THE SHOW: Why You Shouldn't Chase Venture Capital
Episode 3.4: The Last One With Thad Lewis





In our final episode with special guest Thad Lewis, we talk about sales and we talk about funding, the way they're related, and how they're different. Thad Lewis is an NFL quarterback, and in that, he's got a couple of things working in his favor that the average entrepreneur does not, namely, connections and money. But this doesn't necessarily give him a leg up.

We talk about Venture Capital. Thad doesn't need it. Thad doesn't want it. But he could get it, and he can also get money from other sources (friends, the bank, etc.) Outside funding should be the last thing on the entrepreneur's mind until they absolutely know they need it, so we talk about that here.

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THE SHOW: Confidence is Everything
Episode 3.3 featuring 49ers QB and Athlete Entrepreneur Thad Lewis





We continue our discussion with NFL QB and entrepreneur Thad Lewis. Here's another way startup and sports run parallel. When you're an entrepreneur, confidence is everything. When you're an athlete, confidence is everything. Talent can only take you so far, it's confidence that's going to give you just enough of a boost to separate you from the pack.

But if a lack of confidence will kill you, overconfidence will kill you just as quickly. Finding the right mix, and how to go about getting to that mix, is one of the things we talk about in this episode.

On your startup journey, you're going to come across a lot of people who will tell you you're doing it wrong. What exactly will they tell you you're doing wrong? Just about everything. Wrong product, wrong market, wrong time, wrong place, wrong team. You need to have the wisdom to listen and adapt but still keep enough backbone to follow your mission when you know you're right.

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THE SHOW: Hire What You Suck At
Episode 3.2 featuring 49ers QB Thad Lewis





As an NFL quarterback, Thad Lewis has a couple of things working in his favor that translate well to becoming an entrepreneur, including available capital and great connections. But there are also areas he's not 100% versed on, like technology and marketing. Oh yeah, he also doesn't have a lot of time on his hands. His day job is a little more than 40 hours a week.

Even the best entrepreneurs aren't going to be good at everything. And even the most well-funded entrepreneurs don't want to lose too much control by farming out too many parts of the business. Startup is be a constant struggle of learn versus hire, no matter how long you've been at it.

So where do you start? And how do you start?

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THE SHOW: Why Startup is Like Being an NFL Quarterback
Episode 3.1 featuring 49ers QB Thad Lewis





This episode features a very special guest and extremely cool human being: San Francisco 49er quarterback and entrepreneur Thad Lewis. Aside from being a working NFL QB, Thad founded TL9 for his future after football and as a way to give back to the system that got him where he is. He's not alone as an athlete entrepreneur, and that's because there are a ridiculous number of parallels between sports and startup. We start covering them here.

Thad is funding TL9 himself. He's also overseeing all production, marketing the company -- hell, he's even shipping hats himself at the moment. You need to go to thadlewis.com and buy a hat, if just because Thad will be the one sending it to you.

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VIDEO: How To Build Relationships With Investors
Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 2.4





Just because your startup landed venture capital, that doesn't mean you're successful. And just because you've been offered investment doesn't mean you should take it.

If you and your investors don't have a solid relationship, it could spell the end of your startup. Or maybe just the end of your leadership there.

What starts as a discussion about emulation versus experimentation (and maybe a little man-crush from Colgan), turns into the finer points of authenticity, honesty, and relationships with investors. Investment means the clock is ticking and the runway is getting shorter, every day. Those relationships are going to get real critical, real quick.

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VIDEO: How To Get Noticed
Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 2.3





Getting noticed in startup is all about building relationships -- with your investors, with your customers, and with your potential investors and customers. Cultivating these relationships is one of the most important jobs for every founder, and it's a shame that a lot of entrepreneurs don't do it right.

WedPics co-founder Justin Miller is an entrepreneur you should try to be like, and not just because Jon Colgan and everyone he's ever met has said so. In this episode, Justin details how he establishes and maintains those relationships, and why they're so important. Getting noticed is about the long game, the slow burn, and there's rarely such a thing as overnight success.

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VIDEO: What Does Success Look Like? - Episode 2.2
Teaching Startup: The Show





What does a successful entrepreneur look like? That's a pretty good question that shouldn't have an answer, but it does. There are two prototypes, the VC wannabe and the dorm room hoodie. And it's all dudes. And all of that needs to change.

But what about the rest of us? Do we entrepreneurs dress a certain way to stand out? Definitely. You need to cultivate your own look. It helps make people remember you. And the opposite, dressing for success, that doesn't help one iota. That's one of the things I love about startup. The ability to stand out or be contrarian helps you more often than it hurts you.

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VIDEO: How To Market a Startup - Episode 2.1
Teaching Startup: The Show
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I met WedPics co-founder Justin Miller about 10 years ago when he came up with the idea to establish a music festival as a marketing event for his photo-sharing startup DejaMi. You heard me. A music festival. Bands, venues, tickets, the works. I immediately fell in love with the idea for its boldness and its batbleep insanity.

Entrepreneurs are usually terrible at marketing, especially first-time entrepreneurs. And that's the core of this episode -- How To Market Your Startup -- where we dig into offline vs. online marketing tactics and how one must complement the other in order to see any success out of either.

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VIDEO: Survive Or Die
Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 1.6





You hear this all the time as a cautionary tale in startup -- Survive or Die! There will be times when you have to make the decision to power through all of your mistakes or give up under the weight of them. Unlike a corporate job, in startup, there's no structure to blend into, nothing to hide behind, and no one is going to swoop in and save you.

That's part of the growth process of becoming an entrepreneur. It's hard to do and not always fun to talk about, but we found a way.

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Five Reasons for Startup: Elimination
Job Loss, Opportunity, Youth, Experimentation, Because Startup
At the outset of this series, I stated that there are an unlimited amount of reasons for someone to get into startup. So as we reach the end, the final breakdown of the final reason for startup, you probably won't be shocked that it's kind of a catch-all category. This is by design, because like most good journeys in life, we don't fully realize our reasons for embarking until we're already well on our way.

In some ways, I'm trying to persuade you into startup (or to stay with startup) with this series. I'm trying to convince you, you even might say I'm trying to trick you.

But I'm doing it for the right reasons.

When the startup community talks about startup, it's usually one of two ways. The first is a "go-for-broke" type of pitch -- usually a bunch of slogans you might find hanging on a wall in Successory-style framed image barf. I'm not a big fan of this, because I think it distills something awesome and complex into something pedestrian.

But I dislike the second type of pitch more -- the one that makes startup seem like a business class for people who have already been to business school. The folks that tell you that you're probably not ready, you'll probably hate it, and your cute little extension of the corporate world will lead you to a lot of pain and suffering if your financial projections are off by a few points.

Look, I'm not good at startup -- in the same way I'm not good at golf. The difference is, while I'll never show up on a professional golf tour, I can make a job, a career, even a life out of being an entrepreneur. So I'm going to keep learning, practicing, and playing.

Yeah, I need blind motivation at times, but it's MY blind motivation, not anything you can put a picture of a sailboat or a rainbow under to tell me to hang in there on Mondays. And I need financial projections, pitch decks, and market analysis, but there's NO UNIVERSAL MAP for how to do this. If I don't know the business of my business well enough to know my numbers, I need to focus on my business, not focus on where I put my hands when I'm pitching from a stage to a collection of uninterested VCs.

See? I'm already getting a little heated.

My point is: If you're not interested in startup for the Independence, Wealth, or Common Good that's inherent in it, and if your Personality isn't telling you that being an entrepreneur might be in your blood, startup can still be legitimate, satisfaction-filled way to spend your life. It may just come down to the process of Elimination.

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