Guest Speaker Heaven

Hmm.. not sure if that subject title could be misconstrued. But anyway..

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks in the new semester. As I mentioned in a previous post, numerous guest speakers in both of my classes. It’s definitely kept us on our toes, but has been really intriguing to see how entrepreneurs and established C-level folks have done it.

In the past six weeks of class, we’ve had visits from:

  • Two Venture Capitalist Partners from Norwest Ventures (each with a plethora of experiences in the start-up world, and in executive management themselves)
  • A visiting professor from UC Davis Graduate School of Management, who spent many of his formative years with Disney Imagineering and his own start-ups
  • The head of InfoSys Consulting (Stephen Pratt), and
  • President of Yum! International (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, etc.), Graham Allen

What is striking is that each have some strong similarities:

  • Ambition. That has to be a given for most of the high-risers in the business world.
  • Innate curiosity – aspirations to do something innovative and to push the limits.
  • That “track record of success” in their previous experiences. Not to say every venture was successful, but specifically, that they showed the drive and willingness to work on and improve upon everything they did and do.
  • Never forgot that they surround themselves with great people who are a big part of their achievements (build teams of smart people who complement their skills)
  • An incredible sense of groundedness (“down to earth”). Not only did they get their hands dirty to learn about their industries (and others), but they remain even-keeled despite their successes.

I’m sure there’s much more to dig into properly, but for now, this’ll have to suffice. Have a great week.

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