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Starting Greatness on Smash Notes

Starting Greatness podcast.

February 23, 2020

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.



Episodes with Smash Notes

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, rather than the specific people they intend to persuade. Getting storytelling right means the founder is the mentor of the story (ie Yoda), rather than the hero (ie Luke.) This is true whether the audience is the customer, future employees, investors, journalists, or the audience at your next TED talk.

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 Maples, Jr of Floodgate asks Nancy for the most important ways that founders can leverage storytelling to turn their movements from ideas to reality.

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 baggage of the past.

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 about tools available to people who want to build a better future.

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 environment around them is high-pressure and chaotic. In this lesson of greatness, we drill down into what it means to be anti-fragile and how you can apply the concept to your own startup team.

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 Floodgate discusses Manny's unconventional journey and his struggles and triumphs on the path to greatness with Outreach, now valued at more than $1 Billion.

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 the case and how the philosophy of taking the initiative can help you achieve greatness in what matters to you.

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 unique vantage point since he's weathered every dislocation affecting startups since 1978, including the 1987 crash, the dotcom bubble burst, and the 2008 financial crisis.

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 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 "Metcalfe's Law."

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 this Lesson of Greatness, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate builds on this by outlining specific strategies founders can learn from Reid Hoffman to get distribution for their startup ideas.

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 of Floodgate talks to Reid about key approaches for building valuable business and consumer networks from the ground-up.