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Gus Balbontin on fighting momentum and setting up your own success metric

Ep. 29

In this episode, Gus Balbontin speaks with host David Cohen about the dangers of building momentum, and how it’s important for entrepreneurs to “look sideways” to meet new challenges. He tells stories about his own journey, from a small town in Patagonia, South America, battling FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), to a dream job at Lonely Planet and a career of supporting and inspiring founders within the Melbourne startup ecosystem and around the world.


Gus explains why it’s important to create your own “success metric” and not get caught in the trap of crazy momentum, so that you can quickly reinvent yourself and innovate to adapt to future realities.


He’s about to launch the Unrealistic Foundation, dedicated to investing in companies looking to disrupt the education model.


Follow Gus on Twitter: @gusbalbontin

Follow David Cohen on Twitter: @davidcohen

More Episodes

5/12/2021

Rob La Gesse on being the opposite of risk averse

Ep. 41
Rob La Gesse has had an interesting career. After high school, he joined the Navy and worked both as a combat medic and a neonatal respiratory therapist. He was a mayor in Hawaii. He taught himself programming and went into tech, just in time to help develop Wi-Fi.On this episode of the Give First podcast, David Cohen talks with Rob about how helping people has guided him at every turn.Rob tells the story of hiring a bartender at his tech company. Why this bartender? Because he was so helpful, and Rob saw potential there. “I can’t teach empathy. I can’t teach compassion,” Rob says — but he can recognize them when he finds them, and he can reward caring people with opportunities and assistance.Follow Rob on Twitter @kr8trTechstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
4/27/2021

Katie Rae on breakthrough tech that can change the world

Ep. 40
In this episode of the Give First podcast, Brad Feld talks with his old friend Katie Rae, who was once the Managing Director of Techstars Boston. These days, Katie is the CEO and Managing Partner at The Engine.Launched by MIT, The Engine supports big ideas and breakthrough technologies — “the long shots, the unimaginable, the unbelievable,” as their website says — that have really big potential to make a big impact and benefit society. While others refer to this as deep tech or frontier tech, Katie prefers tough tech, and she thinks of it as the “convergence of breakthrough technology and leadership.”Listen for Katie’s story, which is inextricably entwined with the evolution of the Boston startup ecosystem, plus insights into how truly transformational technology happens. Some fun examples include fusion and deep geothermal energy.Follow Katie on Twitter @ktraeTechstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
4/5/2021

Crossover: Give First + Talking Through It! Neal Sáles-Griffin on giving first to grow Chicago’s startup ecosystem

Ep. 39
In this special episode, Give First host David Cohen and Talking Through It host Neal Sáles-Griffin take turns interviewing each other: it’s two Techstars podcasts in one.David discusses with Neal on how giving first grew the Chicago startup ecosystem, and then Neal talks through today’s hot issues with David, including unicorn startups and cryptocurrency. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the National Geographic documentary series City So Real, a portrait of contemporary Chicago, including Neal’s candidacy in the 2019 mayoral election. Also, check out Techstars Chicago's recent Demo Day, featuring the custom song discussed in this episode. Techstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.