Some Nextcast guests have seen it all, and Ron Erickson has seen even more. Starting out in public policy and law, Ron made waves in a few fields (including selling zucchini squash at age 6) before settling in technology and entrepreneurship. Now he’s leading the team at Visualant, using his skills as “investor, coach, mentor, cheerleader” to continue his successful run as a leader in his field. He sits down with Jeff to talk about luck, the future of apps, and waking up at 3am - and plenty more.
After an extensive career in the field, Ron knows that entrepreneurial success has a lot to do with two pretty basic factors: “timing and luck.” He explains, “There’s no substitute for preparation; luck serves the well-prepared”, so if you’ve got a good idea and the right timing, you might just hit it big.
As an investor and business leader, Ron listens to his gut when a decision has to get made, calling himself an “intuitive investor”. He says that unless he knows right away that he wants to pursue a concept, he’s usually just “slow-walking it to ‘no’”. Citing Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Ron says we know a good idea and a good team when we see it. (2:47)
3:26 is one of our favorite moments from this interview. Jeff asks Ron what he’d be doing today and Ron replies, “Exactly what I’m doing today.” He counts himself as blessed to be so passionate about what he does, and able to experience the joy of being alive.
“Unrelenting effort” is a quality Ron sees in successful startup leaders. “You have to be dogged,” he explains. “If this were easy, everyone would be doing it. But it’s not easy, it takes that unrelenting effort, you’ve got to get up early in the morning you’ve got to work late, you’ve got to take ‘no’ and you have to stay at it.”(12:37) All that, and patience too. (7:10)
“What’s going to be the most exciting app? It’s the one we can’t imagine,” says Ron of the future of technology. (11:40) He’s excited about the growing global marketplace and can’t wait to see where the industry goes next. For some reason, we have a feeling he’ll be right there on the leading edge.