Archive for April, 2009

Interview with Kevin O’Connor

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

oconnor-webKevin O’Connor is co-founder and former CEO of DoubleClick. DoubleClick is the world’s largest Internet advertising technology company and was recently acquired by Google. Prior to DoubleClick, Mr. O’Connor founded and developed several successful Internet businesses and is now the principal of O’Connor Ventures, a venture capital firm that provides funding for startups. For this interview we met with Mr. O’Connor in Santa Barbara, California to explore his thoughts on Internet entrepreneurship, venture capital, and success in life.

Kaizen: Before you went to college, you were a young man with an experimental turn of mind. Some of those experiments went well—and others didn’t?

O’Connor: Well, there was the one when I tried to build a hot air balloon and it was too windy, so I launched it in our garage and it caught on fire. It was about six o’clock on a Sunday morning, and all the hot ashes flew up in the rafters and almost burned the whole house down and killed the family. So I had to put everything out before anyone woke up.

Kaizen: What was your parents’ reaction to that?

O’Connor: My dad actually helped me build a new one, and we went out and launched it, but it was too windy and it burned up again. But it was outside. He was always very good on that. And the other time, I think I was building a rheostat and it was very, very hot and it caught the carpet on fire. I tried to hide it and somehow my dad always found everything I did. He was totally cool with it; he was fine. He liked the story and he was glad I didn’t kill anyone.

Kaizen: So rather than dampening your experimentalism, they took the risks and—maybe keeping an eye on things the way parents do—encouraged you down that road?

O’Connor: Yep. He never even kept an eye on me. I don’t know why. They were fairly conservative people, but I think my dad had a bit of a hidden wild streak in him.

Kaizen: So by the time you went to college you had years of fun experience with technology and great parental support?

O’Connor: Yep. My dad used to go out with me every garbage night. We’d go out and collect TVs and radios and anything with electronics. He used to help me do that.
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Watch business pitches on BBC’s Dragons’ Den

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Check out the addictive BBC show Dragons’ Den, in which entrepreneurs make a pitch for investment to five venture capitalists who decide whether to invest their own money in exchange for equity. Aside from the drama, you can learn a lot about presentation skills and what goes into judging whether a business idea will actually work. You can watch several full episodes, such as the one below, online.

The new entrepreneurial generation

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Inc.com‘s Donna Fern discovers that GenY startups have their “own way of looking at existing products and services and judging them not quite up to snuff for their own needs. Their response: I can do better.” Her article features online services Mint, Unigo and Ignighter.

Meanwhile, Jeff Cornwall describes this new generation of entrepreneurs as “using entrepreneurship as not just an economic tool, and not just a social tool as we see with their fascination with Social Entrepreneurship, but as a cultural tool.”

How to save money while growing your business

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

At Small Business Trends, Anita Campbell has collected stories of business owners who found creative ways to save money while growing their businesses.

What makes a successful VC pitch?

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Serial entrepreneur and “father of angel investing in New York,”according to Crain’s New York Business, David S. Rose gives a TedTalk on the 10 most important things you need to know before pitching your idea to venture capitalists. Along the way, he also includes 5 tips on making good PowerPoint presentations.

Interview with David Mayer on constitutional interpretation

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Below is a two-part interview of CEE’s executive director Dr. Stephen Hicks with Spring 2009 CEE guest speaker Dr. David Mayer about his forthcoming book, entitled “Freedom’s Constitution,” which focuses on his libertarian interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

Part I

Part II

Interview with David Mayer on Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Below is a two-part interview of CEE’s executive director Dr. Stephen Hicks with Spring 2009 CEE guest speaker Dr. David Mayer discussing his lecture, “Thomas Jefferson and the Holy Cause of Freedom,” about Jefferson’s writings on the nature and importance of liberty.

Part I

Part II

April 2009 issue of Kaizen

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Kaizen 6 cover image

The latest issue of Kaizen features our interview with Kevin O’Connor, co-founder and former CEO of DoubleClick. DoubleClick is the world’s largest Internet advertising technology company and was recently acquired by Google for $3.1 billion. Also featured in Kaizen are reports on a new course coming soon from Professor Asongu, our guest speakers, and projects by students Bridget Markin, Khetsiwe Dlamini, Stacy Moore, and Goran Mamic.

A PDF version of Kaizen is available here. We will soon post the full version of the interview with Mr. O’Connor.

If you would like to receive a complimentary issue of the print version of Kaizen, please email your name and postal address to CEE [at] Rockford.edu.