Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

United States

The DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar (ETL) is a weekly seminar series on entrepreneurship, co-sponsored by BASES (a student entrepreneurship group), Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and the Department of Management Science and Engineering.


Embrace the Entrepreneurial Journey - Jane Chen (Embrace Innovations)  

Jane Marie Chen, co-founder and CEO of Embrace Innovations, describes how her social-enterprise startup’s infant warmer for premature and low-birth-weight babies came into the world. She discusses how passion fuels the drive to overcome setbacks big and small, how Embrace has expanded into retail to support its humanitarian efforts, and explains why we should “choose to see the world through the lens of beauty.”

An Entrepreneurial Mindset — Applied to You - Bonny Simi (JetBlue Technology Ventures)  

Go to a good college. Be in the Olympics. Work in TV and become a pilot. These were the goals of a 14-year-old girl who grew up in a town tucked into the mountains just east of Los Angeles. That girl went on to compete in three Olympics, become a sports commentator, an airplane pilot and three-time Stanford graduate. Here’s how Bonny Simi, now the president of JetBlue Technology Ventures, did it all.

Convergence Drives New Ideas - Joseph DeSimone (Carbon3D, Inc.)  

Distinguished professor and serial entrepreneur Joseph DeSimone discusses the vibrant chemistry that takes place at the intersection of science and the humanities, academia and industry, and within the walls of his 3D manufacturing startup Carbon. He describes how on-demand parts manufacturing could one day eliminate the need for business inventory and even end up in hospitals.

Convergence Drives New Ideas - Joseph DeSimone (Carbon3D, Inc.)  

Distinguished professor and serial entrepreneur Joseph DeSimone discusses the vibrant chemistry that takes place at the intersection of science and the humanities, academia and industry, and within the walls of his 3D manufacturing startup Carbon. He describes how on-demand parts manufacturing could one day eliminate the need for business inventory and even end up in hospitals.

Special: Stanford Innovation Lab - Michael Terrell - Michael Terrell, Tina Seelig (Terrell Leadership Group)  

What is the number one cause for failure in early-stage startups? Team issues! In this episode of Stanford Innovation Lab, Tina Seelig interviews executive coach Michael Terrell. Michael is the founder and managing partner of Terrell Leadership Group, and co-author of The Inside Out Effect, which focuses on effective leadership. In this conversation, Michael shares his insights on effective team dynamics, his process for diagnosing team issues, and examples of how he works through team challenges.

More Innovation Through Education - Richard Miller (Olin College)  

Richard Miller, president of Olin College, describes disruptive ideas about education and learning that universities should adopt to graduate more creative, entrepreneurial and impactful engineers. He explains how a focus on math and science alone won't result in more innovation, and that higher education must instill traits like grit and independent thinking.

Dedication to Innovation and Nation - William Perry, Steve Blank (Stanford University)  

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry recalls major chapters from his illustrious career with entrepreneurship educator Steve Blank in a discussion that spans Silicon Valley's evolution, digital technology's emergence and its adoption by the military, to Perry's time in Washington and his deep expertise in world affairs.

Why Bitcoin Makes Sense - Bobby Lee (BTCC)  

Bobby Lee, the co-founder and CEO of leading Bitcoin financial platform BTCC, answers some of the most common questions about the cryptocurrency, explains how its value is set and why it is the perfect monetary system for the digital age. Lee also shares familiar lessons for entrepreneurs that he learned launching his first startup in China.

How to Be a Category King - Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson (Play Bigger Advisors)  

Al Ramadan and Dave Peterson, co-founding partners of the category-design firm Play Bigger Advisors, share the science behind the strategies that innovators use to create and dominate product markets. They also discuss the marketing concepts for building a brand and identity, and for inspiring customers to see the world as you’ve framed it.

Contrarian Truths Empowering Innovation - DJ Kleinbaum (Emerald Therapeutics)  

DJ Kleinbaum, co-founder of Emerald Therapeutics, shares how his company balances growth to drive biotechnology breakthroughs, while supporting a culture that honors fresh-eyes thinking and the sharing of contrarian truths. Kleinbaum also discusses defining what makes your company different, and why "Eroom’s Law" looms large for the future of drug development.

Celebrating Failure Fuels Moonshots - Astro  Teller (X)  

Astro Teller, director of Alphabet's moonshot factory, X, describes how smart bets on world-changing innovations are aided by a culture that celebrates only the most audacious projects and rewards teams for showing the courage to find the biggest flaws. He also discusses how innovation can be systematized regardless of business type, resources or role at your company.

Reframing Problems and Getting Honest - Bernard Roth (Stanford University)  

Bernard Roth, co-founder and academic director of Stanford University's d.school, shares design-thinking tools for reframing life's stubborn problems and unlocking solutions. Professor Roth, author of the book "The Achievement Habit," also engages audience members in exercises meant to cut through the excuses we tell ourselves that hold us back from accomplishing our goals.

Immersed in Virtual Reality - Derek Belch (STRIVR Labs)  

Derek Belch, co-founder and CEO of Strivr Labs, a startup that uses virtual reality to train athletes, describes the passion necessary for entrepreneurship and the features that give his business a competitive edge in a rising-tide industry. The former Stanford football player is candid about the personal sacrifices entailed in putting your all into your venture.

A Drive to Disrupt - Minnie Ingersoll (Shift)  

Entrepreneur Minnie Ingersoll talks about how a computer-science degree, an MBA and 11 years at Google prepared her to co-found the online auto marketplace Shift. Calling her startup "a car company with Google DNA," Ingersoll offers insights on opportunity recognition, product management, career-life balance and the importance of traits like humility and patience.

Embracing the Non-Obvious - Federica Marchionni (Lands’ End)  

Lands' End CEO Federica Marchionni shares lessons from her career as a leader at some of the most recognizable luxury-lifestyle brands in retail, including Dolce&Gabbana and Ferrari. She emphasizes the importance of excellence over perfection and adopting a "360 degree" mindset that will allow you to embrace change, be adaptable and identify opportunities for personal growth.

Subtle Notes of Coffee and Philosophy - James Freeman (Blue Bottle Coffee)  

James Freeman, the soft-spoken founder and CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, shares his entrepreneurial journey from the farmers' market where he learned commerce in its purest form, to opening cafes across the country. Freeman explains how customer experience is part of a product and shares the inspiration he draws from philosophy, literature and other cultures.

Why Company Culture is Crucial - Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot)  

Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO at the marketing and sales software firm HubSpot, distills his 128-slide presentation on company culture down to its essence, describing it as a business's "operating system" that lets people do their best work. Shah says entrepreneurs must create a company culture they love, because one will eventually emerge no matter what.

Great Leadership Can Be Learned - John Hennessy, Tina Seelig (Stanford University)  

Stanford University President John Hennessy discusses some of the most powerful lessons he's learned as leader of one of the world's most complex and dynamic institutions of higher education. In conversation with Tina Seelig, director at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Hennessy also shares insights from his entrepreneurial career in the high-tech industry.

Dare to Do Legendary Things - Mike Maples Jr. (Floodgate)  

Mike Maples Jr., co-founder of the venture capital firm Floodgate, explains what entrepreneurs can learn from the very few technology startups that achieve hyper-exceptional success and market disruption. The Silicon Valley veteran urges tomorrow's innovators to "only do things that you think have a chance to be legendary" – because it takes just as much work to do something mediocre.

Follow Your Instincts and Find Your Path - Michael Moritz, Lisa Sugar, Emily Ma (Sequoia Capital)  

Sequoia Capital Chairman Michael Moritz and Lisa Sugar, founder and president of Popsugar, describe the investor-entrepreneur dynamic based on their personal experiences. In conversation with Stanford University lecturer Emily Ma, they discuss how success starts with staying to true to yourself, following your instincts and interests, and doing what makes you happy.

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