Starting Greatness

Starting Greatness
Host Mike Maples Jr from venture capital firm FLOODGATE offers lessons from the startup super performers—BEFORE they were successful—featuring interviews with some of Silicon Valley’s most legendary entrepreneurs and thought leaders, including Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Nextdoor co-founder Sarah Leary, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger, and more.

Lessons of Greatness: You are Yoda, not Luke
Jul 27 • 8 min
Nancy Duarte emphasizes that storytelling has been one of the most compelling tools of persuasion for centuries. But founders embracing the storytelling form often make a crucial mistake: They cast themselves as the protagonist in the hero’s journey,…
Nancy Duarte: Why storytelling is vital to entrepreneurship
Jul 27 • 38 min
Nancy Duarte has helped people like Al Gore tell an inconvenient truth, as well as some of the most important tech execs, get their stories told. She has cracked the code in applying story patterns to business communication. In this interview, Mike…
Lessons of Greatness: Why the world needs breakthrough builders; How it can be you
Jul 6 • 12 min
The future doesn’t happen to us: It happens because of us. In this Lesson of Greatness, we introduce backcasting as a tool for entrepreneurs or people in any field who want to create a future that is meaningfully better and doesn’t just bring forward the…
Mike Maples and Shane Parrish: How to create a Breakthrough
Jul 6 • 28 min
The present has stopped working. Now, more than ever, we need breakthroughs that put us on a better trajectory. In this episode, we flip the script and Shane Parrish from the Farnam Street Blog and Knowledge Project interviews Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate…
Lessons of Greatness: Don’t Just Be Resilient: How to be Anti-Fragile
Jun 10 • 6 min
Everyone knows a fragile team is more likely to fail. But an anti-fragile team is more than just resilient….it’s more like a Hydra: When you cut off one of it’s heads it grows two back in its place. Anti-fragile teams actually get BETTER when the…
Manny Medina: From Hell and Back to the Threshold of Greatness
Jun 10 • 39 min
From his surprising beginnings as a shrimp farmer with Communist parents in Ecuador to his death-defying pivot from a failed startup idea to what is now Outreach, Manny Medina’s story is both colorful and compelling. In this episode, Mike Maples, Jr of…
Lessons of Greatness: You have to take the Initiative
May 11 • 10 min
Commander John Boyd was a fighter pilot who changed the art of war in the late 20th Century. He offers a vital lesson of greatness, especially in times of massive uncertainty: Decisive leaders take the initiative, ALWAYS. This episode describes why that’s…
Steve Blank: How to turn the tables on COVID-19
May 11 • 31 min
Many startups face difficult choices when it comes to overcoming COVID-19. In this special episode, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate interviews Steve Blank about techniques founders can use to shape circumstances rather than be shaped by them. Steve has a…
Lessons of Greatness: Don’t Mess with Metcalfe’s Law
Apr 4 • 5 min
Bob Metcalfe has traveled in many orbits, but most recently he has been a professor at the University of Texas….so it seemed only appropriate to honor the unstoppable power of Metcalfe’s Law in this lesson of greatness. Mess with it at your peril :)
Bob Metcalfe: Co-inventor of Ethernet. Tech industry legend and Polymath.
Apr 4 • 39 min
Bob Metcalfe has lived in the future since the late 1950s. And lucky for the rest of us, he has brought us along for the ride. In this interview, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate talks to him about the origins of networked computing as well as the birth of…
Lessons of Greatness: Distribution, Distribution, Distribution
Mar 2 • 8 min
Many say that in real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. A key lesson of greatness from Reid Hoffman is that for consumer products and network effects businesses, a key to success is distribution, distribution, distribution. In…
Reid Hoffman: The Network Philosopher King
Mar 2 • 35 min
Reid Hoffman’s success as a founder of LinkedIn, investor in Airbnb and Facebook, and charter member of the PayPal Mafia have a common thread - an intense passion for creating valuable networks with people at the center. In this episode, Mike Maples, Jr…
Lessons of Greatness: Why You Need to Nail a Niche before Going Big
Feb 18 • 8 min
In Crossing the Chasm Geoffrey Moore clearly lays out a very important idea: you need to appeal to a niche of visionaries, before pragmatists—or your startup will usually fail. In this Lesson of Greatness, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate builds on this by…
Why Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm is a must-read for Ambitious Startup Founders
Feb 18 • 31 min
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moores is the most influential book on technology go-to-market ever written, and for good reason. In this episode, Mike Maples Jr from Floodgate talks to Geoffrey Moore about how startup founders can apply its core…
Lessons of Greatness: Why Finding Undiscovered Talent is the Winning Mindset
Feb 3 • 8 min
Great Startup Recruiting is surprisingly similar to great Startup Ideas: Just like you have to find undiscovered opportunities to start a great startup, you need to find undiscovered talent to build a great startup team. In this Lesson of Greatness, we…
Keith Rabois: Key lessons from Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Jack Dorsey
Feb 3 • 29 min
Few people in the history of startups have seen more examples of excellence than Keith Rabois. Not surprisingly, Keith is also one of the best investors in Silicon Valley, having achieved great success as an Angel and now at Founders Fund.
Lessons of Greatness: Why Great Ideas Won’t Wait
Jan 21 • 6 min
It’s tempting to start a company when it meets the conditions of your “master plan.” But sometimes you realize that an idea has visited you and it is now or never…you must either plunge in and take the chance NOW, or watch from the sidelines while someone…
How Todd McKinnon of Okta believed (even when he sometimes didn’t) in the inevitability of breakout success.
Jan 21 • 29 min
Todd McKinnon co-founded Okta when most around him thought it was a bad idea. And soon, he started to wonder if they were right. Was he cut out to be a startup company builder? But eventually, he proved to everyone (and most importantly to himself) that…
Lessons of Greatness: How to Get Customers to Hire Your Product
Jan 13 • 7 min
What job should a desperate customer hire YOUR product to do? Answering this question is key to unlocking a key lesson of greatness. Here we discuss how the Instagram founders illustrate this lesson perfectly and how you can apply it to your own success…
How Instagram Delighted 1 Billion Users….but Almost Didn’t
Jan 13 • 40 min
Find out how Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger trusted their instincts and overcame rookie mistakes on the way to building Instagram, which now gets close to 100 Million photos uploaded a DAY.
Lessons of Greatness: How You Can Tame the Startup Rollercoaster
Dec 30, 2019 • 6 min
The Startup Rollercoaster is not fun, but it’s a reality of startup life. The great founders learn to manage it rather than be overwhelmed by it. In this lesson of greatness, Mike Maples summarizes key lessons from Kim Polese’s success at this, as well as…
Kim Polese: Building the Early Web with Java and Marimba
Dec 30, 2019 • 32 min
Kim Polese, the founding product manager for Java at Sun, as well as co-founding CEO of Marimba, talks about how Java almost didn’t come to be….as well as her experiences riding the startup rollercoaster as a high-profile, and ultimately successful…
Lessons of Greatness: Find your inner MacGyver
Dec 23, 2019 • 8 min
If you want find greatness, you have to improvise to beat impossible over and over again. There is no course or framework to teach you how to do this. Instead, you must never surrender to any fear or obstacle you face.
Osman Rashid: “How did Chegg find a way through?”
Dec 23, 2019 • 44 min
Osman Rashid, co-founder and original CEO of Chegg, talks about how Chegg’s startup team of misfit rebels navigated through a crazy sequence of near-death experiences…one day at a time…and lived to tell the tale of achieving greatness.
Lessons of Greatness: Living in the Future
Dec 16, 2019 • 6 min
William Gibson, the cyberpunk novelist has said “The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” This perfectly describes a key lesson of greatness from Marc’s Netscape experience.
Marc Andreessen: “Was Netscape an Overnight Success?”
Dec 16, 2019 • 43 min
Mike Maples, Jr talks to Marc Andreessen, Co-founder of Netscape—the startup that launched the Internet era. What it was like when Netscape was about to blow up? What does he wish Netscape had done differently? — and what lessons from its success are not…
Lessons of Greatness: Real Artists Get Out of the Building
Dec 9, 2019 • 8 min
“Getting out of the building” means something deeper than many realize. Mike Maples Jr explores why in this key lesson of greatness.
Steve Blank: Great Entrepreneurship is Artistry
Dec 9, 2019 • 39 min
Steve Blank’s Customer Development methodology is one of the critical teachings of entrepreneurship over the last twenty years This episode explains why great founders are more like artists than normal business people and why getting out of the building…
Lessons of Greatness: Hack Value Before Hacking Growth
Dec 2, 2019 • 6 min
Why proving a startup’s value hypothesis before testing its growth hypothesis is critical.
Sarah Leary of Nextdoor: “The Moment You Know You’ve Created Something Valuable”
Dec 2, 2019 • 50 min
Nextdoor today is worth more than $2 Billion and is used by 250,000 neighborhoods throughout the world. Silicon Valley types had doubts about their approach, but Sarah offers valuable ideas for finding the path to the light. One crucial hint is that users…
Lessons of Greatness: You Need a Breakthrough Insight
Dec 2, 2019 • 6 min
Learn why great startups have unique insights that defy conventional wisdom.
Andy Rachleff on “How to Know If You’ve Got Product Market Fit”
Dec 2, 2019 • 38 min
The Co-founder of Benchmark Capital & Wealthfront explains the most important goal of a startup: how do you find product-market fit? As the man who coined the term, he’s the expert—and in this episode, he also shares lessons learned from legendary startup…
Why Greatness is a Decision
Nov 19, 2019 • 4 min
In the Starting Greatness premier, Floodgate co-founder and podcast host Mike Maples, Jr., explains why greatness is a decision—and what questions you need to ask yourself to make your startup a success.