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In a fireside chat at the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit, Endeavor Entrepreneur (and Global Board member) Wences Casares and SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg discussed their roles as “Founders, CEOs, and Founding CEOs.”
Born in Argentina, Casares began his career by launching his country’s first Internet Service Provider. He went on to launch Latin America’s first online stock trader, Patagon.com, which he sold to Banco Santander in 2000.
Goldberg had his first success at age 26, when he sold his startup Launch Media to Yahoo!. When Goldberg became CEO of SurveyMonkey, the company had 14 employees. Today it is a worldwide enterprise worth $1 billion and, as Goldberg described it, “the ultimate lean startup.”
Following one of the themes of the Summit, Goldberg gave advice on how to pick your team: “Work with people you like to work with, work with people smarter than you, and work to people’s strengths.”
He also talked about how to grow a business the right way. “Find businesses where you can grow profitably makes raising to capital to scale much easier,” he said, cautioning against the common goal of scaling before trying to become profitable.
What to do when you’re having a hard time just getting that initial investment? “When investors told us no, we were challenged to prove them wrong,” said Goldberg. But Casares cautioned that entrepreneurs should make sure they’re going into the venture capital meeting with the right mindset. How? “Don’t prepare for your venture capital meeting like you would the SATs; prepare as you would for a first date,” said Casares, referring to the need for interpersonal (not just academic) preparation.
In “An Open Conversation with Open English,” John McIntire, an active Endeavor mentor and Chairman of Open English (among other Latin American companies), interviewed Andres Moreno, the founder and CEO of Open English, a popular online English language school. He discussed how his company started out small and grew into a global brand. What drove this success? “Helping people to be more competitive is something that drives our passion and efforts,” he said.
David Kidder, bestselling author and co-founder and CEO of Bionic, moderated “The Scale-up Playbook,” a panel discussion between Mitch Free, Hosain Rahman, and Aileen Lee.
Free is the founder and Executive Chairman of MFG.com, a virtual worldwide manufacturing marketplace. Rahman is the founder and CEO of Jawbone, an innovative tech company. Lee worked for a number of companies before joining the team at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. There, she focuses on consumer-oriented digital companies. She is also the founder of Cowboy Ventures, which invests in seed-stage digital companies.
On the topic of hiring employees, the best interview question (according to Lee) is, “In your performance reviews, what negative feedback have you received?” When it comes to working with employees, Free reminded attendees that, “Every person is a genius in something.”
And when you start to think about your products, Lee says, “It’s one thing to build a product that people buy and don’t use. It’s another to build a product that delights.” And when you get around to designing those products, Rahman says, “Design is attention to details.”
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