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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

Many founders claim their startups contain network effects, but many of these claims only scratch the surface. Networks that achieve greatness are designed, with many trade-offs and factors in mind regarding the "nodes," how interactions take place, what causes people to stay engaged, and the types of relationships that get created. Anu Hariharan shows us the specific decisions and trade-offs we can weigh that startups often overlook.

Anu Hariharan from YCombinator's Continuity fund is one of Silicon Valley's top experts on network effects and how they can be applied to all types of different businesses. In this interview, Mike Maples of Floodgate talks to Anu about how a raw startup can design network effects into its business as a core strategy from the very beginning.

David Sacks demonstrates how the best startup founders talk about causes much bigger than themselves or the companies they're building. Google was about organizing the world's information. Tesla was about moving the world to sustainability, not just selling cars. These startup leaders saw a world that they wanted to create and built a movement around their visions. Sacks shows us how great startup products aren't just selling a product that solves an immediate problem; they are selling a vision of a better world that people can buy into. By doing this, they create MOVEMENTS; not just businesses.

David Sacks, known as one of the best startup product strategists and operators of the last 20 years, discusses key lessons learned from his tenure in the PayPal Mafia, where he was head of product, along with key takeaways as founding CEO of Yammer and what he learned from working directly with industry greats like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.

Maybe you've struggled with needing to seem in charge or on top of a challenging situation, even when you're unsure of what to do. If so, you've likely heard the siren song that tempts you to be a know-it-all. But Matt Mullenweg shows us how the learn-it-all is most likely to achieve greatness.

Check out Mike’s interview with Bob Metcalfe (of Metcalfe’s Law) where he also discusses leadership lessons.

Wordpress CEO Matt Mullenweg talks with Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate about his early successes, setbacks, and what founders can learn from his continued growth as a manager and leader.

Mark Cuban shows us that it's not enough to play by the rules as they are defined. If you are going to achieve greatness as a startup, you need to find your EDGE...which means you have to outmaneuver your competition before they even engage with you on the competitive battlefield. You have to change the rules to your advantage and not just play by the rules as they are given to you. Never fall into the trap of not anticipating how a giant competitor will try to run you out of business someday...because it will happen every time if your startup matters in the first place.

Mike Maples of Floodgate talks to Mark Cuban about a wide range of topics with a common theme...you have to go after opportunities where the stakes are high enough that when you win, you can win BIG. And as a corollary, you have to anticipate that giant competitors will try to stop you because otherwise, you are thinking too small.

Annie Duke shows us that making high-quality decisions is one of the most important skills we can build for improving our odds of success in startups and in life. It's also a skill that can be sharpened and improved over time, regardless of how uncertain the circumstances. By adopting scientifically-proven frameworks from her books "Thinking in Bets" and "How to Decide," we can make better predictions and choices more often and with more confidence.

Once called "the Duchess of Poker" for her victories in the World Series of Poker, Annie Duke is also widely respected for her bestselling books "Thinking in Bets" and "How to Decide." In this interview, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate talks to Nancy about how startup founders can also master decision-making frameworks that improve the odds of winning in the face of massive uncertainty.

Tim Ferriss' success shows the value of building real things for real people rather than creating abstract approximations that represent what's real. The lessons of getting real apply directly to startups who want to avoid the trap of unshaped work and indirect understanding of what customers are truly desperate for.

Check out Mike’s interviews with Steve Blank for more learnings on product-market fit.

From literal product placement at a bookstore to courting bloggers, Tim Ferris shares with Mike Maples of Floodgate the tactics he used to find product-market fit for his book “The Four Hour Workweek,” as well as how to build a world-class advisory board that moves the needle for your startup.

Check out Mike’s interviews with Steve Blank for more learnings on product-market fit.