It's hard to start companies, it's difficult to lead, and we all have moments where we are convinced everyone else has it pulled together and that we must be the only sucker in the room.
This is a place for those stories and that kind of honesty. Honest, human stories from the front lines of startup life.
The more we are real with one another, the more we are each able to normalize the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial experience. And the more we can each quiet our inner voices of self-criticism and begin to step into the roles we were meant to play.
Thank you for joining us. We are so glad you are here.
The Founder Journey from an Investor's Perspective with Blaine Vess
In the last two years, Blaine has become one of the most prolific angel investors in the country. He previously founded Student Brands which he bootstrapped with his co-founders and ran as CEO then chairman through acquisition by Barnes and Noble in 2017. Blaine also co-founded Solve which completed the summer 2017 Y Combinator batch and was acquired later that year. Beyond his success as a founder and investor, Blaine is a deeply thoughtful, humble, and curious human willing to speak openly about numerous aspects of the founder journey and his experience on the investor side. If you have ever felt like investors are ‘the other’ or out of reach, this conversation may be deeply helpful.
The risks and benefits of transparent leadership with Gaurav Bhattacharya
Gaurav Bhattacharyya (Co-Founder and CEO of Involve.Ai) shares the very human side of his leadership journey over the last 18 months.
Involve recently raised a $16M round, but a year ago, the founders considered shutting down the business.
We explore impostor syndrome, navigating hard decisions and conversations, and inviting your team and board into the company's most difficult questions.
Transitioning Out of the CEO Role with S'well Founder Sarah Kauss
Sarah is the founder of S’well, maker of arguably the world’s best water bottles. Sarah and I talk about her realization she no longer wanted to stay in the CEO role at the company she founded as well as her decision to eventually conduct the search for a new CEO openly on social media. We also explore leading a team through transition and how to find support in your own big questions.
Telling Your Story Authentically w/ Inc Managing Editor Lindsay Blakeley
Lindsay Blakeley is the managing editor of Inc.com and LA’s Inc. bureau chief. I met Lindsay at an investor-hosted dinner in Beverly Hills a couple of years ago. We realized we had a shared curiosity regarding the human side of startup life. That curiosity resulted in a piece in this September’s Inc. but also in an ongoing conversation around topics surrounding the founder journey. Many of the founders I spend time with as a coach face shared challenges including depression, anxiety, burnout, and questions of whether they are enough (themes I too faced in my own time as a founder and CEO).
Lindsay has spoken with hundreds of founders over her years as a reporter. She is therefore in an interesting position to help us normalize parts of the founder experience that can be hard to see clearly in our own heads. Lindsay also shares some practical advice on how to connect with reporters and share your own story in an authentic way.
The Art of Starting Over with Lean Startup Methodology expert Trevor Owens
Trevor Owens is an expert in Lean Startup Methodology, which I believe is the best way for any startup or company to find product-market fit for any new idea. Trevor is the author of the bestselling book on applying Lean Startup methods in large organizations, The Lean Enterprise: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups. Trevor’s work has been featured in national media outlets including Forbes, Bloomberg, Fast Company, Business Insider, Mashable, and others. He's been a featured guest speaker at Princeton University, Columbia University, the United States White House, and worked with companies around the world including General Electric, Amazon, Microsoft, Huawei, United State Postal Service, and many others.
Trevor was previously the founder and CEO of Lean Startup Machine and Javelin and is currently working on a new product which he talks about in the episode.
We explore lean but also major life and leadership topics including burnout, grief, loss, layoffs, running out of money, the pressure to lead well, and the art of starting over.
Surviving What Drives Us with Doist CEO Amir Salihefendic
In this episode we welcome Amir Salihefendic. Amir is the founder and CEO of Doist, maker of one of the world’s most widely used task-management apps, ToDoIst. Amir bootstrapped Doist to millions of customers and tens of millions in revenue. But that’s not why I’m excited for you to meet him.
I’m excited because of the honestly and openness he brings to some of the biggest questions that haunt each of us. What makes me valuable? How do I know if I’m doing or achieving enough? What is enough? What actually makes my life valuable?
Excellent platform - timely topics!
Always interesting and timely topics. Really appreciate Matt’s approach to interviewing as well as the transparency and raw honesty of his guests. This is an excellent resource for individuals at every stage of business from start-ups to well established corporations.
October 25, 2020 amendment to my review:
After listening to several of these episodes over the past many months, I want to say how much I enjoy the variety of speakers; the deeply interesting perspectives; the raw honesty and open vulnerability shown by Matt and his guests as well as the immediate relevancy of the information shared. There are always many take-always that I immediately put into practice.
I also observe and wonder about this...
It seems at one time or another, everyone struggles with a sense of guilt and feelings of inadequacy while on a lifelong quest for personal value. These seem to be as common to early founders as they are to profoundly successful business leaders.
I don’t believe any of these are related to what we do as much as they are to who we are and who we choose to become.
It would be interesting to ask the questions:
1. At what age or point in your career did you have an “ah-ha” moment of clarity about what is really important to a rich and meaningful life?
2. Did you have to experience burn-out to get there?
3. Were there “warning signs” (emotional, behavioral, relationship, health) that clued you in?
4. What conscious changes did you (or did you not) make in work/life after that point?
5. What would you say to your earlier self to perhaps avoid some of the pain endured through lessons learned?
I really enjoyed the episode with Amir Salihefendic.
Honest and helpful
So many entrepreneurship podcasts highlight just the “ups” of start-up life, but Sanity Pods talks about the dark underbelly of entrepreneurship, especially in these uncertain times: the loneliness, the self-doubt, and the difficult decisions. Matt is uniquely talented at being honest and vulnerable, and getting his guests to be the same. I highly recommend this podcast to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs alike; it’s a helpful and cathartic way to normalize the emotional roller coaster of running your own business.