Recruit Rockstars Podcast

Recruit Rockstars is the only podcast on the people part of PE & VC portfolio companies.
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Recruit Rockstars Podcast








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Jan 15, 2022

Seth Kniep has a remarkable entrepreneurship origin story.

He found himself working at Apple, leading a 20-person team of tech support advisors.

But he was miserable, working as a cog in the world’s most valuable company.

Fascinated with an idea, he went about doubling one dime 20 times. He shared his vision with random strangers & asked them to double his dime. He turned it into $400, just by asking.

Discouraged, $24,000 in debt, and living the death-by-paycheck cycle, Seth believed in a better future for himself & his family. He poured his heart into learning online eCommerce.

In 2016, Just One Dime was born, based in Austin.

He began teaching & training people how to sell on Amazon.
He’s trained multiple students to become Amazon eCommerce millionaires.

Amazon even flew him to its Seattle HQ for his consultation on improving their third-party platform.

Now his company builds Amazon stores for people who don’t have time to do it on their own. It’s a turnkey service, and they share the revenue.

Seth has recruited & leads a team of over 100 at Just One Dime. In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how he puts a Rockstar in every seat.


Jan 7, 2022

There are a gazillion ways to write your résumé (or LinkedIn profile).

Because everyone has advice: “Do it this way.” “No, do it that way.”

But what if you want to do it the best way? The right way?

I wanted to find an expert… the guru… who has the answers and can tell you everything you’ve always wanted to know about résumés.

I found him.

Marc Cenedella is uniquely-qualified to answer these questions, because he’s spent decades on the topic.

Based in New York, he’s Founder & CEO of Ladders, one of the nation’s leading online job boards.

And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also Founder of Leet Resumes, which actually will write your resume for free. Free!

Prior, he led finance & operations at HotJobs, acquired by Yahoo for $400M. And he began in Private Equity with The Riverside Company.

In this 20-minute conversation, Marc reveals the biggest mistakes people make when writing their resume or LinkedIn profile. And how to do it the right way, the best way.

(You’ll love the speed round, where Marc aced all the tricky job search questions.)

Jan 3, 2022

“I now pronounce you successful entrepreneurs.”

Nothing brings out the romantic in me like a New Year. The fresh possibilities, the clean start.

And a super-cool online business.

John Ruggiero & his wife are co-Founders & co-CEO’s of Manly Bands, one of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brands in wedding retail.

The couple quit their jobs, drove cross-country, and setup shop in Utah.

Following their own endless search for wedding rings, they decided to redefine the formerly-conservative category with unique & affordable ring designs for men.

And in just 3 years, they bootstrapped an 8-figure company from scratch, which is now an Inc5000-ranked company.

For the first time in human history, men are free to choose a wedding band that is more than just a boring silver or gold ring. Their options include rings made of wood, meteorite, antler, carbon fiber, even dinosaur bone.

In this 20-minute conversation, John reveals how he & his wife scaled Manly Bands by putting a Rockstar in every seat.


Dec 24, 2021

The smartest Venture Capital firms invest heavily in talent for their portfolio companies. After they cut the check, the hard work just begins.

Here’s an example.

Jason Felger is Head of Operating Platform at Chicago-based Jump Capital. He works with the CEO’s across Jump’s portfolio to help them scale their businesses, particularly by putting a Rockstar in every seat.

Says Jason: “Right now, it’s all about the recruitment & retention of talent, more than I’ve ever seen.”

Jump Capital, which recently raised $350 Million for its 7th fund, provides series A & B capital to data-driven tech companies in FinTech, IT & Data Infrastructure, B2B SaaS, and Media. It also invests globally in cryptocurrency companies & projects.

Portfolio companies include Fast Radius, M1 Finance, Upshow, AcreTrader, Autopay, Balto, Sporttrade.

Jason’s unique qualified, as he’s sat on both the investing & operating sides of early-stage companies. As CEO, he led Food Genius (acquired by US Foods) following his service at Redbox/Coinstar & Chicago Ventures.

In this 20-minute conversation, Jason reveals what VC’s look for when they hire. And his observations on the biggest mistakes business leaders make when scaling their team.


Dec 22, 2021

If you’re like most business leaders, you spend plenty of time designing your company’s business model.

Mike Maples warns that you need to spend as much time designing your team, based on your company’s stage & strategy.

He should know.

Mike is Co-Founder & Partner at Floodgate, one of the original early-stage venture capital firms (i.e. writing the first $1M check) he formed 15 years ago.

Mike’s been named to the Forbes Midas List 8 times in the last decade, and for good reason..

He was an early investor in the companies you love: Twitter, Lyft, Bazaarvoice, Storable, TaskRabbit, Twitch (acquired by Amazon), Chegg, Demandforce, Smule, Outreach, Okta, Weebly (acquired by Square)

Better still, he’s built companies on both sides of the table, starting as an executive at back-to-back startup IPOs: Tivoli Systems (acquired by IBM) and Motive (acquired by Alcatel-Lucent)

He’s one of the most insightful investors I’ve met. Which is why I’m hooked on his Starting Greatness Podcast. On it, he talks about teams & hiring

Says Mike: “To build your bench, you must spend 25% of your time on recruiting, no matter what.”

Something tells me if Mike wasn’t a legendary VC investor, he’d make a remarkable recruiter. In this 20-minute conversation, Mike shares how to design the right team for your business model & current stage.


Dec 21, 2021

Like you, I’m just too busy to listen to cruddy podcasts.

So, very few survive on my Podcasts app for more than an episode or two.

Mixergy is one of them. I never miss it.

Its creator & host Andrew Warner started Mixergy back in 2006, making it one of the top-ranked & longest-running business podcasts. Since then he’s interviewed over 2,000 entrepreneurs, business thought leaders, and authors.

(…including me in 2012 when my hair was thick & lustrous)

Andrew’s story is fascinating.

In his early 20’s, he started an internet company Bradford & Reed with his brother. They hit it big …like crazy big… by creating a website for sharing electronic greeting cards which processed over 400,000 greeting cards per day. With $1M in monthly revenue, the website’s traffic was ranked in the top 25 of ALL internet websites during the year 2000.

Then, Andrew burnt out. He sold the business, and decided to build a company helping entrepreneurs build their companies.

In addition to Mixergy, he’s also author of the new book “Stop Asking Questions: How to Lead High-Impact Interviews and Learn Anything from Anyone” If you interview candidates, guests, customers, anyone… you’ll get a ton out of it.

In this 20-minute conversation, Andrew reveals how he scaled both businesses & what he’s learned from the world’s best entrepreneurs about the people part of growth-stage companies.



Dec 19, 2021

Charleston, South Carolina might seem like an unlikely place to find one of the nation’s fastest-growing tech companies.

But it’s home to Digital Ignite.

Mike Samet leads this rollup of adtech, martech, and data businesses that was recently named to the Inc5000 list.

The full-service digital marketing agency using radical data-informed strategies to grow businesses & ignite sales

Their clients include national players like Hoover, Dominos, and Harris Teeter.

In this 20-minute conversation, Mike reveals how he’s putting a Rockstar in every seat of the company.


Dec 13, 2021

They say that “the riches are in the niches.”

Well, Jason Hennessey proved them right. He’s built a highly-successful SEO firm within the legal vertical (a niche of a niche?)

He’s CEO & Founder of Hennessey Digital. His LA-based agency has been named multiple times to Inc5000’s list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies.

Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student & practitioner of SEO and search engine marketing.

He started Hennessey Digital in 2015 and has grown a small consultancy to a $10MM+ business with 130 employees.

Jason is also author of the #1 Amazon Bestselling book “Law Firm SEO: Exposing the Google Algorithm to Help You Get More Cases” (but it’s equally applicable to every industry)

In this 20-min conversation, he reveals how he’s scaled his team & put a Rockstar in every seat.

Dec 12, 2021

They say that “the riches are in the niches.”

Well, Jason Hennessey proved them right. He’s built a highly-successful SEO firm within the legal vertical (a niche of a niche?)

He’s CEO & Founder of Hennessey Digital. His LA-based agency has been named multiple times to Inc5000’s list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies.

Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student & practitioner of SEO and search engine marketing.

He started Hennessey Digital in 2015 and has grown a small consultancy to a $10MM+ business with 130 employees.

Jason is also author of the #1 Amazon Bestselling book “Law Firm SEO: Exposing the Google Algorithm to Help You Get More Cases” (but it’s equally applicable to every industry)

In this 20-min conversation, he reveals how he’s scaled his team & put a Rockstar in every seat.


Dec 5, 2021

Based in Golden, Colorado, Scott Lewis is CEO of Spartan Investment Group.

Spartan syndicates investor capital to develop & operate real estate assets. Under Scott’s leadership, the business has pivoted from residential real estate to commercial, much of which is self-storage.

It’s the 2-time Inc500 ranked company, making it one of the nation’s fastest-growing.

Following a successful career in the US Army, Scott started the company which now has 70 employees.

He’s got some no-nonsense views on leadership & building an organization. And in this 20-minute conversation, you’ll discover how to do the same.


Dec 3, 2021

Few VC investors have seen more than David Hornik.

He’s Founding Partner at Lobby Capital, which he co-founded after 20 years as General Partner of the legendary VC firm August Capital.

Based on The Lobby Conference, David admits that Lobby Capital is about one simple understanding: “it’s all about the people.”

He’s invested in 40 companies, 5 of which grew into multi-billion-dollar businesses. His success stories include Splunk,, Fastly, GitLab, MaintainX, Vowel, PayNearMe.

Along with his colleagues at August Capital, David started the first venture capital blog, VentureBlog, and the first venture capital podcast, VentureCast.

He’s received Deloitte’s Venture Capitalist of the Year award and has been honored by Forbes Magazine as a member of its Midas List of top Venture Capitalists.

When not investing, David teaches entrepreneurship & VC at Stanford Business School and Harvard Law School.

In this 20-minute conversation, David reveals what 20+ years as a VC have taught him about the people part of growth-stage companies.


Nov 27, 2021

Before Disrupt & TechCrunch, there was Technori, the original startup showcase.

Its Co-Founder is Scott Kitun.

Based in Chicago, Technori helps promising upstart companies secure visibility & funding.

If that wasn’t enough, Scott is creator & host of a nationally-syndicated crowdfunding radio show, in partnership with Republic.

He’s also Co-Founder of Songfinch, the platform to buy custom songs from professional artists.

I was thrilled to finally interview Scott, because he knows where the bodies are buried. By studying (quite literally) thousands of startups, Scott knows first-hand the mistakes that most entrepreneurs make when scaling their company.

And he puts it plainly: “The people part of startups is the only thing that matters.” I couldn’t agree more.

In this 20-minute conversation, Scott reveals how to master it. And avoid the mistakes that tank so many entrepreneurs.

Nov 22, 2021

Digital publishers in every field are trying to figure out how to best monetize their website.

Kurt Donnell, CEO of Freestar, shows them the way.

Combining industry-leading tech, data, and scale, Freestar works with the leading online publishers to help them better personalize & increase their ad revenue.

And they’re onto something big…

Freestar’s been ranked as an Inc. 5000 company for 3 years in a row. That makes it one of that nation’s fastest-growing companies.

And it’s backed by Abry Partners, one of the nation’s leading Private Equity firms focused on media & communications.

Prior to joining, Kurt served as General Counsel for YogaWorks and SheKnows Media.

In this 20-minute conversation, Kurt shares how he’s scaled the team to130 employees and how he’s kept the culture intact during this unusual time.

Nov 14, 2021

He’s not just some tech CEO.

Jason Schubert is CEO of, ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in the US according to the Inc5000. is a people-based insights & survey monetization platform that connects and rewards people to surveys designed for them.

It facilitates research for market research firms and brands by connecting them to consumers on monetizable mobile applications.

Based in Atlanta, Jason led the company’s recent successful acquisition by Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data platform for insights, activation and measurement. With a reach that encompasses 60M consumers & business professionals globally.

In this 20-minute conversation, Jason reveals how he’s scaled the team & put a Rockstar in every seat.

Nov 10, 2021

Brian Nickerson’s story captivated me.

He began his career playing on the Los Angeles Dodgers. 6 knee surgeries and 1 Harvard Business School degree later, he found himself as an unlikely entrepreneur.

And started MagicLinks.

Based in LA, MagicLinks is the social commerce provider for social media influencers. They connect moments of inspiration to action. Example: viewers can buy the sweater they see the influencer wearing.

Think of it as a marketplace that connects brands & influencers across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Clearly, he’s onto something big. MagicLinks is ranked amongst the Inc5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies.

Brian has some atypical leadership approaches that I found fascinating, (including how he begins every staff meeting.)

In this 20-minute conversation, Brian reveals how he’s putting a Rockstar in every seat of the company.





Nov 4, 2021

This episode rocks, because it combines 3 of the hottest themes in the venture world:

Fintech + Outdoor power sports + Talent

Adam Redlich is VP Talent Acquisition of Octane, the specialty fintech company that makes your ‘passion purchases’ seamless. They’ve started with the $21B powersports equipment industry (motorcycles & ATV’s for example)

Instead of processing a loan in days or weeks, their team of 400 people do it nearly instantaneously.

Clearly they’re onto something big…

Octane has raised over $190M in venture capital from IA Ventures, Valar Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Upper90, Parkwood, Progressive Insurance, Alive Capital Partners, Third Prime, Citi Ventures, Dreamt Ventures

Prior, Adam was an early key member of Google’s talent team during the company’s largest period of growth (1K to 40K employees)

And he led People Operations at some of the hottest early-stage companies including Elysium Health & Zest Finance.

In this 20-minute conversation, Adam reveals the 3 things you must do to put a Rockstar in every seat of your company


Oct 31, 2021

Josh Watts is Co-Founder of one of the nation’s fastest growing companies.

Recently ranked as an Inc5000 company, MedTrust Medical Transport is a private EMS company providing emergent & non-emergent medical transport services

Based in gorgeous Charleston, Josh has scaled a 400-person team.

In this 20-minute conversations, he reveals how he’s done it.


Oct 30, 2021

Supply Chain is the topic of the day. Covid has turned it upside down & inside out.

Fortunately, a wave of novel companies have come to the rescue & straighten things out.

Including Relay Payments, the fintech company reinventing payments for the logistics category. (Think of it as the “Venmo for Logistics”)

Badly needed in this industry that’s due for an overhaul.

I just met with Amy Zimmerman, Relay’s Chief People Officer.

With over 100 people, they’re onto something big. Investors include Ribbit Capital, Spark Capital, and Addition.

Previously, Amy led talent for Kabbage, one of the nation’s fastest growing companies that quickly provides online loans to small businesses. Amy scaled Kabbage from 50 people to over 500, prior to its successful acquisition by American Express.

In this 20-minute conversation, Amy reveals how she’s scaled the teams at 2 hypergrowth Fintech companies. And how you can do the same.

Oct 22, 2021

Andrew Amann wasn’t always CEO & Founder of one of the nation’s fasting-growing companies.

He started as a Nuclear Sub Engineer.

And taught himself business.

...And hiring.

...And how to lead a team.

When he was ready, he set out on his own course… a fascinating one.

Now, Andrew is CEO of NineTwoThree Digital Ventures, an Inc5000-ranked company with 1,344% growth over the past 3 years.

Based in Boston, NineTwoThree is an outsourced innovation studio that helps big companies grow digital ventures. Andrew & his team have birthed 8 startups & 45 apps.

Each of them needs a team. So, Andrew has become awfully good at spotting & landing talent.

In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how it’s done.


Oct 15, 2021

If you lead a SaaS company, you likely know Dan Martell, as the Founder & CEO of SaaS Academy.

But even if you’re in a different industry, Dan has a ton to teach about how to scale your business. Fast.

Because he’s built & exited 5 companies.

Most noteworthy, Dan was Founder & CEO of which connects business leaders with experts in any field (I’m a customer). It was successfully acquired by

Now, Dan is Founder & CEO of SaaS Academy.

He coaches & teaches over 1,000 Founders to become high-performance leaders (…although much of what he teaches is relevant to any business.)

Dan began his career as a software developer. But his passion (and gift) is leadership, strategy, culture, and communications.

Plus as a native of British Columbia, Canada, he’s just nice as heck.

In this 20-minute conversation, Dan reveals how he’s scaled his companies and how he teaches other leaders to do the same.

Oct 11, 2021

Joseph Ansanelli makes leadership look deceptively easy.

Perhaps it’s because he’s done it more times than most. Or because he brings the humility to know that it’s a lifelong journey.

Based in SF Bay Area, he’s CEO & Co-Founder of Gladly, the company he incubated during his time at Greylock Partners.

Joseph is fond of saying “People first. Strategy second.” He believes that one of the keys to effective leadership is ensuring that teams have the right tools to succeed.

With his team of 150 employees, Gladly empowers customer service agents with a SaaS platform that turns them into heroes.

And he’s onto something big…

His investors include New Enterprise Associates, GGV Capital, SV Angel, Future Fund, and Glynn Capital Management.

Prior, he was Co-Founder & CEO of Connectify which was acquired by Kana, one of the first digital customer service platforms which he helped take public.

He was also Co-Founder & CEO of Vontu, the leader in data loss prevention, which was acquired by Symantec.

During college, he & a few friends created Trio Development, which was acquired by Apple and their product became Claris Organizer.

Joseph serves on the Boards of Directors of Sumo Logic and Trifacta. He also hosts one of my favorite podcasts Radically Personal

In this 20-minute conversation, Joseph reveals where he developed his passion for hiring & leading teams. And how he does it every day at Gladly.



Oct 9, 2021

These days, if you’re not sending swag to your candidates & new hires, you’re missing out.

I’ve been doing it for years… Books. Wine glasses. Electronics. Shirts.

Anything to tip the scales in my favor - when they’re signing a job offer. But it’s been a logistical nightmare.

…Until now.

Meet Michael Martocci, CEO & Founder of SwagUp.

This 26-year-old has built an Inc5000 company, one of the nation’s fastest-growing. I’m a customer & a raving fan.

SwagUp is an API-first platform that streamlines the creation & distribution of quality swag globally. They’re reinventing this $30B market by digitizing the supply chain and making it available through beautiful interfaces and APIs.

Even more impressive, Michael’s bootstrapped the company.

They’re completely customer-funded and now work with over 2,000 companies to help them integrate quality swag into their workflows to make community a top priority and win back time.

I wanted to find out how he’s scaled the team that’s scaled the Swag.

In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals all.


Oct 2, 2021

If you’re like most leaders who hire, you’ve experimented with using online assessments to see if your candidates have the right stuff.

You’ve probably also wondered how accurate they are & whether you’re using them the right way.

Let’s find out.

The Predictive Index is considered the industry leader. This talent optimization company uses behavioral, cognitive, and job assessments to make hiring & managing people more effective.

Clients include AstraZeneca, Blue Cross Blue Shield, TD Bank, DocuSign, LVMH, and Omni Hotels.

Mike Zani is PI’s CEO.

He’s also Co-Founder of Phoenix Strategy Investments, a private investment fund. An avid sailor, he was a coach of the 1996 US Olympic Team.

Mike recently published 'The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness'

In this 20-minute conversation, Mike reveals everything you should know about using (or misusing) candidate assessments.



Sep 28, 2021

Tracy Tobin is Chief People Officer of Denver-based Adswerve, the leading Google Marketing Analytics & Cloud Partner.

Following a 13-year career leading HR at The Integer Group, she was ready for something new.

Enter Adswerve.

Adswerve is a team of media & analytics veterans who believe that smart marketing is built on data discovery. The firm helps thousands of digital marketers, data analysts, and agencies make stronger connections with their customers through data-driven strategies.

The company has 200 people, in a distributed model.

In this 20-minute conversation, Tracy reveals how she’s building a vibrant culture… despite the team not being located in the same office.




Sep 23, 2021

Ten years ago, Jilliene Helman was working in Union Bank’s wealth management group. She couldn’t help but notice that the bank’s wealthiest clients earned their fortunes in real estate.

When our government passed the 2012 JOBS Act (intended to encourage funding of small businesses by easing securities regulations), Jilliene saw an opportunity.

So she quit the bank. And created RealtyMogul.

Her new way of investing in real estate has caught on. To put it mildly.

Her firm has done over 300 deals, with a real estate value of $4 Billion. And lets everyday people access institutional-quality investments.

Investors can participate in a deal at a time or invest in one of their REIT pooled vehicles with a diversified group of deals.

Clearly, she’s onto something.

Top investors Canaan Partners and Sorenson Capital have backed her vision.

In this 20-minute conversation, Jilliene reveals how she’s built her 70-person team to shake up the real estate investment field.

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