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- 01/29/17--08:26: _A reality TV star a...
- 02/02/17--11:44: _This tiny house vac...
- 02/05/17--08:00: _This couple got the...
- 02/09/17--03:41: _Here's what Daymond...
- 02/10/17--14:00: _'Shark Tank' star D...
- 02/14/17--04:09: _'Shark Tank' star D...
- 02/14/17--08:20: _Watch the trailer t...
- 02/17/17--02:47: _Barbara Corcoran re...
- 02/23/17--13:14: _These Silicon Valle...
- 03/06/17--12:12: _'Shark Tank' invest...
- 03/09/17--08:00: _A 'Shark Tank' judg...
- 03/10/17--10:00: _How to become a mil...
- 03/11/17--15:47: _Early Uber investor...
- 03/20/17--03:41: _Here's the morning ...
- 03/22/17--13:02: _There’s a reason th...
- 03/24/17--19:24: _'Shark Tank' invest...
- 03/28/17--03:05: _'Shark Tank' star B...
- 04/26/17--08:13: _Billionaire venture...
- 04/26/17--14:37: _'Shark Tank' star K...
- 04/29/17--07:16: _'Shark Tank' guest ...
Since the election of Justin Trudeau, many Americans have started depicting Canada as a cuddly, progressive utopia.
The prime minister welcomes refugees at the airport! There are women in the Cabinet! Just reading American news, it seems like Canada is a left-wing sanctuary whose reasonable temperament makes it immune to the march of global conservative populism.
But right now, two candidates running to lead the Canadian Conservative Party are playing up their Trumpist credentials. One is a bombastic reality TV businessman with no experience in government. The other is a divisive former Cabinet member using immigration as her hallmark issue. Both have a real chance at winning.
Let’s start with the businessman, Kevin O’Leary. On the surface, he seems to have modeled his entire career on Donald Trump. He’s a branding machine with loud opinions who uses reality TV as a platform to advance his businesses. American audiences will know O’Leary from Shark Tank, a reality show where inventors and starry-eyed dreamers go before a dais of venture capitalists to have their dreams validated or smashed.
But while Tank brought O’Leary over the border in 2009, he has kept a toe in Canadian politics. He frequently trolls liberal office-holders on Twitter. Last year, he offered to invest $1 million in the province of Alberta, but only if the province’s left-wing premier, Rachel Notley, stepped down. He’s tweeted disapprovingly about Trudeau and takes every opportunity to denounce the high taxes in liberal-run Ontario, where he claims residency. (Though, as National Post reporter Sean Craig points out, his LinkedIn profile located him in Boston until last week.)
While O’Leary is a reasonably well-known reality star in the U.S., his profile in Canada is enormous. The CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster and my former employer, made O’Leary a household name. He was a panelist on a Canadian forerunner to Shark Tank called Dragons’ Den, and he used to host a Crossfire-type business show called The Lang and O’Leary Exchange. The most famous segment from that show was a testy exchange with Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Chris Hedges, whom O’Leary accused of sounding like “a nutbar” because of his support of Occupy Wall Street.
In the same interview, O’Leary’s used Trumpian language to describe Occupy as a group of “very weak, very low-budget” individuals. Like Trump’s tweets, O’Leary’s CBC appearances are a gold mine for opposition researchers trying to paint him as extreme. He once called for a ban on unions and has said global inequality was a positive thing, since it incentivized poor people to work harder. He has since walked these statements back, calling them “great television” but impractical as a basis for public policy.
The less flashy candidate is Kellie Leitch, a former pediatric orthopedic surgeon who entered politics in 2011. Leitch served in Stephen Harper’s Cabinet as the minister for labor and the status of women, and rose to prominence during the 2015 election, when she became the public face of a Tory campaign promise to set up a “barbaric cultural practices hotline.”
The phone number would give Canadians a special direct line to report such crimes as forced marriage and female genital mutilation. The hotline was derided by many as a dog whistle with little practical effect, since the practices being targeted were already federal crimes. The Tories ended up losing the election to Trudeau and the Liberals, and a number of Conservatives blamed the hotline for taking up too much oxygen.
In an interview before her leadership announcement, Leitch fought back tears and expressed regret for her involvement in the hotline’s rollout. But since then, Leitch has said her regrets were about the announcement of the tip line itself, not the actual policy. So far, her leadership campaign has focused on identity politics and the specter of immigration. Her signature promise is a “Canadian values test” for new immigrants and refugees entering the country, on top of a regular citizenship test.
So, how likely it is that O’Leary or Leitch will actually become party leader? There hasn’t been much polling on the race so far, and with 14 candidates running, no one has emerged as a prohibitive front-runner. The first poll since O’Leary entered the race has him at 27 percent, second only to “someone else” at 38 percent. (He’s at 31 percent among registered party members.) This past year, Leitch has consistently been among the top tier of candidates, with some polls putting her at 9 percent, others at 19 percent. But O’Leary’s candidacy has cut into her support, with only 2 percent of Canadians choosing her in a poll taken this week.
There is good reason to believe neither will win. Each candidate has serious flaws. For one thing, O’Leary doesn’t speak French. And the Conservative Party’s leadership race is weighted to give equal priority to every electoral district. That means very conservative districts in Alberta have the same weight as those in Quebec with few party members.
This is a big problem for O’Leary, since a fifth of Canadian voting districts are majority Francophone. While it’s possible a monolingual candidate could win over French Canadian voters, it’s never happened before, and Conservative leaders with poor French have traditionally struggled. O’Leary is banking on young, bilingual Quebeckers to see language politics as less relevant than jobs, but very few young bilinguals are in the Conservative Party to begin with.
As for Leitch, the most recent poll suggests her candidacy is on a downswing. And being a former Cabinet minister, she has a more difficult claim to being an anti-Ottawa outsider. During a recent meeting with supporters, she was asked a skeptical question about her plan to scrap the Indian Act. Leitch shot back that her plan was well–thought out, noting: “Please understand that I do have 22 letters at the end of my name. I’m not an idiot.”
The gaffe—bragging of her academic degrees and honorary titles as intellectual cred—has gotten quite a bit of play, partly because Leitch has only 16 letters after her name, at least on the parliamentary website. (She now claims to have 18.) More importantly, a defense built on how many distinctions and university titles Leitch has acquired probably won’t play with working-class voters.
And then there’s the biggest problem for both of them: Justin Trudeau. While his popularity has slipped in the past few months, his approval rating is still at a reasonably high 48 percent, and the Liberal Party has a strong enough lead in most polls to win a majority government. Anything can happen in the next two and a half years (Trudeau is facing a cash-for-access scandalaround party fundraising), but Trudeau’s honeymoon has been unusually long, and his endless campaign tour has kept rolling on.
O’Leary and Leitch are fighting uphill, in other words. But their rise to leadership isn’t impossible. A majority of voters actually like Leitch’s values test idea, and O’Leary is (very publicly) taking French lessons. Their real strength as candidates won’t become clear until the field begins to thin out. In this clutter, O’Leary and Leitch will keep grabbing the headlines while more temperate candidates take a back seat. Whatever happens, this race will test a very Canadian assumption: that loud excess and nativism have no place in our political life.
A Harvard Business School graduate took a risky dig at billionaire venture capitalist Chris Sacca on a recent episode of "Shark Tank"— and it almost paid off.
College friends Jon Staff and Pete Davis recently appeared on the show to pitch their startup, Getaway, which rents out tiny houses in the woods for city-dwellers looking to unplug.
Staff and Davis, who have already raised $1.2 million in seed funding, walked on the show seeking a $500,000 investment for 5% equity at a valuation of $10 million.
They set their sights on Sacca, a legendary angel investor who made early bets on Uber, Twitter, and Instagram— and shares the cofounders' love of the outdoors. The Upstate New York native owns two wood cabins on Lake Tahoe, in addition to an estate in Great Falls, Montana.
Davis took a shot at Sacca in what looked like an attempt to guilt him into an investment.
"You have brought and shepherded much technology into this world, and you know technology needs a counter-balance. We can provide a counter-balance," Davis said. "You can pay amends for helping bring Twitter into this world. And this is the anti-Twitter."
It seemed to work. Sacca offered up $500,000 for 7.14% stake at a valuation of $7 million.
This would have been a better deal for Sacca than Gateway's prior investors had been offered. Staff and Davis worried taking Sacca's offer would irritate their most loyal backers, and ultimately turned it down.
Still, Staff, who is CEO, admits it was a tempting offer.
"You get caught up in it, for sure. ... Chris Sacca is a big deal. I didn't really know that fully. But all my Silicon Valley bro-friends are like, 'Chris Sacca, dude, like what!" Staff says, putting on a Southern California accent.
"But ultimately … it doesn't matter how famous you are, even if you can add more value because you're Chris Sacca. It's like, I have people who backed me from day one, when this was totally a crazy idea, and I can't give you a better deal than they're getting and go face them."
They walked away empty-handed.
Sacca later tweeted that he was into the idea, but couldn't find evidence to support a $10 million valuation.
I'm into the tiny houses. But these founders are tripping all over themselves trying to justify that valuation. Struggling. pic.twitter.com/zw6vltl0ay— Chris Sacca (@sacca) January 28, 2017
Within 24 hours of the episode's airing, 100,000 visitors came to Getaway's website, compared with its typical 1,000 to 3,300 visitors a day. The company also experienced an uptick in reservations. Davis said the company's half a dozen tiny houses are booked through the end of summer.
Getaway's houses, which range from 160 to 200 square feet, are located within two hour's drive of Boston and New York City. Each home comes with s'mores supplies, board games, heating and electricity, and the creature comforts of home. They rent for as little as $99 a night.
Staff and Davis hope to bring the cabins to 30 US cities by 2022.
Nick Oleksak woke from a dream one night in 2012 and scribbled a note on his phone. He had two ideas: a food truck that sells tater tots and miniature bagel balls stuffed with cream cheese.
"This is the one," he said, imagining the ultra-portable New York City bagel. In the morning, his wife, Elyse, said that idea "actually didn't suck." They began baking that night.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Nick and Elyse have grown a small empire around the city's most iconic food. Bantam Bagels, which sells its toasted, crispy-on-the-outside, doughy-on-the-inside bagel bites online and out of a bakery on Bleeker Street, got an investment on "Shark Tank" and a distribution deal with Starbucks. The couple says they're just getting started.
The Oleksaks had zero culinary experience before setting out to disrupt the bagel. Nick, a former credit broker, and Elyse, who worked in asset management, survived the financial crash of 2007 on Wall Street. Their worlds still upended, they decided to take control of their careers.
"I think [for] a lot of our parents generation, you were successful if you were a doctor or a lawyer. Owning your own business wasn't really glamorous," Nick says.
"Shark Tank" changed that. When the show debuted in 2009, the Oleksaks were hooked.
After Nick dreamt up the bagel balls, the couple started tinkering with recipes in their Brooklyn kitchen. Nearly every night for two years, they came home from work around 6, made dough in a KitchenAid mixer, and set it to rise in the laundry cabinet, which had the right humidity.
"We were right on the coattails of the cronut, but we were trying to be less fancy and a little more iconic," Elyse said. She said the New York bagel had never been turned on its head before.
Bantam Bagels come in nearly two dozen flavors, ranging from the Classic Everything filled with plain, whipped cream cheese to the French Toast, a cinnamon nutmeg egg bagel stuffed with maple syrup-flavored cream cheese. They toast in the oven for six minutes.
The Oleksaks applied to appear on their favorite reality TV show "a hundred times," Nick says. When a "Shark Tank" producer finally invited them on in 2014, the couple wrote study guides in preparation. They watched every episode, quizzed each other on long walks, and even devised body language signals, so they could communicate silently while on camera.
They hoped to win over shark Lori Greiner, a seasoned product entrepreneur, and they did just that. Greiner gave the couple a $275,000 investment in exchange for 25% of the business. She calls the Oleksaks once a week, the couple says, and promotes Bantam Bagels on social media.
Before "Shark Tank," the company pulled $200,000 in sales a year. Now they're generating $13 million annually. Customers can find select Bantam Bagels flavors in over 7,700 Starbucks locations, where they retail for $2.95 a pair. A three-dozen pack sells for about $34 online.
With Bantam Bagels' expansion into grocery stores in 2016, demand outstripped the couple's ability to keep up. They moved operations from their bakery to a third-party manufacturing facility in Brooklyn that can handle their operations growth.
Elyse credits the city's water supply as the bagels' secret sauce, but the Oleksaks won't reveal how the cream cheese gets inside the bagel balls.
"I can say that they're real New York bagels, that everything else is done with leprechauns and unicorn dust," Nick said.
We talked with "Shark Tank" costar Daymond John at the New York offices of his new company, Blueprint + Co. Daymond John talks about the many things he's learned over the past 8 years as an investor on the show.
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"Shark Tank" dedicated Friday's episode to "American Heroes," something star investor Daymond John believes not only honors those who have dedicated their lives to others, but can also dispel preconceived notions.
"Having a show that’s dedicated to almost anything from mom-preneurs to minorities to everyday farmers to veterans is extremely important," John told Business Insider while promoting his new partnership with Shop.com on Friday.
"It’s the ultimate equalizer. It takes all race, color, gender, everything else out of the room and you become the person who you are."
In addition to a nurse and a Peace Corps. volunteer, the "American Heroes" episode of "Shark Tank" features entrepreneurs who have served as first responders and in the military.
John said that backgrounds such as those carry with them many of the traits the retail mogul and his fellow sharks are looking for in a business partner.
"When you talk about people who are veterans and people who serve our country, you realize that these people aren’t selfish people," he said. "They dedicate themselves to their country. They know how to finish a task, they know how to work within systems, and they’re willing to literally give it their all. When they walk into the room, we already know they have one step up from everybody else and we know they’ll give it their all no matter what."
President Donald Trump has made it a priority of his administration to bring manufacturing back to America. We talked with "Shark Tank: star Daymond John at the New York offices of his new company, Blueprint + Co, where he presented the positives and challenges of making products in the US.
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Apple has released a trailer for its first original reality show, "Planet of the Apps." It was presented at Recode's Code Media conference.
The show involves contestants pitching ideas for apps to celebrity judges Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Gary Vaynerchuk. Tech companies such as Uber and Yelp will help guide the developers, and their ideas may ultimately be presented to the venture-capital firm Lightspeed Venture.
The show is expected to be released on Apple Music in the spring.
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"Shark Tank" co-host Barbara Corcoran says one-third of the entrepreneurs she invests in succeed. Here's what Corcoran says is the difference between the entrepreneurs that succeed and those who fail.
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When Silicon Valley venture capitalist and philanthropist Jillian Manus was invited to co-host "The Pitch," a podcast in which budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors, she had one condition.
"I wanted it to be the antithesis of 'Shark Tank,'" Manus tells Business Insider.
"The Pitch," which launched its second season in January, aims to deliver a more realistic version of the hit reality TV show. Each episode follows one entrepreneur through their pitch before a panel of judges, and follows up several months later to see what came of the investment opportunity.
"Shark Tank" draws approximately five million viewers on Friday nights on ABC. Some entrepreneurs walk away with thousands of dollars in order to turn their bright idea into a viable company, while others leave with their dreams crushed. The stakes are impossibly high.
But according to Manus, the show doesn't come close to her experience as a venture capitalist in the real world. The "sharks" on TV can be vicious and manipulative as they compete against each other for the deal they want.
Plus, the judges often offer up a small amount of money for ownership of half of a company — a feat they can get away with because they "have star power behind them," Manus said.
Josh Muccio, an entrepreneur and co-creator of "The Pitch," decided to introduce just one entrepreneur per episode, allowing the podcast to dig deeper into the founder's story, give investors the space to conduct thorough interviews, and allow drama to unfold organically.
"We do thrill, but it's not demeaning," Manus said. "There's a mutual respect between an entrepreneur and the venture capitalist."
It also devotes significantly more time at the end of each episode to how the investment played out and what has become of the startup, as compared to "Shark Tank." They follow up with every guest, no matter if they landed an investment during their appearance on the podcast.
"We're not just going to tell the success stories. This is real life," Muccio told Business Insider.
During season two, which was recorded back in October, the show's five venture capitalists invested $1.5 million in featured companies. Entrepreneur Laura Bilazarian made such an impression on Manus with her recruiting startup Teamable that she wound up with funding from Manus's angel fund and a separate fund, Structure Capital, where Manus serves as a managing partner.
The 12-episode season also features Tesloop, a ride-sharing service that wants to shuttle passengers from city to city via Tesla vehicles, and Hykso, a Fitbit-like company that makes wearables built for tracking a boxer's punches. In some cases, the panel invested after the show taped, when they could conduct more due diligence. By comparison, most "Shark Tank" deals are made in minutes, though some sharks later rescind their offers after further research.
Since its premiere, the show has even gotten a nod of approval from a shark.
Barbaca Corcoran tweeted, "Like Shark Tank? Check out The Pitch podcast," adding a shout-out to "The Pitch" investor Phil Nadel, who also cofounded Corcoran's angel fund.
Serial entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" investor Robert Herjavec has seen his fair share of young people go down one of two paths: They drop out of school to pursue the venture of their dreams, or dig themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt by attending a private university.
Herjavec says his best financial advice for people in their 20s is to avoid taking on too much risk or debt by following the middle path. He encourages them to consider state school as an alternative.
"A state school is as good as a private school," Herjavec tells Business Insider.
Plus, Herjavec says, it can save young people boatloads of money.
Herjavec attended the University of Toronto, a public research university, where he majored in English literature. He worked as a newspaper deliveryman and waiter in his youth and was able to pay his way through school. He graduated in 1984 with zero debt.
The student debt crisis has reached new heights in recent years. In 2015, the average undergraduate borrower wound up with $30,100 in loans, up 4% from the year before.
As a freshman at U of T, Herjavec found college to be incredibly boring. He decided to drop out, until his father threatened to "bury [him] in the backyard" if he followed through.
Herjavec tells Business Insider he thinks budding entrepreneurs should attend college if it's within their means. Plenty of young people drop out in the hopes of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, and wind up penniless with their startup dreams crushed.
Herjavec gave this advice: "Don't plan on being an anomaly." Only so many make it.
"Shark Tank" investor and entrepreneur Robert Herjavec has called Tipsy Elves, an ugly Christmas-sweater company, his best investment on the show yet.
Herjavec invested $100,000 for 10% equity in the business in 2013. Two years later, the company pulled in over $10 million in sales and has expanded to other holiday apparel.
There's an important lesson to be learned from the founders' pitch: They brought energy. Herjavec says if entrepreneurs are able to entertain him, they have his attention.
"Investors are tired, they're cold, they're hungry. They hear boring pitches all the time," Herjavec tells Business Insider. "You have to entertain me."
We spoke with Herjavec while he was participating in a hackathon for kids, called "Invent-athon," at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. It's part of Frito-Lay's Dreamventioncontest, which will award $250,000 to the dreamer — age seven and up — who comes up with the best invention. (They need only submit a drawing to apply.)
Herjavec said most kids have a knack for pitching because they bring tons of energy.
When Tipsy Elves cofounders Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton appeared on the show in 2013, they gave a quick spiel about their company, then launched into a surprise fashion show.
Models wearing goofy Christmas and Hanukkah sweaters strutted their stuff for the sharks, while Mendelsohn and Morton provided commentary on the looks.
It was silly, but certainly entertaining — which may have helped the former dentist and lawyer grab Herjavec's interest. Look at that smile on Herjavec's face.
Herjavec tells Business Insider one of the worst things an entrepreneur can do in a pitch is appear bored. If a founder is excited, an investor will be ready to listen, he says.
If there's one thing the stars of Shark Tank know, it's how to make money.
Mark Cuban opened a bar before he was of legal drinking age. The brazen college campus venture lasted six short months. A scandalous snafu with a wet T-shirt contest led to the watering hole’s "sorry end." The former bartender's later business bets -- legal ones, of the tech-related kind -- fared exponentially better, eventually landing him in the millionaire club. Then, not long after, into the three commas club, the realm of billionaires.
Kevin O’Leary came into his first millions after spinning a $10,000 seed investment from his mother into an edtech startup. In not too long, Mattel scooped it up for $3.6 billion. Daymond John stitched a $100,000 seed investment from his mom (who mortgaged her house to give it to him) into FUBU. The fashion startup cleared hundreds of millions in sales within six years.
Chris Sacca’s path to millions -- and later to billions -- is tied to incredibly successful startups, too, though, interestingly, none of his own. He lucked out with some very early and very wise investments in Uber, Instagram, Twitter and Kickstarter, and that’s just the short list.
Lori Greiner spun her love of inventing solutions to everyday annoyances into a multi-million-dollar retail operation. Robert Herjavec, also a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, went from rags to astronomical riches within a few years of emigrating from Croatia to Canada in the pursuit of a better life. And, after failing at 22 jobs, former diner waitress Barbara Corcoran turned $1,000 she borrowed from a boyfriend into a $6 billion-dollar New York City real estate empire that's still going strong.
We recently caught up with all seven Shark Tank star investors on the Culver City, Calif., set of the hit show. There, from behind the scenes of Sony Pictures' Stage 30, they shared their advice on how to become a millionaire. Here’s what they told us:
BARBARA CORCORAN: BE COMPETITIVE AND PIGHEADED
"If you want to be really rich, you better decide early to start a business of your own. It's only when you put yourself in charge that you have a shot at becoming rich.
Every business is born out of an individual's intense passion and a real need to succeed, so you'll need enough passion to get started, but also enough to get through the intense 12-hour days when the chips are down and everything and everyone seems against you. But, if you're competitive and pigheaded enough to get over the failures without wasting time feeling sorry for yourself, and if you can inspire enough good people to join you, you can pretty much become as rich as you want."
MARK CUBAN: WORK HARD AND DO WHATEVER IT TAKES
"There’s being wealthy and doing well and having your dreams come true. And there’s being in a situation where things escalate. Whether it’s me or Chris Sacca, the stock market had gone nuts. I was rich and I was happy, but I don’t know that I’d have multiple billions of dollars.
"To become a millionaire, you’ve really got to find something that you love to do because it’s going to take so much work that you can’t just say, ‘OK, this is the one industry I can make a lot of money in.’ Or, and I get this all the time, which is crazy: ‘I want to be rich. What kind of company should I start?’ You can’t do that. It doesn’t work like that.
"You’ve got to be good at something and not only be good at it, but you’ve got to love it, and then you’re willing to work and do whatever it takes. Then, if you’re fortunate, that turns into something that creates wealth for you.
"I found out I loved computers and I taught myself how to program. I had no problem working 20 straight hours learning something or coding. That led to building and selling my first company. But it wasn’t like, ‘How am I going to get rich? Let me just start that company in that industry’ because there’s going to be somebody who’s going to know that business better than you do and is going to kick your ass."
LORI GREINER: DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND DO IT WELL
"Find something you love to do, that you are passionate about and also good at. Don't have the goal to be a millionaire. Have the goal to be successful and plan to give it all you've got. Critically important, make sure you are hands-on and the one driving things because no one will care about your business like you do. Be involved in all details and be aggressive at attaining your goals, and know how to pivot when necessary."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
AUSTIN — Shark Tank judge and early Uber investor Chris Sacca took the stage at SXSW and started handing out beers.
"We’re going to do this unlike Uber. The women get them first," Sacca said as he gave the Lone Star beers to women in the audience.
It was a snipe at one of his early portfolio companies that has come under internal investigation for claims of sexism in the workplace. One of the worst anecdotes from former engineer Susan Fowler's tell-all blog post was a scene where the women engineers on the team didn't receive leather jackets like the men because it would be unfair that it cost more to supply the women with jackets.
Sacca, unlike his portfolio company, decided to include the women at the start of his SXSW presentation, and when asked about Uber's behavior, didn't try to defend his investment.
"Nothing about that story shocked me at all. I was upset," Sacca told the audience.
The post bothered Sacca for two reasons: Fowler's treatment by her manager and Uber HR's failure to act on her complaints.
In the former engineer's blog post, Fowler said she was sexually harassed by her manager, ignored by HR, and was told by another manager she could be fired for reporting things. Uber hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Fowler's claims of misconduct after her blog post went viral.
Sacca said he wasn't surprised to hear Fowler's account of her manager's behavior because it's "pervasive in our industry." Sacca even admitted that he probably contributed to culture problems even in his earlier career.
'Automatons could respond better to that stuff'
Sacca was shocked, however, by the response from Uber's human resources department, he said.
"Automatons could respond better to that stuff," Sacca said. "When someone brings you a complaint like that you have to go back to the a--hole who provoked it all."
Sacca didn't say whether he had tried to influence or change Uber's culture over the last few years, but noted that he hasn't been on speaking terms with its CEO Travis Kalanick since 2011.
"The basis for us not speaking is not wholly unrelated," he said.
At this point, Sacca believes Uber needs to work hard at bringing in people from all kinds of diverse situations and try to rebuild its goodwill with its customers and the public at large. It's part of the reason that Kalanick was raked over the coals for joining the Trump economic advisory council while Elon Musk has enjoyed relative immunity from negative press for the same action.
"No one is giving Uber the benefit of the doubt anymore," he said.
Companies need to find a way to build empathy and compassion into their spreadsheets and recognize how decisions will trickle down, Sacca argued.
In the early days that Uber launched surge pricing, more complaints lead to more downloads, he explained. Once Lyft entered the market, Uber kept lowering prices which saw growth go through the roof, but it also squeezed drivers as prices go lower. The company didn't think about building compassion into its profit line, and that's why it's ended up with a culture problem that's affecting the bottom line of its business.
"It’s f---ing bad for business to not have a healthy culture at these companies," Sacca said. "Customers are not f---ing stupid and they will see through it and they won’t patronize business if they don’t have a healthy culture."
One positive thing to come out of the last few weeks, Sacca said, was Kalanick's decision to bring on a COO in the No. 2 role at Uber. Sacca is encouraged that Kalanick is now willing to admit he needs the leadership help, and said he wouldn't be shocked if the company now hires a woman.
"It took a few slaps in the face to wake up and be vulnerable to this," he added.
We talked with "Shark Tank" costar Daymond John at the New York offices of his new company, Blueprint + Co. Daymond John was willing to share his daily morning rituals and how it has helped him reach success. Following is a transcript of the video.
There are many routines that I've adopted but you know, if anybody knows me, it's goal setting. Reading before I go to sleep and these goals I read every single day are 10 goals and seven of them expire in six months and they range from health to professional life to you know, family and friends. And then the other three, one expires in five years, one expires in 10 years and the other in 20. I read them every single day. So what happens is, it's the last thing I read before I went to sleep, so I think about it, I dream about it and it's the first thing I read when I wake up so I naturally make a call to something I'm talking about or instead of picking up that bacon, egg and cheese, I pick up that one, that one protein drink that I said I'm going to drink, one of those a day, so that's my ritual, goal setting.
And then my next ritual is always trying to learn one thing new by the time I go to bed. So I walk in the room and I want to be the, you know, the person who's a sponge and I learn one thing new. That's why, you know, I don't want to die in the morning time because something I find out in the later on the evening may save my life.
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Since its debut in 2009, "Shark Tank" has produced its fair share of start-up success stories, but its most successful product is a sponge.
Yes, a sponge.
In 2012, Lori Greiner offered Scrub Daddy $200,000 for a 20% stake in the company. The smiling sponge has since sold over 10 million units, made more than $50 million in sales, and secured its title as the most successful "Shark Tank" product of all time.
Made with a special FlexTexture material, the Scrub Daddy alters its texture and function as you change the water temperature.
If you need to wipe down your kitchen counters, dip the Scrub Daddy in warm water and it will take on the form and feel of a traditional sponge. When dampened with cold water, the versatile sponge will firm up, making it easy to clean deeper stains without scuffing up your surfaces. Using its unique shape, you can use the Scrub Daddy's smiling face to easily clean silverware or cups.
Unlike most sponges you'd find at your grocery store, the Scrub Daddy is odor-free and washes off clean, so you won't have remnants of what you've cleaned all over it.
With over 2,000 reviews and a 4.5/5 rating on Amazon, the sponge has clearly lived up to its hype:
"I was a little skeptical of these 'self cleaning' sponges,'" one commenter said. "I use sponges regularly and they always get messy and difficult to work with. It was time to buy some new sponges so I figured I'd give these a try and see if they lived up to the hype. Sure enough, they did."
"Saw this product on 'Shark Tank' before it was popular," another said. "I'm not big on gimmicks, but this sponge really works.
One more commenter summed it up by simply saying, "I won't use anything but this Scrub Daddy from now on."
In early February, Daymond John was preparing to launch his latest company, his spin on a coworking space he named Blueprint + co.
He's looking to the future: Going forward, the business could allow the Shark Tank investor to leverage the influence he's established over the last eight years as a "Shark" long after the series, or his participation in it, inevitably ends.
A few days before the Blueprint launch, Business Insider stopped by the 17,000-square-foot space filled with new office furniture as contractors with power tools wrapped up small projects.
Blueprint comprises the two top floors and a 3,000-square-foot roof deck in a 14-floor high-rise in Manhattan's Garment Distric. It can hold 150 employees or 300 people total, for special events. Downstairs is John's company The Shark Group, formerly known as Shark Branding, a small business he founded during the second season of "Shark Tank" when he realized he needed to formalize management of his growing portfolio of investments.
Since John moved into this building a year ago, he's seen it as an evolving home base, with the perk of having a beautiful view of the Empire State Building. It's a place where he can develop his own businesses and foster relationships with entrepreneurs, both upstarts and veterans.
He has lofty ambitions for the location, telling us that he wants his center to be like the old MTV Times Square studio, where musicians, celebrities, and producers were always making exciting entertainment in the heart of the city — except his will be all around entrepreneurship.
"We're taking the whole building by the time we're done," John said.
From FUBU to Shark
In 2008, John was 39 years old and ready for a change.
He had achieved notoriety and wealth through his clothing brand FUBU, which he started from nothing out of his mother's house in Hollis, Queens in 1992. Though it brought in over $300 million in revenue at its peak, its popularity faded in the early 2000s. He contracted himself as a marketing adviser and acquired stakes in about 10 clothing companies, but after the Great Recession hit, only a couple were actually bringing him money.
So when famed reality television producer Mark Burnett told John that he wanted him to be a founding cast member of "Shark Tank"— an American version of the international series "Dragon's Den"— in which he would invest in small businesses that convinced him they were worthy of his money, John thought it would be a great idea.
It would not only bring him back into the spotlight, but it would allow him to move beyond the clothing industry.
John wrote in his 2016 book "The Power of Broke" that he lost $750,000 on the first season of "Shark Tank," due to a combination of bad investments and wasted money on consultants he hired to help him manage the portfolio (which is why he then hired his own employees for the company that became The Shark Group). But after this adjustment period, his participation has proven to have reignited his career.
Over the past eight years, John has become a household name to millions of Americans and has become a savvier investor, with a hand in about 60 small businesses. He noted that some of his best investments now are things he never would have dreamed of getting involved in back when he was laser-focused on FUBU — he likes to point out his stake in Bubba-Q's Boneless Ribs as a prime example.
It's why he sees now as a perfect time to kick off Blueprint. It's a way to leverage the influence and connections he's enhanced over the course of "Shark Tank" to establish a launch pad for the next phase of his career.
Mentor and student
John told us that his idea for Blueprint came out of "necessity."
He found himself with a wide variety of "Shark Tank" businesses to which he could teach general lessons about how they should grow a nascent business, but found himself wanting to learn more about industries he had no experience with beyond investing. He had his protegés but wanted teachers, and it got him thinking that there was a gap in the market for co-working spaces for more seasoned entrepreneurs.
There's an application to get space at Blueprint. John and his team are looking for companies bringing in a minimum of roughly $250,000 in revenue a year, and who want access to other growing companies, either to toss around ideas or collaborate. Blueprint makes money through desk rental fees and rents out its roof to members and non-members alike.
Basic access costs $275 monthly, access with added advisory perks runs $700 monthly, and getting dedicated desk space comes in at $1,000 monthly. Contracts are signed for a minimum of three months, and prices are competitive with what coworking space leader WeWork charges for similar access arrangements, minus the mentorship and other perks, across its New York locations.
John said that the office, which opened on February 6 this year, is running at 65-70% capacity.
"It goes from the independent entrepreneur who's been in business for 10 years to a corporation who, they may have 500 people working for them but they want innovation so five, or 10, or 15 of their people are based here, so they see what's going on in the middle of New York City with all the fast-thinking individuals," John said.
Currently, Blueprint hosts representatives of companies like direct-to-consumer mattress company Leesa, women's clothing company Ashley Stewart, and private jet ride-sharing company JetSmarter.
Leesa CEO David Wolfe told Business Insider on a phone call that even though his company is based in Virginia Beach, he's happy that he chose to have five of his employees located in Blueprint. He said that the main thing that distinguishes the it from other coworking spaces is the way John and his team are intimately involved with the operation, as if they have a personal stake in each of the company's success.
Wolfe also noted that he preferred the Blueprint space to those of its competitors, and that his company stands to save money by taking advantage of its photography studio, a unique perk. Adding Leesa employees to Blueprint is a seamless experience, he said, and noted that when he visited the space he found a productive balance between the way Blueprint allows teams to have their own space and gives them a chance to interact with each other.
John is using the early days of Blueprint to deepen his connections to his existing network. He's been the brand ambassador of the online market service Shopify since 2011, for example (also how he connected to Leesa), and it held a contest to send two of its clients (which they call "Partners") to Blueprint. "We're viewing this as an experiment to see how our Partners like working in the space, and based on our experience so far, we'll be looking to work closely with them in the future," a Shopify representative told us in an email.
We talked to both of these winners, web developer Durlan Vega and digital design firm MiGSiG founder Michael Tizol, over email, and both said that John has made himself a regular presence in the Blueprint space, and that the ability to work with him and his team has been the biggest benefit of their first weeks there.
John is also planning ways to use the space as his window to the world, including shooting live videos and recording podcasts in Blueprint's studio. He's already brought in his "Shark Tank" friends Barbara Corcoran and Robert Herjavec for a chat, and VaynerMedia CEO and celebrity entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk sat down with John for an interview for the launch party.
Vaynerchuk told us he's "always open" to doing more collaborations with John in the future and said about Blueprint, "I like the concept a lot, and feel the leadership will help it excel."
John declined to share financials regarding his investment or projected revenue for Blueprint, but it's an undertaking that's still in its infancy. And while we heard positive feedback from people already working there, Blueprint's success will be based on those companies choosing to send more of their representatives to the space, and their presence in turn attracting more talent to keep an entrepreneurial ecosystem going.
John's still a long way from taking over the entire building, but he's working toward his dream of building a base stronger and more wide-ranging than any of his previous pursuits, and one that can outlast "Shark Tank." It's based on a simple premise of wanting to work with people he can help out, and who can make him better, in turn.
"I want to be around like-minded people that I can feed off of them, they can feed off of me," he said.
"Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran has met a lot of people in business. Here Corcoran reveals how to make a good first impression. Following is a transcript of the video.
It's the same on "Shark Tank" as it is when you're meeting a guy at a bar.
There's some basic things that I think mothers use to teach. I'm not sure who's teaching them anymore. You've got to have good posture. Underestimated. When I see someone walk on the "Shark Tank" set and they're hunched over, I interpret that, rightly or wrongly, that they lack confidence.
Good posture. First impression. Looking someone straight in the eye. Creates trust. Some politicians are very practiced at looking someone in the eye, and yet they still can't be trusted. But if someone's not looking you in the eye, believe me, you're not trusting them. You don't even sometimes even register, it's just an intuitive thing. "Hm, I wonder what this guy or gal is up to?"
And then you've got to look the part. If you say that you're going to build the biggest shrimp business in the world, which one entrepreneur on "Shark Tank" did, I remember looking at him and I was out immediately. And why? Because we're asking about is organizational skill, who else is in his company, who he works with, and the whole time he was telling us how organized he was he had a giant stained apron, and it was wrinkled. And I'm thinking, "He's on national TV, with an unclean apron, and he's telling me how organized he is. I don't think so."
And so you have to look the part. You say you're a baker, look like a baker. If you say you're a tech guy and you don't wear glasses, put a pair of glasses on. You've got to look the part. So that it buys credibility.
After that, it comes down to one thing only which is clear communication. If you can communicate your passion and the logic of your idea clearly and succinctly, you're going to get a fish on your hook. If you can't and it's going to lead to 50,000 questions, you're going to leave with nothing in your pocket.
If you can't communicate well, you're never going to make a sale. You're never going to build a business if you can't make sales. So communication is the capital trait of every great entrepreneur.
Chris Sacca is leaving the show "Shark Tank" and startup investing all together.
The 41-year-old announced Wednesday that he will be "hanging up his spurs" and no longer devoting his time to startup investing. He'd just placed No. 2 on the Midas List of the world's best startup investors after early bets on companies like Twitter and Uber.
The "Shark Tank" judge infamous for his cowboy shirts won't be leaving entertainment altogether though. He's signed onto a Zach Braff TV-pilot based on The Startup Podcast, playing himself. Sacca also plans to launch his own podcast "because, I mean, the world desperately needs another podcast, am I right?", he says.
The one thing he promises he's not doing is running for political office, despite his heavy engagement in the resistance movement.
"Crystal and I are committed to doing all we can to ensure Utopia wins," Sacca said of what comes next. "We are passionate about solving our climate disaster, criminal justice reform, and women’s issues and we have a couple irons in the fire. We are also deeply committed to paying forward the luck and opportunities we have enjoyed in our space. So we’ve been quietly backing the next generation of investors, but specifically women and people of color who have been starting venture funds."
There's "more to come" on a lot of the projects Sacca will tackle in retirement, but he's finished with startup investing for now. Read his full good-bye to "Shark Tank" and startup investing here.
"Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary is dropping out of the Canadian Conservative party leadership race and endorsing a rival.
O'Leary pledged to be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "worst nightmare," when he threw his hat into the ring in January, and likened Trudeau negotiating with President Donald Trump as "Bambi versus Godzilla."
But his plans haven't panned out. In a Wednesday afternoon statement, O'Leary said beating Trudeau in the 2019 election would be a "huge challenge."
"This was not an easy decision for me to make but after much thought and deliberation, it is the right one for the Conservative Party and the country," O'Leary said.
O'Leary's argument was couched in a complex aspect of how Canadian elections work.
Canadian elections are indirect, meaning that Canadians vote for a specific party in their riding — which is similar to a district — rather than directly for the person at the top of the ticket. The leader of the party that wins the most seats in Parliament forms a government.
Quebec, with 78 seats, has historically been an uphill battle for the Conservative Party. O'Leary said that he'd have to expand the Conservative party base of support in the province to have a shot at contesting Trudeau, except there's one tricky detail: He doesn't speak a lick of French.
"I'm a numbers guy," O'Leary told reporters on Wednesday. "And the likelihood of gaining a lot of seats in Quebec is low."
O'Leary explained that he'd have to win at least 30 seats in Quebec, and the Conservatives only held 12 seats after the 2015 election that installed Trudeau's Liberals in power.
"I was singularly unsuccessful in my outreach there," O'Leary said. "I really worked hard to move the needle."
He caveated this by saying he had a "high probability" of winning the Conservative leadership race, but that it wasn't "the right thing to do for the party" if he could not realistically beat Trudeau.
"I worked like hell on this campaign," O'Leary said, though he has come under fire from other Conservative candidates for not taking the campaign seriously as he appeared numerous times on QVC, the shopping channel, to hawk his wares, notes CBC.
O'Leary threw his endorsement behind Maxime Bernier, a Member of Parliament from Quebec, on Wednesday.
"I want the DNA of my policies and objectives to survive into the general election," O'Leary explained. "The candidate that best mirrors my policies is Maxime Bernier."
While appearing amicable during the Wednesday afternoon press conference, O'Leary and Bernier traded barbs on the campaign trail.
"Kevin O'Leary is a loser," Bernier said in a March 17 email to supporters, per CBC. "I'm a winner."
The Conservative Party elections are on May 27.
Billionaire venture capitalist Chris Sacca surprised many in the tech world on Wednesday when he announced that he was retiring from startup investing.
After a stint at the Silicon Valley office of law firm Fenwick & West and then Google, Sacca struck out on his own and founded Lowercase Capital in 2007. He built his reputation and fortune on early investments in companies like Facebook, Uber, and Twitter.
In late 2014, he was introduced to a more general audience in the "Startup" podcast (in the process of being adapted to television by Zach Braff) and then to millions more when he joined the hit show "Shark Tank" as a guest investor the next year.
Sacca, known for his goofy cowboy shirts, wrote on the Lowercase Capital blog this week that he was "hanging up the spurs" and stepping away from startup investing and "Shark Tank" to focus on his young family and other projects. He will continue to advise the companies he's invested in but his Lowercase Capital partner Matt Mazzeo will handle the portfolio. Sacca also said he'll be launching his own podcast and hinted at involvement in a political project that doesn't involve running for office.
Back in 2015, Sacca told "The 4-Hour Workweek" author and tech investor Tim Ferriss in an episode of Ferriss' podcast that his ability to spot and develop startups that would become billion-dollar companies came from nearly 20 years of experience and the counsel of veteran investors like Josh Kopelman of First Round, Tony Conrad of True Ventures, and Hans Swildens of Industry Ventures.
He noted that luck is involved and that his intuition can be off sometimes — he still regrets declining to fund Airbnb and ignoring an early email inquiry from Snapchat cofounder Bobby Murphy — but his investment philosophy made him one of the Valley's top names in the last decade. Here are its four elements he cited.
1. Invest only if you can add value to the company.
When Sacca and his Lowercase Capital partner Matt Mazzeo decide to invest their money into a company, they are also committing themselves to be advisers to its founders. Sacca said that if he's going to make this commitment, he doesn't need to think that he'll be able to see a startup through to its IPO but, he explained, "I need to know that I can have a material impact to make something more likely to succeed."
2. Invest in a company that's already great.
Anyone with a regular job has to work on projects that are assigned to them, whether they want to or not. Sacca said rookie investors are often so used to this mindset that they leave themselves too open to deals.
"When you get into investing, your default stance should be 'No,' because most deals suck," he said. "Most deals won't make money. Most companies will fail. And the temptation always is you see your first deal and you're like, 'OK, I know I can be helpful to these guys, I know I can make this s----y thing better.' And so your first few deals are always your worst."
3. 'Give yourself a chance to get rich.'
Sacca learned that it's important to build a portfolio that allows for chances to make money from the "unicorns" (rare billion-dollar companies) and moderate successes by not spreading yourself thin, entering at a price that's low enough, and making investments with a longterm perspective.
Sacca said that before he realized this, he once "sold a company to Amazon where I saw 3x on a $50,000 investment in a fund. By the time the fund got paid back ... I had been busting my ass with that company for a couple years, and like I barely had enough money left to buy that [founder] dinner to celebrate the deal."
4. Be proud of the deal.
Sacca said he's unwilling to compromise on his integrity when he makes a deal, and it's worked out for him.
"There's stuff that I've passed on that I just don't regret it at all," he said.
Some examples he mentioned are advertising businesses that place deceptive ads on misspelled domains, subscription services that are intentionally difficult to cancel, products built on unsubstantiated claims, and social networks that utilize anonymous content.
"It seemed like a good way to make money," Sacca said, "but I don't have to explain to my kids that that's how I've made money."
You can listen to Sacca and Ferriss's full, in-depth conversation on Ferriss's site or wherever you get podcasts.