82 episodes

The Most Awesome Founder Podcast is a show about entrepreneurs, innovators, advisors, and educators, and the stories that make them who they are today. We are brought to you by the WHU–Otto Beisheim School of Management Entrepreneurship Center in beautiful Vallendar, Germany.

The Most Awesome Founder Podcast Gerrit McGowan

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

The Most Awesome Founder Podcast is a show about entrepreneurs, innovators, advisors, and educators, and the stories that make them who they are today. We are brought to you by the WHU–Otto Beisheim School of Management Entrepreneurship Center in beautiful Vallendar, Germany.

    EP 82 - Should startups promote a social vision with Murat Tarakci and Timo van Balen

    EP 82 - Should startups promote a social vision with Murat Tarakci and Timo van Balen

    This episode is for everybody who wants to get a bit nerdy with top-notch entrepreneurship research. We are excited to welcome the two renowned scholars Murat Tarakci & Timo van Balen to gain insights into their electrifying research about how startups with a social vision struggle to attract job talent. Gerrit’s trajectory perfectly complements this academic understanding as the founder of a nonprofit startup and inevitably leads to fascinating discussions.
    Revisiting some of our most commonly discussed topics, like message-market-fit, communication strategies for startups, and the struggles of building a solid recruiting strategy, but this time with the sound support of top-level research.
    (0:10) Intro to the episode
    (1:20) Murat’s background story
    (2:40) Timo’s background story
    (4:38) Why did Timo join a startup after his PhD? 
    (6:10) Topic and motivation for the paper 
    (10:55) Gerrit’s view on the social vision
    (15:20) The message depends on the audience  
    (18:00) The different pools for applicants   
    (21:10) Employees as „rational actors“?   
    (26:08) Discussing the results that a stronger social purpose leads to fewer applicants for the startup   
    (30:51) Using other channels to lure applicants 
    (34:20) Storytelling in communicating social visions
    (39:25) Implications for practitioners when formulating a communication strategy
    (43:05) Message market fit
    (47:00) How do Mura & Timo integrate the results into their teaching?
    (51:58) Faking a social purpose
    (58:56) Murat’s recommendation 
    (1:00:40) Timo’s podcast recommendation
    Murat’s recommendation
    Ethan Mollick - The Unicorn's Shadow
    Ron Adner - Winning the right game
    Timo’s recommenation
    SF Masterworks
    Revolutions podcast

    • 1 hr 3 min
    EP 81 - Creating and leading scaleups in the Middle East with Muhammad Chbib

    EP 81 - Creating and leading scaleups in the Middle East with Muhammad Chbib

    The 81st edition of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast with Dries & Gerrit is just around the corner! We delve into the fascinating world of startups and cross-cultural business dynamics with our guest, experienced founder, business angel and WHU alum, Muhammad Chbib.
    Muhammad shares his valuable insights and experiences in the startup world and describes his journey from Germany to Dubai and back again and, how it has shaped his approach to entrepreneurship and the lessons he has learned along the way. 🚀
    Muhammad's expertise and perspective shed light on the significance of building connections, navigating cultural nuances, and seizing opportunities in Arabic markets. 🌟
    He also emphasizes the need to adapt and respect the ways of the culture in order to succeed. His critical perspective on some aspects of how he feels a colonist mentality by Westerners sparks a lively discussion that is now more relevant than ever.
    Take advantage of this thought-provoking conversation!
    (0:09) Intro to the episode
    (1:11) Muhammad’s background story
    (4:58) From a startup to a consulting mindset
    (10:40) What was the motivation for venturing into the Middle East
    (17:22) How did the startup landscape in the Middle East look like back then?
    (21:45) Navigating through region-specific relationships, dynamics and networks
    (28:53) What is Muhammad’s view on the Berlin startup scene?
    (33:00) What are control freak investors, and how do they relate to the lack of diversity in the German mindset? 
    (36:40) Underrepresentation of people with an immigration background in the German startup scene
    (40:25) German VC getting active in the Middle East
    (47:20) Different norms & values and how to deal with it
    (56:45) Working in other cultures as a Westerner
    (58:10) What is a „First 1000 days guy“?
    (01:03:40) Muhammad's media recommendations 
    Muhammad's podcast recommendation:
    Gysi gegen Guttenberg - Der Deutschland Podcast

    • 1 hr 9 min
    EP 80 – Inspiration session #10: Startup subsidies, lean impact and dark side of AI

    EP 80 – Inspiration session #10: Startup subsidies, lean impact and dark side of AI

    We are excited to unveil the 10th installment of the inspiration session, featuring our co-hosts GerritMcGowan and Dries Faems.
    They discuss a captivating mixture of different topics in the realm of entrepreneurship from an academic and a practitioner perspective, such as:
    •    Why aren't there more sustainability-driven unicorns, although badly needed
    •    Which startups get supported by government grants
    •    What the academic research on the controversial topic of hybrid work yielded
    •    The next big thing on the horizon: quantum computing 
    And have you always wanted to know how to create the boyfriend/girlfriend of your dreams? Then, gear up for a rollercoaster of knowledge, reflection, and pure amusement!
    You won't want to miss this exhilarating episode!🔍
    (0:10) Intro of Gerrit
    (2:30) What is something that made Dries learn? 
    (3:40) Did Gerrit apply for governmental funding for one of his startups?
    (7:45) Subsidy entrepreneurs: An inquiry into firms seeking public grants
    (15:40) Which startups should get supported by grants?
    (23:15) What is something that made Gerrit learn? 
    (28:23) Why aren’t there more social unicorns?
    (37:15) What could Gerrit have done differently for his own social venture?
    (41:58) The growing importance of social ventures
    (47:55) Something that made Dries learn
    (55:28) Deep dive into the paper: How hybrid working from home works out
    (1:04:55) Something that made Gerrit learn
    (1:11:30) Are we prepared for quantum computing? Did we learn something from AI?
    (1:20:31) Something that made Dries laugh
    (1:27:40) Something that made Gerrit laugh
    (1:36:30) Outro
    Discussed sources:
    Something that made you learn:
    Gustafsson, A., Tingvall, P. G., & Halvarsson, D. (2020). Subsidy entrepreneurs: An inquiry into firms seeking public grants. Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, 20(3), 439-478.
    Chang, A. M. (2018). Lean impact: How to innovate for radically greater social good
    Something that made you learn:
    Bloom, N., Han, R., & Liang, J. (2022). How hybrid working from home works out (No. w30292). National Bureau of Economic Research
    Wadhwa, V., & Kop, M. (2022, October 4). Quantum computing is even more dangerous than artificial intelligence. Foreign Policy 
    Something that made you laugh:
    Marr, B. (2023, September 28). Artificial Intimacy: How Generative AI Can Now Create Your Dream Girlfriend. Forbes

    • 1 hr 37 min
    EP 79 - Mitigating Startup Founder Burnout with Ute Stephan

    EP 79 - Mitigating Startup Founder Burnout with Ute Stephan

    In today's episode 79, Dries & Gerrit explore the toll it can take on a founder's mental health whilst trying to materialize his entrepreneurial dream into a reality, and they have an excellent guest for that matter: Prof. Ute Stephan, a renowned entrepreneurship scholar from King's College and an outstanding expert on entrepreneurial wellbeing and founder stress.
    The three plunge into the fascinating topic of how entrepreneurs' wellbeing directly impacts the success of their ventures and the vital role strict leisure time management can play. 💼 How can one implement coping strategies to avoid getting caught in a cycle of overwork and why meticulously tracking health and fitness can be a curse and blessing? 📆 Dive into a captivating episode where personal journeys intertwine with cutting-edge entrepreneurship research, all shining a spotlight on mental health.
    Check on yourself and, if you can, on others!
    (0:08) Introduction of Dries
    (0:50) Ute's backstory
    (3:53) What drove Ute as a psychologist to research Entrepreneurs?
    (7:22) Is wellbeing and mental health a "first world problem"?
    (10:15) What are overarching meta-analysis results regarding entrepreneur's wellbeing?
    (13:10) Being in control vs being "employed" by a VC 
    (16:25) How does growing responsibility impact a founder's mental health
    (19:20) Effect of the Covid pandemic
    (21:14) Strategies to deal with the stressful challenges
    (26:48) Motivation and goals as coping strategies
    (31:20) How did Gerrit notice that his mental health was deteriorating?
    (35:25) Which techniques does Gerrit apply today?
    (41:10) Generation Z and the relationship to hustle culture
    (44:28) The culture of failure in different nations and how that relates to distress
    (46:50) Drugs to mitigate stress or depression
    (49:30) How to not get stressed by avoiding stress
    (55:00) Ute's book recommendations
    Ute‘s book recommendation:
    Davies, J. - Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created our Mental Health Crisis
    Further resources:
    Founder Mental Health Pledge
    King’s College London – LinkedIn
    King’s College London – Twitter

    • 57 min
    EP 78 - Empowering Women in Finance with Dana Menzel

    EP 78 - Empowering Women in Finance with Dana Menzel

    We are over the moon to have Dana Menzel on board for episode 78 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast. Dana's entrepreneurial path is impressively versatile. She started as a goldsmith, mastering the art of this filigree craft, and turned this into her first thriving jewellery business. Now, she is leaping into a whole new area, and we are excited to hear about this!
    With roots spanning across international borders, Dana is carving out a space for herself as a female entrepreneur. She talks about the most significant challenges as a female entrepreneur in Germany, how she masters them, and what qualities she looks for in a co-founder.
    An MBA and WHU accelerator graduate, Dana speaks to her education's instrumental role in equipping her with the tools and networks vital in breathing life into her idea of a platform born from a desire to uplift women through financial literacy and independence since her master's thesis provided some shocking insights in that regard.
    (0:10) Dries introduction to the episode
    (0:40) Dana's background
    (3:40) The intention of doing a goldsmith apprenticeship
    (5:30) How did Dana pivot from a goldsmith to a more business life
    (10:45) Dana talks about her newest endeavor, "Sayhitofinance " 
    (13:50) How the idea came to pass: women often don't deal with their finances themselves
    (16:10) Community-building aspect of Sayhitofinance and how it benefits women
    (21:15) What is the most challenging thing about being a female entrepreneur in Germany?
    (27:55) The choice of being a solo founder and what a perfect co-founder would look like for Dana
    (29:53) Advice for female entrepreneurs from Dana's own experiences
    (32:05) Dana's recommendations for podcast & books
    Dana‘s recommendations:
    Panda Mama: Wie man glückliche und selbstbewusste Kinder großzieht

    • 38 min
    EP 77 - From founder to unicorn angel investor with Oskar Hartmann

    EP 77 - From founder to unicorn angel investor with Oskar Hartmann

    We're kicking off our new season with a bang! A dive deep into the world of angel investing with none other than Oskar Hartmann.🌍✨ His outstanding track record: 14 (!) of his startup investments have reached unicorn status, he's one of the 1000 wealthiest Germans, and in his spare time? He cracks world records in indoor rowing 🥴🏆
    Alongside our brilliant hosts Dries Faems & Gerrit McGowan, Oskar unveils the intricacies of spotting unicorns, what he learns from Olympic champions, and how to source for business opportunities from Africa to South America 🦄🚀
    By the end of this episode, you'll be equipped with a treasure trove of insights into the culture of risk, pinpointing unparalleled opportunities and the magic of unconventional thinking. Let Oskar's unparalleled experiences and tales inspire you to transcend your limits and chase excellence! 💡🌟
    (0:00) Dries introduction to our guest, Oskar Hartmann
    (0:45) Oskar's journey from an "explorer" to an entrepreneur
    (5:35) Getting ideas from other markets to detect current trends
    (10:20) Is the US still a role model for entrepreneurship ideation?
    (14:28) Germany's role in the global founder sphere
    (18:48) Oskar's explanation for his huge investment success
    (27:48) Accessing international investment opportunities and avoiding adverse selection
    (32:55) Oskar's rationale behind his investing decision 
    (37:40) Investing in a team rather than a market or an idea?
    (42:28) Oskar's extreme recreational activities
    (48:35) Recovery time while building companies and future endeavors  
    (53:45) Oskar's book recommendations
    Oskar‘s book recommendation:
    The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Michael Stetina ,

Founder Podcast is Awesome!

Few podcasts live up to the hype, but this one sure does! Join host Gerrit McGowan as he explores the topics most relevant to company founders. It's a must listen for exectutives who founded a company, and for entrepreneurs interested in doing so.

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