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: Refuse Mediocrity
11:48When we REFUSE to accept mediocrity, we can start building greatness. But how can you avoid the pitfalls of learned helplessness and help your company break through the arbitrary limits that impede progress? In this lesson of greatness, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE calls on the lessons of Boom Supersonic founder Blake Scholl to examine three tips to help founders develop startups that change the future: Embrace the belief you can make radical change, find a big problem that speaks to your soul, and then get maniacally focused on the details.
Blake Scholl: How Boom Supersonic Took Flight
40:52More than fifty years after the first Concorde took flight, consumer air travel is actually SLOWER. Blake Scholl and his team at Boom Supersonic are out to reverse this stagnation and change how we think about commercial aviation. In this episode, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE interviews Scholl to learn more about the history of American aviation, the origins of Boom Supersonic and the challenges it faces now, and how tech founders are exploring unfamiliar spaces with great success.
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Mark Leslie: Silicon Valley Go-to-Market Legend (Part 2)
36:55Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE welcomes back go-to-market expert and Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer Mark Leslie for the second of their two-part interview, this time focusing on the role and responsibilities of a CEO and a deep dive into Leslie’s Compass, an essential set of heuristics for every startup founder. Leslie also discusses the value of founders focusing on a five-year plan for their startup, why it’s challenging to make meaningful change inside a large company, and why every founder should understand the relationship between their sales and marketing departments.
Lessons of Greatness: Leslie’s Compass
11:54When a startup product goes to market, the two key muscles it can flex are marketing and sales. In nearly every facet of a startup product, marketing or sales takes the natural lead in getting the product to customers. But startups often pour resources into these two areas in unfocused ways, and the results can be disastrous. In this lesson of greatness, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE discusses the work of Silicon Valley legend Mark Leslie and specifically the framework of Leslie’s Compass, a simple but essential set of heuristics designed to bring more clarity and focus to your startup’s strategy.
Lessons of Greatness: The Sales Learning Curve
11:47When a startup launches a new product, it's tempting to ramp its sales force too quickly. Often, this leads to a crash-and-burn scenario for companies that failed to learn what it took for the *entire organization* to achieve product-market-fit. In this lesson of greatness, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE discusses how Mark Leslie's Sales Learning Curve framework helps startups keep themselves honest about their progress toward product-market fit, rather than falling into the trap of wishful thinking that usually leads to disaster.
Mark Leslie: Silicon Valley Go-to-Market Legend (Part 1)
45:50During the 1990s, Mark co-founded Veritas Systems, which he piloted from nothing to 6,000 employees and $1.5B in revenue in a decade. Now a lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Leslie is one of the foremost experts in go-to-market strategy in Silicon Valley, and in the first of this two-part series with Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE, Leslie discusses what strategies he used to make Veritas a runaway success, and the origins for the Sales Learning Curve.
Lessons of Greatness: The Infinite Game
6:35We’re taught from a young age about *finite* sporting games like baseball, basketball, and soccer. Or board games like checkers or chess. Or academic games like grades and test scores. Or status games like credentials and university degrees. In these games, we know the rules and how to determine who scored the highest, according to rules set by someone else. But what about *infinite* games, where the rules and players are changeable, and the primary goal is to keep the game going? In this lesson of greatness, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE discusses how Shopify founder Tobi Lutke exemplifies the advantages of playing the Infinite Game and how to tell when business leaders have fallen into the trap of finite games at the expense of achieving their mission.
Tobi Lutke: A Startup Founder Arming The Rebels Against Amazon
40:12Growing up in Germany, Shopify co-founder and CEO Tobi Lutke was never quite comfortable with people telling him to do things because that's the way they're done. In this episode, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE interviews Lutke to discuss the origins of Shopify, the difference between finite games and infinite games, and the reason it's important for startups and companies to always question assumptions imposed by "experts."
Tim Westergren: How The Band Kept Playing At Pandora
41:52Tim Westergren maxed out 11 credit cards, racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and was rejected 348 times for a second round of funding for his revolutionary idea for a music streaming platform. But like any true artist, Westergren remained committed to his vision of creating an aesthetically more beautiful future with Pandora, and now the company boasts more than 6 million monthly subscribers. Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE interviews Westergren to discuss the company’s humble beginnings, why it took an act of Congress to keep the company alive, and why both men believe the best founders are artists who can sell their vision.
Lessons of Greatness: The Artistry of Startup Breakthroughs
8:10Too many people mistakenly believe that being a good entrepreneur comes from simply talking to customers and solving their pain. But the most impactful companies are built for aesthetic reasons - think of Twitter, Lyft, Apple, and Medium - and those companies serve as expressions of what their founders thought the world needed. In this lesson of greatness, Mike Maples, Jr of FLOODGATE discusses the success of Pandora’s visionary founder Tim Westergren, and offers three tips for founders looking to bring a more aesthetically beautiful future to the world.