The First Buck
Business & Economics Podcasts
This is the First Buck podcast where we feature underrepresented entrepreneurs and the people who support them.
Why Taking Risks Is Necessary for Entrepreneurial Success With Jeff Lynn
Jeff Lynn is the Co-founder and Chairman of Seedrs, a company that connects investors with growth-focused European startups. He began his entrepreneurial journey with Seedrs 15 years ago and, prior to that, had a career as a corporate lawyer. Jeff is also the Co-founder of Startup Coalition, a nonprofit that pushes for policies that support UK tech startups. Business Insider recognized him as one of the top 10 “Coolest People in UK Tech,” and GQ previously included Jeff in their list of “The 100 Most Influential Men in Britain.” In this episode… Risk-taking is virtually inseparable from entrepreneurship. Launching a business comes with varied unknowns that can hinder aspiring entrepreneurs from taking a leap of faith. Taking entrepreneurial risks can indeed come with substantial costs. However, these risks can also provide the momentum you will later reflect on as pivotal in your entrepreneurial journey. Jeff Lynn, a UK-based entrepreneur, is well acquainted with taking business risks. In his experience, 90% of risks taken don’t garner rewarding outcomes. However, risk-taking strategies that aren’t successful help guide you to the 10% that glean a successful ROI. Jeff’s account of how he pitched the first regulated crowdfunding platform to investors highlights some of the risks entrepreneurs face in their ventures. On this episode of The First Buck podcast, Nicolas Cary welcomes Jeff Lynn, Co-founder and Chairman of Seedrs, to discuss the lessons Jeff learned in his 15-year entrepreneurial journey. Jeff recounts his transition out of the legal industry, the risks he took to bring Seedrs to fruition, and how a business deal with a high-profile athlete reaped benefits for both parties. Jeff also shares interviewing best practices, mentorship expectations, and the importance of community in entrepreneurship.
How To Mitigate Capability Constraints With Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe
Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe is an Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a world-leading university dedicated to educating students in the social sciences. Juanita’s research focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation, and private equity. Her literature has been published in academic journals, including The Review of Financial Studies and The Journal of Financial Economics, and she has received awards such as the Jaime Fernandez de Araoz Prize for “Best Paper in Empirical Corporate Finance,” the Coller PhD Prize, and the Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship. Juanita is also the recipient of several research grants. In this episode… Growing a business is much like experimenting. As entrepreneurs begin the journey of building and launching their businesses, they will discover both favorable and limiting processes. Learning how your business responds to certain variables can increase its valuation. The problem is that too few enterprises have access to resources that allow them to take risks, a concept known as capability constraints. Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe, an expert in entrepreneurship and innovation, recognizes that business owners experience these constraints due to not being taught how to navigate these limitations in an educational environment. While an entrepreneurial curriculum could benefit business owners, learning from experience is fundamental to mitigating capability constraints that naturally occur in the industry. On this episode of The First Buck, Nicolas Cary welcomes Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe, an Associate Professor at LSE, to discuss her research on how mitigating capability restraints increases entrepreneurial potential. Juanita shares resources available to entrepreneurs seeking mentorship, creative funding strategies, and how to build a complementary team. Her entrepreneurial background encourages aspiring and veteran business owners wherever they find themselves on their journey.
Importance of User Research for Brand Success With Michelle Parsons
Michelle Parsons is a Product Executive in Residence at Product School, the global leader in product training with a growing community of 2 million product professionals. Michelle has leveraged her 15 years in the industry to develop product management certification programs to help product creators achieve their career goals. As a product leader knowledgeable in search, discovery, and personalization, Michelle has implemented solutions and created user-centric products for leading consumer tech companies, including Netflix, Spotify, and Hinge, a mobile dating app. She is also a board member for Sky’s the Limit. In this episode… A business' main objective is to convince consumers why their product is a necessity, and many entities will go to any length to attract as many patrons as possible. Conducting business that is strictly transactional causes missed opportunities. These missed opportunities include the ability to provide a personalized customer experience. Neglecting the user experience can cause your audience to become disinterested and disengaged from your brand. What can you do to avoid this oversight and ensure maximum consumer engagement? Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs without a seasoned reputation must strategize ways to build personal connections with customers. Michelle Parsons, a product advisor, believes business owners severely underestimate the impact of user research on brand success. Understanding who your audience is and why they resonate with your brand encourages personalized relationships, helping you gain loyal customers. On this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary welcomes Michelle Parsons, a Product Executive in Residence at Product School, to discuss how establishing a personalized connection with customers fosters a thriving company. An anecdote divulging how Michelle improved Hinge’s user experience and its effect on brand growth highlights how a personalized user experience bolsters brand engagement. Get inspired by her story and the wisdom she shares with fellow entrepreneurs.
How To Correct the Venture Capitalist Diversity Problem With Seth Levine
Seth Levine is the Co-founder of Foundry Group, a venture capitalist agency focused on making early-stage technology investments, participating in select growth rounds, and identifying and supporting the next generation of venture fund managers. Seth is an active participant in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving as a board member and advisor for multiple global venture funds, including The Unreasonable Institute, Lagos-based Ingressive Capital, and Sadara, a venture fund located in the Middle East. His book, The New Builders: Face to Face With the True Future of Business, considers how the nature of entrepreneurship is changing in the US. In this episode… Entrepreneurialism is the precipice for business-minded individuals. Owning a business has benefits that standard corporate positions can’t contend with, such as cultivating a company culture and controlling your calendar. Although these factors appeal to many business professionals, many entrepreneurs have abandoned their dreams due to insufficient resources and funding. There is a widely held misconception that startup founders in the US are primarily Caucasian males. The truth is that women, people of color, and immigrants dominate the US entrepreneurial landscape. Seth Levine, a venture capitalist, explored this phenomenon in his book, The New Builders. In his research, he discovered the venture capital industry suffers from a diversity problem — overlooking the nuances of entrepreneurs in varying industries. To correct this oversight, Seth aims to support small business founders with the resources and funding needed to kick-start their entrepreneurial journey. On this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary welcomes Seth Levine, Co-founder of Foundry Group, to discuss the current entrepreneurial landscape of the US and his plans to better support small business owners and the economy at large. Seth also offers advice for entrepreneurs preparing to pitch their business ideas and tips for managing stress as a business owner.
How To Develop the Heart, Mind, and Spirit of an Entrepreneur With Paul Solli
Paul Solli is the Co-founder and former Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Aperio Group, an investment management firm customizing wealth portfolios based on market exposure, taxes, personal values (ESG), factors, and risk. While at Aperio, his team managed over 30 billion dollars in assets. He began his career as a CPA at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Company, a Boston-based accounting firm. Before founding the Aperio Group, Paul held several executive leadership roles for management consultant companies, including Bain & Company, Salomon Brothers, and Financial Design Educational Corporation. Beyond the world of finance, Paul thrives as an avid adventurer and world traveler, recently embarking on an exhilarating motorcycle trip through Tanzania that exemplified his spirit of exploration and curiosity. In this episode… Starting a business has several pros, including being your boss, creating your schedule, and the possibility of becoming wealthy. Nonetheless, entrepreneurs need more than an entrepreneurial spirit to operate a successful business. They need a solid business plan, strong leadership skills, the ability to problem solve, and the forethought to pivot. Paul Solli, a retired business leader, cautions that starting a business comes with risks, and aspiring entrepreneurs should have a backup plan. He also recommends examining the company culture you’d like to build and the talent needed to uphold the organization’s mission. To do this, you may consider creating a pre-employment assessment for job candidates. Assessment tests measure hard and soft skills, job knowledge, analytical skills, and integrity. Though assessments aren’t perfect, they help hiring teams determine a candidate’s ability, personality, and work style. In this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary welcomes Paul Solli, Co-founder and former Partner of Aperio Group, to discuss entrepreneurship. Paul shares the importance of having a backup plan, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, strategies for hiring top-tier talent, and tips for managing stress.
Advancing Careers and Businesses With Google’s Jesse Haines
Jesse Haines is the Managing Director of Growth at Google, the company's $1 billion initiative that has helped over 9 million Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. With over a decade of experience at Google, she has played a crucial role in shaping emerging products and platforms while championing social impact efforts. Before joining the search engine giant, Jesse was the VP of Brand Development at Tommy Hilfiger and a consultant for Bain & Company. Jesse also serves on the board of directors of Literacy Partners. In this episode… Is your career search in limbo? Finding a job can be a daunting experience, but there are steps you can take to make it less stressful. First, start with a list of interests, research jobs and companies in that niche, and practice your interviewing skills. If the above tips still upset you, business executive Jesse Haines recommends the Grow with Google program. The initiative provides training, tools, and expertise to various groups, including small business owners, veterans, job seekers, educators, and developers. Through partnerships with over 9,000 organizations, Grow with Google has helped more than 10 million Americans develop new skills. So, how does the program work? In this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary joins Jesse Haines, Managing Director of Growth at Google, to discuss the Grow with Google program. Jesse shares how the program came to fruition, the Google Career Certificate program that helps individuals gain entry-level job readiness in tech fields, and recommendations for new entrepreneurs and career seekers. If you’re in the job market or pondering a career pivot, this is one episode you don’t want to miss. Tune in now!
Learning How To Take Risks and Invest in Your Business With Rick Wade
Rick Wade is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach for the US Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he is responsible for fostering diverse business partnerships through program development, providing counsel on policy issues, and serving as a strong advocate for American-owned businesses. Rick has devoted his career to improving communities by strengthening the US economy and advocating for quality education. He was a senior advisor in the 2008 Obama for America campaign and the Founder and President of The Wade Group, assisting small and mid-size businesses with revenue growth by building strategic alliances. In this episode… An innovative idea is the first step in an entrepreneur’s journey to owning a business. Launching your business can be a financial gamble — especially if you’re unfamiliar with business investment strategies. How do you know which risks are worth taking? Rick Wade, a seasoned business leader who experienced adversity in his early years, can relate to the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. He encourages young entrepreneurs to invest in themselves while exercising discernment and seeking mentors who will help navigate opportunities as they present themselves. On this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary welcomes Rick Wade, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach for the US Chamber of Commerce, to advise young entrepreneurs preparing to launch a startup. He talks about the experience gained while working for Barack Obama during his campaign and presidency. Rick also discusses how to become comfortable with taking business risks, the value of investing in social capital, and how to manage stress as a business owner.
Fundamental Truths of Entrepreneurism With Fabio Rosati
Fabio Rosati is a Chairman at Snagajob, a platform designed to help people find hourly work suited to their skills, maximizing their potential. With an illustrious career that includes serving as the CEO of Elance and Upwork and a board member at Xometry, among others, Fabio continues to shape the employment landscape and bring innovative solutions to the forefront. He is passionate about the potential for the employment market to embrace technology platforms as the go-to strategy for connecting employers with talent. In this episode… The standards of the 21st century would be unrecognizable to previous generations. Amid a transforming society, we adapt to technologies that positively impact outdated processes. A testament to this new era, methods for job searching have progressed — making it more accessible for candidates to apply for suitable positions. With a steady increase in entrepreneurial pursuits, what should business owners consider when hiring employees? The goal of entrepreneurism is the journey — not the destination. While admirable to desire to find a solution to the problem, your contribution is what truly matters. If your business doesn’t succeed, reminisce on the journey, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward. When expanding your team, seek talent that shares your perspective and passion, and consider the contribution they will make to your organization — as it will directly impact your company’s culture. In this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary introduces Fabio Rosati, Chairman at Snagajob, to advise aspiring entrepreneurs launching businesses in an evolving culture. Fabio also shares how the methods for job searching have evolved in recent decades, how his perspective on entrepreneurism changed upon acquiring a business deal, the interview questions he favors asking candidates, and the influence of social capital in his career.
Building Careers on Unexpected Opportunities With Mary Mack
Mary Mack is the former CEO of Consumer & Small Business Banking at Wells Fargo. Mary was named one of the top 50 most powerful women in business by Fortune Magazine for six consecutive years, and American Banker List ranked her among the most powerful women in banking. With 39 years of experience in the banking industry, she had the opportunity to advocate for entrepreneurs and small businesses nationwide. Her involvement in Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, which contributed $420 million in grants to aid underserved small businesses during the pandemic, further exemplifies her commitment to their success. In this episode… The progression of the professional workforce over the past few decades has rapidly evolved. Rather than committing the entirety of one’s career to a single entity, it’s common for professionals to explore positions in multiple industries — and with many industries overlapping with one another, there’s no limit on where an opportunity may lead. As a novice, what should you look for in a job opportunity? Mary Mack, a former banking titan, reassures professionals that their first job will not be their last. Rather than obsess over your first job, consider what is best for you in your current season, glean from the experience, and change direction when you’re ready for a new challenge. Entering the workforce with the sole intent of finding a career causes you to miss out on valuable experiences that only come from taking advantage of new opportunities. In this episode of The First Buck Podcast, Nicolas Cary welcomes Mary Mack, retired CEO of Consumer & Small Business Banking at Wells Fargo, to discuss why seeking advice from seasoned entrepreneurs is pivotal when launching into your career and the value of aligning yourself with mentors who recognize your potential. Mary also shares how she stays up-to-date on financial industry developments, her advice to young entrepreneurs on stress management, and the lessons she learned while attending listening sessions.