Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Brad Feld, co-founder of the Foundry Group as well as an entrepreneur, author, blogger, and venture capitalist.
Tune in to hear how Brad sold his business in 1993 for $2 million, how the entrepreneurial lifestyle affected his relationship with his wife (and the book he wrote about it), why being deliberate about relationships and who you invest in is so crucial, and how to build a startup without compromising your well-being.
01:33 – Partner at a venture capital firm called Foundry Group which is based in Boulder; they invest in tech companies all over the US
01:42 – Has also co-founded Techstars and organizes Techstars Music and Techstars Healthcare
01:57 – Has written a number of books on tech and entrepreneurship
02:22 – Espouses the 3% rule in his book, Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur
02:22 – Brad only cares about and has his way with 3% of what they do as a couple; in 97% of things, Amy has her way
04:08 – However, when Amy asks for his opinion, he gives her the same look that a golden retriever gives when he sees a hamburger
05:15 – Works hard to give each other positive cues
05:50 – Realizes that life is finite and unpredictable; wants to make the best of it by spending time with people he wants to be with
07:08 – Set yourself up for as much positive joy and happiness you can against the backdrop of this complicated and often unsatisfying, unfriendly and unfun world
07:35 – Brad shares with us his investing story…
07:35 – Foundry has been around since 2007; been investing since 1994
07:43 – Sold his first company in 1993 and made 40 angel investments; invested in Harmonix, the creator Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central
08:08 – Co-founded Mobius Capital, a venture firm in 1997
08:16 – Through Foundry Group he has invested in some prominent players like Zynga, FitBit, Sphero and MakerBot
09:44 – Made $2 million by selling his first company; invested everything and saved $100,000
10:13 – Was able to exit by 1996; a risk taker, Brad was more concerned about learning to be a good investor than having money in the bank
11:09 – Brad explains the premise of his book, Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job
11:18 – When you are starting a business, the idea is unimportant; what you DO with the idea is important
13:20 – Lays down the various characteristics of a great business
13:40 – Entrepreneurs and their spouses can get some great tips to build a harmonic relationship by reading Brad and Amy’s book, Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur
13:40 – Gives an insights into the many ups and downs, and the craziness that comes with creating a company
14:39 – Does not think of the term, “work-life balance” as inspiring; work-life harmony is more suitable since it is highly improbable to have balance in an entrepreneur’s life
15:06 – An entrepreneur’s relationship with his spouse is like playing jazz; strive for moments of harmony and remember to not despair, but learn from moments of discordance
15:41 – Recalls a moment when Amy wanted to walk out of the relationship; mutually decided to let Amy make the rules of the relationship in a bid to save their relationship
17:01 – The first rule that Amy laid down involved tracking how much time Brad worked each day
17:32 – In an effective relationship, only one partner can have a crisis at any particular time, and it cannot always be the entrepreneur
14:07 – What’s one big change that you have made in the last year that has impacted you? – Learned to delegate
18:32 – For Brad, depression is the “complete and total absence of color”
19:30 – The anxiety level keeps on increasing and reaches a point where it is debilitating
20:05 – When depressed, experiences extreme anxiety which is not proportional to the current situation
21:48 – “Self-Care” tips to deal with depression
21:48 – He cuts down on caffeine and alcohol
22:36 – Observes a “Digital Sabbath” from Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown
22:55 – Brad ends up feeling depressed when he does not go for his daily run
23:08 – “Self-care” is different for everyone; you have to discover what works for you
23:23 – Could you share with everyone something unique that you do every day? – “Throw everything away”
24:00 – What’s one new tool that you’ve added in the last year that’s added a lot of value? – Todoist
24:50 – What’s one must-read book you recommend to everyone? – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
26:10 – Connect with Brad via email, Twitter or his blog
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to teach at USC. I was teaching an entrepreneurship class and I spoke for about an hour and a half. It was good. But did they leave the class with a takeaway?
And then I went to an Entrepreneurs’ Organization event the other day where I got to hear this entrepreneur speak about how he’s been through a lot of different things. He talked about how he’s had crazy experiences (like completing five Ironman events)—basically his life story.
While he was speaking, I was sitting there thinking, “Okay, what am I going to get out of this? What is the big takeaway? How am I going to pick out what’s really important in this overflow of information I’m receiving?”
Take podcasts, for example. I listen to them at 2X speed. Podcasts are sometimes 1-2 hours long and I don’t need all that content. I just want one idea to take away.
And that’s what everything comes down to: that one thing, that one key takeaway.
Of course there is a trade off to this kind of hyper-efficiency: I don’t retain as much information and my comprehension is probably a bit diminished.
But if you can change the way you think about your daily activities and measure what you’re doing in terms of depth rather than breadth, then being able to fully and deeply take away just one thing means you are good to go.
That’s what I think about every time I do my Marketing School and Growth Everywhere podcasts. If I can just give you one thing to do, one idea you’re inspired by, one key takeaway—I know I’ve succeeded.
For instance, whether I go to a networking event or a conference, I just want to meet one person. Instead of trying to “spray and pray” by handing cards out to a bunch of people, I want to just meet one great person. That’s it.
In the long run, going deep with any kind of relationship pays off. It’s a lot more rewarding and fulfilling. One key takeaway, one thing—that’s all you need to eventually taste true success.