Ignite Seattle

When Dan Shapiro joined the startup world in 2002, he was bitten by the bug...hard. Find out what he's learned along the way and hear his startling confession in this episode of Nextcast.

Dan Shapiro grew up with computers, getting his first one at age seven and using it mostly to play games. Decades later, with a stint in the gaming industry under his belt, he now specializes in the start-up world and shares what he's learned with his fellow entrepreneurs. He's got a lot to say – on everything from funding to teamwork to luck – and he's even writing the book on it. Dig in and find out what Dan has up his sleeve in this exciting episode.

  • Dan Shapiro “got bitten by the startup bug and was badly infected,” he says, and so spends much of his time “helping as many startups however I can.” In the last decade, he's worked in several startups and has made a point of trying to learn as much as he can. What he's come up with, though, is fairly simple. “It's all matters of tradeoffs and degrees of risk.” (14:45)
  • (11:48) “If you try to turn startups into a science, you're either going to go down a sub-optimal path or go down entirely.” Dan knows that every startup – no matter what you do – depends in part onluck. Your business may fail, but you do what you can to improve your odds at good luck. “Pitch anything that moves,” advises Dan. Have your pitch ready and tell it to everyone until you find the right person with the right need at the right time. (13:30)
  • From tiny startups to Microsoft and Google, Dan has worked at companies of all sizes. The two experiences are quite different, and people who misunderstand the differences with struggle. “Startups need someone who's very good at a lot of things,” he explains. At big companies, it's more important to have someone who is excellent at each thing. (18:20)
  • A shocking confession from Dan Shapiro: “I'm a Powerpoint addict.” He knows how many of his peers feel about the software, but their concerns fall on deaf ears. It's the software he knows how to use best and, if you ask him, “the simplest and best UI is the one you know how to use already.” (24:00)

(CC) Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com.

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