Successful Startups: Why Good Leadership Requires Both Fuzzy and Techie



Scott Hartley uses his background and experience to help startups succeed.  In this episode, Scott addresses the difference between of techie and fuzzy leadership and how to combine both characteristics to build a successful startup.

Q1-01:19: Give our listeners a little perspective and history into your venture capital roots.  Just guessing you built some of your relationships during your time at Stanford.

Q2-02:09Diving a little deeper into your role as a Venture Capitalist, I’ve heard you refer to the transactions as a “courtship”.  For this audience, that triggers some specific emotions that are a part of building relationships.  In some cases that might be CURIOSITY, DESIRE or just LUST.  What emotions are you looking to evoke or see in these future “LEADERS” of what could be the next Google or Facebook? (ex. some degree of DESIRE; WANT, WISH, APPETITE, OBSESSION)

Q3-03:37Moving into the stages after you make the deal with the startup, what  have you found to be the most difficult or unpleasant emotions of the new leaders and how did you deal with them?

Q4-07:19: On the flipside, what were the best motivational or pleasant emotions for young teams?

Q5-08:49: Jumping into your book “The Fuzzie and the Techie”, you noted some very prominent tech company leaders whose educational background was in the Liberal Arts.  Names that you mention are people like Peter Thiel at PayPal, Ben Silberman at Pintrest and Carly Fiorina just to name a few. Describe your assessment of these leaders use of their “fuzzy” skills and what made them so successful?

Q6-10:36: With your time in India, what were the cultural difference from an emotional and motivational perspective that generated different product feedback?

Q7-10:36: When looking at “Fuzzie vs. Techie”, give our audience your perspective as to the emotions that differentiate these two related to their ability to motivate or lead others.

Q8-12:06: Given that you are a self-described “Fuzzy” based on your political science major at Stanford, give our listeners some of your key thoughts about your ability to promote leadership skills in others using your educational background.

Q9-13:40: I found it interesting your notes about Vinod Khosla from Sun Microsystems where I actually worked for nine years and his lack of belief in soft skills.   Quite frankly, my experience at Sun was more of a culture LOVE where there was a sincere COMPASSION for everyone around you to succeed and a true GENEROUS nature to help others.  That is what I believe made Sun successful and it emanated directly from Scott McNealy who did not have a “techie” background.  What have you found in “fuzzie” skills that really make the difference for successful leadership?

Q10-15:45: If you don’t mind, let me ask about you personally before, during and after writing the book.  What emotions did you experience through the process?

Q11-18:05: We have a question from one of our listeners related to your experiences.  It’s from Cheryl who has recently graduated with a Liberal Arts degree from Berkely and is working with some recruiters to secure a role at one of the tech firms in San Francisco like Twitter or Uber. She wants to know “What guidance do you have during the interview process for really capturing my Liberal Arts background as benefit for one of these tech companies?”

Q12-18:05: So your book is available on Amazon and people can get a glimpse at the book via a free chapter download on your website fuzzytechie.com, where else can our listeners see or hear you and your work?



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Scott Hartley, a venture capitalist and startup advisor, is the author of The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), which was named a Financial Times Business Book of the Month, and Finalist for the FT and McKinsey & Company’s Bracken Bower Prize. He has been a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures and a venture partner at Metamorphic Ventures. Prior to venture capital, he served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House, and worked at Google, Facebook, and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He has written for Quartz, The Financial Times, and Foreign Policy, and his work has been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review. He earned his B.A. at Stanford, an M.A. and an M.B.A. at Columbia. He is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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