Following two days of exposure to entrepreneurial media outlets in Seattle, our University of Missouri School of Journalism media models class capped its West Coast trip at the all-day GeekWire Startup Day in neighboring Bellevue.

There’s too much to share from a full day, so I’ve let this simmer a couple of days to a reduction sauce of its essence.

  • Successful entrepreneurs are competitive and optimistic (glass half full). They are filled with FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Comparison is the root of all unhappiness.
  • Need funding: Look and ask for what you need, not for how much you can raise.
  • Be different, not a flavor of an existing product or service.
  • Know and understand that the business model will constantly change.
    — Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner

All sales are emotional relationships.
— Henry Albrecht, co-founder and CEO of Limeade

Reputation risk is as important [to manage] as balance sheet risk.
— Mark Mader, CEO of Smartsheet

Visionaries see things that others don’t see.

Things they don’t teach you in school:

  • Hiring.
  • Firing.
  • Contract writing.

What do you look for in hiring? Multiple perspectives.

What should one look for when building boards of directors for large and-or public companies?

  • Diversity of perspectives.
  • Someone from government.
  • Retired CEOs.
  • Gender balance.

What do you look for when hiring for smaller organizations with time challenges?

  • Younger.
  • Experience.
  • Diversity of expertise.
    — John Stanton, founder of VoiceStream Wireless, as interviewed by Jonathan Sposito, CEO of PicMonkey


  • Bring more to the table than an idea. Are you all in?
  • Partner with those who are strong in things you are not.
  • First goal – don’t (let the company) die.
    — Nick Huzar, co-founder and CEO of OfferUp

“I’ve seen more near-death experiences than I care to. Develop optionality. What’s plan B or C when A isn’t working? Know what your options are.”
— Andy Liu, co-founder of BuddyTV

  • Competition is everything.
  • Get the most out of every moment, every person.
  • Team camaraderie.
  • If you want to be great, you have to serve.
    — Russell Okung, Seattle Seahawk player and co-founder of Greater Foundation

Brian Steffens  
Director of Communications


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