and explains how giving work is more effective than charity.
November 20, 2019
Backstage Capital founder and managing partner Arlan Hamilton built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. Her fund is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Hamilton herself identifies as all three. Started in 2015, Backstage has invested nearly $7 million into 120 startups led by underestimated founders. In this talk, Hamilton describes how and why she created her unique fund, and why she views underrepresented, underestimated founders as a category with massive potential.
November 13, 2019
In 2013, Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” to refer to the growing field of startups with $1 billion valuations. At the time, she was a year into her role as a founder and managing partner of Cowboy Ventures, and her team was preparing a now-influential internal report examining how (and how often) companies with these massive valuations tend to emerge. Her summary of the report, published by TechCrunch, uncovered many insightful datapoints, but also revealed that only 2 of the 39 unicorns they studied had female co-founders, a finding that catalyzed her advocacy for increased diversity in technology startups. She more recently became a founding member of All Raise, a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing the representation of women in the venture-backed tech ecosystem. She describes her circuitous path to a job in venture capital, surfaces some of the central strategies of seed-stage investing, and encourages people from diverse backgrounds to help transform the venture capital business.
November 6, 2019
While earning his MBA at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School and teaching himself to code, Srin Madipalli found himself compelled by the power of technology to transform the lives of people with disabilities. He soon co-founded Accomable, a web app that grew to list accessible accomodations in 60 countries around the world. In November of 2017, Accomable was acquired by Airbnb, and Madipalli joined Airbnb as its accessibility product and program manager. There, he has overseen the addition of new consumer-facing accessibility filters and features, while also exploring how Airbnb can make its hiring and management practices more inclusive for job candidates and employees living with disabilities. He describes how Accomable grew from a side-project into a fast-growing company that landed at Airbnb, and points out how focusing on accessibility can provide companies with a massive opportunity to engage with the disability community.
October 30, 2019
LaunchDarkly now helps over 1,000 customers — including major companies like Atlassian and BMW — release code, monitor and manage features, and make data-driven decisions about software functionality. But growth didn’t come overnight, explains CEO and co-founder Edith Harbaugh. She describes the multi-year slog of scaling up a B2B company, and demonstrates how she made the most of a number of less-than-ideal jobs, building a diverse toolkit of skills that ultimately contributed to her success as a founder and CEO. She urges entrepreneurs to draw encouragement from small wins, especially in the early stages, when customers are few and far between.
October 23, 2019
Barbara Liskov was already breaking new ground in 1968, when she became one of the first American women to earn a doctorate in the emerging discipline of computer science. After receiving that PhD at Stanford, she went on to design several influential programming languages, including CLU, an important precursor to Java. More recently, as an Institute Professor at MIT and head of the institute’s Programming Methodology Group, she has undertaken crucial research on distributed systems, information security and complex system failure issues. She is one of fewer than 100 individuals to receive an A.M. Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery. In a conversation with host Ann Miura-Ko, a lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering and founding partner of the venture capital firm Floodgate, Liskov explores how she discovered the nascent field of computer science, how she recognized and surmounted a number of fundamental computing challenges, and shares her concerns and hopes about how computing will continue to transform our lives.
October 22, 2019
Barbara Liskov was already breaking new ground in 1968, when she became one of the first American women to earn a doctorate in the emerging discipline of computer science. After receiving that PhD at Stanford, she went on to design several influential programming languages, including CLU, an important precursor to Java. More recently, as an Institute Professor at MIT and head of the institute’s Programming Methodology Group, she has undertaken crucial research on distributed systems, information security and complex system failure issues. She is one of fewer than 100 individuals to receive an A.M. Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery. In a conversation with host Ann Miura-Ko, a lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering and founding partner of the venture capital firm Floodgate, Liskov explores how she discovered the nascent field of computer science, how she recognized and surmounted a number of fundamental computing challenges, and shares her concerns and hopes about how computing will continue to transform our lives.
October 16, 2019
Not long after landing at PagerDuty in 2016, Jennifer Tejada embarked on that harrowing rite of passage for CEOs of fortunate young startups: the pursuit of an IPO. Tejada raised a $90 million Series D round in late 2018, and saw PagerDuty go public on April 11, 2019. Her path to that point, she observes, was anything but linear. She tells the story of how a very “average” University of Michigan grad ended up becoming the CEO of a public SaaS company, and describes how gritty perseverance, some fortunate early leadership opportunities, and a passion for understanding and embracing different perspectives drove her career forward. She offers strategies that aspiring leaders can employ to challenge themselves and build tenacity while creating diverse, high-performing teams.
October 9, 2019
In 2012, inspired by the HR headaches they’d observed working for technology companies, Sarah Nahm and a few friends founded Lever, a talent recruitment platform aimed at transforming the hiring process with intuitive yet data-driven software. Two years later, in 2014, she was named CEO. Based on her experiences designing what became Lever and then leading the company, she puts forward a model of entrepreneurial leadership that is about more than just stubborn confidence, and thrives by embracing the unknown and learning how to observe and trust others.
September 25, 2019
A new season of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders starts on October 9th! Guests this season include Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital; Barbara Liskov, Institute Professor at MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab; Srin Madipalli, accessibility and product manager at Airbnb; Sarah Nahm, co-founder and CEO of Lever; and Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures and All Raise. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get new episodes delivered straight to you every Wednesday!
June 12, 2019
From developing a brand identity to cultivating the right conditions for musical exploration, successful recording artists are masters of the creative process. Hosted by Stanford professor Bob Sutton, Sickamore, a hip-hop artist, photographer and the creative director at Interscope Records, joins Sam Seidel, director of K-12 strategy and research at Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, for an intimate conversation about what entrepreneurs can learn from the music industry, how to navigate ambiguity, and why it's important to strike the right balance between open-ended creativity and project completion.
June 5, 2019
Honeycomb co-founder and CEO Christine Yen spent a decade as a software engineer before creating her own company. She describes how her deep domain knowledge and relationships with like-minded software developers propelled her startup’s launch, and shares how she built an energetic human architecture around a highly technical B2B product.
May 29, 2019
The podcast market was growing rapidly when Luminary Media was founded at the beginning of 2018, and it was even bigger by the time the company launched its podcasting service on April 23, 2019. Just a month after that launch, CEO Matthew Sacks and co-founder/head of talent Lauren Perkins step back to assess how they identified an opportunity in the podcasting space, built a team and launched a product with a library of exclusive content in a little over a year. They also address the negative headlines and Twitter backlash they received during launch week, and share strategies for responding to the kinds of mistakes that fast-moving startups often make.
May 22, 2019
At age 26, Chip Conley founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality and grew the company into the second largest boutique hotel brand in the United States. After he sold the business, he accepted a strategy role at Airbnb, and his interactions with a predominantly millennial workforce led him to found the Modern Elder Academy, a “midlife wisdom school” in Baja that encourages individuals with a lifetime of experience to carve a purposeful path through the modern workplace. Here, he shares the insights that have allowed him to flourish while shifting roles and accommodating to cultural change.
May 15, 2019
In the 1990s, Toby Corey co-founded the world’s largest web development company. Since then, he’s started other companies; held senior management positions at SolarCity, Tesla and most recently PlanGrid; and lectured in Stanford's Department of Management Science & Engineering. Now, he finds himself as concerned by social and environmental problems as with building companies. In response to global crises of climate change and inequality, he advises an approach that he calls “zentrepreneurship,” and articulates principles aimed at helping entrepreneurs integrate creativity and ambition with social and environmental consciousness.
May 8, 2019
When Capella Space’s first prototype satellite launched in December 2018, it was the culmination of over three years of nonstop effort. Capella Space founder and CEO Payam Banazadeh explains how he fused experienced gained at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Stanford’s Management Science and Engineering masters program to build the satellite imaging company. As an early-stage CEO, he provides insights into the many risks and strategic decisions that precede product roll-out.
May 1, 2019
Nicole Hu and her two co-founders created One Concern to help communities prepare for and mitigate natural disasters by harnessing the power of AI. She explains how they use machine intelligence as a predictive tool, and shares strategies for identifying a central problem, securing investment and growing a mission-driven team.
April 24, 2019
Ritu Narayan founded Zūm in 2014 to solve a problem that working parents (herself included) face every day: transporting and caring for children before and after school. She describes her journey from the Delhi Institute of Technology to Silicon Valley and unpacks three factors that catalyze sustained growth: passion, perseverance and people.
April 17, 2019
From high school computer science classes all the way up to VC partner meetings, women and people of color remain underrepresented in the technology ecosystem. Even so, diversity-focused social scientist and venture capitalist Freada Kapor Klein is hopeful about the future of technology and entrepreneurship. As a partner at Kapor Capital, she provides seed-stage funding to technology startups that make a positive social impact on low-income communities and communities of color. Drawing on her work both as an investor and a diversity researcher, she offers strategies that founders and funders alike can pursue to make the tech world more diverse and inclusive.
March 20, 2019
career, commitment, communication, decisions, experience, failure, mission, opportunity, opportunity recognition, passion
March 13, 2019
As Google’s first engineering director, Alberto Savoia led the team that launched Google’s revolutionary AdWords project. After founding two startups, he returned to Google in 2008 and he assumed the role of “Innovation Agitator,” developing trainings and workshops to catalyze smart, impactful creation within the company. Drawing on his book "The Right It," he begins with the premise that at least 80 percent of innovations fail, even if competently executed. He discusses how to reframe the central challenge of innovation as a question not of skill or technology, but of market demand: Will anyone actually care? Savoia shares strategies for winning the fight against failure, by using a rapid-prototyping technique he calls “pretotyping.”
March 6, 2019
Navin Chaddha, managing director at the venture capital firm Mayfield, describes the firm’s core values and examines the drivers behind several of the firm’s most successful investments. Mayfield’s investment strategy, he explains, is to focus on the founder rather than the company. He describes how impactful founders identify their mission early and pivot when necessary, all while maintaining a firmly people-centered mindset.
February 27, 2019
Midway through a M.D./Ph.D program at UCLA, Alice Zhang made a discovery that she felt could reverberate far beyond the halls of academia. So she shifted directions, leaving her Ph.D program to found Verge Genomics, a biomedical firm that aims to unite genetic research and artificial intelligence in service of drug discovery. She describes how AI can revolutionize the drug discovery process, and reframes risk-taking as a simple series of optimistic next steps.
February 20, 2019
Cars can be much more than just boxes that get their owners around. John Viera, a former director and sustainability lead at Ford Motor Company, and Raj Kapoor, chief strategy officer at Lyft, join Stanford adjunct professor Pedram Mokrian to discuss opportunities for innovation in the field of transportation, particularly in the context of sustainability concerns and accelerating urbanization. Innovators, they suggest, need to think of transportation as a converging ecosystem, rather than as a collection of disparate technologies and business models. As shifting energy sources and big data come into play, car sharing companies and automotive manufacturers will find themselves both competing and collaborating in new ways.
February 13, 2019
Opportunities in the cryptocurrency sector extend well beyond simply investing in Bitcoin or Ethereum, says Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan. He compares the digital currency landscape to the early days of mobile—a space poised to create an entirely new set of innovations and business models. For entrepreneurs looking to make a play in everything from social networking and banking to collectibles markets and real estate, he suggests, crypto’s underlying blockchain technology is worth investigating.
February 6, 2019
Roles expand and shift at a breakneck pace in a high-growth startup, says Meebo co-founder Elaine Wherry. Interns find themselves in charge of massive, mission-critical projects. Engineers are suddenly tasked with hiring and managing multiple teams. Wherry shares her insights on how to thrive in a rapidly expanding technology venture, drawing on the heady years between developing Meebo’s initial instant messaging platform in 2005 and landing the company at Google seven years later.
January 30, 2019
artificial intelligence, ethics, live time, real time, data analysis, emerging technology, attitude, mission, technology
January 23, 2019
startups, business development, disruption, motivation, global trade, risk
December 5, 2018
Dan Widmaier, co-founder and CEO at Bolt Threads, is on a mission to disrupt the garment industry through technology and science. He shares his perspective on sustainability, the future of the environment and how to focus on the task at hand instead of distractions.
November 28, 2018
Brad Bao, co-founder and executive chairman of Lime, shares his mission to create close-knit neighborhoods through mobility. Highlighting Lime’s achievements, he challenges the notion that companies cannot succeed if they are socially responsible.
November 14, 2018
Emily Melton, partner at the venture capital firm Threshold (formerly DFJ), shares her experience growing from a humanities student to tech investor. Melton shares advice for how to sustain startup momentum, navigate uncertainty and forge the honest, supportive relationships that lead to success.
November 7, 2018
Adam Pisoni, founder and CEO of Abl Schools, shares how he tackles complex challenges, like modernizing the education system. Pisoni describes how he listens first, addresses today’s known issues and builds pathways to new possibilities. He breaks down how to identify scalable solutions, validate ideas and prioritize needs.
October 31, 2018
Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig sits down with Steve Garrity, founder of Hearsay Systems and Juliet Rothenberg, product manager at DeepMind for a new podcast called LEAP!. This series will take a deep dive into how to grow your career by unpacking some of the often overlooked and under-taught soft skills critical to the success of every entrepreneur. Each episode invites alumni at different stages in their career to discuss real-life scenarios, focused around a particular skill. In this episode, Steve and Juliet talk with Tina about identifying, shaping and developing your superpower at work.
October 24, 2018
Puneet Agarwal, partner at True Ventures, describes the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) within venture capital and its implications on the business functions of companies. He shares scenarios where EQ sets the tone for open communication, helping to build a community of safety for their founders and investors.
October 17, 2018
Throughout his career, Manish Chandra, founder and CEO at Poshmark, learned to evolve, grow and adapt to the economical and career changes he faced. His vision for a mobile shopping platform was ahead of its time. Chandra shares his thoughts on how to persevere in the face of doubt, how to partner with founders that share a common goal and why focusing on engagement and community is critical for scaling successfully.
October 10, 2018
Maureen Fan, co-founder and CEO at Baobab Studios, shares how she blended her creativity and technical savvy in founding her virtual reality animation company. Undeterred by naysayers and an unforged path ahead, she encourages those with big imaginations to buck traditional career paths and to be persistent in asking for what you want.
June 13, 2018
Get a taste of season 2 of the FRICTION podcast. The best leaders cultivate empathy, patience and an awareness of their own vulnerabilities, says Nancy F. Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School. She’s the author of Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, about the zigzagging paths of five historical figures, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to environmentalist Rachel Carson. In this episode, Koehn speaks with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton about how transformational leaders slow down and harness their humanity to overcome significant challenges.
June 6, 2018
Throughout life, Steve Vassallo has advanced his career through design thinking, from the slick flyer he created on his parents' computer to get him more work as a boy, to his five years at IDEO, and now as a startup investor at Foundation Capital. Vassallo explains how strategies like user observation and asking the right questions will get you to the heart of any problem that needs solving.
May 30, 2018
Serial entrepreneur Lisa Alderson, co-founder and CEO of Genome Medical, shares her vision for the future of medicine, along with real-world advice for those seeking to start their own company: Discover and follow your passion to ensure you stay driven through the highs and lows. Above all, venture into unfamiliar territory in order to build the confidence to embrace change.
May 23, 2018
Gabriel Parisi-Amon, co-founder, CTO and COO of environmentally conscious shower startup, Nebia, bravely challenges the myth of “the perfect startup founder.” Parisi-Amon takes us on a journey through the seven stages of burnout he experienced in the early years of his startup, sharing how he’s emerged a more conscious and balanced leader. He offers tips and exercises for identifying the symptoms of burnout, urging us to prevent the fire before we’re consumed.
May 16, 2018
Joshua Hoffman, co-founder and CEO of industrial-chemicals maker Zymergen, details how his intellectual dabbling in college and the courage to work on his weaknesses prepared him to be a broadminded business leader. He urges aspiring entrepreneurs to become good storytellers and build strong teams of divergent thinkers, even if they drive you nuts. Hoffman explains why it's all worth the pain.
May 9, 2018
Stanford business Professor Chip Heath discusses how certain moments we all experience — the first day at a new job, finishing a difficult project —don’t feel as special as they should, and how we can make them much more memorable with a few simple touches. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, Heath shares insights from his new book, “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.”
May 2, 2018
As tech companies come under fire for mishandling our data, with one blog post, a young software engineer forced these firms to share some of the most damning information they keep: the demographics of their workforce. Tracy Chou turned concepts familiar to her profession — like open sourcing, metrics reporting and benchmarking — to push for more diversity and inclusion throughout her industry. She discusses how the uphill battle continues through Project Include and why, in this case, a top-down approach from tech leaders is needed now.
April 25, 2018
Julayne Virgil, CEO of Girls Inc. of Alameda County, describes how her organization provides youth with the confidence to overcome systemic gender bias, and hopefully, realize their full potential. Girls in the program are given the types of experiences that help them break through their fears and build strength for the challenges ahead. Virgil also talks about how innovation means improving what exists, not just creating something new.
April 18, 2018
Tech entrepreneur David Baszucki explains how Roblox is essentially the YouTube for online games, a platform that derives immense value entirely from the millions of content creators and players who come together to build and be immersed in virtual worlds for fun. He discusses how the company dictates strategy and product roadmap, while depending on its users for growth.
March 14, 2018
Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne tells students that life is long and lived in chapters. Some of his include being a pioneering neuroscientist, head of research at Genentech, a co-founder of two startups, and president of two leading research universities. He shares what he's learned about how to lead organizations that turn discovery into real-world impact.
March 7, 2018
How do you know when it’s time to start a company? Or when to begin fundraising, and how much? And, as you grow, how do you recruit the best executives and build a culture centered on employees? Venture capitalist Josh McFarland of the firm Greylock Partners answers these questions and more through his experiences as founder and CEO of tech startup TellApart, which Twitter acquired for nearly half a billion dollars.
February 28, 2018
Actor Harrison Ford shares his longstanding commitment to preserving nature through Conservation International, joined by the organization’s CEO, M. Sanjayan. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, the environmental leaders urge entrepreneurs and engineers to build disruptive innovations, while describing how strategic thinking is at the heart of the self-sustaining solutions they launch around the world.
February 21, 2018
The key is understanding your own tolerance for risk in what you do for work, and how you pay the bills at home. At the firm Forerunner Ventures, founders must have three traits in spades to get funding: magnetism, discipline and vision. Eurie Kim, general partner at the firm, explains what it’s like to work at companies of different sizes, and what skills and strengths make you best suited for each.
February 14, 2018
The tale of 3D Robotics starts in the garage of a teenager in Tijuana, Mexico, who launched a drone-making factory with a $500 check from entrepreneur Chris Anderson, who then flooded the American market with their unmanned aerial vehicles and disrupted the aerospace industry through grassroots, open innovation. Then, China caught on and drove U.S. drone makers into the ground. Anderson, 3DR's CEO, shares his hard-won insights.
February 5, 2018
Choose co-founders based on their core values. Pick investors who will be there in your darkest hour. Make hiring the best people your top priority, and treat them like owners — not employees. Sameer Dholakia, CEO of business email service SendGrid, discusses the most important strategies for a startup's success, including the concept of "servant leadership."
January 30, 2018
Entrepreneur Leila Janah describes how her social enterprise Samasource allows people in Africa and elsewhere to lift themselves out of poverty through dignified, fair-wage digital work like photo tagging for companies in Silicon Valley. She celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in those who survive on next to nothing and explains how giving work is more effective than charity.
January 24, 2018
On the racetrack, the checkered flag goes to the car that’s driven to its limits and maneuvered decisively in the moment. On a two-lane road, the split-second act of passing a vehicle stopped in front of you becomes a way more complicated call when algorithms are in control. Autonomous-vehicle maker and Stanford Professor Chris Gerdes applies these findings and more to business and life.
December 5, 2017
Make beef out of plants instead of cows and you can begin to save the planet. That's what inspired award-winning scientist Patrick Brown to leave his professorship at Stanford University and found Impossible Foods. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, Brown describes how his singular passion for impact prompted him to leave academia and become a food-tech entrepreneur.
November 21, 2017
Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of the popular DNA-testing company 23andMe, discusses how providing people with their own genetic data empowers consumers to make better health decisions and advances science. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, Wojcicki explains how the intense scrutiny that the DNA-testing company has received is a sign that it is disrupting the status quo.
November 13, 2017
Amy Chang had accomplished a lot in her eight years at Google, helping launch and then lead Google Analytics to 70 percent market share. But then she left to launch her own tech startup, a relationship-intelligence platform called Accompany. In conversation with Matt Harvey of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Chang talks about getting out of one's comfort zone and laying the groundwork for a successful career.
November 3, 2017
How good are you at limiting your screen time? Because of the way humans evolved, our brains are no match for the engineers, designers and companies that collectively create the devices and apps that demand our attention all day long, according to technology ethicist Tristan Harris. A former tech entrepreneur himself, Harris is now co-founder of Time Well Spent, a nonprofit movement to create an ecosystem that aligns technology with our humanity.
October 31, 2017
Industry disruptors, it stands to reason, tend to be outsiders. But how comfortable are you not being an outlier? Serial entrepreneur Catherine Berman shares her story of coming to terms with the traits and experiences that set her apart from friends and colleagues throughout adolescence and early in her career. Embracing her uniqueness emboldened Berman to launch several social ventures, the latest being a social-impact startup in fintech called CNote.
October 26, 2017
There was a time, not long ago, when information we desperately wanted wasn’t at our fingertips. What’s the best deal on flights to New York? How much does that home down the street cost? Serial entrepreneur Rich Barton has made a career out of providing all those juicy details by launching platforms such as Expedia, Zillow and the company-review site Glassdoor. He shares his journey and advice for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
October 18, 2017
Even as adults, we still have to deal with bullies, at work and otherwise. Stanford Professor Bob Sutton has devoted his career to studying organizational behavior and dysfunction, and of late, figuring out how we all can avoid or deal with people who demean, disrespect and drain their peers. The professor of management science and engineering draws on academic research and anecdotal evidence included in his new book, "The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt."
October 18, 2017
Entrepreneur Sandy Jen has lived with self-doubt and insecurities throughout her life: in college, at her first startup, and later as a working mother. But facing the risks she feared each time gave her confidence that a shy, little girl from the suburbs can grow up to improve people's lives through technology and a passion for impact. She co-founded the senior-care startup Honor, and this is her story.
August 11, 2017
This special episode gives you a taste of eCorner's new podcast for the summer, FRICTION. Stanford Engineering Professor Bob Sutton interviews acclaimed leadership consultant Patty McCord. The former chief talent officer of Netflix speaks bluntly about how backstabbing, passive-aggressive behavior and overall coddling of employees are all bad for businesses — and how actual grown-ups can hear and handle the truth, even when they disagree. In other words, startups may want to downplay the free food, beer and haircuts and start hiring and treating workers like the adults they need to thrive long term.
June 7, 2017
How often do entrepreneurs and corporate leaders think about issues like fairness, accessibility or unseen biases in the technologies they invent and advance? That’s the challenge for companies leading the digital transformation that’s disrupting every aspect of society, says Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector and Industry at Microsoft, in this talk about innovating strategically and responsibly.
May 31, 2017
Renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman shares his passion for translating the complexities of cognition into mind-blowing inventions and educational material for the masses. The public-television host, bestselling author and Stanford adjunct professor speaks with Tina Seelig of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program about his decision to leave the lab and dedicate his life to bringing scientific discoveries into the world.
May 24, 2017
Carlos Watson, co-founder and CEO of Ozy Media, describes how its forward-focused digital news magazine, Ozy, looks more toward innovators in business sectors outside traditional media. The Emmy-winning journalist shares the unlikely origins of his entrepreneurial drive, and explains how his wide-ranging career has been fueled by family, curiosity and the thrill of starting fresh.
May 17, 2017
Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson, co-founders of autonomous-vehicle startup Zoox, detail a not-too-distant future when we’ll get into their cars and do nothing other than say where we need to go. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, the two entrepreneurs explain how self-driving cars work and how their fleet of electric vehicles could make owning a ride obsolete.
May 10, 2017
What motivates you to share a photo on Instagram — or not? Kevin Weil, head of product at the company, discusses everything from user behavior to business strategy with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig. Weil describes how mission alignment helps teams succeed and allows Instagram to continue experimenting and thriving inside its parent company, Facebook.
May 3, 2017
Olivia Fox Cabane and Judah Pollack, co-authors of the book “The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking,” share tips on how we can train ourselves to have more “eureka” moments with mental exercises that awaken more regions of our brains and build our comfort level with failure and uncertainty — two givens on the way to innovation.
April 26, 2017
Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, shares her evolution from lonely inventor to inspiring entrepreneur with a vision to give young girls the confidence to become engineers through hands-on play. Sterling talks about overcoming gender stereotypes and her own fears, as well as the entrepreneurial challenges of embracing failure and succeeding despite scant resources.
April 19, 2017
Entrepreneur Tracy Young and Doug Leone, global managing partner at Sequoia, discuss the nature of a harmonious relationship between a startup’s founders and the VC firm investing in them. Young is co-founder and CEO of PlanGrid, which allows construction managers to oversee projects via their device. She and Leone speak with Toby Corey, a lecturer in Stanford University’s School of Engineering.
March 15, 2017
Before Shirzad Chamine found his calling as a coach to today’s top CEOs and executive teams, he was a charismatic entrepreneur who turned into a hyper-critical tyrant without even knowing it. That dark chapter ignited his journey to understand how to conquer our self-sabotaging sides and live in the light of “Positive Intelligence” — the approach Chamine developed for mastering the mind and finding true happiness and success.
March 8, 2017
Di-Ann Eisnor, director of growth for Waze, explores whether authenticity can be preserved when a well-meaning startup scales to a workforce of hundreds and a user community of about a billion. Eisnor describes how the crowdsourced navigation and real-time traffic application has moved on from virtual cupcakes to encouraging carpooling in its quest to eliminate traffic congestion around the world.
March 1, 2017
Dave Evans, co-founder of the popular Life Design Lab at Stanford University, discusses the key concepts and exercises that guide students in their quest to figure out what they want to do in life. He underscores the importance of accepting who you are and connecting that to what you believe and do, while attacking dysfunctional notions like the one that dares you to be the “best version of yourself.” Can’t we have more than one?
February 22, 2017
E-commerce entrepreneur Susan Feldman describes how she and her co-founder went from bootstrapping One Kings Lane in the midst of the Great Recession, standing out from competitors in the home-decor industry by carefully curating product and focusing on creative flair, and ultimately being acquired by Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2016. Feldman speaks with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig.
February 15, 2017
University of Pennsylvania Professor Adam Grant, one of today’s most influential management thinkers, shares the top six takeaways from his book “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,” bringing his insights to life through amusing behavioral research and lively audience interaction. Grant explains why middle managers are notorious idea killers, why stress helps some rise to the occasion and how entrepreneurs and organizations can get what they want through unconventional means.
February 1, 2017
Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, describes how she learned to lead companies big and small to success by adjusting to different environments, building on what a business does best, and approaching work with urgency and initiative. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, Whitman recounts the explosive growth during her time as president and CEO of eBay, the challenging turnaround of storied tech giant HP, and her 2010 run for California governor that revealed deep political insights that still resonate.
January 25, 2017
It may not be rocket science, but there’s still much to consider when inventing children's toys, starting with all the ideas for what to build. Within the famous design firm IDEO, a small team toils away in a toy lab founded by Brendan Boyle, who also teaches design thinking at Stanford University. In conversation with Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, Boyle discusses the importance of playfulness, divergent thinking and creativity in making toys.
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