Ask Me Anything

with Founders AMA

Ask a question

Insightful Questions To Identify Intelligent Fanatics

As an investor, over the last 10 years or so I have been paying greater attention in identifying the qualities of “intelligent fanatics” when assessing early-stage founders or CEOs of listed companies. This is not easy especially if one looks at business leaders across different industries, geographies and cultures (I live in Europe). Based on your extensive reading of great founders' biographies, what are in your opinion 3-5 examples of insightful questions one can ask founders/CEOs to better assess if they are (or are likely to become) “intelligent fanatics”, who can achieve disproportionate success in their respective field? It would be interesting also to think about which questions could have easily enabled investors to better assess founders, who also in the eyes of sophisticated investors initially appeared to be “intelligent fanatics” but overtime revealed themselves to be “overly successful storytellers” (Theranos, FTX, Wework, etc) Thank you for all the work you put in the Founders podcast! It’s a great product that in different ways makes a difference to many people PS: The google doc below, which you can share with your audience if you want, is a collection of materials on the subject of "intelligent fanatics" qualities, which you may find interesting: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1m7k-2cepxK75Gr7k0Ws-usR2ArJesM2MA_-gW_3N4G0/edit?pli=1 Kevin Martelli Switzerland www.dplus.ventures

A lifesaving book to a bored friend in a boring job.

Hi, thank you for the best podcast I can imagine! It´s changing my life. (And my wife, making her read Estée Lauder, etc.) My friend is very uninspired and bored in her job. She has a lot of talent and is doing great. She was even employee of the year. But she is so bored and is not doing what she loves. But she cannot get her self to quit and find a new job that is inspiring. What book can I give her that will hopefully inspire her to quit her job and get her life better. I believe everybody should do what they love and not just have a job because it is convenient and pays a good salary. Best regards Endre Bryn Hidlefjord (So lucky to be owning and running my own paradise in Norway, living the dream. Doing what me and my family loves for a living) https://florogfjare.no/en/ Thank you so much!

Common Threads - Door to Door Salesman

Hi David, Love your passion and focus. I've listened to almost all of your episodes, which has been a wonderful journey with you. In addition to the individual stories, one of the things I love is connecting the dots on "common threads" across the various Founders. One of them is obscure or much less obvious... that is a number of them spent time in door-to-door sales - from Henry Kaiser to Jim Clayton, to Paul Orfela to David Ogilvy. What's in the soup here? Excited to get your thoughts... With gratitude, Adam R. Karr

Personal growth of founders

Hi David! I love your podcast and the AMA! I take notes on every episode and review them all the time, and I've bought a number of the books that you've discussed - I became obsessed with Walt Disney for weeks! I'm an executive coach (AlisaCohn.com) and the author of From Start-up to Grown-up. I'm obsessed with the personal growth of leaders, particularly the personal growth of founders who need to evolve and grow as their companies grow. What have you observed are some themes about how founders grow personally as their companies grow? Who are the top 3-5 founders who exhibit this quality of rapid personal growth? Thanks so much and keep inspiring us! Alisa Cohn/AlisaCohn.com

The importance of a company mission that is greater than yourself and your company

Dear David, It is an honor to be part of the Founders community. Thank you for sharing the learnings of history's greatest entrepreneurs with the next-generation. Every episode of founders is like an entire MBA class compressed into an hour. My question is around the importance of having a company mission/purpose that is greater than the founder and the company. Is this a pre-requisite for excellence and success? (Are there counter examples?) Does having a crazy, seemingly impossible ambition paradoxically increase the probability of achieving outlier success? Does it empower an irrational sense of belief in yourself before it is warranted externally? It appears that an audacious mission galvanizes the founder and founding team to identify and unlock resources they didn't know they had. Further, it seems to exponentially increase the capacity of a founder to endure the inevitable pain on the journey. With gratitude, Dan It's nice to meet this community. I am the founder and managing partner of ReGen Ventures. We partner with founders daring to restore our planet from the atom up. You can find us at www.regen.vc