Notes from Mark Suster’s Interview of Bill Gross

Image representing Idealab as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Mark Suster has a great hour+ video interview of Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab. In it Bill Gross talks about the mail order business he founded as a teenager, the successful audio speaker business he had in college, and a number of other businesses he started — the consumate serial entrepreneur. Once he realized he liked coming up with the idea for the business and getting the right team in place to run it, he started Idealab to try out a new idea once a month. He’s helped launch 75 companies and several have sold for over $1 billion dollars. Hear these stories and more in the video.

Here are choice Bill Gross quotes from the interview:

  • Starting a mail-order business as a teenager was hugely valuable
  • Focus on one thing, unless that one thing isn’t working
  • I keep coming up with new ideas but our companies are focused on a single idea
  • I love tracking, listening to our customers, and feedback loops
  • I went to my board with the idea for CitySearch and they said it didn’t fit, so I hired a CEO from McKinsey to do it and six months later I started Idealab to do more of my ideas
  • 7 of the 10 (original) ideas we funded raised money and some went on to be wild successes
  • All 10 ideas were mine originally
  • We started looking at 10-20 ideas per month and choosing one to do
  • All of the ideas come from personal want
  • When you are starting a new idea you have to be 10x better than the competition in some dimension
  • I call MVP (minimum viable product) sense and respond
  • How many times can you turn on ideas (as compared to turns on inventory for manufacturing)
  • Will people actually open their wallet and give you the cash? (the cashectomy moment)
  • The Yellow Pages model is where this idea came from (pay per click advertising, which he invented and now powers the main way Google makes money)

This is a great video interview of Bill Gross and I recommend it to entrepreneurs to hear the first-hand stories of success.

What else? What did you think of the Bill Gross interview?

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