Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

By: Stanford eCorner

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The DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar (ETL) is a weekly seminar series on entrepreneurship, co-sponsored by BASES (a student entrepreneurship group), Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and the Department of Management Science and Engineering.

Hot Episode Picks

Astro Teller, director of Alphabet's moonshot factory, X, describes how smart bets on world-changing innovations are aided by a culture that celebrates only the most audacious projects and rewards teams for showing the courage to find the biggest flaws. He also discusses how innovation can be systematized regardless of business type, resources or role at your company.

Serial entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman encourages individuals to become the entrepreneurs of their own lives. Hoffman shares the importance of taking intelligent risks, building thoughtful networks and continually adapting your skills to navigate a fulfilling career path.

Recent Episodes

Get a taste of season 2 of the FRICTION podcast. The best leaders cultivate empathy, patience and an awareness of their own vulnerabilities, says Nancy F. Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School. She’s the author of Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, about the zigzagging paths of five historical figures, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to environmentalist Rachel Carson. In this episode, Koehn speaks with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton about how transformational leaders slow down and harness their humanity to overcome significant challenges.

Throughout life, Steve Vassallo has advanced his career through design thinking, from the slick flyer he created on his parents' computer to get him more work as a boy, to his five years at IDEO, and now as a startup investor at Foundation Capital. Vassallo explains how strategies like user observation and asking the right questions will get you to the heart of any problem that needs solving.

Serial entrepreneur Lisa Alderson, co-founder and CEO of Genome Medical, shares her vision for the future of medicine, along with real-world advice for those seeking to start their own company: Discover and follow your passion to ensure you stay driven through the highs and lows. Above all, venture into unfamiliar territory in order to build the confidence to embrace change.

Gabriel Parisi-Amon, co-founder, CTO and COO of environmentally conscious shower startup, Nebia, bravely challenges the myth of “the perfect startup founder.” Parisi-Amon takes us on a journey through the seven stages of burnout he experienced in the early years of his startup, sharing how he’s emerged a more conscious and balanced leader. He offers tips and exercises for identifying the symptoms of burnout, urging us to prevent the fire before we’re consumed.

Joshua Hoffman, co-founder and CEO of industrial-chemicals maker Zymergen, details how his intellectual dabbling in college and the courage to work on his weaknesses prepared him to be a broadminded business leader. He urges aspiring entrepreneurs to become good storytellers and build strong teams of divergent thinkers, even if they drive you nuts. Hoffman explains why it's all worth the pain.

Joshua Hoffman, co-founder and CEO of industrial-chemicals maker Zymergen, details how his intellectual dabbling in college and the courage to work on his weaknesses prepared him to be a broadminded business leader. He urges aspiring entrepreneurs to become good storytellers and build strong teams of divergent thinkers, even if they drive you nuts. Hoffman explains why it's all worth the pain.

Joshua Hoffman, co-founder and CEO of industrial-chemicals maker Zymergen, details how his intellectual dabbling in college and the courage to work on his weaknesses prepared him to be a broadminded business leader. He urges aspiring entrepreneurs to become good storytellers and build strong teams of divergent thinkers, even if they drive you nuts. Hoffman explains why it's all worth the pain.

Stanford business Professor Chip Heath discusses how certain moments we all experience — the first day at a new job, finishing a difficult project —don’t feel as special as they should, and how we can make them much more memorable with a few simple touches. In conversation with Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig, Heath shares insights from his new book, “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.”

As tech companies come under fire for mishandling our data, with one blog post, a young software engineer forced these firms to share some of the most damning information they keep: the demographics of their workforce. Tracy Chou turned concepts familiar to her profession — like open sourcing, metrics reporting and benchmarking — to push for more diversity and inclusion throughout her industry. She discusses how the uphill battle continues through Project Include and why, in this case, a top-down approach from tech leaders is needed now.

Julayne Virgil, CEO of Girls Inc. of Alameda County, describes how her organization provides youth with the confidence to overcome systemic gender bias, and hopefully, realize their full potential. Girls in the program are given the types of experiences that help them break through their fears and build strength for the challenges ahead. Virgil also talks about how innovation means improving what exists, not just creating something new.