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The Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit featured a number of dynamic fireside chats between Endeavor mentors and Silicon Valley business leaders. “Thinking Bigger: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” was a discussion between Ben Horowitz and Chris Schroeder. Horowitz co-founded Opsware (originally Loudcloud), an enterprise software company that was acquired by HP for $1.6 billion. In 2009 he co-founded Andreessen Horowitz, a Venture Capital firm that advises tech startups and companies. Schroeder is an Endeavor mentor, the CEO of washingpost.newsweek interactive and LegiSlate and founder of healthcentral.com. Said Horowitz, memorably, “I hope you have an irrational desire to build a company – you will need it!”
Another session, “Founder’s Assortment: From Talent to Term Sheets,” featured speakers Gina Bianchini and Roy Gilbert. Bianchini – an Endeavor Senior Advisor, co-founded Ning, a social platform for groups of interest and is the founder and CEO of Mightybell, a site that encourages people to chase their passions. A former Navy officer, Gilbert has led multiple projects for Google. He now serves as the CEO of Grockit, an online learning site helping students from kindergarten up prepare for tests.
Bianchini and Gilbert discussed a myriad of topics such as recruiting, growth, and inspiring your team. Bianchini cautioned that “entrepreneurship is not a zero-sum game” and that “lessons of failures must be shared to create value” within a business. She said, “It is really hard to reverse engineer success and disruption,” advising that sometimes experimental learning within a company is the best course to success (if done with patience).
Bianchini also gave advice on how to pick your team: “The people that are excited about the challenges are the ones that will move your idea forward.” And how do you retain your team once you pick them? “Growth produces the most opportunities but can also the most casualties,” Gilbert cautioned. But while you have a team together, make the most of it, he said. “Learning from each other is much more effective than a classroom; reflection and laughter are critical success factors.”
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