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61 minutes | 3 days ago
Insights from 12 world class founders & thinkers for our 100th episode
We’ve been making the UK’s startup podcast since 2017 and this is our 100th episode. To celebrate, we’re doing something a little different and bringing you a bunch of the most powerful stories and insights from some of the amazing guests we’ve had the honour of talking to over the years. In celebration of this milestone, we’re also giving away a pair of Apple Airpod Pros to a lucky Secret Leaders subscriber/follower. Entering is super simple and takes just a few seconds - go to www.secretleaders.com/competition to win.We’ve divided this episode into three sections. In the first, you’ll hear war stories from the founders of some of the world’s biggest unicorns; in the second we share tales of mental health and adversity; and in the third we bring you big ideas. “What I want them to learn from me is to find that thing that really makes you happy, and where you're really creative, because that's what will bring you fulfilment in your life.” From Daniel Schreiber, co-founder of insurance disruptor Lemonade, on how he formulated the product, to Jo Malone talking about growth, to Will Shu, founder of Deliveroo, talking about those early scrappy days when everyone had to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in:“We would do stuff like just hand out flyers in the street. I wore a kangaroo costume too many times. I didn't enjoy wearing the kangaroo costume.”You’ll hear Cal Henderson, co-founder of Slack, talking about his company's reaction to the pandemic, former Chief Business Officer for Google X, Mo Gawdat, sharing how even the worst times in our lives can be gateways into something beautiful, and Jason Calcanis, the self-proclaimed ‘greatest angel investor of all time’: “A lot of founders and people have early success. The things that made them successful in that first phase of their career will actually work against them in the second phase.”For all you entrepreneurs out there, don’t miss this ultimate episode, jam packed full of 12 insightful, key takeaways. Download and listen now. We chat about:How to be a disruptorLay the foundations for success The value of happiness, resilience and a culture of opennessDevelop atomic habitsSupport women in business Be humbleLinks:Daniel SchreiberWill ShuJo MaloneCal HendersonNicola KilnerMo GawdatMartha Lane FoxDamien BradfieldJames ClearDebbie WosskowAlain De BottonJason Calcaniswww.secretleaders.com/competitionWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
47 minutes | 10 days ago
How to land LeBron James & Michael Phelps in your first 100 customers - Will Ahmed, Founder of Whoop
As the captain of the Harvard squash team, Will Ahmed trained and prepared as best he could. But, whatever he tried, his body kept breaking down. He didn't know why so he started researching the human body, devouring medical papers. Now, several years later, those personal frustrations have grown into Whoop, a wearable tech startup you can see on the wrists of NFL players, pro golfers and Navy Seals - despite being consistently told his strategy was wrong.“The vision for Whoop has always been the same, which is that we're going to build this wearable platform that's going to help you improve your health. And it's going to start with the best athletes in the world. And then it's going to be on everyone.”So he was proved right. Whoop counted professional athletes LeBron James and Michael Phelps among their first 100 users, and just got valued at $1.2 billion. “I object to the quote, ‘it's a marathon, not a sprint’, because it's actually both. If you truly are trying to create a company from scratch, and have it be this enormous success, you have to go at an incredibly high pace for an incredibly long time.”We chat about:How overtraining led him to found WhoopHow do you actually create a resilient mindsetWhy the first fundraise was the toughestHow to build epic brand partnershipsWhat happens when Amazon try to rip you offWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe!
55 minutes | 17 days ago
Trinny Woodall reveals her surprising, untold startup journey - from dotcom bust to beauty boom today
Most people recognise Trinny Woodall for being one half of Trinny and Susannah from their breakout TV show: What Not To Wear, but not many people know this side of her story. Trinny is a serial entrepreneur. She was a founder in the dotcom bubble back in the day, and is the founder of soaring makeup startup, Trinny London, which booked £42m of revenue in the last year. What happened? How did she get here?In today’s episode of Secret Leaders, Trinny shares her really surprising entrepreneurial journey that doesn’t get told.“Susannah and I started the idea [their first entrepreneurial venture], it was a very lucky break. And I did that for eight years. And then from that television came and then I started writing books and that whole part of my career, when I look back now, brought me to being the CEO of Trinny London.”It doesn’t matter if you’re a budding founder or a seasoned entrepreneur, this episode with Trinny is not to be missed. From hiring interns with a twinkle in their eye, to having to sell her clothes to fund her startup, to understanding the need for personalisation in a brand, Trinny has a wealth of experience every founder needs to hear. “Through building Trinny London, advice I always give to other entrepreneurs, younger entrepreneurs, is stay in your own lane. Because if you look too much at the competition, you dilute the uniqueness of your offering.”We chat about:Her partnership with SusannahThe genesis of Trinny LondonFinancing Trinny LondonHow she handled fameCreating a community on social mediaWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
47 minutes | 24 days ago
Bloom & Wild: building world’s fastest growing flower company with Co-Founder & CEO Aron Gelbard
How big can a flower company really be? Well, the industry processes over a billion transactions every year and Bloom & Wild is leading the charge to become the dominant player. In today’s show we talk to Co-Founder and CEO Aron Gelbard about how it all nearly failed before it had even begun, and how much of that market they can really take.“We're doing a few million of those. So we've made meaningful headway. But there's a huge way to go around the world.”That’s not bad for a company that set up shop in 2013 and quickly became best known for making it possible to send flowers in under a minute on a smartphone, and for those flowers to be delivered through your letterbox. “We got 1,000 orders in the week of [our first] Mother's Day. And I remember this because I had to process them all individually in the spreadsheet, and it took me all day to do whereas normally the order processing took an hour.”From their first piece of accidental marketing by the Daily Mail (after being told to move on by Wholefoods on High St. Ken), to understanding the value of a great customer review: “We very rapidly realised that it was going to be really important to get good customer reviews and build trust, because people need to trust you in order to let you be the conveyor of their emotions. And so we focused on getting good review scores.”Don’t miss Aron sharing the challenges of international growth, the problem with building a website on the cheap, their success with replantable Christmas trees through the post, and raising their recent £75m seed funding round. “It's super important for me to be kind to everybody that I interact with. I think it connects to my desire to please people, it's really innate in the business that we're in, that you have to do it kindly. And I think I've tried to be kind to consumers and those that we work with, and to our team.”We chat about:Tracking sender and recipient Net Promoter ScoreEmbracing sustainability Fundraising for international expansionBuilding and nurturing culture while WFHThe importance of kindness Want to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
45 minutes | a month ago
Four top female founders reveal what it’s really like in the startup hot seat
To mark Women’s History Month Women’s, we’re serving you the secret sauce of four incredible female founders: Alice Bentinck, co-founder of Entrepreneur First; Debbie Wosskow, co-founder of AllBright; Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of Olio; and Tamara Lohan, co-founder of Mr and Mrs Smith.Although the numbers for female-founded businesses are improving, it still remains that of the 6 million businesses in the UK, only 1/5 are run by women. There are twice as many male entrepreneurs as female ones. And only 1% of startup funding goes to female-founded businesses.“When I started, there was not a whiff of any kind of VC money specifically for female businesses, there were no female networking clubs, there were no female support groups, there was nothing.”In this one-off episode, recorded at our live event for International Women’s Day 2020, these founders share some of the toughest moments they’ve had in their careers, they discuss access to funding, and why there has never been a better time to become an entrepreneur, if you’re female. “I suppose my coping mechanism is to try and ignore [imposter syndrome] and just focus on solving the problems that will make my business better and more valuable, rather than constantly worrying about my own performance.”We chat about:Their toughest moments as entrepreneurs Funding as female entrepreneursThe shifting gender balanceTackling imposter syndromeLinks:https://www.secretleaders.com/alice-bentinckhttps://www.secretleaders.com/allbright-debbie-woskowhttps://www.secretleaders.com/saasha-celestial-onehttps://www.secretleaders.com/tamara-lohanWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
48 minutes | a month ago
World’s youngest Dragon, with Michele Romanow, Co-Founder of Clearbanc
You can’t take your ears off our guest today. Born and raised in Canada, Michele Romanow has been building startups since university (a cafe which still operates today) followed by a venture in an industry she knew nothing about - caviar - right when the 2008 financial crisis struck.“There I am, 21 years old, selling the world's most unnecessary luxury product. I realised the world owes you absolutely nothing, that everything can fall apart in a second, that it can be your fault. It can be the market's fault, it doesn't matter. But I was gonna have to pivot if I wanted it to be successful.”And pivot she did. From Buytopia, to SnapSaves (acquired by Groupon), to Dragons’ Den Canada (‘I was the youngest Dragon ever’), to co-founding Clearbanc - Michele has done so much in such a short space of time.She co-founded Clearbanc having seen dozens of similar pitches on Dragons’ Den. The idea is that ecommerce founders no longer have to give up equity in exchange for capital. Instead Clearbanc invests and gets paid back from revenues with a 6% - 12% fee on top. “We have now invested more than $1.6 billion into 4,000 different founders around the world. We have backed eight times more women than the venture capital industry average.”What a story. We hope you enjoy it.If you like what we’re doing please subscribe or follow Secret Leaders. We chat about:Starting her career in cafes and caviarFrom Dragons’ Den to ClearbancThe struggle of financing ClearbancThe hardest part of being an entrepreneurNever be comfortableWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
48 minutes | a month ago
From living on benefits to the American dream, with Pipe Co-Founder Harry Hurst
“I was a young kid with a family on government benefits living off £600 a month. I was surrounded by people that could afford private school. And from a naive child's perspective, they seemed to have everything that I didn't have when I went home to my reality. But I think that was the formation of Harry Hurst, the hungry, ambitious, immigrant entrepreneur.”Today’s Secret Leader, Harry Hurst, has been hustling ever since he was kid - and he’s had to. He credits his poor upbringing for his entrepreneurial spirit - and with two hugely successful startups to his name (Skurt and Pipe), he’s not only someone who’s risked everything - he knows what it takes to build a special company. With co-founder Josh Mangel, he founded Skurt, an on-demand car rental service, later acquired by fair.com in 2014. They subsequently co-founded Pipe, a trading platform for a new asset class - recurring revenue - in 2019. “You've obviously seen the press announcement how we ended up raising $50 million from all of these strategic [partnerships], it's Shopify, Slack, HubSpot.”But it’s not all been plain sailing for Harry. He’s had his back to the wall on many occasions but in 2016 he experienced one of the toughest moments of his life when he was hit with severe anxiety. From his humble beginnings, to starting and selling Skurt, to founding Pipe, dealing with mental health and the importance of sharing ideas, Harry is open, frank and honest about his crazy journey.“Don't hold back on discussing the ideas that you have, if you want to be a founder. It pains me when people say to me, ‘I've got this amazing idea, but I can't talk about it’. I think that's gonna hold you back.”Download and listen to this truly fascinating, rags to riches story.We chat about:The origins of Harry Hurst, entrepreneurFounding Skurt and PipeHarry the leader at Skurt v Harry the leader at PipeExperiencing anxietyDon’t hold back on your ideasLinks:www.fair.comwww.pipe.comWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
35 minutes | 2 months ago
Former Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield on falling out of love with your work
Get you own unique referral link: https://www.secretleaders.com/hypeTom Blomfield, the former CEO and Co-Founder of Monzo, and Co-Founder of GoCardless, knows a thing or two about the fintech industry. “We wanted to create something different than existing banks. We believed that the banks weren't serving customers particularly well at that moment. Customer expectations had been raised dramatically by things like Spotify, Uber and Airbnb, in terms of the user experience and functionality.”Which is why his announcement in January 2021 that he was leaving Monzo, 6 years after founding the challenger bank, came as a shock to many. “When you get to that size, it's about people management. You spend almost no time on product or customers really. It's about process, a lot of process, extraordinary amount of regulation.”But it takes an outstanding leader to know when to step aside. And in today’s inaugural episode of Season 7, Tom talks about the mounting pressure when you’re at the top and ultimately its impact on your mental health and identity. “I've talked about suffering that kind of stress, a build up of stress, it starts impacting your sleep, or at least it impacted my sleep, it became this vicious cycle where not sleeping makes your work worse, make worse decisions.”From raising £1m from crowdfunding in 96 seconds, to how he scaled personally alongside the bank, to building a culture from the very outset, to what made him leave Monzo - Tom is exceedingly candid in this interview, which was recorded just a few weeks after his departure.Don’t miss this hugely insightful episode from one of Europe’s top founders and CEOs - it’s something all entrepreneurs need to hear.We chat about:Crowdfunding MonzoBuilding a culture from the startEntrepreneurship and mental healthHis decision process to leave MonzoLinks:MonzoGoCardlessWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
3 minutes | 2 months ago
We're trying something that's never been done before
To get your own unique referral link, please head to https://www.secretleaders.com/hype.And if you have any feedback please email firstname.lastname@example.org.Thanks!
36 minutes | 2 months ago
CERN scientist turned founder - Natural Cycles CEO Elina Berglund
“There's no birth control method that is 100% effective and Natural Cycles is as similarly effective as the pill. So it's 93% effective with typical use, and 98% effective with perfect use, meaning that you use protection on the days that the app says.”Before becoming CEO and co-founder of Natural Cycles, the world’s first and only app to be certified as a contraception both in Europe and in the US, today’s Secret Leader, Dr Elina Berglund, was part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson at CERN, which led to the Nobel Prize in physics in 2013. “I felt like with my understanding of data from particle physics, I can actually develop an algorithm that also learns cycle to cycle and applies more advanced statistical methods to say like, well, I'm definitely not fertile today.”Elina was looking for an effective natural contraceptive and applied her skills from particle physics to create an algorithm that could accurately pinpoint when a woman is fertile. Elina is now on a mission to pioneer women’s health with research and passion, empowering women with the knowledge they need to take charge of their health. From how to found an app and work with your husband, to building the algorithm without being in beta mode, dealing with unwanted pregnancies while using the app, to her biggest mistakes in the early days. Don’t miss Elina sharing her journey of how she created a product that fundamentally changed the way we choose to live our lives. “Now I'm looking back at it, I should have listened to my gut more, because my gut was telling me, this doesn't feel right, something feels difficult, this feels heavy. Now when things are actually going well, it feels easy, it doesn't feel hard anymore. So I think I should have listened to my gut and changed things faster.”We chat about:The transition from CERN to contraceptionHow to build trust with the first usersFunding and financing Natural CyclesDealing with unwanted pregnanciesBringing wearable contraception to marketWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
37 minutes | 3 months ago
Grace Beverley, 23, author, influencer & founder of TALA & SHREDDY
“Both my businesses have really strong values. And those have evolved pretty naturally from my growth coming into those interests of sustainability, of ethics, and saying, well, if I'm consuming something, that's one thing, but if I'm selling it, that's a whole other thing.”Today’s guest on Secret Leaders is not your average 23 year old. Grace Beverley is a Natwest GBEA Young Entrepreneur of the Year and founder of two brands, Tala and Shreddy. A successful female entrepreneur, Grace is shaking up the archaic business world. With a global reach of over 1.5 million, she’s been named first in Forbes 30 under 30’s retail and e-commerce list, at just twenty-three. At The University of Oxford she set up her first company, B_ND, a vegan friendly resistance band company which has since come under the Shreddy umbrella, an app that gives you workout plans you’ll actually like. And Tala, a sustainable activewear brand that is flying off shelves. But that’s not all, she’s also written a book due out in April called, Working Hard and Hardly Working. “Everything that we produce is going to be vegan. And that's what we set from the offset. And that was part of our purpose and our pillars and our values. And yet, obviously, that evolved to be so much more than that.”From influencer, to founding B_ND at The University of Oxford, to becoming CEO of two companies. Today’s episode charts Grace’s entrepreneurial journey, how her personal growth perspective has shaped her businesses, and how she’s learned to be a better leader by saying ‘I don’t know’. “I made this commitment a few years ago when I realised that, okay, I have this opportunity here to travel the world and take pictures for a living. And I don't enjoy that.”We chat about:The genesis of Tala and ShreddyBeing an influencerHow her two companies overlapWorking Hard, Hardly WorkingThe gender divide on social mediaWhy you need to define success for yourselfLinks:Book - Working Hard, Hardly WorkingWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
47 minutes | 3 months ago
16-year battle to £100m esports team, with Fnatic Founder Sam Mathews
If you’re in need of inspiration and ideas for how to succeed in the eSports world, then don’t miss this insightful episode with the co-founder and CEO of Fnatic, Sam Mathews. “I'm probably more like the Glazers than I am Alex Ferguson, because I'm kind of running the whole business.”Fnatic is one of the leading eSports teams in the world, and currently, the eSports industry is blowing up, not just because of Sam, but he has definitely contributed towards its success. But what is eSports and why are over 1.5 billion people around the world so into it? “[The] games we play on the computer are super engaging, and they're much more engaging in some ways than some of these physical sports, and tactical. And they're also unlimited in terms of imagination.”Not to mention watching people who are exceptionally good at eSports is thrilling in itself, and the top competitors engage with spectators in real time. From launching Fnatic at uni, to aiming to become a billion dollar company, in today’s episode of Secret Leaders, Sam shares his entrepreneurial journey to date. Including the transition from Neverland to becoming the CEO of Fnatic, how he bought his mum out of the company, fundraising on a $130 million valuation and most recently, creating an eSports partnership with Gucci.We chat about:What eSports are and why 1.5 billion people worldwide play themHow he got his Mum working for Fnatic… and how he bought her outWhy eSports tournaments are held IRLCreating an eSports partnership with GucciFundraising for Fnatic and becoming CEOWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
52 minutes | 3 months ago
From launch to IPO in 4 years, with Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber
“Once you see it, you can't unsee it. [Insurance] is something that is 11% of GDP, $5 trillion worldwide, 100% household penetration. And you're like, wow, this has been hiding in plain sight. It’s such a dull industry that nobody's noticed it. Nobody's thought to tackle it.”Until Daniel Schreiber. That is. So what made a law graduate with no prior knowledge of the insurance industry decide to co-found an insurtech startup in 2016, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange just 4 short years later, more than doubling in valuation on the first day of trading?“It has been a pretty rapid growth, we're talking from standstill to about $200 million in just over four years and doubling every year.”Lemonade isn’t like any insurance platform you’ve ever come across before. Daniel (former president of Powermat) and co-founder Shai Wininger, (Fiverr co-founder) didn’t want to simply follow in the footsteps of what had gone before. They wanted to create a new kind of insurance company, something that improved the user experience for everyone. “We built [it] from scratch, we were vertically integrated, we built every piece of technology. We're not fronting for some old insurance company, we built every element of the user experience, down to the insurance dimensions, as well as the technological ones.”From lawyer to SanDisk to Power Mat to Lemonade, Daniel has had a portfolio career like no other. His is a truly fascinating journey where the phrase ‘peer to peer insurance’ sparked an idea that rapidly grew into a multi million dollar business.We chat about:The multigenerational Schreiber entrepreneurial mindsetBuilding Lemonade from scratchThe spark of peer to peer insuranceHigh speed execution and financing LemonadeThe insurance industry is politicsLinks:FiverrPowermatWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
51 minutes | 3 months ago
Sir Ronnie Cohen: Refugee to father of British venture capital
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you can’t learn to swim by doing exercises on the beach, says Sir Ronald Cohen. “You can't keep preparing yourself for an entrepreneurial career. You learn by doing. And by your mid to late 20s, you're ready to do that. You don't have to prepare beyond that.”Sir Ronald is Chairman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and The Portland Trust. He is a co-founder director of Social Finance UK, USA, and Israel, and co-founder Chair of Bridges Fund Management and Big Society Capital. But before all of this, he co-founded and was Executive Chairman of Apax Partners from 1972-2005.From immigrant, to grammar school, to Harvard Business School where he discovered Venture Capital, to setting up Apax Partners, to impact investing. Sir Ronald has had quite a life, his story is one of humanity and people. A 45-50 year overnight success story.“Venture capital was a way for me to do good and to do well, and at the same time create jobs and make money.” After becoming financially independent and at the age of 53, he informed his partners at Apax that he was leaving to deal with more important things. He wanted to help tackle social issues and try to contribute to achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis.So, if you’re looking to create a social impact, Sir Ronald has a lot of sage advice for you - this is one episode not to be missed.“Principles have a cost, but they're always a bargain in the end. Don't try to take shortcuts. Live by your principles, you will attract the best talent, and you will be proud of your achievements.”We chat about:Founding Apax Partners Funding Dolly the sheepSocial investment task forceImpact investingSocial investment bankThe B Corp movementLinks:https://www.onimpactnow.org/Impact: Reshaping capitalism to drive real changeWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
47 minutes | 4 months ago
Samantha Moyo - addict-turned-shaman who created sober raving
How do you get sober when AA isn’t working for you? Well, if you’re Samantha Moyo, you found the global sober raving movement, Morning Gloryville. A business designed to get people to wake up at 6am and go dancing, sober, to famous DJs such as Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx and Carl Cox. She sold just 26 tickets to their first event, but such is Sam’s desire to challenge the status quo, she grew the business to a community of 200,000 within 18 months, across 23 cities. Morning Gloryville was born from her life as Captain Hello Titties, an unsustainable, creative, money-making idea that involved putting on parties on the River Thames. But it wasn’t all plain sailing. “When you have co-founders, and things aren't well, one of the things that helped us was getting a mediator. We kept doing some practices together just to keep the energy flowing, so that we wouldn't affect the business.”Not only did she part ways with her co-founder, they had too little money for the growing company, and she wasn’t being kind to herself or those at work. “I wanted to bring conscious clubbing to the world stage and spread love, peace and joy through dancing. And after five years of doing that, and waking up at 6am so many times, I think my spirit was done.”Sam is no longer with Morning Gloryville, today she’s a wellness entrepreneur, with a difference. Now, known as Mystic Moyo, Sam has undergone her own transformation, from burnt out business leader, to activist, to mystic secret leader. So what can you do to be a more conscious leader inside your organisation? What can you do to keep on the path of curiousness? How can you take a more spiritual path, a more spiritual journey with your leadership? To find out, don’t miss this incredibly insightful episode.We chat about:Captain Hello TittiesBuilding Morning GloryvilleThe notion of kindnessRacial and economic injustice is real in businessThe birth of Mystic MoyoLinks:www.msysticmoyo.comwww.samanthamoyo.co.ukWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
57 minutes | 4 months ago
DECIEM - a tale of tragedy and beauty with CEO Nicola Kilner
The massive beauty disruptor, DECIEM, was founded in 2013 by “the beauty world’s most exciting disruptor”, Brandon Truaxe, and co-CEO Nicola Kilner. From the beginning, they weren't like any other cosmetic company, they acted more like a startup incubator launching 10 brands in rapid succession. They were hugely successful, did everything in house, outstripped the competition and grew wildly popular brands like The Ordinary. What Nicola wasn’t prepared for, however, was Brandon’s very public struggles with his mental health in 2018, his death in 2019, and the devastating impact it all had on the company. “Ultimately, you can't help someone who doesn't want help.”In this heartfelt, honest, emotionally raw episode of Secret Leaders, Nicola shares her incredible entrepreneurial journey to date. “It was always just trying to get the balance between keeping DECIEM going and trying to be there for Brandon. And people tell you all the time, you just have to wait for the person to want help. It's such a difficult situation to be in, you just have to wait for them to reach rock bottom. But what if they never do or, in Brandon's case, it ultimately ended in the worst possible way.”From founding DECIEM with Brandon, to seeking investment, scaling the business up, and then what happened when Brandon’s mental health took a turn for the worse. After being fired by Brandon, to assuming control of the company once more, Nicola tells the DECIEM story, warts and all, ensuring that Brandon’s legacy lives on.“Brandon would want, you know, he taught us so much about family and being there for each other. So it was kind of, let's just put that back into practice now.”We chat about:Starting DECIEM with BrandonFunding DECIEM with Estee LauderWorking with Brandon before and during 2018Being fired and then regaining control of the companyCommunicating through a crisisLinks:Brandon TruaxeAvestanWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
50 minutes | 4 months ago
Could a startup solve homelessness? With Beam CEO Alex Stephany
Wondering what to give as an unusual gift this year? How about donating in someone’s name to a social enterprise solving homelessness? Simply purchase a gift card for someone from Beam, and help a homeless person get back on their feet. “There's billions of pounds being spent on homelessness. More than 1000 organisations are tackling homelessness. There are millions of people in London who care about this issue. And yet still, despite all of this, people are literally dying outside of tube stations.”Alex Stephany, founder and CEO of Beam, a social enterprise solving homelessness, has taken his particularly bold and ambitious problem solving mind and turned it toward tackling this problem. But how does your donation help someone find a home? Well, it does more than that, through crowdfunding, you donate to specific individuals, who put the money towards training in their chosen vocation. “The greatest economic opportunity you can give to people is a sense of self worth and an opportunity to contribute back to society because really, they don't want donations. They want the ability to be in control of their own destiny.”Alex shares the story of the first homeless person he helped, Tony, and how Tony was the inspiration to scale up Beam. “I thought, well, if we can do that for one person, then what if we can do that for 100,000, or millions of people? What if we can use technology and operational processes to create this same life changing intervention for other people at scale?”So, if you’re interested in learning how to solve real world problems AND make money in the process, don’t miss this incredible episode. We chat about:Founding Beam and its business model Tony’s storyFrustrations when running Beam Making money while doing social good Scaling up Beam with tech How to support BeamLinks:https://alexstephany.com/Want to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
53 minutes | 4 months ago
HubSpot - how to build a SAAS titan with CEO Brian Halligan
“I think today, if I look at the companies that are doing really well and kind of came out of nowhere, it's when their customer experience is 10 times better than the competition.”If you run a b2b, there’s a high possibility that you’re already a customer of today’s Secret Leader, CEO and founder of HubSpot, Brian Halligan. Founded in 2006, HubSpot has grown to annual revenues of over half a billion dollars, 3000 employees, 70,000+ customers across 100 countries.Brian is also an author of several fantastic books and has been named as one of the best CEOs for diversity and best CEOs for women, before it was trendy in tech. “Part of my mission in HubSpot isn't just to build a big successful company, but to build a company, my kid, and hopefully someday my grandkids, will be proud of and brag about.”In the early days of HubSpot, Brian found culture an uninspiring topic and famously said, ‘Please, can we never have a chief people officer?’ But even successful startup leopards can change their spots. Brian is now a keen advocate for culture, firmly believing, ‘culture is how people make decisions when you're not in the room. Culture is how you scale.’So to hear from the inbound marketing legend himself on topics ranging from customer experience to company culture, imposter syndrome to CEO support groups, don’t miss this incredible episode of Secret Leaders. We chat about:The what and why of HubSpotNever making the same mistake twiceWartime mode vs peacetime modeHow to nail customer experienceHubSpot culture codeHow to look after your mental healthLinks:Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and BlogsMarketing Lessons From The Grateful DeadWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
48 minutes | 4 months ago
Tabitha Goldstaub - AI, pivots and losing your identity
If you’re concerned about AI and how it could affect your future, then don’t miss Tabitha Goldstaub on this week’s episode of Secret Leaders. Tabitha is a serial tech entrepreneur, an artificial intelligence industry expert who is chair of the UK government's AI Council, and co founder of CognitionX, which was before COVID, the biggest AI conference in the world, but has understandably had to pivot to an expert advice platform.“It was really clear that there were so many better experts to advise the government, but there wasn't anybody who could be the glue to hold them together. And they needed somebody to do a lot of the legwork. And also, I think they were looking for someone as optimistic as me.”Before that, she co-founded Rightster (now Brave Bison) a global b2b video network for distribution, content-sourcing, audience engagement and monetisation, and now she’s just written a book - How To Talk To Robots, something we could all do with learning. “I felt like I was at this sort of epicentre where I got to witness the future unfolding in front of my eyes. And I was selfish if I didn't explain it to my mates.”From explaining why she’s written a book about AI for women, to worrying that we won’t use AI to fight climate change, Tabitha is frank, open and incredibly honest about the future of AI. So, if you’re interested in the future of the world and the way that artificial intelligence will impact it, don’t miss this incredibly insightful episode. We chat about:Chairing the UK government’s AI council at 31The fear that led her to write How To Talk To RobotsThe risks and rewards of AIHer biggest fear in AIThe issue of trustPivoting CogX from physical to virtualLinks:How To Talk To RobotsCathy O'Neil - Weapons Of Math DestructionWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
67 minutes | 5 months ago
Jim Collins - best business author of his generation
“Bill [Lazier] would always remind our students, the most important thing is to do work you love, with people you love. And if you do work you love, with people you love, you win.”Jim Collins is an entrepreneurial researcher, however he’s most well known for being a best selling author of multiple books that frankly, if you're listening to this podcast and you haven't read, you've definitely got your priorities all wrong. We celebrate all things entrepreneur on Secret Leaders, having been in the game for almost 10 years ourselves. And one of the first books we ever read, as every budding, new or even seasoned entrepreneur should, was Good To Great. The timeless, classic, entrepreneurial handbook written by two experts. Jim’s latest book, Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0, a revamped and updated version of the original, is an homage to his co-author and late mentor, the inimitable Bob Lazier.“I asked Bill one day, I said, ‘So what makes a great relationship?’ He says, ‘oh, if you ask each person in the relationship, who benefits more from the relationship, they each independently would say, I do’.”Jim, by his own definition, is not normal. But then, we argue, what exceptional leader of industry is? That's why we invite people like him onto this show, so listeners can learn all about them. And this episode is one of the best. Jam packed full of tasty tidbits and inspiration, you should have your pen ready, because this is bound to fire up your neurons and get your thinking juices flowing. “Leadership is a responsibility not an entitlement, or decision, not an accident, a matter of willful action, not genetics, whether you learn to lead greatly in the end, is a choice.” We chat about:Bill LazierWriting Good to Great in the spirit of relationshipsLevel five leadersThe myth of the entrepreneurial temperament His encounters with Steve JobsThe Stockdale paradoxWhy Patagonia is such a great companyLinks:Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them AllBeyond Entrepreneurship 2.0Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to GreatTurning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic MechanismsGood To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don'tWant to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
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