Roger McNamee has been a successful Silicon Valley investor for thirty five years.  He co-founded Silver Lake and Elevation Partners, two very successful private equity funds.  He also plays bass and guitar in the bands Moonalice and Doobie Decibel System.  He holds a BA from Yale and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School. He has written 4 books, the latest one titled Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Roger had a very unusual approach to tech investing which allowed him to be highly successful.
  • Learn why he started Elevation Partners with U2’s Bono.
  • Hear how one pivotal meeting with Mark Zuckerberg would forever alter the course of Facebook.
  • It was Facebook’s lack of anonymity that Roger felt was key to bridging the gap to a much larger mainstream audience that prior social media companies had failed to reach.
  • While they are technically a platform, Facebook acts more like a media company by using sophisticated algorithms to control the content that users see on the site.
  • Social media manipulates us by exploiting the weakness in human psychology.
  • Learn what filter bubbles are and why they’ve contributed to our accepting and spreading false information.
  • “Technology has changed the way we engage with society, substituting passive consumption of content and ideas for civic engagement, digital communications for conversation.”
  • “Excellence is an outcome that reflects mastery of an activity in a time and in a place.”

Joe is the founder and CEO of Spartan, the largest obstacle racing series in the world. He is also a New York Times bestselling author of multiple books including Spartan Up, Spartan Fit, and most recently The Spartan Way.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • The most grueling endurance event he’s ever done is running a business.
  • “Death is the price we pay for life so make it worth it.”
  • Learn how he built the largest participatory endurance sport in the world with over a million annual participants and 275 events spread across 42 countries.
  • It took over a decade of losing money and tweaking the product until he finally figured out a formula that worked. He stuck with it for so long because he knew it was his true north.
  • Branding matters. They’re probably 10x more successful because of the name Spartan.
  • Intermittent fasting can make you feel better and it increases performance.
  • The best way to physically train is to focus on flexibility and mobility.
  • The ambitious mission of Spartan is to change 100 million lives.
  • “Excellence is giving it everything you’ve got. When you’re up against a wall and you refuse to give up, that’s excellence.”

Albert-László Barabási is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research, and holds appointments in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Central European University in Budapest.  He is the author of four books with his latest one entitled: The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success. 

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • The definition of success is the rewards we earn from the communities we belong to. While your performance is about you, your success is about us.  It’s what we as a community acknowledge and value.
  • The first law of success is that performance often drives success but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.
  • The second law of success is that performance is bounded but success is unbounded. Marginal differences in performance may lead to order of magnitude differences in success (fame, fortune, recognition, etc.).
  • The third law of success if that prior success will increase the odds of future success. It is the law behind why the rich get richer and the powerful stay that way.
  • The fourth law of success is that while team success requires diversity and balance, a single individual will inevitably receive credit for the group’s achievements.
  • For performance oriented teams, diversity and empathy are the most critical success factors while for innovation oriented teams, leadership is most important.
  • The fifth law of success is that with persistence, success can come at any time. Your ability to succeed neither declines nor improves with age.

Seth is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker.  He has written 19 best-selling books, publishes one of the most popular marketing blogs, and speaks to audiences around the world. He also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne which was acquired by Yahoo.  Seth has been inducted into both the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and the Marketing Hall of Fame. His latest book is called This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • In the old days, money bought you attention and you could use that attention to grow your business. Today attention is too precious for you to buy at any cost.
  • Being an effective marketer in this day and age means having the empathy to see what the other person dreams of and what they fear.
  • Since 1997 not one significant brand has been built with consumer advertising.
  • There’s no longer any advantage to being a mass marketer. There’s only an advantage to being a very specific marketer.
  • If you build a network effect, if you understand people’s status roles, if you engage with people where they need to be, with a product or service that helps them get to where they want to go, that is marketing.
  • Marketing is about how human beings are going to interact with what you make and whether or not they will talk about it and miss you if you’re gone.
  • The mistake most marketers make is to sell average stuff for average people in an attempt to appease everyone. But what’s most important for brand building today is to find a “minimal viable market”. The idea is to pick the smallest possible group of people that can sustain you and delight them so they will then tell their friends and spread the word.
  • A brand is not a logo. Rather, a brand is a promise, an expectation of what you’re going to get.
  • People don’t generally know what they want. It’s our job to watch people, figure out what they dream of, and then create a transaction that can deliver that feeling.

 


Links

Book: THIS IS MARKETING: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See  This is Marketing

Seth Godin blog: Seth Godin blog

Seth Godin website: Seth Godin website

Some interesting insights from this episode:

Ben Saunders is one of the world’s leading polar explorers, and a record-breaking long-distance skier who has covered more than 4,300 miles on foot in the Polar Region. His accomplishments include skiing solo to both the North and South poles, and leading The Scott Expedition, the longest human-powered polar journey in history, a 105-day, 1,800 mile round-trip from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again.

  • Hear the remarkable story of how he traveled the equivalent of 69 marathons, the distance from Maine to Miami, in frigid temperatures in near whiteout conditions, over the course of 3.5 months. 
  • Preparation entailed both extreme endurance and extreme weight training.  He was able to run a 2:55 marathon and deadlift 485 lbs. 
  • The key to staying motivated was to shorten the focus from the ultimate goal to something that felt achievable whether the end of the day or even the end of an hour.
  • One of his proudest moments on the journey was to make the call to have food delivered during their return.  That moment calling for help was when he matured as a leader as he learned to get priorities straight.
  • In hindsight, he made the mistake of often living too much in the future, thinking that success was defined by a finish line.
  • The cliché holds true that the journey is way more important than the destination.
  • Learn how he evolved from needing external validation to having more of an internal compass driving his motivations. 
  • “Self-belief is a malleable human quality. The more time you spend outside your comfort zone, the stronger it becomes.”
  • “Excellence is having the internal drive to make tomorrow better than today.”

Mark Tercek is the CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental organization. He is a former Managing Director and Partner at Goldman Sachs and is the author of the bestselling book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • We all have an inner environmentalist inside of us.
  • His executive coach taught him some valuable lessons early on including how to listen better and how to not sweat out the details.
  • In the nonprofit world, he had to learn how to understand employees’ psychic income and use that as motivation to drive behavior.
  • Saving nature isn’t just the morally right thing to do, it’s also the smartest investment we can make.
  • Learn how he pivoted his 4,000 employee organization from pure land conservation toward embracing climate change as a top priority.
  • “Excellence is matching ambition with a good dose of reality.”
  • We all have a tendency to overestimate risks in our lives. The returns are greater than perceived and the risks less that perceived.  More of us should just go for it.

Scott Hamilton is a retired figure skater and Olympic gold medalist. He won four consecutive U.S. championships from 1981–84, four consecutive World Championships from 1981–84 and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.  Since that time he has been a TV commentator, a motivational speaker, the founder of a skating academy, a cancer survivor and the founder of a cancer research center.  He is a New York Times bestselling author and his latest book is called Finish First: Winning Changes Everything.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Finishing first doesn’t necessarily mean finishing first. Accomplishing whatever goal you set for yourself is a finish first moment.
  • “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
  • It was his mother’s passing that was the catalyst which woke him up and allowed him to take his skating to another level.
  • He gave away all his medals and trophies because he didn’t want to let them be an anchor to prevent him from moving forward.
  • All of the losing earlier in his career was actually great preparation for ultimately learning how to compete and win.
  • “Excellence is leveraging everything we have to live the best life we possibly can.”

Beth Comstock spent over 25 years at GE where she was a vice chair, CEO of Business Innovations and Chief Marketing Officer among other roles. She has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Fortune and Fast Company and has been named to the Fortune and Forbes lists of the world’s most powerful women.  Her new book is titled Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Risk taking is a skill that can be learned.
  • “Most of us fear losing what we have more than we desire winning something we don’t have.”
  • Due to her risk taking mentality, Jeff promoted her to Chief Marketing Officer, a role that hadn’t existed at GE for over two decades.
  • She had to overcome a lack of self-confidence along with her introversion in order to speak up, challenge others and be effective in her role.
  • Success correlates as closely with confidence as it does with competence.
  • Much of the success of Hulu was attributed to hiring an entrepreneur from the outside and keeping him independent vs hiring someone from the inside.
  • She led GE’s disruptive green initiative called Ecomagination which pushed an aggressive clean energy agenda throughout GE’s multiple business lines.
  • GE executives often struggled to see parallels from developments happening in other industries due to a common cognitive bias called Functional Fixedness.
  • She pioneered a new program at GE called Fastworks which leveraged the lean methodology to experiment with new product ideas, increase innovation and accelerate time to market.
  • “Excellence is a never ending journey of learning and trying to get better.”