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Showing posts in the "Leadership" category

The Evolution of a Leader

By Chris Marks Founding a start-up and running a large high growth company are two roles that come with completely different job descriptions. They require different skill sets, different temperaments, and tend to attract different types of people. As a result, it is no surprise that so few early stage entrepreneurs transition to successful large company CEOs. But there are founders who have made the transition. And what they will tell you is that it...

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This Stuff is Hard (w/ Joshua Hunt)

by Chris Marks When I partner with entrepreneurs who are raising venture capital for the first time, I know that I am going to have to help them adjust to a new, and often difficult, environment. Every entrepreneur is optimistic — it comes with the territory — but the fundraising process can be long and disheartening for even the most confident CEOs. I have found that there are two keys for any entrepreneur raising capital: balance and...

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Fighting for Leadership

The punchline of this post is an ask to donate to a very deserving non-profit called Access Opportunity, an organization that is helping build the next generation of leaders. I hope you will take the time to consider their cause. Thanks.

-Chris

Over the course of the past winter, I found myself dealing with an issue in my prior fund’s portfolio that tested me as an investor, and as a person. As with most things in the start up world, once the problem arose, there was no easy fix. The one thing that was apparent, was that it was going to get worse before it got better. I buckled in, knowing full well what was ahead. Turmoil within a...

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The Power of a Reboot

By Chris Marks Everyone struggles with being authentic. It comes with the territory — not only when you are part of a start-up, but when you are part of the human race. The world of venture capital is no exception. Recently, I had the honor of discussing this topic with my good friend Jerry Colonna of Reboot.io and Bryce Roberts of OATV and Indie.vc. It was a fun and engaging conversation. If you are an entrepreneur...

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Defining Authenticity

By Chris Marks Since launching Blue Note  Ventures, the most common question has been, “how will you know an authentic leader when you see one?” While I’m happy to provide some thoughts on the topic, a couple of clarifications are in order: First, I am not in the business of identifying who is an authentic leader and who is not. Far from it. My goal, and the purpose behind Blue Note Ventures, is to work...

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Managing Millennials: Thoughts from a Colorado CEO

Alan Sage is the co-founder and CEO of Digabit, Inc., a software company providing web-based libraries for technical documentation and parts catalogs. He is a successful serial entrepreneur with 20 years of experience leading software development and sales teams. I’ve been working with Alan since 2009, and have always been impressed with his commitment to company culture. I am honored that he has decided to share a few of his thoughts on the Blue Note Blog.

– Chris

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” -George Orwell There have been numerous articles and blog posts about the Millennial generation, and about managing Millennials in the workplace. While there may, in fact, be some differences between the generations currently in the workforce, I believe that these differences are irrelevant to how you run a company. I believe...

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On Authentic Leadership

Scott Kriens is the Chairman of Juniper Networks, where he served as CEO from its inception in 1996 through 2008, growing the company to $3.5 billion in revenue and over 7,000 employees around the world. He is also co-founder of the 1440 Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with a vision for building compassionate communities and helping people lead generative lives, and the 1440 Mulitversity, a learning community serving as a catalyst to your best self. I have been lucky to get to know Scott over the past few years, and during that time, our many discussions around the topic of authentic leadership helped shape the vision and passion behind Blue Note Ventures. I’m excited to have Scott as a partner and advisor, and proud to call him a friend.

– Chris

No one cares what you say until they know who you are. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, he describes a process called the ‘thin slice’. This is a reference to something we all do, sometimes without even knowing we do it. We take a ‘thin slice’, a quick check, of something presented to us and the person presenting it, and, paraphrasing Gladwell in my own words, we ask the following question – does it feel...

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Surviving Game 7

Toby is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kapost, the leading software platform for B2B content marketing. He is also a Washington Capitals fan and a Duke alum — all of which shine through in this post. Toby carries the distinction of being the only entrepreneur who I have ever invested in and played hockey with (a short-lived dynasty in the local YMCA Men’s League). He has written on the Blue Note Blog before, and I’m thrilled to have him back.

– Chris

I’ve been watching the recently completed Washington Capitals – NY Rangers NHL playoff series (I’m from Washington and a Caps fan). The Rangers won (cheers Mark Solon) in seven games, winning the final game in overtime. Analysts pointed out that it was the only playoff series in NHL history that went to overtime in game 7, and had all 7 games decided by only one goal. It was, they argued, the closest playoff series in NHL...

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Three Reasons Why Bruce is the Best Boss

I was first introduced to Stew Friedman by a mutual friend who knew of our shared passion for the music of Bruce Springsteen. As I dug into Stew’s work, I was amazed at how much it spoke to the purpose behind Blue Note Ventures. Stew has been a professor at Wharton School since 1984 where he founded both the Wharton Leadership Program and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. In 2001, he concluded a two-year assignment (while on leave from Wharton) at Ford, as the senior executive for leadership development. In partnership with the CEO, he launched a portfolio of initiatives to transform Ford’s culture — 2500+ managers per year participated. Stew has written several books including most recently, Leading The Life You Want: Integrating Work Life Balance (Harvard Business, 2014) and the award-winning bestseller, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (Harvard Business, 2008). You can learn more about Stew’s work and find his books on the Total Leadership Website (where this post originally appeared), follow him on Twitter at @stewfriedman and listen to his show, Work and Life, on Sirius XM 111,Tuesdays at 7:00 PM EDT. If all fails, you can look for Stew in the pit at an upcoming Bruce show.

-Chris

By Stew Friedman Bruce Springsteen — great leader? You might be skeptical, but bear with me as I describe a few practical ideas we can pull from Springsteen’s repertoire of the critical “soft skills” that set the memorably high-impact leaders apart from the rest of the pack. Bruce’s epic music is a source of inspiration for millions around the world. Like many others, his impact on me has been deeply personal. On a recent night...

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Three Stages of Start-up Leadership

Toby is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kapost, the leading software platform for B2B content marketing. I love the company, and I love Toby. He is one of the most transparent entrepreneurs I have ever worked with — which has been amazing.  And, to be honest, has been absolutely terrifying at times… Through it all, he has taught me a lot about the type of investor I want to be, and the type of entrepreneur I want to work with. I’m thrilled to have him share his thoughts on leading, both as a CEO and as a Co-Founder.

-Chris

My business card and my email signature list my title at Kapost as “Co-founder and CEO.” It’s the title I’ve held since we started the company five years ago. Our company has changed a lot in those five years; we’re over seventy people now. During that time, I’ve come to realize that the title really didn’t apply at the start of our business, and I’m hoping that it does not apply now. Specifically, I’ve come...

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