Next up is Mara Hershenson who’s going to talk about entrepreneurship. Come on out Mara.
Mara is going to talk about creating successful founders. Please welcome Mara.
Well, I have a pretty positive and optimistic talk.
I know the mood may be a little bearish in general. My name is Mara. I’m one of the founders of Pear VC.
And I am very fortunate. I actually work with many startups. I’ve worked for the last decade
with 100 plus startups. They’re worth over 100 billion dollars and they all have one thing in
common. When I invest, there’s actually nothing. I’m the first check. There is no product. There’s
no customers. There’s just the founders. So it is no surprise that I often wonder, are these founders
born? Are my cards dealt as soon as I invest in one of these founders? Or is there anything
I can do to change them? That’s a big question. And I think many of you would say founders are born.
Take, for example, Palmer Luckey. He’s talking tomorrow. He was a prodigy. He created the first
prototype of the Oculus Rift at 17 and he sold the company to Facebook at 22. Clearly, there’s
something special about him. Or Melanie Perkins. She started her first business at 14, then at 19
went on to build the largest yearbook business in Australia. And now she runs one of the most
successful startups. And then Elon Musk. I don’t think I need to say anything. He’s definitely
someone special. Something in his DNA, right? So you wouldn’t be surprised. Many people ask me what
makes a good founder. And there’s a bunch of characteristics. You can Google it. People come
up with a bunch of things like risk-taking, resilience, ambition, etc. And in fact, there’s
some research by academia that shows that people have some innate properties. So researchers at
Northeastern surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs and they counted that 42% of them had started a
business as a kid. So actually, that’s a good hint for anybody making angel investments. Maybe it’s
a question you can ask. Now, there’s also data that shows that founders can be made. And while
there are 37% of founders, the repeat founders in companies today, 59% repeat founders are in
the top unicorns. So that means at least you learned something from your first experience.
So it would be reasonable to believe that there is some relationship about what’s your chances of
being successful to how you’re born. However, I do believe there’s some form, something you can do,
right? There’s some energy or some modification that would put you up in that chart. And I think
the wider arrow shows that the early parts of that chart, you need a lot of effort. And in fact,
this is what I’ve learned from being an investor. Roughly, and these are all rough numbers,
out of the 10 companies we back, two will fail no matter what we do. That’s just almost their
destiny. And Jason wrote a blog post in 2015, so that’s a long time ago, that’s titled,
You Don’t Have What It Takes. I recommend you reading it. And basically, the summary is,
some people just don’t have what it takes. It would take so much effort to change them
that you might as well give up, right? Okay, so now out of 10 companies we back,
two will succeed no matter what. Us people in venture like to take credit.
But truly, the founders, there’s a percentage of founders that work independently of us. We back
DoorDash early on, there’s a picture of their founders. And I can tell you that Tony Hsu,
the CEO, would have made it with or without any of his investors. And then there are six companies
that I think we can influence, okay? There’s something we can do. And the question is,
perhaps, what can you do with that 60%? How can you make them more successful? Or maybe better,
if you’re at the top 10%, can you accelerate their success? That’s a big question. And that’s
what I’m really passionate about. Can you create more successful entrepreneurs?
And why is it important? Why should you care? I think this is the right audience. You don’t have
to say. There are many numbers to show that having more entrepreneurs is good for the economy.
You can read them. But just more entrepreneurs means a better world. So the question is,
how can you build these entrepreneurs? Is there a magic machine where you can actually
take a regular founder or a regular person and out comes a successful founder?
Okay. So at the risk of being elitist, I am going to say that one of the closest machines
of entrepreneurship is Stanford University. And the numbers actually show it. 10% of unicorns
have founders that attend at Stanford. And what’s even more, in the All In Summit,
I actually went through all the LinkedIn’s, 40% of the speakers attend at Stanford. And I think
all of us have started something, whether it’s 538, like Nate, or a venture firm, or a company,
or multiple companies. So there’s some special gene. And the question is, what does Stanford
have that other people don’t have? It’s a higher ed institution. So for sure, you’re going to go
and take some classes, gain some skill sets. They put you around people that are like you,
and they have a brand. So you have access to capital, network, et cetera. Having been there,
though, I will tell you that the skill set doesn’t quite matter as much. You can go online
and learn some of that. But your peers around you, and the next degree around you, actually
really, really matter. And in a way, what these people are doing is transforming your character.
And I can tell you that firsthand. Just imagine yourself, you may be a founder or an investor,
I don’t know. You are dropped in a world where you basically are surrounded by people
that are constantly thinking about starting new companies. These are smart people. The ambition
is very, very high. There’s innovation almost breathing everywhere. And nerding out is very okay,
right? So by doing this throughout years, you actually become one of them.
And your peers are really fundamentally changing your character. You become somebody
that starts to believe in themselves. You can do it. You learn basically to expand your own
ambition, right? You may think 100 million exit is good, but if you go to Stanford, you know that’s
not good enough, right? So you’re setting your own bar. It’s a really interesting process.
And the question is, are there other machines like this? Or is Stanford just the only way to do it?
But the good news is there are other places that do this, or there are other forms of doing this,
I would say. And one of them, perhaps, is the PayPal mafia. I see a lot of them running around
here in the next couple of days. You all know that they started many successful companies, Tesla,
LinkedIn, Palantir, Affirm, YouTube, Yelp, Yammer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, right?
There’s something magic about having been there at that point in time. I haven’t researched them,
and I don’t have that much direct contact. But according to Sarah Lacy, who’s a journalist,
and she spent a lot of time researching them, she concluded there was the confidence that they
gained when they were there. Now, I’m not sure, but maybe in the Q&A, they will reveal the secret.
There’s other mafias. This one I’m more familiar with. This is Rappi. Rappi is a company that was
founded in 2015, so not that long ago, in Colombia. And it really transformed the LATAM startup
environment. There’s been 100-plus companies created by Rappi employees. It’s crazy.
Almost 50 in Colombia. It literally changed the country, which is a big deal. I have the privilege
of working with a few of these founders, and there’s something common in them. They all have
this sense of ambition, that super-fast growth. It’s really interesting how they’re almost cut
from the same cloth. So there are other places. And I think we had the mayor here earlier.
I guess he would claim that Miami’s on its way to doing some of that. So there are places.
So I want to tell you about a couple of experiments that are personal to me,
that I’ve been running, and hopefully will inspire you to do something on your own. Okay.
The first one is, I teach a class at Stanford. It’s a startup simulation class.
You have to, for one sec, forget it’s at Stanford. I’m actually taking it to other colleges as well.
It’s not your usual class, okay? So it’s actually not your usual class in the sense that
I never lecture. There is no lectures for me. There’s almost no communication from me.
So I’ve been teaching this class for six years. We will take eight teams. These teams have four
to five people. And you cannot have a startup when you come to this class. In fact, you must be
way earlier. You only have an idea, or you may have a couple of ideas. But if you have something
that you’ve been working on for a while, you’re automatically disqualified, okay? So everybody
that comes in knows very, very little. And then what the class is designed to do is to just maximize
your peers’ interaction. Because I believe that that’s the way that you can create founders.
So how do we do that? First, we’re very lucky that I can actually craft the class. So even within
Stanford, you have to get admitted to this class. There’s only 20 percent acceptance. So I’m able to
figure out who do we want to get in. And then the trick is to force each of the teams to present
to each other every week. And I know it sounds really simple, but just by doing that, you’re
actually motivating and teaching by example. And the results are pretty incredible. We actually have
one to three companies per year that get started. I think we have two unicorns. There’s 600 million
capital raised. And I think what’s really, really interesting is that every year I’ll get some
pretty nerdy PhD student that goes off to be a successful founder. So it’s very impressive.
And this one, which is really interesting, when I first started, 20 percent of the kids were females.
And I said, well, I bet we can shape the class. So throughout the years, we’ve been increasing
female enrollment. And I can tell you that the results have not changed. We actually now have
more female-founded companies. And this is actually something I care about. Thank you.
OK, so this takes me to my second experiment, which is actually even more successful and has
nothing to do with Stanford. OK, so there’s no Stanford involved. OK, so about a year ago,
a year and a half ago, I decided, let’s get a group of women together artificially. And again,
the same idea. These women cannot be founders. OK, these are women that are just high potential.
OK, and we actually have 30 to 40 women per cohort. We’ve done it twice. And the goal is like,
hey, can we teach them about being a founder, increase their confidence and ambition,
their risk-taking, et cetera, et cetera. So how do we do it? Same thing. The first thing is we
inspire them with great leaders. So we would bring women that are successful in their own right
to tell them that it is possible to be like them, right? I think in many occasions, we just lack
that role model. And the next is we force them to connect with each other. So sometimes it’s talks,
sometimes it’s fun events or dinners. We even had a manicure, pedicure session.
The point is that can you get them to talk to each other? And the results are literally insane.
So we had 78 women through the process. I think they’ve incorporated 45-plus companies. 35 of
them have raised more than a million dollars. And they’re backed by people like Sequoia,
Andreessen, Paradigm, Dragonfly, and of course, Pear. So I mean, it’s incredible numbers. These
are not regular numbers that you would see in a random group of people. And I think, again,
it’s important because I think we have something to say about what the next generation looks,
right? I mean, for all of us in the audience, 2% of all companies have an all-female founder team.
That is very crazy, if you can do the numbers. So I think perhaps Richard Branson said it better.
Everyone is born an entrepreneur, and everyone has the potential to learn to be an entrepreneur.
It’s just that not everyone gets the opportunity, right? So I think my quest is about making those
opportunities. And I will say that you as an individual have your first responsibility about
doing that, right? You have to create opportunities for yourself. And I would say the most important
is to surround yourself by the best people. So you have to play up and challenge yourself.
And sometimes, people don’t go to places that have the best people because they have the worst
job at the company, and that’s the wrong attitude. You should go to wherever the best people are so
you can learn, you know, transform yourself. I have two very practical pieces of advice that I
give my founders. First, this is very simple, but you can actually read. You can read a lot.
One of my founders, Asa Drew, who’s the founder of Dropbox, how he became a great CEO, and he said,
I read a lot. But then I have actually gone and looked at our top 10% of our portfolio,
and there’s one thing those CEOs have in common. They are reading machines. So I don’t know if
reading will make you a great CEO, but I know it won’t hurt you. So, and the second one is
get a coach. I say even Steve Jobs had a coach. If you don’t have money to get a coach, get a peer
group, because again, it’s about character building. And I think what investors can do,
so if you’re an investor in the room, I know it’s a very ego high business, but it is not about us.
You know, we are not the ones who make the companies. I think our role is to have,
create opportunities for our founders to grow, and that actually will help the portfolio.
And I think for society, perhaps we should have an early intervention program, much like a gifted
program in schools. If you detect that there are kids that have that gene in them, why not
pull them aside and create an early intervention program? And I’ll give you an analogy, which you
will understand. I’m from Barcelona, Spain. My fellow countrywoman is Montserrat Caballé. She
was a great opera singer. And of course, today, probably I’m too old to become a great opera
singer, but perhaps I wouldn’t, I would have had some chance, right? Maybe to just sing opera in
the bathroom at some point, if I had been taught early on. So that’s the thought. And, you know,
just imagine a world where you can actually increase the total founder potential by just 10%,
or even shape who becomes to be a founder. So with that, I guess I’ll go to the Q&A.
Wow. Awesome. Thank you.
In the middle. You’re in the middle. That’s amazing. What a great talk. That’s amazing.
This is very intimidating. I know, but somehow the four of us are going to get through it.
It was an incredible talk. Somehow. God, you’re good.
I have to say, you know, we’re watching the talk backstage and the nodding that we were each having
and, you know, collectively we’ve invested in, you know, I would say closer to a thousand companies
now and we’re nodding and thank you for putting my blog post up there from years ago. You don’t
have what it takes. And I just realized, you know, wow. One of the fundamental problems we have,
and I think having David here from the PayPal mafia speaks volumes. One of the fundamental
problems in entrepreneurship is that you pointed out is people have to see it in order to be it.
And, you know, when you look at what happened at PayPal, and I’m really interested in hearing
David’s perspective on this, they got to see each other at Stanford and 40% of the speakers have
been to Stanford here at this event. I didn’t even know that. Thank you for doing that statistic.
But it seems like the fundamental problem we have in society, you can expand this. And then we were
talking about how the mayor being on. Are you getting to a question? Yeah. But this is the
fundamental problem. We need people to understand that entrepreneurship and opportunity in this
country is available to 100% of the people here. They have that opportunity, but because they don’t
see someone like themselves, a woman, a person of color, a person of a woman who is a person of
color, etc, etc, etc. They need to see it to be it. That’s the problem, isn’t it?
Well, you summarized it really well. And I asked you to do the talk next time.
Well, I listened. Yes.
When you when you started this program, what was your goal? What did you think was going to happen?
Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to be I didn’t think that conclusion was going to be as
as big, right? I mean, if you get 20% of women to start a business,
that would have been amazing. But we’re getting almost, I would say, 60% of them or 70% of them
are going off and starting a business. It’s crazy. I mean, when you take both of those two
programs together, the the results are pretty crazy. They’re pretty crazy. Yes.
So, okay, take it out of the Stanford context for a second.
How do people I’ll pick a city, you know, you’re in Cincinnati. What does it mean to have a peer
group and a network that can create or catalyze like a PayPal like mafia there or even if it’s
in Miami or in LA or wherever you are? That seems like a really hard.
It’s a really hard problem. So luckily, I’m young enough that I’ll be able to
iterate. But Zoom may make that a little bit easier, too, right?
I think you need that, you know, it’s not just enough to get a bunch of people together,
right? You have to see it the right way. So that’s why I said, you know, even for the female program,
we’ll get hundreds of applications and we have to go and interview everybody and see who can
have high potential, right? So again, there’s a little bit on the choosing of who goes into that
program and then you can shape them. So again, it’s that curve. If you are too far to the left,
if you are too far to the left, then your job is really, really high.
I used to probably once a week, read Business Insider or Insider. And then I stopped about
seven months ago, or no, maybe like in the last few months. And I’ll tell you why I stopped. It
was for two reasons. There was this article that they kept running, basically bashing the founder
of Glossier. And to me, it just didn’t make any sense. Because it’s like, there are lots of people
who, you know, go through trials and tribulations at startups. And when you read about her journey,
it didn’t seem particularly different than anybody else. You try products, some of them work, some
of them fail, you learn and you move on. But they would run it. And they were just hammering,
hammering, hammering. They did it with the away founder too. Away luggage thing,
which was the craziest story. Unbelievable. I read that story. I was like, what did she do wrong? I
never really understood. Everybody work harder. Yeah, she was like, work harder. Let’s make this
company. Yeah. Well, I mean, I think. Can I give you more equity? Yeah, well, I think honestly,
that happens even to me. I mean, I’m board meetings. I look, you know, I’m not an asshole.
I’m a bitch, right? That’s the that’s the summary of the situation. Welcome to the club. We’re
assholes. I’m not. I’m a bitch. Yeah. That’s why I stopped reading it. Because I was like,
this is really ridiculous. Because what is it telling people? And then separately,
they kept running this ad promoting this company called cerebral, which last week got a DOJ
subpoena for selling Adderall illegally to people. And so it’s like, this is the imbalance that you
see when things are presented, that don’t really make a lot of sense. There is a term for in the
industry. I didn’t come up with the term chicks for clicks. And so they will look for a female
founder and no chicks for clicks, chicks for clicks, as in a worm for a word for females,
chicks for clicks. They’re all trying to get clicks. If you go after a female founder,
you’re going to get 10 times as many clicks. Oh, really? Yeah, of course.
The Theranos story, I think, like, was such a great example of that. It was like a failed
biotech company. I’m not saying that there wasn’t fraud and stuff that happened there.
But man, I mean, the way that that that escalated the storyline. Yeah, it was well,
I mean, it’s a founder plus a female founder, you know, a founder misbehaving, quote, unquote,
plus a female founder just equals a little more. Even the wife of the founder of WeWork
is more famous in some circles. She seemed more talented. I’m curious what your questions are
for David about the magical moment of the PayPal mafia. Yeah, what was the what was the secret sauce
like being the 17th most important guy at PayPal? He’s now the ninth. He was clearly the fifth or
you tried that joke already. It didn’t work. Don’t try. Don’t try and resuscitate it now.
You had your chance. That was brutal. I know. No, no. I apologize to the entire fan base for
intros. Come on. Look, I’ll tell you something. Every guy on the stage. No one will ever tell
them what I said because everyone works for him or wants money from him. So we can only do it to
each other. We can only do it to each other. All right. So the answer is that at PayPal,
we recruited our friends to work at the company because literally nobody else like was willing
to come work at this crazy startup. Peter recruited his friends who he had gone to
college with at Stanford. Max recruited his friends from U of I. That’s how the initial
team was recruited is through friendship networks. But it wasn’t like this was some exclusive club.
It’s just that nobody else wanted to be a member. And well, sorry, can I just say at Facebook early
days, it was exactly like that as well. It’s like we had like really qualified people from great
schools, but it would not be the people that you would have thought. It’s like the folks that like
spun out of Microsoft, you know, couldn’t succeed. And all of a sudden we were like, oh, or like
Boz used to teach Zuck CS. And it’s like, yeah, why don’t you just come in as like the T.A. of
the class? It was not. It was very ragtag. Did the trust make everyone because they all knew
each other from before? Did the trust give everyone like a stronger sense of like being
vulnerable and developing themselves better? Because I do see like a lot of horrible. Well,
I mean, I see a lot of these companies and everyone’s it’s all like it’s like you see
early stage companies and it’s very political. Who’s going to last is not because you don’t
really trust each other. You never work together. Well, I know each other. Yeah. What I’d say is
that you would think that the friendships would would make it like this sort of calm,
friendly environment. PayPal was actually a very frictional, contentious environment. And
but I do think there is a trust element to it, which is we were constantly debating what the
truth was and what we needed to do and what the big risks to the business were. And so we were
yelling. In fact, Peter, when he hired me, he told some of the other people on the team, look,
I want to hire David because I need someone here who I can yell at. Meaning like he didn’t have to
worry about hurting my feelings. He could just say what he really thought and we could have an
open conversation about what we need to do as a company, even if it meant yelling. So was it a
culture of brutal honesty? Yes, absolutely. That’s what Vinod talks about a lot, right? Yeah. Yeah.
Can I can ask you guys a question more? David, you use Rappi. So the last time I was here in
Miami was to meet the Rappi founders. And I spent a couple of days with them and I came away stunned,
kind of like what you said. I didn’t realize it was that extensive,
but there’s a really special culture there. Yes. PayPal obviously had that as well. But do you
guys and don’t don’t take this the wrong way, but do you have to have somewhat more of a bounded
outcome for then these networks to really explode? Meaning if you look at a Google or a Facebook
or even a Microsoft, when companies become almost too successful, it almost just locks these folks
in. And the incentive to go off with that toolkit, the peer network goes to zero because you’re just
too incentivized. That’s an evolutionary trait, right? Or people make so much money that they
just retire. I think you’re totally right. The companies that they come from have to be a little
hard. I don’t think PayPal was easy, right? No, super hard. Yeah. And when it’s hard, you learn
to be, you know, to overcome hard things. And the whole company learns if there’s brutal honesty,
right? If it’s hidden at the top and you think it’s all right, nobody learns. But if you do,
you do. And actually, I think the rate of success of people that came out of founder of Google,
relatively speaking, is not that high. Not that high. It’s not that high because everything works.
And everything is easy. No offense, Freeberg. Everything is easy.
But no, Freeberg, you run. Sorry. But you’re saying the Google people more, to be clear,
got very soft. Because it was too easy. They never learned. They never learned anything.
I can overcome quinoa. This is actually interesting. There are more
unicorns founded by ex-PayPal people than ex-Google people, even though at sort of the PayPal mafia,
if you define it as the pre-IPO group of people who worked at PayPal, there were only a couple
of hundred in the Bay Area, whereas Google had like 10,000. So my theory on this, having observed
it, the early days of Google, the organization grew. The success of the company was exponential,
out of the fucking gate. I mean, like more than most companies we talk about nowadays.
And as a result, all of the success was baked in. The monopoly machine started rolling right away.
So then the hires started being safer hires, people that could be more analytical, people
that could be more execution-oriented, not risk-takers. And so a lot of people were hired.
And forgive, I went to Cal, but forgive me for saying, but all the Stanford people who basically
had always done really well on their SATs, got great grades, they’d always been successful. They’d
always kind of been given that thumbs up, you’re awesome, you’re smart, come here and do this job.
They weren’t the risk-takers. They weren’t the people who were willing to take risk to fail.
And so the orientation was build a culture of people that just didn’t take a lot of risk,
executed. And then those people, they had this false sense of entrepreneurial success by working
at Google, because they were already on a rocket ship. Then a bunch of them left and tried to start
companies. And they’re like, oh, yeah, you just build an app and 100 million people use it. It’s
like, dude, failure, failure, failure, failure, failure, failure, failure. Oh, and by the way,
if you make it to 87 failures, then you’ll have your moment of success. And none of them make it
past 0.30, right? And so I think my observation was so many Google people I knew that left and
started companies, they either weren’t risk-takers, or they didn’t have the grit and persistence
needed to go through the failure to get there. And it was because that culture was defined by
early success. And then everyone that joined was just execution operations oriented.
You mentioned something. Maybe you can just speak a little bit more about it. But we used to do
these things, which you talked about, where every week you would force people basically to present.
And what you’re almost doing, and I think what we learned was, you’re desensitizing people to
failure itself. And it just becomes a nothing burger, because you’re just seeing this litany
of just randomly bad ideas almost. But that’s what becomes so powerful, because then these
random little things just become enormous. They shape you.
They shape you. And you get very, very lucky. I remember when at Facebook, I created this thing
called Growth Circle. We used to run thousands of experiments a week, and we used to have folks
present every week. And it was just three hours of monotonous failure, right? It was just after
another, after another. But I think what it really did was allow people to feel okay trying
the crazy idea. Yeah.
Because they would see the 15 people in front of them would do it.
Totally. So was that the key?
That is the key. That is actually the key. And actually, it makes a huge difference, right?
If you hear every… And they also inspire you. Whoever is actually doing great, you’re like,
I don’t want to be the last person the next week when I have to present. I want to be better than
the person that presented last week and did great. So it motivates you.
But how do you get people that are those high SAT, overachiever types to be okay?
Yeah, you have to put them in a position. So I’ll tell you one, for example, in the class,
one exercise you can tell people towards the end. It’s like they’re all having some startup,
or have some users, or whatever. They don’t have a startup. They have a project. I’ll say,
okay, your homework for next week is to 10x your sales. You have one week to do it.
People get really, really creative when you actually tell them that. And
maybe they don’t get to 10, but they’ll get to two or three in a week.
And I think that inspiration is enough for people to make the best of themselves. I think
great leaders do that, right? They ask for more than you think you’re capable, people are capable.
What about learning failure? We were talking about this
on the yesterday. We were having a conversation about how do we make sure that our kids grow up
and learn failure like we all learned? And failure, ultimately, I think, and persistent failure,
I think really taught me a lot about putting up with failure, knowing that as long as you’re
doing the right thing, you’ll get there probabilistically. How do you teach that?
Because folks, especially in an environment where they’ve always been successful,
and how do you keep them from saying, you know what, I don’t want to fail, I want to succeed
because my orientation is to succeed. So when they start to fail, they run and they go do something
easy, which they can’t do. Totally. And actually at Stanford specifically, right? Yeah, exactly.
If you made it to Stanford as an undergrad. Not to keep asking Stanford, but yeah.
No, yeah. I’m just, I went to California. But you are very, I mean, you’ve been an incredible
student. I mean, you probably cured cancer or something if you had to, if you got into Stanford
today, right? So they’ve never really failed at life. This is an 18 year old that has never
suffered failure, at least as we understand it. You have to put them, you have to learn each of
the students, what is their weak point and make them actually do that, right? So one of the things
I will do- To reduce failure.
Yeah. You provoke failure as quickly as you can. So if you’re a typical computer science student,
you probably can create an app. Well, these days within an hour, you’ll have something great,
right? Try to get a thousand users without spending a single dollar.
Let them fail.
Can you do it? It’s hard.
Yeah. And then do it again.
And some of them, the mental health problem is very high, right? I think a lot of these people,
the first time they fail, they can’t take it.
Let me ask you one more because my, I’m sorry, Jacob, but my big three predictors of entrepreneurial
success are grit, persisting through failure, bias to action, like you don’t have an orientation
to being analytical, you have an orientation to taking action, and a narrative. Because I think
that the greatest entrepreneurs that we all know, Elon’s obviously the penultimate example.
Someone told me I used that word wrong, so I won’t use it.
Yeah. Penultimate means second.
Ultimate is what you’re going for.
I feel like you’re wrong on that, but I’ll accept it.
It may be the quinoa getting to your brain. Go ahead.
You may want some protein.
He had the ultimate definition, you had the penultimate definition.
More like mink steaks. So how does narrative get learned? Because we’ve seen that the best
entrepreneurs are incredible storytellers. They tell the story and they tell the vision before
it’s built as a way of attracting the best talent, and then as a way of attracting the capital,
and then as a way of attracting customers. And that ability is key to success. And how do you
actually, is there a way to develop narrative?
Okay, that’s actually really important. And I’m going to even elevate it one more.
Sales. You have to be a great salesperson. Your narrative, you’re selling the story of
your company, but you may be selling to an employee, to an investor, whatever. You need
to be a great salesperson. Unfortunately, teaching sales at a higher educational institution is
considered dirty work, so we don’t even teach it, right? But it’s the most important thing.
So I run a little accelerator and we, just like Jason, and we spend the last few weeks just
teaching people how to talk. How do you explain what you do? And I tell people there’s nothing
like practice. You have to practice, practice, get coached, et cetera. Some people are born with
that. Some people you actually have to learn. You think it is learned though?
It is. Well, you can definitely get better, right? If not, the world would be a better,
a sad place. Mara, as we wrap here,
we have 10 daughters between the four of us. I love that.
Yeah. Three, two, two, three.
Whatever. You can remind David of the names of his daughters. They’re on your watch. I’ll look
them up. Mara, what can you- He’s got a little card in here.
I’d like to thank- My wife’s name is-
He’s got a picture, little picture. Mara, what have you learned about
women in terms of entrepreneurship? What do we need to know about encouraging them
to become entrepreneurs and to create companies? I think the most important is
for women to believe in themselves. I think a lot of us don’t. I think you Google imposter syndrome,
and we all have it. Even myself coming here today, I was probably the person that practiced the most
because I have that imposter syndrome. That is the most important. You have to overcome that
because for most men, it comes naturally. Us, we have to work a little harder to do that,
but with confidence, we make amazing founders, I would say. I am fortunate to work with many of
them. This year, our accelerator, this session we present on Wednesday, we’ll have two-thirds
of the founders are women. That’s very impressive. They’re amazing. There’s no
cutting corners. We’re the best people. We as a society have to do a better job of-
Stop clicking on those clicks, chicks for clicks. Exactly.
Stop clicking. I think maybe them seeing more role models like you. I think very specifically,
we as all girl dads appreciate the work you’re doing. Thank you.
Let’s give it up for Mark.