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Co-founding Kickstarter, empowering creatives, and starting a tangible goods company in a pandemic :: with Charles Adler and Wilson Fong

In this episode of Ventures we look at the founding story of Kickstarter and discuss how to support and advise founders that are bringing new companies to life. We discuss specifically the challenges facing founders selling tangible goods in the COVID-19 era and how online resources and communities can be leveraged to optimize success in this difficult market landscape.

See below for detailed notes and links to resources mentioned.

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

My guests this week are Charles Adler (Kickstarter/Lost Arts) and Wilson Fong (Prota Ventures) and we cover the following:

2:25 - Charles intro, beginning part of his life/entrepreneurial journey.

6:25 - Wilson intro, a few highlights of his entrepreneurial journey

12:10 - Was Charles always entrepreneurial (e.g. growing up) or did the arch toward that career path come later in life?

18:30 - Similar question for Wilson. He shares about his influences and bent toward entrepreneurship along the way and honing of the craft/practice.

21:50 - Charles follows up regarding side-projects that fuel entrepreneurship, creative empowerment, and/or turn into more significant ventures (sharing the story after leaving Kickstarter to now)

25:30 - The Kickstarter story - how it got started

32:25 - The technology/code behind Kickstarter - how did three co-founders go about getting their application built and live?

37:00 - Importance of business, creative, and technology roles in early tech startups.

39:30 - How did the Kickstarter co-founders go about compensating software engineers in the early days to get the product built?

44:30 - Throughout his career, how has Wilson seen the interplay of the different roles needed to get startups off the ground? What works and what doesn’t work?

48:20 - How is Charles thinking about founder/entrepreneurial empowerment now?

56:10 - Obviously there are challenging times ahead in light of the pandemic, but it potentially impacts founders building art/tangible goods more than others. What advice do you have of these founders? How is the landscape changing?

1:03:15 - How is Wilson thinking about proceeding in this pandemic area with regard to his entrepreneurialism pursuits? What changes?

1:07:05 - Lost Arts’ recent pivot

1:09:40 - What advice does Charles have for founders building art/tangible goods in an entrepreneurial fashion in this season?

1:12:00 - The importance of doing more node connection in our networks, especially in light of this pandemic season. And coming prepared - with your homework done - as you ask questions of your network.

1:12:40 - How is Wilson thinking about the rest of 2020, the landscape, work/life balance, etc...

1:14:50 - What lenses/approaches are Charles using to approach the rest of this year, given the pandemic?

1:18:10 - Where can people find Charles/Wilson online to follow up? https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilsonfong/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesadler/