Recruit Rockstars Podcast

Recruit Rockstars is the only podcast on the people part of PE & VC portfolio companies.
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Oct 24, 2020

Do you have a To-Do List a mile long of all the things you need to accomplish for your business?

Some days, I look at mine & feel stuck. (And hopeless.)

Because I have no idea how to prioritize it.

Can you imagine having a roadmap to help you prioritize your To-Do List and get rid of the junk that won’t add value?

I tracked down the guy that can show us how.

By his 35th birthday, Mike Michalowicz had founded & sold two multi-million dollar companies.

Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor… and proceeded to lose his entire fortune!

So he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies.

Mike is the creator of Profit First, which is used by hundreds of thousands of companies across the globe to drive profit.

And his latest, arguably most impactful discovery, is his new book Fix This Next. In it, Mike details the strategy that you can use to determine what to do, in what order, to ensure healthy, fast, permanent growth (and avoid debilitating distractions).

Here’s my 20-minute conversation with Mike.


Oct 22, 2020

Long before he became legendary business speaker & bestselling author, Pat Lencioni was my executive coach.

It was late 90’s in Silicon Valley. I was building my first startup, leading people for the first time, and wrestling with my own demons.

He kicked my butt when I needed it most. Pat was brilliant.

(And he still is.)

As founder of The Table Group, he’s known as the pioneer of the organizational health movement. He is the author of 11 books, which have sold over 6 million copies in 30 languages.

They include The Five Dysfunctions of A Team, Death by Meeting, and my personal favorite The Five Temptations of a CEO (I re-read it every year.)

Pat’s passion is leadership, teamwork, organizational health and he advises the nation’s top CEO’s & leadership teams.

This week, Pat & his team launched a new tool to help you determine your specific type of Genius.

Everyone is a genius in their own way. Pat boiled it down to the 6 specific types.

In this 20-minute conversation, Pat reveals them & why it’s so vital to know yours and those on your team:

Here’s Pat & me.

And if you’d like to take the profile, here’s the link to


Oct 20, 2020

Amongst other things, 2020 has been the year of Telemedicine.

And is proof … With a twist.

The LA-based company provides house call doctors for grownups & kids. You can get an experienced physician to your door in under an hour for $99. (Or if you prefer, via your phone or computer.)

Founded by Nick Desai in 2015, is now in network with Aetna, Anthem, Humana, and a host of others. So it’s covered.

Investors have noticed too. Nick has raised $200M from Humana, Fidelity, Bascom Ventures, Pritzker Group, Slow Ventures, March Capital Partners, and (my favorite) Lionel Richie.

In this 20-minute conversation, Nick shares how he’s built a team of 250 who bring healthcare to your front door.


Oct 18, 2020

Raw intelligence is one of the most highly-overrated qualities in hiring.

I’m not going to tell you that high IQ doesn’t help in business.

But without EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, to go with it - a leader is going nowhere fast.

Because EQ is how we understand ourselves and the people we work with. What’s important to them. How we motivate & inspire them. How we negotiate with them.

In short: EQ > IQ

To dig in, I sought out an expert on the topic.

Christopher Connors is a #1 bestselling author on the topic and a leadership consultant to countless CEO’s.

His new book “Emotional Intelligence For The Modern Leader” empowers leaders to use EQ to build thriving cultures & winning teams.

As a 25-year Headhunter, I prioritize EQ over IQ any day of the week. And twice on Sunday. Now more than ever, in these trying times, being a successful leader for your team demands Emotional Intelligence.

In this 20-minute conversation, Christopher reveals how to develop yours.

Oct 15, 2020

Want to empower your team to make better decisions & take greater ownership?

Tired of micromanaging & babysitting them?

Former US Navy Captain David Marquet is the author of 2 outstanding books: Leadership is Language and Turn The Ship Around!

A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, David served in the U.S. submarine force for 28 years.

After being assigned to command the nuclear-powered sub USS Santa Fe, (then ranked last in retention & operational standing) he realized the traditional leadership approach of “take control, give orders,” wouldn’t work.

So David “turned the ship around” by treating the crew as leaders, not followers, and giving control, not taking control. This approach took the Santa Fe from “worst to first” achieving the highest retention & operational standing in the Navy.

In just months!

In this 20-minute conversation, David shares how he did it. And, even if your business is not a turnaround, how you can get the most out of your team.

Oct 14, 2020

Companies have more data than they know what to do with.

Kendall Clark, Founder & CEO of Stardog, helps them do something with it.

Based in DC, his 65-person company has created an Enterprise Knowledge Graph. This platform helps you understand & interpret your data. And make more data-driven decisions.

Customers include Morgan Stanley, Bosch, Ericsson, and NASA

Stardog’s investors include Presidio Ventures, Dcode, Contour Venture Partners, Grotech Ventures, Tenfore Holdings, Boulder Ventures, Core Capital.

In this 20-minute conversation, Kendall reveals how he’s scaled the team.

Oct 11, 2020

It took me a long time to finally book this guest. And it was worth the wait.

Dr Roy Schoenberg is Co-Founder and CEO of Amwell, the transformative telemedicine company that IPO’d last month.

After serving in the Israel Defense Forces & earning his MD, Roy co-founded the company (originally American Well) with his brother in 2006.

It’s become one of the largest most important telemedicine & telehealth companies in the world

Amwell connects on-demand telehealth visits between patients in need & available providers. Once just a scrappy startup, the Amwell ecosystem has attracted 200 of the nation’s largest payers, health systems, employers, retailers and reaches 80 million Americans as a covered benefit.

Prior to Amwell, Roy was Founder of CareKey & CISO of TriZetto, following its acquisition of CareKey. Roy is the recipient of the American Telemedicine Association Industry award for leadership in the field of telemedicine.

This year has been transformative for Amwell. Usage is up 3,000% since the pandemic began. It’s convenient, intimate, and avoids costly ER visits.

On its journey, Amwell raised $800M from Allianz X, Takeda, Inventure Partners, and Google Cloud.

Then, the Coronavirus set the business on fire.

And on Sep 17, 2020, the company went public.

In this 20-minute conversation, Roy reveals how he overcame the odds & skepticism. And how he’s scaled the team to 1,000 full-time employees + 10,000 clinicians.


Oct 10, 2020

In case you missed it, breakthrough discoveries about plant & environmental interactions have led to cutting-edge tools that tackle some of today’s biggest agriculture challenges.

Which means opportunity to scale a business.

Adam Litle is CEO of Sound Agriculture, the plant development company that helps producers grow more efficiently & enhance food taste, nutrition, and sustainability.

Prior, Adam was part of the founding management team at Granular, the leading farm management software platform startup that was acquired by Dupont for $300M.

Sound Agriculture uses the power of science to design reliable & effective tools that enable sustainability across the agriculture value chain.

Its first product Source helps plants access existing nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil to provide in-season nutrition. Source provides a more economical, sustainable and environmentally sound solution for crop productivity.

The company is backed by S2G Ventures, Cultivian Sandbox, Fall Line Capital, Cavallo Ventures, and Syngenta Ventures.

In this 20-minute conversation, Adam reveals how he’s growing the team that’s growing crops faster.

Oct 3, 2020

You may not know the name Russell Brunson.

But you know his brainchild, the company ClickFunnels.

Anyone who says you can’t build a $100M SaaS business in Boise Idaho - without funding from VC or PE firms - is wrong.

Now, don’t get me wrong. His phone rings daily from prospective investors. But Russell chose the bootstrap self-funding path.

He was right.

After graduating college as a wrestling champion, Russell invented a potato gun. But unable to sell it, he conceived an online sales funnel that would do the work for him.

ClickFunnels was born.

Now, it’s the leading way to build & run a sales funnel online. I’m a delighted customer.

I was even more delighted to finally have the chance to meet Russell. In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how he’s scaled the team from 1 to 400 people.

And built one of the world’s fastest-growing SaaS companies.

Sep 30, 2020

You can’t master your business until you first master your mindset.

My first mentor taught me that.

And I was reminded of it again during my interview with Maria Konnikova. Her story blew me away. (No bluffing.)

Maria was born in Moscow & came to the United States when she was 4. She became a New York Times best-selling author, journalist, and professional poker player.

But her trip is a fascinating one.

She decided to take a journey into the world of high-stakes poker –and find out what role luck plays in our lives, and what it truly means to take control of our own destinies.

When Maria first entered the world of poker in 2017, it was tough to predict that, within a year, she would have won a major title, made multiple final tables, and amassed close to $300,000 live tournament winnings.

In her third New York Times bestselling book The Biggest Bluff, she explains how she convinced a world champion player to teach her the game, and what she learned about herself and luck and decision-making.

If you lead people, you should follow Maria’s lead.

She’s all in.


Sep 26, 2020

You’ve probably seen Sarah Frier, since she’s been an award-winning tech reporter with Bloomberg News for 9 years.

But have you read her thrilling new book “No Filter” ?

It’s the inside story of how Instagram became the most culturally defining app of the decade.

And how this 13-person company sold to Facebook for a Billion dollars.

Sarah had unprecedented access… from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a ton of Instagram influencers worldwide.

In 2010, Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger released a photo-sharing app called Instagram, with 1 simple but irresistible feature: it would make anything you captured look more beautiful.

After the acquisition by Facebook, Kevin & Mike stayed on, trying to maintain Instagram’s beauty, brand, and cachet. They considered their app a separate company within the social networking giant.

They urged their employees to make changes only when necessary, resisting Facebook’s grow-at-all-costs philosophy in favor of a strategy that highlighted creativity & celebrity.

But… Just as Instagram was about to reach a billion users, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg —once supportive of the founders’ autonomy— began to feel threatened by Instagram’s success.

And that’s where the story really gets interesting.

It’s ALL about the culture of your company. Sarah shares the story behind Instagram’s & Facebook’s cultures.


Sep 19, 2020

This episode is guaranteed to help you sleep more soundly.

Because ettitude (with offices in LA & Melbourne) is selling so much of its bamboo-based bedding, it’s landed on the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing companies.

Bamboo? Isn’t that hard?

Yes, but turns out it makes incredibly soft sheets, bedding, and jammies.

So Co-Founders Kat Day & Phoebe Yu have scaled a team of 15 to make it soft on the skin, yet gentle on the planet.

Bamboo doesn’t need much water to grow, or chemicals. It’s a closed loop production system, using recycled water & solution to extract the fiber.

Kat & Phoebe recently raised a round of venture capital from Drumbeat Ventures and TA Ventures.

And in this 20-minute episode, they’ll reveal how they’re scaling the team that’ll help you sleep like a baby.



Sep 12, 2020

If ever there was a role that’s a nightmare to hire, it’s the Rockstar salesperson.

Most companies try. But fail.

And for good reason.

Salespeople are good talkers. So the typical interview can be highly-misleading. Not to mention, most sales managers haven’t agreed-upon what makes a great sales rep.

Plus, there are 14 million full-time US salespeople, and most have never been formally trained.

So when Bruce - tall, dark, handsome - walks into the room, it’s no wonder the sales manager hires him. He’s straight out of central casting.

Brian Bar knows better. And he created Victory Lap to help you avoid this whole mess.

Based in Chicago, Victory Lap is the 4-year-old Sales Bootcamp. They find, train, and match great sales reps with deserving companies.

He’s well-suited to do it, having been a top sales leader and Head of Sales Onboarding at Groupon for 4 years. He systemized how to select, interview, assess, and onboard the best.

Now, Victory Lap helps other 150 growth companies do the same. And over 600 sales reps have graduated from its Bootcamp.

In this 20-minute conversation, Brian shares how to avoid the biggest mistakes when building your sales organization. And when you do finally find a great sales rep, how you can close the deal every time.





Sep 8, 2020

At Amazon, “Day One” is code for inventing like a startup, with little regard for legacy.

Day Two is, in Jeff Bezos’s own words, “stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by an excruciating, painful decline, followed by death.”

Sadly, most companies today are set up for Day Two.

They build advantages & then defend them fiercely, rather than invent the future. But Amazon and fellow tech titans Facebook, Google, and Microsoft operate in Day One: they prioritize reinvention over tradition and collaboration over ownership.

To dig in, I just interviewed Alex Kantrowitz, author of the fascinating new book “Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever.”

After years as a reporter for Advertising Age, Forbes, and Buzzfeed, Alex stepped out on his own to launch Big Technology where he covers the Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Through 130 interviews with insiders (from Mark Zuckerberg to hourly workers) Always Day One reveals the tech giants’ blueprint for sustainable success in a business world where no advantage is safe.

Even if you’re not in tech (aren’t we all?), you’ll find this 20-minute conversation fascinating.

Sep 5, 2020

Last year, the SaaS company Curemint was just 1 person in Los Angeles. Now, it’s 15 people in Durham North Carolina.

Brandon McCarty is CEO & Co-Founder.

Curemint is the procurement solution for dental practices. Its intuitive ordering experience is optimized specifically for that sector. And the software increases spend visibility, automates workflows, and realizes increased operational efficiency.

Its venture investors include Jumpstart Foundry and Cofounders Capital

In this 20-minute conversation, Brandon shares how he’s scaled the team that’s drilling into the dental market.

Sep 3, 2020

Clearly, there’s a movement afoot.

The more companies announce they’re going virtual/remote, the more it doesn’t matter where you live.

So, companies can now hire the best talent in the world, not just in town.

Everything is turned upside-down. I wanted to find an expert to help us make sense of it all.

Patrick O’Brien is Chairman & Co-Founder of Patina Solutions, based in Milwaukee & serving clients nationally.
It’s the leading professional services firm that provides executive experience on-demand, and has appeared 5 times on the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing companies in US.

Prior, Patrick served as CEO of Paris Presents, a leading provider of cosmetic accessories. And spent 29 years working within the SC Johnson family of companies - most recently as President.

In this 20-minute conversation, Patrick shares what he sees the smartest executives & sharpest companies doing to adapt to the new landscape of careers.


Aug 30, 2020

There’s a whole new way to increase your customers’ loyalty, and it’s called product protection.

You know what this is. When you check out at Apple, they offer you AppleCare. When you buy something at Best Buy, same thing.

Well, now you too can add this to your website, increase revenues, and more importantly better serve your customers.

The company is Clyde (love the name!) and I tracked down the Founder & CEO Brandon Gell because he’s onto something big.

He started Clyde 3 years ago. Then raised $17M from top-tier VC’s like Spark Capital, Correlation Ventures, Starting Line, Red Sea Ventures, Knightsgate Ventures, RRE Ventures, and Techstars.

In this episode, Brandon reveals how he’s scaled a sharp team of 30 to turn an industry upside-down.

Aug 28, 2020

Geoff McFarlane is turning the $72B wine industry upside-down.

He’s CEO of Winc Wines, which he co-founded 8 years ago. Now, annual revenues exceed $40M

Geoff spent years in the hospitality industry, where he learned how to create experiences for people. Now, he’s brought that skill to the wine business to fundamentally change it.

Winc builds direct relationships with vineyards, farmers, and winemakers to make exceptional wines. Distributing directly means you get them at a great value.

In short, Winc tests wine concepts with consumers & then produces the ones they love. Instead of “pushing” what they can make (like most wineries,) they “pull” consumers in based on preference.

Winc has created a customized experience for its members & brings ease and exploration to buying & enjoying wine. Based on consumer insights, they’ve developed iconic brands like Summer Water and Folly of the Beast.

Now, Winc’s sought-after brands are available in Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and restaurants.

Backed by Bessemer Venture Partners & Amplify.LA, Winc has landed on the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing companies.

In this 20-minute conversation, Geoff reveals how he’s scaled the 100-person team. And some of the mistakes he’s made along the way.


Aug 25, 2020

Founded in 2013, Raise changed the way the gift card marketplace worked, with a goal to help others give themselves a raise.

Based in Chicago, Raise has partnerships with over 500 national retailers including CVS, Chipotle, Subway, Macy’s, Domino’s, and Best Buy.

Now, Raise is the easiest way for its 2.5 million members to buy discounted gift cards & get cash back for everyday purchases while helping retailers drive traffic in-store.

CEO Jay Klauminzer joined the company in 2018 to add even more retailer partnerships & help customers give themselves a raise.

After a decade as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, Jay held a number of roles with e-commerce leaders Groupon & DoorDash.

HIs top-notch VC backers include Accel, NEA, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

In this 20-minute conversation, Jay shares how he’s upgraded the team, how to assess candidates for culture fit, and in-depth how he interviews a finalist.

Aug 22, 2020

You’ve likely met some Venture Capitalists.

But you haven’t met the Anti-VC. He’s Sammy Abdullah, who heads Dallas-based Blossom Street Ventures.

He considers himself the ‘Anti-VC’ because he moves fast on investment decisions (often in 3 weeks), is a straight shooter, and tells you Yes or No without leaving you hanging on an investment decision.

He’s already invested 22 portfolio companies - typically in Series A or B. Average check size is a cool million, and he usually leads the round.

Sammy’s investment portfolio includes: SpotHero, DivvyHQ, Take The Interview, Three Day Rule, Lovepop, and AppBuddy.

And in this 20-minute conversation, he reveals the 3 big things that CEO’s should spend their time on. (And what they shouldn’t.)


Aug 20, 2020

Hiten Shah has built a reputation as one of the nicest guys in tech.

But don’t be mistaken.

He’s competitive, successful, and insightful. You may not know Hiten, but you’ve likely used his SaaS products.

Hiten & his Co-Founder Neil Patel created Crazy Egg in 2005. The product creates a heatmap to show where people are clicking so you can get more insights about your website & improve it.

He’s also Co-Founder of the popular KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout.

And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also investor and advisor in 120 companies.

Now, Hiten is Co-Founder & CEO of FYI. Based in San Francisco, this new SaaS product helps you keep track of your countless documents.

In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals what he’s learned about the people part of growth-stage companies.

Aug 19, 2020

In just 3 years, Mike Schneider co-founded, funded, and sold First to the mega-real estate player ReMax.

In this 20 minute conversation, he reveals how.

Plus, how he scaled the team & perfected a unique culture along the way.

First is a tech company that leverages data science, machine learning, and human interaction to help real estate professionals better leverage the value of their network.

Its software is currently used by top real estate brokers at 200 companies nationally.

After raising $5M from leading VC's MATH Venture Partners and Nine Four Ventures, he had the rare opportunity to partner with ReMax, the household brand in real estate, to scale the business even faster.

Here's how he did it.

Aug 11, 2020

Ralph Dangelmaier has seen this movie before.

He’s CEO of fast-growing BlueSnap, the Inc5000 ranked company based in Waltham MA.

And he’s done it before.

So he’s successfully scaling this leading payments platform company. With access to 100 different payment types, BlueSnap lets merchants increase their sales online & thru marketplaces.

The product integrates fraud, chargeback, and reporting. And its deep tech stack delivers what matters most: higher payment authorization rates.

Not surprisingly, Ralph has attracted leading Private Equity investors: Great Hill Partners and Parthenon.

With approximately 200 people, Ralph is scaling the organization to keep up with the growth. In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how.

Aug 2, 2020

It’s hard to imagine anyone more qualified to find & land top talent for a Venture Capital fund than Amanda Mulay.

She leads Talent Management for Lerer Hippeau, the New York-focused early stage fund. It’s invested in 250 companies such as Allbirds, Casper, Mirror, Warby Parker, and Axios.

After recruiting at 2 Silicon Valley rocketships Zynga & Twilio, she brought her talents to Venture Capital. Starting with First Round Capital and Andreesen Horowitz.

Now, she’s with Lerer Hippeau where she lead’s people & talent efforts for its fast-growing portfolio.

In this 20-minute conversation, she reveals the impact that top-performers can make in a startup. And how you can attract them to yours.


Aug 1, 2020

Just last week, Zach Coelius successfully announced his first Venture Capital fund, Coelius Capital with $45 million in new assets.

Based in San Francisco, Zach has been an angel investor for years, backing hot startups such as Cruise Automation (which was acquired by General Motors for $1 billion, Branch Metrics, and HelloSign. Plus two dozen other companies.

Earlier, Zach was Co-Founder of advertising technology startup Triggit.

Now, he invests across sectors such as SaaS and Consumer Technology.

In this 20-minute conversation, Zach shares how small companies can scale fast by putting a Rockstar in every seat.

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