Last night I went out to hear Jeff Hoffman (a Priceline.com founder) speak at a StartUpGuru event. Some of the attendees were there hunting for VC money, looking for consulting work, or looking to hire programmers. I went in the hope of hearing a good entrepreneurship yarn.
I enjoy a good concert occasionally, especially violin, piano and bluegrass, but hearing the great entrepreneurs is as good as it gets for me. Previously, I’ve heard the greats – Wayne Huizenga (Waste Management, etc), Bob Diener (Hotels.com), and Bob Johnson (BET) tell their stories. I’ll add Frank Schilling of Name Administration to the list even though very few would recognize him.
Jeff Hoffman did not disappoint — he came through with a riveting story – actually a string of stories about the highlights of his career and accumulated wisdom.
A lot of his advice and experience rang true with my own, for example:
- the CEO works for his team, it’s our job to keep the path clear
- we’re in the game. we can live with failing but not with failing to try
- why not us?
- upgrade your peer group
- no fear
- ego is the entrepreneur killer
- work hard and listen
- good CEOs are swift and decisive
- get fired up with enthusiasm, or be fired enthusiastically
- love the ecosystem
- do your own research, don’t listen to naysayers, opinion and guesswork
The one thing I heard that struck me as new, important and useful is this question that Jeff asks himself:
“What can I do today that I couldn’t do yesterday?”
Technology is changing around us so fast, this is a key question that I’ve overlooked. I’m adding that question to my list of daily questions started with help from Verne Harnish.
If you have a chance to hear Jeff speak, don’t miss it. He’s a tremendous entrepreneurial force but is also captivating with a warm, funny and generous nature. A big thanks to Jeff for sharing so generously and to Brian Tsuchiya for organizing an exceptional event.
We have spent our 13 years in business at LatPro pushing for a breakthrough. The last two years we spent getting battered by the recession while I worked on rebuilding my health. So, I need an occasional refueling and I got it last night!