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Education

The 4 Entrepreneur Personality Types

July 15, 2019


There are so many misconceptions, stereotypes and blatantly wrong factual information floating around that its no wonder all entrepreneurs get slapped with a bad reputation label. The discrimination runs deep but thanks to a swift and positive upswing in the dominant demographical markets, these ideals are rapidly changing for the better.

We’re not all bohemian, airy-fairy, dream-chasers, who will likely crash and burn. If that’s what you believe, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got it all wrong. Until recently, everyone from financial lenders to the tax man treated the entrepreneur with an underlying tone of distrust or at least with caution tape.

All hail the Boomers and Millennials for infiltrating the entrepreneurial world with gusto. These demographic markets are not only the dominating force in society at the moment (dictating the sway of masses), they’re also embracing the need to create and build their own future, forge their own path, and the cherry on top is their seemingly innate ability to do so. As if they were born for this moment in history. As Amazon gobbles up retail and corporate America, the “new kids in town” aren’t hesitating to reinvent the wheel.

What to expect

  • Debunking Entrepreneurship Myths: Here we will debunk the stigmas and taboos surrounding entrepreneurialism that have society at large believe the self-employed are crazy risk-takers with no sense of direction or real purpose.
  • Substitute Risk with Truth: Find out what it means to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to be successful. It’s not about chasing a whimsical idea. It can be a sound, solid, executable and fulfilling opportunity to live your truth, instead of someone else’s.
  • Bring Your Gifts to the Table: Being an entrepreneur isn’t only for the hard-core risk-takers or risk-seekers who live for the thrill of the experience. Nor,
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Three Leadership Podcasts You Should be Listening to

July 15, 2019


We’re neither here nor there; we’re on our way from one point to another, usually sitting in traffic, reading email on a train or bus, or simply zoning out in the back of a shared carpool.

In my opinion, this in-between time offers the perfect opportunity to brush up on your leadership skills, take on a fresh perspective, and really dig deep into the things that matter the most to you in business. The best way to do that is to find some great podcasts to listen to as you shuttle from one place to another.

Podcasts are booming

You have probably overheard all of your coworkers and friends talking about podcasts lately. That’s because podcasts have seen a significant uptick in popularity in the last few years. 

Podcasts are easily consumable when you are on the go. Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour-and-a-half, you can find a podcast that will meet your needs, feed your interests or teach you something new.

Podcasts also fit comfortably into our busy daily lives. On your way to pick up the kids after work? Listen to part of a podcast. Waiting for your train from the city? Dive into that article you couldn’t read by listening to the interviews on a podcast. Anytime you want to make the most of that in-between space, you can just plug in a pair of headphones or connect your smartphone to your car and take advantage of any sort of downtime you might have. You can choose an educational podcast, something light and funny, a dark mystery, or something that lifts your spirits. It all depends on how you want to spend your time.

Podcasts have also begun to help build communities of people who share similar passions and interests. In an increasingly separated, divided, …

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Google debuts ‘Code with Google’ coding education resource for teachers

Google debuts ‘Code with Google’ coding education resource for teachers

July 8, 2019

Google is offering a new coding resource for educators via Code with Google, which collects Google’s own free course curriculum on teaching computer science and a variety of programs to help students learn to code or build on their existing skills, with stuff for people at all levels of ability.

The Code with Google resources extend beyond just learning, however, and include potential scholarships, for instance, was well as summer programs, internships and residencies.

In a blog post, Google VP of Education and University Relations Maggie Johnson noted that while recognition of the importance of computer science across all levels of education is relatively high, the actual availability of courses that include hands-on programming for students is surprisingly low, and generally only accessible to students in more affluent districts with access to more resources.

All of Google’s Code with Google resources are free, in keeping with many of its other educational offerings, as it continues to drive its education tech leadership position combined with affordable Chromebooks for schools. Google also announced a $1 million grant to the Computer Science Teachers Association alongside the unveiling of this new resource.

Google is smart to continue to approach its education strategy through free resources and easy-to-use, cloud-based software that is accessible to a broad range of both educators and students at all skill and expertise levels.

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Calm raises $27M to McConaughey you to sleep

Calm raises $27M to McConaughey you to sleep

July 1, 2019

Meditation app unicorn Calm wants you to doze off to the dulcet tones of actor Matthew McConaughey’s southern drawl or writer Stephen Fry’s English accent. Calm’s Sleep Stories feature that launched last year is a hit, with more than 150 million listens from its 2 million paid subscribers and 50 million downloads. While lots of people want to meditate, they need to sleep. The seven-year-old app has finally found its must-have feature that makes it a habit rather than an aspiration.

Keen to capitalize on solving the insomnia problems plaguing people around the world, Lightspeed tells TechCrunch it has just invested $27 million into a Series B extension round in Calm alongside some celebrity angels at a $1 billion valuation. The cash will help the $70 per year subscription app further expand from guided meditations into more self-help masterclasses, stretching routines, relaxing music, breathing exercises, stories for children and celebrity readings that lull you to sleep.

The funding adds to Calm’s $88 million Series B led by TPG that was announced in February that was also at a $1 billion valuation, bringing the full B round to $115 million and Calm’s total funding to about $141 million. Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn confirms the fund started talks with Calm around the same time as TPG, but took longer to finish due diligence, which is why the valuation didn’t grow despite Calm’s progress since February.

“Nicole and Lightspeed are valuable partners as we continue to double down on entertainment through our content,” Calm’s head of communications Alexia Marchetti tells me. The startup plans to announce more celebrity content tie-ins later this summer.

Broadening its appeal is critical for Calm amidst a crowded meditation app market that includes Headspace, Simple Habit and Insight Timer, plus newer entrants like Peloton’s mindfulness sessions and Journey’s

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The IPO’d learn investing at First Round’s Angel Track

The IPO’d learn investing at First Round’s Angel Track

June 29, 2019

Startups depend on the angel lifecycle. A few flush post-exit individuals put the first cash into a fresh venture. With some skill and plenty of luck, the early team grows the company into a big success. It sells or goes public and those team members earn a fortune. They then pay it forward by investing in the next generation of startups.

If they hoard their spoils they starve the early-stage ecosystem or leave founders stuck with dumb money from non-strategic financiers. If they redistribute their winnings, they can influence startup culture by deciding what, and more importantly, who gets funding.

But how does a co-founder or VP learn to be a mini-VC? That’s the goal of First Round Capital’s Angel Track, a free three-month workshop series in San Francisco and New York for learning how to source, vet, close, and support angel investments.

A scene from Angel Track’s first cohort

Every two weeks, an expert on some part of the investing process like finding deals or interviewing founders talks to the class, does Q&A, and then leaves the group to openly discuss what they learned and how to use it. Angel Track sessions have been tought by some of the smartest people in the valley like growth master Elad Gil, #ANGELS founding partner and former Twitter VP of corp dev Jessica Verrilli, and Precursor Ventures managing partner Charles Hudson.

Hundreds of startup execs apply for the 15 spots on each coast. After two classes in SF and one in NYC, today First Round unveiled its recently-graduated third cohort from programs in both cities. Those include Lucy Zhang who sold Facebook her chat startup Beluga that became the foundation of Messenger, and Mented Cosmetics co-founder and CEO KJ Miller. By the end of the program they’re taking joint pitch meetings …

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Talking Shop: Why Professional Growth Is Critical to a Successful Career

June 26, 2019


Whether you’re an employee or a manager, personal and professional growth may be the key to your long-term success. Even if you feel like you are in a good spot in your career, if you aren’t seeking opportunities for growth, you could be hurting your chances for future success.

Bill Eckstrom

Bill Eckstrom is the president and founder of the EcSell Institute, which helps managers, executives, and organizations grow by providing research, data, and clarity into how their teams are performing. Eckstrom believes that when you aren’t growing, you’re stuck in a cycle that eventually leads to stagnation. It’s searching out development opportunities, whether they be on the job or off, that can break the cycle and get you moving forward again.

In addition to individuals benefiting from seeking out opportunities for growth, Eckstrom says, organizations as a whole reap similar benefits.

We recently had the chance to speak with Eckstrom about professional growth, how it relates to professional development and the steps you should take if you feel you aren’t growing.

What is professional growth?

Q: How do you define professional growth? Does it have to take place in the classroom? Can it take place on the job?  

A: The way I view professional growth is the development or better use of talents and skills that lead to improved outcomes. This development can take place in many differing places – on the job or [in] off-the-job environments. 

On the job can be the result of experiential learning, coaching relationships, classroom, etc. However, too often people view professional growth as something that is only on the job, but it is not. For example, one of our executive leaders became a certified yoga instructor, and we have all benefited from her growth. She is more calm under fire, she has …

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How to scale a start-up in school

How to scale a start-up in school

June 25, 2019

If you’re serious about starting and scaling your business in school, treat your time in school like an extended incubator. While you may experience high levels of academic stress, your “real world” financial stress and transition to adulthood are buffered.

Understand why you’re in school

The key advantage of starting your business in school is that you have the time to test different ideas and evaluate which idea generates traction without high stakes. You will also gain key subject matter and operational knowledge that you can carry throughout your career.

The challenge of starting a business in school is that it is not easy to devote adequate focused energy to the growth of that business. Student founders cannot attend to the needs of their business whenever they feel like it. It’s a 24/7, 365 job that needs to be managed on top of rigorous schoolwork.

When I started Terravive, I spent at least 4-5 hours throughout each day speaking with our partners and customers and solving problems. Sometimes you must leave class and drop everything to put out fires.

The key to surmounting this challenge is to understand why you want to start this business. If you just want the recognition of starting a business, then I would recommend a different line of work to get the recognition you’re seeking.

Image via Getty Images / creatarka

If you want to solve a problem that you see in the world and are willing to do anything and everything to realize your vision, then starting a business may be the right path. When you run into problems in the future or question why you’re making all these sacrifices, remember why you started.

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How to Land Your First Tech Job

June 4, 2019


According to statistics from Cyberstates, in 2018 there were 3.7 million job postings for tech occupations. But, because tech jobs are so popular and sought after, there’s a lot of competition. With no work experience, you might be wondering how you can impress a prospective employer or even have your resume chosen for an interview. If you don’t have any previous tech experience to list on your resume, it doesn’t mean you can’t impress the tech employer of your dreams.

No experience? No problem. Here’s how to land your first tech job.

1. Network online and offline.

If you want to get noticed by potential employers and make some connections in the tech industry, you need to put yourself out there. Meeting people who are already in the tech industry is a great way to build up a name for yourself and get leads on tech jobs before they’re posted online.

First, spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are often on LinkedIn, so make sure your profile stands out and includes relevant skills for the job you want. Next, build an online portfolio on a site like GitHub, where you can show off your skills and interact with others in the industry. You could also make a website of your own and start blogging to drive traffic (including potential employers) to your site.

Get out from behind your computer screen once in a while by attending IRL (in real life) networking events. Search for upcoming tech meetups, conferences, and hackathons in your area. If you can make meaningful connections with industry peers and professionals, the job will come to you.

2. Boost your skills with online courses.

Just because you’ve finished your studies, doesn’t mean you should stop learning. If you want to land your first tech job …

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12 Questions for Mentoring Success

May 17, 2019


The articles frequently say that mentors give advice and sponsors give opportunity. This isn’t always the case. Based on my experience and research working with hundreds of mentors and thousands of mentees, I have found that the most successful mentoring relationships are rooted in a two-way dialog where mentors and mentees ask each other (and themselves) questions that result in career-advancing insights and opportunities for the mentee. Here are some examples.

Questions Mentors Should Ask Their Mentees

  • What do you want to achieve for yourself, your team and your company? This question allows both mentors and mentees to zoom in on specific strategies and behavioral changes that are in tune with the mentee’s goals. It moves the conversation from general to specific.
  • Why is this goal important to you, your team and the company? In asking this question, the mentor is doing a non-threatening reality check. He or she is helping the mentee assess if the goal is worth the effort needed to make it happen.
  • What difference will achieving your goals make? This question opens up a big-picture discussion about what is likely to happen when the mentee’s goals are achieved. It allows the mentee to assess the potential impact personally, professionally and corporately. It’s not uncommon for possible negative outcomes to surface (e.g., more time away from the family). These are not necessarily deal-breakers, but they are needed eye-openers.

Questions Mentors Should Ask Themselves

Too often mentor/mentee relationships are defined by the mentor telling the mentee what to do. In my experience, these are the least successful relationships as they tend to be short-lived and disappointing. For best results, mentors need to think of themselves as listeners and sounding boards, helping their mentees broaden their horizons. Asking themselves questions like these will help mentors successfully fill those roles:…

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3 Mentoring Relationships that Matter Most for Women

May 14, 2019


Having worked with hundreds of organizations and thousands of talented women for over 25 years, I have found that in order for women to realize their career goals and to become active contributors to corporate success, they need three distinct types of mentors.

1. Operational mentors

Operational mentors provide advice and counsel on the right way to get the job done and the obstacles to avoid while getting it done. These mentors are women or men who can help with the day-to-day problems that arise as a woman strives to excel in her responsibilities. They are especially valuable as she moves into different positions and may feel uncertain about the best ways to handle her new job.  

In selecting operational mentors, women should look for someone who has succeeded at the particular job function and who is currently tuned in to both best practices for that job and to industry-wide trends. Operational mentors can come from within the organization or from other companies. 

2. Strategic mentors

Strategic mentors help a woman gain greater insight into what the business is all about and which of her talents and skills best dovetail with corporate needs. The primary role of strategic mentors is to help women learn to connect with influential leaders within the organization. These mentors work with a woman to develop strategies that make her more visible to the right people at the right time so that corporate leaders see her as a needed asset to growth and profitability. In other words, strategic mentors help women understand how to get noticed by those who matter.

In seeking out strategic mentors, women should look to those who understand both the obvious and subtle workings of the organization. They should ensure that the mentor is someone they respect and trust; and that he …

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