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Starting Greatness

Author: Floodgate

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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.
36 Episodes
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.
(2:47) - Tim looks back at the origins of the 4-Hour Workweek and early incarnations of the book (9:30) - Mike and Tim discuss the idea of talking to real customers and of “getting real” to increase the chances of your startup’s success (12:41)  - Tim offers his thoughts on category design and the importance of creating a category, as well as working in categories where there were few competitors (18:02) - Tim discusses the marketing ideas behind the 4-Hour Workweek and finding product-market fit, and offers ideas for book promotion (31:05) - Mike and Tim share their ideas on the role of a startup advisor, and how to pick the right advisor for your company (36:44) - Mike and Tim discuss the risks of negotiating with high-conflict people, and Tim reflects on his failures as a startup advisor (40:27) - Tim stresses the importance of a quality product over public relations and personal brand
Welcome to Season 2!

Welcome to Season 2!


In this opener for Season 2, Floodgate Co-Founder Mike Maples, Jr talks sets the agenda for a new season of Starting Greatness and plans for taking the show and content to the next level.
Nancy Duarte emphasizes that storytelling has been one of the most compelling tools of persuasion for centuries. But founders embracing the storytelling form often make a crucial mistake: They cast themselves as the protagonist in the hero's journey, rather than the specific people they intend to persuade. Getting storytelling right means the founder is the mentor of the story (ie Yoda), rather than the hero (ie Luke.) This is true whether the audience is the customer, future employees, investors, journalists, or the audience at your next TED talk.
Nancy Duarte has helped people like Al Gore tell an inconvenient truth, as well as some of the most important tech execs, get their stories told. She has cracked the code in applying story patterns to business communication. In this interview, Mike Maples, Jr of Floodgate asks Nancy for the most important ways that founders can leverage storytelling to turn their movements from ideas to reality.
The future doesn't happen to us: It happens because of us. In this Lesson of Greatness, we introduce backcasting as a tool for entrepreneurs or people in any field who want to create a future that is meaningfully better and doesn't just bring forward the baggage of the past.
The present has stopped working. Now, more than ever, we need breakthroughs that put us on a better trajectory. In this episode, we flip the script and Shane Parrish from the Farnam Street Blog and Knowledge Project interviews Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate about tools available to people who want to build a better future.
Everyone knows a fragile team is more likely to fail. But an anti-fragile team is more than just's more like a Hydra: When you cut off one of it's heads it grows two back in its place. Anti-fragile teams actually get BETTER when the environment around them is high-pressure and chaotic. In this lesson of greatness, we drill down into what it means to be anti-fragile and how you can apply the concept to your own startup team.
From his surprising beginnings as a shrimp farmer with Communist parents in Ecuador to his death-defying pivot from a failed startup idea to what is now Outreach, Manny Medina's story is both colorful and compelling. In this episode, Mike Maples, Jr of Floodgate discusses Manny's unconventional journey and his struggles and triumphs on the path to greatness with Outreach, now valued at more than $1 Billion.
Commander John Boyd was a fighter pilot who changed the art of war in the late 20th Century. He offers a vital lesson of greatness, especially in times of massive uncertainty: Decisive leaders take the initiative, ALWAYS. This episode describes why that's the case and how the philosophy of taking the initiative can help you achieve greatness in what matters to you.
Many startups face difficult choices when it comes to overcoming COVID-19. In this special episode, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate interviews Steve Blank about techniques founders can use to shape circumstances rather than be shaped by them. Steve has a unique vantage point since he's weathered every dislocation affecting startups since 1978, including the 1987 crash, the dotcom bubble burst, and the 2008 financial crisis.
Bob Metcalfe has traveled in many orbits, but most recently he has been a professor at the University of it seemed only appropriate to honor the unstoppable power of Metcalfe's Law in this lesson of greatness. Mess with it at your peril :)
Bob Metcalfe has lived in the future since the late 1950s. And lucky for the rest of us, he has brought us along for the ride. In this interview, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate talks to him about the origins of networked computing as well as the birth of "Metcalfe's Law."
Many say that in real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. A key lesson of greatness from Reid Hoffman is that for consumer products and network effects businesses, a key to success is distribution, distribution, distribution. In this Lesson of Greatness, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate builds on this by outlining specific strategies founders can learn from Reid Hoffman to get distribution for their startup ideas.
Reid Hoffman's success as a founder of LinkedIn, investor in Airbnb and Facebook, and charter member of the PayPal Mafia have a common thread - an intense passion for creating valuable networks with people at the center. In this episode, Mike Maples, Jr of Floodgate talks to Reid about key approaches for building valuable business and consumer networks from the ground-up.
In Crossing the Chasm Geoffrey Moore clearly lays out a very important idea: you need to appeal to a niche of visionaries, before pragmatists—or your startup will usually fail. In this Lesson of Greatness, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate builds on this by showing that to get big, you have to start small. The episode contains specific strategies for founders to consider when nailing their early niches on the way to massive success.
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moores is the most influential book on technology go-to-market ever written, and for good reason. In this episode, Mike Maples Jr from Floodgate talks to Geoffrey Moore about how startup founders can apply its core principles to building great startups, as well as how to avoid critical mistakes.
Great Startup Recruiting is surprisingly similar to great Startup Ideas: Just like you have to find undiscovered opportunities to start a great startup, you need to find undiscovered talent to build a great startup team. In this Lesson of Greatness, we discuss how to find great undiscovered talent and five key factors to look for.
Few people in the history of startups have seen more examples of excellence than Keith Rabois. Not surprisingly, Keith is also one of the best investors in Silicon Valley, having achieved great success as an Angel and now at Founders Fund.
It's tempting to start a company when it meets the conditions of your "master plan." But sometimes you realize that an idea has visited you and it is now or must either plunge in and take the chance NOW, or watch from the sidelines while someone else makes it happen.
Comments (2)

Jeff Chau

Amazing podcast, love the recap follow up episodes after the main episode.

Dec 10th
Reply (1)
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