Venture Voice – interviews with entrepreneurs

Venture Voice – interviews with entrepreneurs

venturevoice.com
Stories from top entrepreneurs on how they built their business


#60 – Larry Kramer of MarketWatch
Sep 27, 2009
Today’s media executives plotting to charge for their content would do well to hear how Larry Kramer beat Jim Cramer’s TheStreet.com by resisting pressure to put most content behind a pay wall while not relying entirely on advertising. To the average…
#59- Barry Silbert of SecondMarket
Aug 9, 2009
Any shareholder in a startup can tell you there’s a big difference between paper wealth and cash. Short of an IPO or outright acquisition, there are few options to cash out for the shareholders of even the most thriving private companies.…
#58 – Siamak Taghaddos and David Hauser of Grasshopper
May 20, 2009
“Dial 1 for sales, dial 2 for support…” Ten years ago it cost over $10,000 to get a phone system with the advanced options we’re used to hearing when we call big companies. Having a professional-sounding phone system was a surprisingly big challenge for…
#57 – Fabrice Grinda of OLX
Apr 27, 2009
Craigslist seems unbeatable. It’s often blamed (or celebrated) for destroying the classifieds business that helped keep American newspapers afloat. Now second-time Venture Voice guest Fabrice Grinda is seeking to dominate online classifieds with OLX, his…
#56 – Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software
Apr 13, 2009
Joel Spolsky first came on Venture Voice over three years ago to discuss his company which he launched in a very different way from most entrepreneurs. Rather than start with the big idea and pay lip service to building a great team, Joel focused on…
#55 – Graham Hill of TreeHugger
Mar 23, 2009
Graham Hill started the blog TreeHugger to cover green issues in 2003. After a steady climb in traffic and advertising, Graham sold the company to Discovery Communications in 2007 for $10 million. Since launch and even after the acquisition, Graham ran…
#54 – Tim Westergren of Pandora
Mar 9, 2009
It takes only a few seconds to customize a radio station on Pandora. Its founder Tim Westergren has been struggling for almost a decade to make it that way. Pandora was five years in the making before it streamed a single song to a user.…
#53 – David Cohen of TechStars
Jan 28, 2009
The title financier conjures images of mahogany desks and million dollar checks for most. But for anyone pitching to David Cohen’s TechStars, the outcome is getting accepted to what’s essentially a summer camp for entrepreneurs in Colorado and being…
#52 – Sam Wyly of Maverick Capital, Green Mountain Energy, Michaels Stores and Sterling Software
Dec 3, 2008
Not to be called a one trick pony, Sam Wyly’s turned himself into a billionaire by starting and growing companies in technology, oil, retail and even in the restaurant industry. Coming from a modest upbringing, Sam worked in sales at IBM and Honeywell…
#51 – Jeff Stewart of Mimeo, Monitor110 and Urgent Career
Nov 10, 2008
Jeff Stewart needed that done yesterday. Jeff became an entrepreneur when he founded the web consultancy Square Earth in 1995. Only three years later he became a serial entrepreneur by starting Mimeo, a service that lets you send a file directly from your…
#50 – Derek Sivers of CD Baby and Muckwork
Oct 23, 2008
Last time Derek Sivers was on Venture Voice three years ago he told us he had to “whack ’em [investors] off with a stick”. Now we know why. Derek announces on our show for the first time the amount he sold his company for this past summer: $22 million.…
#49 – Rafat Ali of paidContent and contentNext
Jul 23, 2008
Attention entrepreneurs dealing with the current economic downturn: This interview is for you. After working as a journalist for Jason Calacanis at Silicon Alley Reporter, Rafat Ali ended up broke in a market with a dearth of employment opportunities. To…
#48 – Frank Addante of The Rubicon Project
Apr 7, 2008
Whether working with market trends or against them, Frank Addante has found entrepreneurial success. Before he was 29 years old, one of Frank’s companies went public and two were acquired. At his worse, he returned capital to investors. Suffering from…
#47 – Tom Perkins of Kleiner Perkins
Dec 12, 2007
The name Tom Perkins is now almost synonymous with venture capital, but it’s clear that he cut his teeth as an entrepreneur. Educated at MIT and Harvard, Perkins first made his mark by managing the initial growth of Hewlett-Packard’s computer business…
#46 – Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp
Jun 24, 2007
Jeremy Stoppelman is the co-founder and CEO of Yelp, a site where users can write and share reviews of local businesses. Everyone’s now a restaurant critic. However, local reviews were not the original focus, but just one of several features in the…
#45 – Kevin Ryan of Panther Express, ShopWiki and Music Nation
Apr 27, 2007
Not many entrepreneurs have a motor like Kevin Ryan’s. Kevin is best known for his work as CEO at the on-line advertising firm DoubleClick, which he grew from a 20 person start-up to the largest Internet company in New York at the height of the dot-com…
#44 – Venture Voice Startup Workshop Coverage (part 2)
Mar 9, 2007
Marketing a startup is tricky business. Every entrepreneur faces the dilemma between allocating time to improving the product and marketing the product. If the two can be mixed just right, then perhaps sterile marketing can go viral. We tackle that issue…
#43 – Fred Seibert of Frederator Studios and Next New Networks
Jan 29, 2007
Before the rise of the Internet, cable TV was the new form of distribution remaking the entertainment business. Life-long entrepreneur and former jazz producer Fred Seibert pioneered that field, and is known in the industry for branding MTV (remember…
#42 – Simon Daniel of USBcell
Jan 12, 2007
The battery is an afterthought for most inventors. All the fun seems to be in developing a device, not in powering it. But when was the last time you cursed your phone, camera or podcast player because it ran out of batteries?…
#41 – Premal Shah of Kiva
Nov 27, 2006
Premal Shah believes your last name doesn’t need to be Gates or Rockefeller in order to make a real dent in global poverty. After leaving his job as a Principal Product Manager at PayPal, it has taken Premal less then a year to make good on Kiva’s pledge…
#40 – Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn
Nov 3, 2006
Real business networking takes place in the country club, at the chamber of commerce and on the golf course. After all, the Internet is just for friending strangers on MySpace and poking friends on Facebook. If you said all that to Reid Hoffman, he might…
#39 – Guy Kawasaki of Garage Technology Ventures
Oct 16, 2006
If technology entrepreneurs have a guru, it surely must be Guy Kawasaki. For about two decades, Guy’s been advising entrepreneurs in one way or another. First as an evangelist for Apple, he courted software entrepreneurs and developers to write code for…
#38 – Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc., Netscape and AOL
Aug 25, 2006
There are not many entrepreneurs who have spent their entire 10-year careers starting new ventures in online media, but Jason Calacanis just can’t help himself. Jason rode the dot com wave in New York by starting Silicon Alley Reporter. His publishing…
#37 – Jay Adelson of Digg
Aug 11, 2006
Digg, the news website that uses its own readers rather than editors to decide what stories are most important, has been growing with a fury. While founder Kevin Rose has gotten a lot of attention including a recent cover of BusinessWeek, CEO Jay Adelson…
#36 – Venture Voice Startup Workshop Coverage (part 1)
Jul 26, 2006
If there are best practices in entrepreneurship, you’ll hear the secrets to them in this coverage of the first half of the recent Venture Voice Startup Workshop in New York City. If there are in fact no best practices for entrepreneurs, then you’ll at…
#35 – Sharelle Klaus of Dry Soda
Jun 14, 2006
While many restaurants offer dozens of wines, beers and mixed drinks, there are few non-alcoholic options on the menu. Former dot-com entrepreneur and self-described foodie Sharelle Klaus was fed up with her lack of beverage options during the time she…
#34 – David O. Sacks, Co-Founder of PayPal and Producer of Thank You For Smoking
May 25, 2006
What do you do after building and selling a business for $1.5 billion in the course of only a few years? That’s the question David O. Sacks, one of the co-founders of PayPal, faced after eBay bought his company. It didn’t take him long to find the answer:…
#33 – Announcing the Venture Voice Startup Workshop
May 11, 2006
Venture Voice has been illuminating entrepreneurship through the podcast for just short of a year. Now, at the Venture Voice Startup Workshop on June 26 in New York, you can interact with top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to find out how to start…
#32 – David Sifry of Technorati
Apr 27, 2006
Starting a service aimed at the blogging community is like jumping into a pressure cooker – all of the users are critics and have bullhorns. Good thing David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, has a thick skin he’s built after founding four businesses.…
#31 – Steve Hindy of The Brooklyn Brewery
Apr 12, 2006
Being robbed at gun point and being threatened by the mob are not problems the average entrepreneur encounters. Steve Hindy faced these problems and more, but what concerned him most was the fate of his brewery. Steve started the Brooklyn Brewery with Tom…
#30 – Scott Johnson of Ookles
Apr 3, 2006
Scott Johnson is a long-time entrepreneur on the bleeding edge of technology. He started his first business in 1987 and successfully sold it. Then he rode the dot com wave up and down with Mascot Network, a company that was trying to do what Facebook does…
#29 – Shoba Purushothaman of The NewsMarket
Mar 18, 2006
Shoba Purushothaman’s career has shifted dramatically since she started her first job as a business journalist in Malaysia. After spending several years working for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, she grew restless just covering how the…
#28 – John Bogle of The Vanguard Group
Feb 23, 2006
If you’re making lots of money in a fat industry for doing relatively little, then the last thing you want is a competitor like John C. Bogle. He founded The Vanguard Group in 1975 and revolutionized the mutual fund industry by slashing management fees.…
#27 – Following Entrepreneurs at DEMO 2006
Feb 15, 2006
When a startup launches its first product, should it expect a lot of fanfare? It should if it launches at DEMO before an audience of hundreds that includes some of the nation’s top journalists and venture capitalists (not to mention Venture Voice).…
#26 – Kelly Perdew is the Venture Voice 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year
Jan 30, 2006
Kelly Perdew may have won The Apprentice 2, but the listeners of Venture Voice have given him a new recognition for his entrepreneurial work since then. Kelly got the most votes for the Venture Voice 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.…
#25 – Jason Fried and Joel Spolsky Win Venture Voice Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards
Jan 25, 2006
The listeners have spoken. Jason Fried of 37signals and Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software have won Venture Voice Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards. They came in second and third place out of a pack of over 20 world-class entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed…
#24 – Bo Peabody of Village Ventures
Jan 17, 2006
“Stock lockup” is a term remembered with horror by many entrepreneurs who weren’t allowed to sell their dot com shares before the bubble burst. Bo Peabody founded Tripod, which was sold to Lycos for $58 million in stock. The terms of the sale forced him…
#23 – Randy Komisar of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Dec 14, 2005
It’s not easy to stand out at Kleiner Perkins, one of the most prestigious venture capital shops in Silicon Valley that counts Google in its portfolio. Though Randy Komisar joined the firm just this year, it’s clear he’s not a typical venture capitalist.…
#22 – Introducing the Venture Voice Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Dec 12, 2005
We’ve interviewed some of the most accomplished and most hungry entrepreneurs on this show, but now the year’s almost over and it’s time to choose the Entrepreneur of the Year. We have no distinguished panel of judges or wise editorial board to make this…
#21 – Fabrice Grinda of Zingy
Dec 7, 2005
If you think the ringtone business is for kids, then Fabrice Grinda has a $130 million lesson to teach you. After starting the eBays of Europe and Latin America, Fabrice brought the ringtone business concept to America by starting Zingy. We caught up with…
#20 – Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software
Nov 22, 2005
While some entrepreneurs fret over new business ideas, Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software focuses on hiring the best and brightest for his New York City-based software company, and then figures out how to make a profit with the products they create.…
#19 – Derek Sivers of CD Baby
Nov 7, 2005
Many would-be tech titans dream day and night about how their hot new idea will change the world. Derek Sivers just wanted to have his independent band’s CDs sold over the Web. No one would do it, so he built his own music store.…
#18 – Mena Trott of Six Apart
Oct 25, 2005
At age 28, Mena Trott is a veteran blogger and an accomplished company founder. Six Apart, the business she started four years ago with her husband Ben, now has over 100 employees. Its stable of popular blogging products (including Movable Type, TypePad…
#17 – Jason Fried of 37signals
Oct 16, 2005
The business world seems to keep getting more complicated, but Jason Fried is all about keeping things simple. When founding 37signals, Jason and his two partners staked their careers on simplicity. They wrote a manifesto to convince others of their…
#16 – Tom Szaky of TerraCycle
Oct 4, 2005
Dropping out of college to start a technology company is almost a cliché. But is technology the only industry that can seduce an ambitious student into entrepreneurship? Tom Szaky dropped out of Princeton because he saw an opportunity in trash. At 19, he…
#15 – Launching Companies at DEMO Conference
Sep 26, 2005
You might expect that if you launched your pride and joy — your startup company — at a conference, it would automatically be the center of attention. At DEMO, the leading technology product launch conference, you’re hatching your business alongside 64…
#14 – VideoEgg Preparing for DEMO Conference
Sep 19, 2005
New businesses usually start small and work slowly and steadily to build their reputation. But that’s not true of startups that choose to launch their product at DEMO, the most prestigious conference dedicated to launching new technologies. Presenters…
#13 – Drew Clark of IBM Venture Capital Group
Sep 12, 2005
Entrepreneurs who were doing business in the eighties might still remember IBM for its suits and corporate ways. Now Drew Clark, the co-founder of the IBM Venture Capital Group, has shed his tie and is changing that image. His group is opening up IBM’s…
#12 – Deborah Farrington of Starvest Partners
Sep 1, 2005
Statistically speaking, Starvest Partners shouldn’t be in business: Few venture capital funds raised in 1998 survived the dot com bust, first-time partners are a huge bet, and no other venture capital firms are run by women. But don’t tell that to Deborah…
#11 – Scott Rafer of Feedster
Aug 24, 2005
If you thought you’re an entrepreneur just because you started a software company in Silicon Valley, you’re dead wrong, according to Scott Rafer. It’s just too easy. Scott’s the CEO of San Francisco-based Feedster, an RSS search engine and ad network that…
#10 – Brad Feld of Mobius Venture Capital
Aug 18, 2005
Some venture capitalists keep a low profile, preciously guard their e-mail addresses from needy entrepreneurs and put on a jacket for publicity photos. Not Brad Feld. Brad started his career building his own technology consulting company with nothing but…
#9 – Jeremy Hague of Skylook
Aug 14, 2005
While some people still wonder if the fax machine has been rendered obsolete, Jeremy Hague is ready to write e-mail’s obituary. Jeremy’s brand new company, Netralia, recently released a product to rave reviews called Skylook. Many people use Microsoft…
#8 – Kelly Perdew, Winner of The Apprentice
Aug 8, 2005
If someone told us to listen to business insights from a former game show contestant back in the day when The Price is Right was the closest thing to a televised business competition, we would have laughed in their face. Since then The Apprentice has…
#7 – Evan Williams of Odeo
Jul 25, 2005
A quick glance at Evan’s bio might make it seem as though he just stumbles into all the newest, hottest trends. However, the only thing Ev stumbled into was traffic (the kind you get on the non-information highway — where he discovered the value of…
#6 – Scott Heiferman of Meetup
Jul 22, 2005
Entrepreneurs need community. This entrepreneur makes communities. An Illinois native, Scott Heiferman came to New York while working for Sony in 1994. He quickly joined the avant-garde of the Silicon Alley community while growing his new media ad agency,…
#5 – Joe Kraus of JotSpot (part 2 of 2)
Jul 3, 2005
We covered the past with Joe in our previous show, but it’s clear he spends a lot of time thinking about the future. Many people muse about how they would do things differently if they had only the chance to do it all over again.…
#4 – Joe Kraus of JotSpot (part 1 of 2)
Jun 29, 2005
Conventional wisdom tells us to go get a job out of college to learn the ropes, not to take on friends as business partners, and to accept defeat gracefully. Joe Kraus’s business war stories are anything but conventional. Before graduating college, he…
#3 – Philip Kaplan of AdBrite
Jun 22, 2005
This Internet bad boy doesn’t think he’s so bad, and one of the top venture capital firms agrees to the tune of $4 million. Don’t know who Philip Kaplan of AdBrite is? Well if you were doing anything remotely dot com related in the late 90’s you probably…
#2 – Dick Costolo of FeedBurner (part 2 of 2)
Jun 20, 2005
Sick of potential investors not taking your phone calls? Pitch a venture capitalist on his iPod. Dick Costolo of FeedBurner tells us how his CTO did just that in the second and final part of our conversation. (Be sure to check out the first half too if…
#1 – Dick Costolo of FeedBurner (part 1 of 2)
Jun 14, 2005
Dick Costolo of FeedBurner joins us for our first show. FeedBurner provides services for publishers of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS is an interface that allows users to access data from blogs, traditional media, podcasts and other sources in the…