The chat with Brent was so full of wisdom and best practices, useful for people at any stage in their career, but particularly for those at the start of their career.
Something that really stood out from our conversation was how Brent emphasised how his early career success came down to starting at a place where he was paid to learn. This as well as the following, were some of the key take aways:
* Centred work around his passions and remains exciting
* Early stage learning as much as possible
* Knowing when is the right time to launch (not too early or too late)
* Choosing the right co-founder (Martha was smart, analytical and a talent magnet) and build the right team
We also spoke about building teams and hiring the right people, and how this can impact the success of the whole company. He suggests hiring people with strengths which make up for your weaknesses, and building a Culture of people who; *love* working together, love the mission and love having fun together doing so. I couldn’t agree more with these statements.
When I asked him how to accomplish the exponential growth he experienced and if he had any lessons for scaling, he told me the following:
1. Focus on building/acquiring the backbone technology
2. Focus on the finance system which is where critical runway lies
3. Figure out what talent you want/need to hire (don’t just hire the “sexy” front-facing talent - needed to focus on the finance system which
is where critical runway lies; put some of your best people on the most boring projects and then put them back on their fun projects)
When discussing how he survived the dotcom bust, when the lastminute.com share price went down by 95%, Brent highlighted how his team got through this:
* focused the entire team on the customers
* Keeping team morale up (most challenging and most important)
* not getting distracted by headlines of doom
* Knowing what to measure (KPIs) to indicate where to double down
Brent co-founded Founders forum, an organic community for entrepreneurs. Brent saw this real need to mix the next generation with breakthrough ideas to inject that energy by mixing them with the established CEOs.
We also touched on how essential diversity of the team is. I have been so blessed to work with people from so many background and know how important this is for a company. To help promote this further, Brent has been involved in initiatives including:
* Male Champion of Change - very data driven approach and learning from other CEOs and what they have done and passing that along
* Co-founded AccelearateHER to help the pipeline of women talent and build a community to succeed and connect them with men
If you haven’t listened to the full episode yet, it’s really worth the listen and has so much valuable content within it. I really recommend it!
Let me know your thoughts. Id love to hear from you!
Brent is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Founders Factory (corporate-backed venture studio and accelerator), Founders Forum (global community of founders, corporates and tech leaders), and firstminute capital ($210m seed fund with global remit, backed by Atomico, Tencent and over 70 unicorn founders). Previously, Brent co-founded lastminute.com in 1998, was CEO from its inception, and sold it in 2005 to Sabre for $1.1bn. Technology businesses Brent has co-founded have raised over $800 million and include Karakuri and made.com.
Technology businesses Brent has co-founded have raised over $800 million. The list is extensive and includes companies which support global entrepreneurs such as and include Karakuri, made.com, PROfounders Capital, Founders Intelligence, accelerateHER, Founders Keepers, Founders of the Future, Founders Pledge, Grip and most recently Founders Academy.
Brent is Chairman of the Karakuri board and sits on the advisory boards of The Royal Academy, the UK Government Digital Service, the WEF Digital Europe Group and the Imperial College Innovation Fund. He is also a Male Champion of Change for The Global Tech Group, and in 2015 was awarded a CBE for services to entrepreneurship.
Moonshots are a great opportunity to really stretch ourselves, for those unfamiliar with the term. Moonshots are really big goals, they’re about 10X not 10% growth, it’s what I like to call “breaking free from incrementalism”. We’re not just inching our way forward, we’re taking big, bold bets. No matter your personal comfort level with risk-taking there are definitely life changing experiences waiting for you to be brave enough to take them.
This may sound intimidating to you, but you are naturally wired for this. Reflect on how as a child you were able to learn a new language, to walk, your motor skills, all at once. So it is in your DNA to do seemingly astronomically difficult things.
In the conversation with Pablo last week we discussed how Moonshots focus on reverse engineering a desirable future (rather than solving a current problem of the now). The traditional (read more)
Today’s podcast guest is Steven Levy, who the Washington post has referred to as “America’s premier technology journalist”. Levy has been covering the digital revolution for over 35 years. He is currently Editor at Large at Wired magazine, where he was one of its founding writers.
During the height of the internet boom, he was the columnist and chief technology correspondent for Newsweek. He also wrote columns for Rolling Stone and Macworld. He’s pretty much lived the real life version of Almost Famous - have you seen that movie? It’s one of my favorites!
Steven Levy’s new book, Facebook: The Inside Story, is the definitive story—written with unprecedented access-- of the company that connected the world and reaped the consequences. (read more)