Foundr Magazine Podcast with Nathan Chan

Malcolm Ong has never shied away from change. In fact, his ability to adapt is what has given him a front-row seat to multiple business transformations—first as the co-founder of education platform Skillshare to now as the Head of Product at South China Morning Post.

After launching Skillshare in 2010, Ong led the business through a significant pivot—from being a completely offline, in-person model to one that’s now membership-based and 100% online. In the process, he also witnessed the massive growth of the online education industry, which has only been sped up by the Covid-19 pandemic.

After leaving Skillshare, Ong joined South China Morning Post, a global, English-language news media company owned by Alibaba. His job has been to transform this company from a traditional, local newspaper into a more modern, global media empire. A task that he has exceeded, as he’s grown their number of monthly active users from 4 million to over 50 million and significantly expanded the outlet’s readership beyond Asia.

In this conversation, Ong gives us a deeper dive into these milestones throughout his fascinating career and shares his best recommendations on how to transform a business. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Why Ong decided to tackle the education industry
  • How Skillshare launched as a 100% offline education platform 
  • What contributed to Skillshare’s success
  • The scalability issues that Skillshare faced, and how this led to the company transitioning online
  • Ong’s advice when it comes to pivoting your business
  • Why Ong eventually left Skillshare in 2016
  • What intrigued Ong about the job offer from South China Morning Post (SCMP)
  • Ong’s experience living in Hong Kong, and how it has given him the front seat to many historical events
  • How Ong has helped SCMP transform from being a traditional media company to a cutting-edge product and customer-focused business
  • Ong’s advice to entrepreneurs about trying on different hats

Key Resources From Our Interview With Malcom Ong

Direct download: FP326_Malcom_Ong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO, Whole Foods Market

Right now, every company needs strong leadership to guide them through these challenging times. Thankfully, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey is well versed on the principles of leadership and is launching his latest book, Conscious Leadership, this month to help other founders put those ideas into practice. 

 

In addition to the book, people can see Mackey’s approach to leadership in action with Whole Foods. While Mackey is grateful that his stores are still in full operation during Covid-19, he doesn’t try to hide the fact that circumstances have been extremely challenging—from rapidly scaling its supply chain to accommodate the sudden demands of customers to generating almost no revenue as a result of all the sanitation products the business has had to invest in.

 

But these obstacles don't bother Mackey. As a conscious leader, his priority is making sure that every single one of their 100,000 team members has access to the resources they need to stay safe at work. He has also raised every in-store worker’s pay by $2 per hour, provided two extra weeks of sick pay for those who have to quarantine, and is giving unlimited callouts during this time. 

 

In this conversation, Mackey shares more about what it means to lead with love, how founders can attract and retain great talent in this challenging environment, and so much more. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • An overview of Mackey’s best-selling book, Conscious Capitalism
  • A sneak peek into Mackey’s latest book, Conscious Leadership, and what inspired him to write it
  • The two most important pillars of leadership
  • Why Mackey believes in leading with love 
  • How Mackey is putting conscious leadership into action during the pandemic
  • The challenges Whole Foods has been dealing with from a supply chain and revenue perspective 
  • Why being an Amazon subsidiary adds a layer of complexity to the Whole Foods business
  • How to attract and retain great people during these challenging times 
  • What Mackey has done to support Whole Foods employees during Covid-19
  • Why Mackey believes in the win-win-win mindset, and how this attitude can guide your business decisions 
  • The importance of leading by example 

Key Resources From Our Interview With John Mackey

  • Get your copy of Conscious Leadership here
Direct download: FP325_John_Mackey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Kurt Seidensticker, Former NASA Engineer & Founder and CEO, Vital Proteins

How did Kurt Seidensticker go from being a NASA engineer to the founder of one of the biggest protein brands in the world? Believe it or not, his career path has been a perfect culmination of experiences—one that has led him to his current position as the CEO of Vital Proteins, a brand that was recently acquired by Nestlé and is expected to generate a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue this year. 

 

Even when Seidensticker was working at NASA as an aerospace engineer, he was constantly running his entrepreneurial brain and thinking up new projects to undertake. After several years of working in a diverse array of industries—from cellular phone systems to high-speed internet—he decided to strike out on his own and started his own data center company and ecommerce platform. 

 

Despite appearing to be completely unrelated businesses, these two companies served as the launching pad that allowed Seidensticker to start Vital Proteins in 2013. His ingestible collagen product took the protein market by the storm and saw over 300% YOY growth in its early days.

 

In this podcast episode, Seidensticker discusses what led to the incredible growth of Vital Proteins—from having first-mover advantage to finding negotiating power when dealing with retailers. He also shares his best recommendations when it comes to influencer marketing, moving fast, and so much more. 

 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Why Seidensticker decided to become an aerospace engineer 
  • The business ideas Seidensticker had while working at NASA and worked on space programs, underneath was entrepreneurial drive
  • How Seidensticker came to work on pivotal projects in the cellular phone systems and high-speed internet space
  • Why Seidensticker decided to strike out on his own
  • How the data center company and ecommerce platform he built became a launching pad for Vital Proteins
  • The experience that led Seidensticker to explore the world of protein, and how he created a whole new category around ingestible collagen
  • How Seidenstricker and his team approach influencer marketing differently 
  • Seidensticker’s school of thought when it comes to the power of product vs. marketing
  • The benefits of operating under the radar and having first-mover advantage
  • How Vital Proteins educated consumers and drove the market for collagen 
  • Why Seidensticker recommends going online before retail, and how he gained negotiating leverage with retailers
  • Details about Vital Proteins’ partial acquisition by Nestlé
  • Why Seidensticker believes in progress over perfection

Key Resources From Our Interview With Kurt Seidensticker

Direct download: FP324_Kurt_Seidensticker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Mike Michalowicz, Author & Co-Founder, Profit First Professionals

Right now, every entrepreneur has the same question on their mind: how do I recover or maintain my company’s profit levels during Covid-19?

 

That’s why we were so eager to sit down with Mike Michalowicz, who is a serial entrepreneur, author, and creator of the Profit First system. Our own CEO and founder, Nathan, used Michalowicz’s teachings to completely change the way he manages Foundr’s finances. And now we want to bring you the same level of knowledge to help you through these challenging times.

 

In this conversation, Michalowicz shares his best recommendations on how to manage your cash flow, financial priorities, and more during a pandemic. If you have any questions on how to take a profit-first mindset right now, this episode is for you.  

 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.

Key Takeaways

  • What Michalowicz learned from building and selling his first two businesses
  • How going into bankruptcy changed the way that Michalowicz views entrepreneurship
  • Michalowicz’s path to becoming a small business author, and how running two of his own companies contributes to his books
  • What’s happening during “The Great Big Shift”
  • How to manage cash flow during the pandemic
  • The difference between sales issues vs. profit issues
  • Michalowicz’s tips to organize your financial priorities during Covid-19
  • Why Michalowicz recommends pulling off the bandaid instead of chipping away when it comes to tough decisions
  • An overview of the Profit First methodology and framework
  • Parkinson’s Law, and how it applies to toothpaste
  • Why Michalowicz recommends trusting wallets over words

Key Resources From Our Interview With Mike Michalowicz

Direct download: FP323_Mike_Michalowicz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Mikael Yan, Co-Founder and CEO, ManyChat

When Mikael Yan launched ManyChat in 2015, other messaging apps were trying to impress investors with their fancy AI and NLP technologies. But not him. Instead, he made it clear to investors that his app was solely meant to solve a business problem: helping companies better communicate with and market to their customers. 

 

Investors who were initially interested in ManyChat immediately lost interest. But not for long. Even though Yan and his founding team initially had to bootstrap their product, investors eventually recognized the potential behind their vision and got on board. 

 

Today, ManyChat has over one million Facebook pages connected to its platform in over 190 countries. The company also recently raised its Series A from Bessemer Venture Partners. Given that 2020 is the first time in history that the number of messaging app users will surpass the number of social media users, it’s clear that ManyChat is just getting started.

 

Listen to this interview to learn more about Yan’s thoughts on the future of messenger marketing, the global mobile industry, and the importance of mindset as an entrepreneur. 

 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Why Yan, after years of dabbling in the consumer space, turned his eyes to B2B 
  • How ManyChat made timely use of Telegram Messenger’s API in 2015 and introduced the world of messenger marketing
  • The rise of private vs. public channels 
  • Yan’s analysis on why China is so ahead when it comes to mobile and messaging apps
  • Why Yan believes in being product obsessed and understanding the customer experience above everything else 
  • How Yan avoided the trap of building a product for the “cool” factor (and initially lost investor interest as a result) 
  • The power of self belief in entrepreneurship, and how to cultivate this mindset 
  • Yan’s personal glass ceiling 
  • A look into the future of ManyChat and what Yan is most excited about when it comes to the messenger app industry 

Key Resources From Our Interview With Mikael Yan 

Direct download: FP322_Mikael_Yang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51am AEDT

1