Claiming Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
When Marcus Whitney moved to Nashville in 2000, he was a college dropout with a one-year-old and a baby on the way. He waited tables and lived in a week-to-week efficiency hotel. From the outside, Marcus looked like the furthest thing from a budding entrepreneur. But inside, he knew entrepreneurship was his path to a better life. Two decades later, Marcus has founded two innovative companies in the healthcare space, exited a tech marketing company, and co-owns Nashville’s new Major League Soccer team.
In his new book Create and Orchestrate, Marcus walks you through his unlikely journey from waiting tables to building companies. He demystifies much of what keeps people from pursuing entrepreneurship and explains why it’s the only vocation that allows you to control your time by using your creativity. When you control your time, you can claim your full power by matching up what you’re great at with the problems you see in the world.
In our discussion, we talk about Creative Power, entrepreneurship as a vehicle for your creativity, and the three values for being a successful creative entrepreneur.
Enjoy the show.
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Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript
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How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 0:00
I’m James Taylor and you’re listening to the SuperCreativity Podcast the show dedicated to inspiring creative minds like yours. When Marcus Whitney moved to Nashville in 2000. He was a college dropout with a one-year-old and a baby on the way. He waited tables and lived in a week-to-week efficiency hotel. From the outside, Marcus looked at the furthest thing from a budding entrepreneur. But inside, he knew entrepreneurship was his path to a better life. Two decades later, Marcus has founded two innovative companies in the healthcare space exit a tech marketing company and co-owns Nashville’s new Major League Soccer Team. In his new book, create an Oak Street, Marcus walks you through his unlikely journey from waiting tables to building companies. He demystifies much of what keeps people from pursuing entrepreneurship and explains why is the only vocation that allows you to control your time by using your creativity. When you control your time, you can claim your full power by matching up with what you’re great at with the problems that you see in the world. And our discussion, we talk about creative power, entrepreneurship as a vehicle for your creativity, and the three values for being a successful entrepreneur. Enjoy the show. Marcus, welcome. Thanks for coming on the SuperCreativity Podcast. James, thanks for having me. It’s an honor. Now I’ve just finished reading an excellent book called Create and Orchestrate. I’ve just been reading on my Kindle recently. In the book, you say that entrepreneurship is a vehicle for your creativity when practiced, entrepreneurship enables you to express yourself through business, I love the idea. That’s the way that I kind of view business and entrepreneurship. But in the book, you also describe entrepreneurship as the great equalizer. What do you mean by that?
Entrepreneurship As The Great Equalizer
Marcus Whitney 1:46
Well, I mean that in the world of employment, meaning you know, you go get credentials from some educational institution, and then you go out on the market, and you send your resume out there. You know, there are all sorts of criteria, some of which are meritocratic, and some of which are, you know, inherently biased, it’s sort of impossible for humans to not be biased. And, you know, if you sort of look around the world, different economies, take the shape of, you know, the culture that that happens within that particular country, or, or state or city, or town. And if you don’t necessarily line up demographically or psychographically, with that culture, then you’re going to definitely be disadvantaged. And so, you know, in America, we have our own sort of, you know, the flavor of those disadvantages, and they show up, you know, from a metrics perspective, when you look at leadership across fortune 500 companies, for example, you know, it’s overwhelmingly white and male, you know, in the C suite, and certainly in the position of CEO. And so, you know, the thing about entrepreneurship is, entrepreneurship is about bringing a product to market and the market, generally speaking, just once the value in exchange for its money, it doesn’t necessarily say, hey, what are your credentials? Let me see your degree. And, you know, let me sort of look at you and make sure that the product is made by somebody who I feel comfortable with, you know, as a cultural fit, it’s just Hey, is, am I getting the value for my money? And so, you know, because that’s the truth about the market. And entrepreneurship is the way that you engage in the market. You get to sort of end-around all of these things that are supposedly meritocratic, but are not the market is much more meritocratic. And so that’s why it’s an equalizer. Because if you happen to not necessarily be in the favor, you know, set of people that do really well, from an employment perspective, you can choose entrepreneurship, and you can have a much more level playing field. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 3:46
And that kind of American story as well of the immigrant, wherever you’re coming from, where we come from, in the world come to America, and starting that businesses are a core part of the fabric of America, isn’t it?
Marcus Whitney 3:59
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a great example, what have most, you know, immigrants done, when they came here, they either would work labor, jobs, you know, like jobs that other people didn’t necessarily want, but you know, were needed, or they would start businesses, and they would bring important things from their culture that, you know, added to the, to the, to the fabric of, you know, American culture. And that’s, that’s fantastic. And we’re very grateful for that. But that’s only possible because America has embraced entrepreneurship, you know, and has said, you know, doesn’t matter whether or not you were born here, or you moved here, you know, you should be able to set up a business and add to our economy, right and adding to our economy, you then add to the value of the country. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 4:40
Now you could take us through this is basically your life story. In this book, you kind of take us through the journeys, and I know you’ve lived and worked in different parts of the United States. And, you know, it’s interesting, because you talk kind of early on about your uncle about Otis about he was a programmer at IBM. And I would love to know like this I we’ve got a lot of programmers or coders, a lot of hackers listen to the show as well. Tell us about your introduction to programming, because I’m guessing you and I was probably roughly about the same age. And so here in the UK, we had like, spectrums, edX, like really early stuff like that. Where did you come into the program? Where did you learn about it the first time?
Marcus Whitney 5:21
Yeah, so you know, so much of who we end up being as adults has to do with, you know, our setup as children. And you know, when you’re a child, you don’t really get credit for that. It’s really, you know, the environment, your parents, and it’s, it’s really about, you know, how fortunate you are, I was very, very fortunate. My parents cared a lot about education. Neither of them was college-educated, but they knew the value of a great education and didn’t feel like it was something that needed to wait until college. They were like, No, no, no, in elementary school grade school, right from like, kindergarten, you’re going to get a great education. And so they fought very hard for me to be placed into a program called Astor, which was for gifted children in a public school in New York City. And so I was in this program, and through that program, the parents just really went above and beyond to try to make sure that their children had access to the latest and greatest things. And one of those things was computers. So we all had Texas Instruments, computers, you know, through that class, well, on top of that, my uncle Otis worked, he lived in worked in upstate New York, for IBM, you know, at that time, IBM was just an absolute juggernaut in computing, you know, Microsoft Windows was not yet a thing at that point. And so I remember for Christmas, one year, he gave me an IBM PC Jr. and, you know, back then, when you would receive one of these personal computers, this is really at the infancy of personal computing, there weren’t any laptops, they were no windows, and basically like, to get them to do anything, you had to program them, right. I mean, they didn’t come loaded up with these rich, robust operating systems. And so to get this thing and make any use of it, I had to learn basic programming, literally, the language called basic. And, you know, it’s like, they say, if you learn how to speak another language, as a child, it’s much, much easier for you to retain it, and it becomes just, it just becomes part of the way that your brain works later on in life. And so, because I had access, you know, first, second and third grade to these computers, learning these other languages of these computer languages later on in life, when I needed to, to figure out how to, you know, elevate myself economically, code was like, this natural thing for me. And, and, and when I went through the process of teaching myself how to code in the, in the late 90s, you know, early 2000s, it was all, you know, self-taught picking up books, you know, there wasn’t any Code Academy, or they weren’t these like boot camps, you know, all these revolutionary ways of teaching people how to code that we have today weren’t available then. But I had this really nice foundation that I have, you know, my parents and my uncle to, to thank for. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 8:08
And I think it was nice in the book you talk about, you get to a number of these junctions, where you could have gone either way, in terms of your life, you made certain decisions at certain points in your life. I remember a little bit where you talking about your work like two jobs, and you’re kind of going into borders, like when borders books still existed, and grabbing those copies of books and getting a reading on your time off as well. So it’s interesting, just kind of reading you, like you have this kind of seminal points in your life when you’re making these, these decisions when you kind of how do you feel about that, when you look back on it now, and you think about those time points?
Marcus Whitney 8:46
Well, I think that it is, uh, it informs what I’m going through today. And it reminds me that, you know, this is what life is about, you know, we’re all out here, setting off on a voyage on a grand adventure. And we will always come to these points, these critical points in the journey where the map isn’t as clear, but it’s really about trust and guts and about, you know, knowing what our ultimate destination is. And we do as much as we can to try to, you know, remove the risk from, from life, but that’s not the life is always going to have some risk to it. And so there are always going to be these junctions where you’re faced with very, very serious, you know, you know, questions or decisions that you have to answer. And I think the stakes are even higher when you’re younger. It’s funny, right? It’s like yes when you’re younger, you can sort of get away with more things and you know, your health you can rebound from, but the inflection points I think are so much more significant. And I realized that a lot more now that I’m 45 years old, and I’m, I’m now you know, probably halfway through my life or something like that. Right. And I think about wow, you know, the next 10 years are like the really the most serious earning years I’m going to have after this it needs to be leveraging the wisdom and I’ve sort of built up until that point, I didn’t think about that when I was in my 20s or 30s. You know, I was just like, I was pretty much heads down and trying to just take care of my kids. But I also had this, this long-term vision that wasn’t even like a wasn’t a clear vision, but it was a direction, it was a direction I knew I was supposed to go in. And again, like I, you know, I have to sort of credit, you know, my parents with this, it was like, it was like, it was something that was put inside of me, that I don’t feel like I get credit for, but it has always sort of helped me in those critical junctions, those critical decision points to make the right decision for the long term. And I did, I didn’t do everything right. But you know, I did kind of do some of these important things, right, you know, along the way. So I think I think it gives me a lot of gratitude. But it also reminds me that this is what life is, you know, -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 10:49
but one of the things you talked about in the book, which I guess goes to, it goes to identity, I guess which you talk about this mind state of saying to yourself, I am a programmer, identifying I am a pro even before you were professional, you weren’t getting paid as a programmer. So because I think that’s it, I’ve noticed a number of being successful people, even before they achieved the thing, or they’re publicly acknowledged as the thing, this is what they are, they’re an actor or they’re, or whatever the thing is, and their creative journey. They feel like they kind of have to identify and inhabit that, at their core. Tell us about that experience for you just kind of going from that someone you’re working to job, you’re doing other things to be able to say, have that. That kind of chutzpah being I’m saying, I’m a programmer.
I am a programmer
Marcus Whitney 11:35
Yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s interesting. I, I think, for me, I struggle with the idea that I can be successful in something without a belief that I’m already just becoming, yeah, if that makes sense, right. And so for me, it’s almost like it’s required, right, I feel that I am much more likely to get swayed off my path or to just become disinterested. If there’s not this sort of commitment that comes with a full embodiment of this thing that I’m setting out to become right. And, and that that starts with saying, I’m already it, right, I’m already at, and it’s just the process of becoming, and, and unfolding, and the story just sort of writing itself, but it’s already, like, I’m there already, you know, what I mean, and so that, that, that is something that I feel is necessary for me, in order to do it. And I agree with you, it is something that I’ve seen as a consistent trait amongst people who are successful, you know, they have a disability, you know, and at the same time, I also recognize the blessing in the ability to do that, you know, that there is both this sense of necessity for me, but there’s also this sense of freedom. And so far as I don’t have significant obstructions from that, from being able to do that, like I don’t, I don’t have this inner voice saying, Oh, shut up, you can’t actually do that, you know, and I mean, I do I have a little bit of the sort of the imposter syndrome, like, as everybody does, but I very quickly can sort of getting over that. And I think that you know, many people struggle with that, you know, because, you know, maybe they’ve been told over and over again, you know, that, you know, they can’t be something and, and that is, you know, we need to try to do as much as we can to both be a living example, but also to directly encourage people and remind them that they can be things everything takes time, it takes consistency, it takes sacrifice, it takes hard work, but you can be these things. If you’re willing to put in all of those, you know, sort of key ingredients, -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 13:50
is I was almost like thinking as I was reading it in the book, you almost like hacking, creativity or hacking identity in some ways, because I remember reading years ago, Robert Cialdini, the book influence, and he said this idea about your congruence. But once you are, if you say to someone, if they bought a car, and you say to them, oh, what do you think of the car that you bought? Even though they might be a terrible car and have lots of problems? They’ll still say, Oh, no, it’s a really good car, you know, that I’m really enjoying the mileage I’m getting from it or whatever the thing is because you have to feel that sense of congruency. So what you would do by saying, I am a programmer, you were basically hacking your mind and that way.
Marcus Whitney 14:32
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s right. And, and I think some of that starts with an understanding that you and your mind are not the same things. And what you want to, you know, so, you know, when you say you’re hacking your mind, okay, well, you have to sort of recognizing that you have a mind and that your mind can be a tool, but it can also be a massive distraction, you know, and so, first you need to sort of understanding it. You need to be able to observe it, you need to pay attention to it in the name and to understand how I feed this thing? Right? That is so critical to the work that I’m doing on a regular basis. So so it is before you, you get into the process of hacking the mind, you have to start with just observing the mind and just understanding that the mind is there, and starting to get some pattern recognition with it. Right? You know, it’s starting to sort of understand, okay, why do I do certain habits that are good? Why do I do certain habits that are bad, you know, and if you’re, if you’re introspective enough, if you’re self-aware enough, you can start to pick apart some of the, you know, the consistent themes around why you do the things you do. And then you can really start to hack. You know, once you sort of understanding then you can reverse engineer, and then you can engineer. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 15:45
Yeah, so it’s almost like having that. If you have had it as a kid like the old TV set, and you would like pull it apart and like trying to figure out how things are working like well, how does that work, and then you can reverse engineer it. And then the first couple of times as it goes, go so well.
I’m James Taylor, business, creativity, and innovation keynote speaker, and this is the SuperCreativity Podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations with creative thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, authors, educators, and reformers, then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss their ideas, their life, their work, successes, failures, creative process, and much more. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode, as well as free creativity training at Jamestaylor.me. If you enjoyed learning about Marcus Whitney, then check out my interview with Professor Roger Kneebone, where we discuss why experts matter and how to develop mastery in your chosen profession. Hear my conversation with Roger Kneebone at jamestaylor.me. After the break, we return to my interview with Marcus Whitney, where we discussed the benefits of having a side hustle. This week’s episode is sponsored by SpeakersU the online community for international speakers, SpeakersU helps you launch, grow and monetize your speaking business faster than you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker, then SpeakersU will teach you how just go to SpeakersU.com to access their free speaker business training.
-How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
In the book, you get like the first half the book is definitely your story as you can have to get to really can like finding yourself and what your calling was, in terms of your creating what you wanted to do. Then it kind of transition, like the second half of the book was very action-orientated like this is like his real title. This is like what you need to do. And it’s and I thought it was a great kind of overview for entrepreneurship in general. And in that middle section, that kind of pivot, I guess, into the actionable part. You talk about this is a mindset, the bit where you talk about these three values for a successful entrepreneur, hustler, hacker, and hero, what’s the difference? And why are they important?
Hustler, Hacker, And Hero
Marcus Whitney 17:46
Yeah, so I think that an entrepreneur is a very complex animal. And in order to be successful, generally has to do several key things. The hustler is just straight up, you know, you have to be willing to put the work in, you know, I don’t need to belabor that point, you have to be able to do the work, the hacker piece is that you have to be clever, and you have to be thrifty, and you have to be crafty, you know, the market is naturally a very competitive space, the competition in the space makes it a very dynamic space. So things are always changing, you know, a certain business model sets in, and then people compete in that particular business model. But as technology evolves, as new generations come into the world, they start to compete with the entire business model, not other companies in the business model, but the entire business model itself. And that’s what the hacker piece is really trying to allude to is trying to make you understand hard, working hard is great, but you also have to work smart. And you have to understand that that is just as important and in some cases more important than the hard workpiece. So that’s what the hacker piece really comes from. And the hero piece is about understanding that this is it is a hero’s journey, and it will not be a straight line up to a no up into the right there will be peace there will be valleys there will be challenges there will be you know hardships you will fail, you will fail in some ways that feel very external meaning like okay, you know, your product didn’t deliver as it was supposed to you didn’t you know, hit your sales benchmark, then you will fail in some ways that feel internal, like, you know, you submitted your integrity in a particular moment where you were weak, you didn’t get enough sleep, you maybe had too much to drink or whatever or you let your emotions get the best of you in a particular moment and you didn’t leverage them correctly. All of these things are just part of the journey. And you have to come to a place where you can zoom out and see your entire hero’s journey so that you can have the proper perspective on these incidents as they happen. Entrepreneurship is very much a full-contact sport. You’re not isolated from any parts of the business, you know, if you’re an employee and you work in a business, you generally will focus on one of what I call the eight-core concepts in the book, right. And you’ll, you’ll, you’ll sort of specializing in that area. And often what you’ll see is like people, because they specialize, and they focus and they’re trying to be an expert in that area, they don’t necessarily have proper respect for all the other aspects of the business. And they also don’t think other people respect their aspect of the business enough when you’re an entrepreneur, you have to have a comprehensive perspective on the whole business. So you have to be able to cover everything from leadership, to product to sales, to marketing operations, to finance, you have to be able to cover all of that, no one person is going to be great and all of that. So failures are inevitable, they are absolutely inevitable. But if you think about any hero story, you know, Luke lost his hand, you know, it’s like, it’s just how it is, heroes are going to suffer, heroes are going to fail. It’s the comeback, it’s the comeback. It’s you know, the transformation that you go through in the process that makes all of the setbacks worth it. So having that perspective is really, really helpful, so that you don’t beat yourself up too much. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 21:08
And in your hero’s journey, as you go through the book, you know, it’s not a linear path. You know, there are ups and downs, you talk about the first business you started, but a partner business partner, and it didn’t work. And then there’s something else. And that didn’t quite kind of happen, because there was some, there were some things that were built in at the start. And you were kind of transitioning from being that loan creative to really being a manager and being an entrepreneur like and where you talked about that kind of that wider concept as well. I think quite a poor part you mentioned in the book is good. In the middle of the book is the idea of the side hustle. I don’t feel like Chris Guillebeau talks about this idea a lot, as well. But I think it’s quiet, it’s quite an interesting thing for us to think about, especially the climate that we’re going through just now, where maybe a lot of people live the past year that may be rethought what they want from their life, and what role work plays in their lives, and they want to do this thing. But you know, instead of just doing their big, heroic gesture of going into your boss and laying down the lessons that say, I’m out, I’m gone. You talk about this idea of the site or on building that site. So can you talk a little bit more about this, and the value of the side hustle? -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
Value Of Side Hustle
Marcus Whitney 22:20
Yeah, so I really like the idea of a side hustle, because it does manage risk. But it also builds the muscles that you need to be an entrepreneur. So you know, side from hustle will do a couple of things. One, it will tax your time, right, you know, you’re gonna work your full-time job. And then on top of that, you’re going to work on some other business idea in the limited amounts of time that you have outside of your full-time job, which means it’s going to take away from other aspects of your life. And generally speaking, in the early parts of an entrepreneurial career, where you don’t have a lot of resources, and you’re not very good, the only thing you can sort of makeup for those two things with his time. So you know, I don’t know many entrepreneurs when their first, you know, five years in business don’t work something like 60 plus hours a week. And it’s because you’re doing more work, you have to cover more ground, and also you’re not very good. So you’re not efficient yet, right? You don’t have systems you don’t have capital in place to sort of that you can leverage, you don’t have strong networks where you can bring in people to help you. So you’re gonna end up working long hours anyway, side hustles gets you used to that, right, they get you used to going from 40 hours a week to 60 hours a week real quick, they also give you a nice initial education about the breadth of ground, you’re going to have to cover as an entrepreneur, which I think is really good as well. And it just sorts of builds all of that muscle on that capability. You know, hopefully, you start to generate some revenue. And as you do that, you’re risking leaving the job. So that’s a really nice thing about it, right? When you leave a job. You don’t just leave money. I mean, assuming you’re a W two employee, you also leave in America, you leave health benefits, right? You leave disability insurance, all these things were when you become an entrepreneur, you have to cover those things yourself. And generally speaking, most people don’t think about that, when they think about starting a business and leaving their job. They’re thinking about the romantic idea of telling their boss, to, you know, whatever to, you know, jump off a bridge and be their own boss, right. They’re thinking about how awesome that sounds, and that sounds and feels awesome for about two months. But then after that when the reality of quarterly taxes hit or not hitting the numbers that you thought you were going to hit or your product development not going as well as it was going or you’re trying to hire the first person and oh my god, now I have to manage somebody. And now they don’t like me very much because I’m the boss. And it’s just the way that the world works. You know, everything starts to change. It doesn’t feel as romantic, the honeymoon is kind of over. And so as much as you can try to kind of, you know, do that at the same time as you’re working your job. It’s just a really nice de-risk. And I think generally speaking will help your performance when you do eventually, you know, leave your job. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 25:06
And then work up from there, you can go on to work in building bigger companies and bigger businesses. And now you’re in a world of venture capital financing. And so that kind of brings me to this next part, which is the name of the book, which is to create an orchestra. So this is like the orchestrator that that conductor has up there is making sure that the oboe is coming in the right place. It’s not crashing with the strings. And so so the role tells about the role that you feel that you’re fulfilling now, in that kind of world of venture capital and the value you’re adding now as an orchestrator, rather than a soloist. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
Create And Orchestrate
Marcus Whitney 25:42
Yeah, yeah. So I’m doing a bit of both. And I think you always do a bit of both, you know, when you when you get the capability to orchestrate, you don’t give up the creative piece. And I think, you know, most conductors are still creators, right? You know, they’re either composing or they’re arranging and these are creative acts, you know, you know, I always like to sort of point to the breadth of creativity and the breadth of creative acts, because we don’t give enough credit to all the things we do as humans that are creative, we often put those in a box and say, these are the creative things, and everything else is like, operational or something like that. And it’s just not true. There’s, there are so many things that are actually creative, you know, humans, it’s just, it’s one of the most natural things we do is to create, but orchestration, you know, as you said, referring to an orchestra in a symphony, you know, the conductor is in the front, you know, with a stick and seemingly just waving as if it’s magic, and then the orchestra just sort of, you know, behaves in accordance with what they’re doing. But what they’ve done is they’ve created relationships, and they’ve created order, and they’ve created timing, and they’ve created, you know, a way of operating in a way of communicating, and also painted a vision that is grander than any individual’s vision and gets everybody to agree, hey, let’s all do this together. Right. And I think that’s, that’s really what fundamentally, orchestration is about. And if you think about any business, going from a single-person business to the largest businesses in the world, the thing that ultimately grows, is that ability to orchestrate, right, that ability to orchestrate and, and manage incentives, you know, you know, because, look, you think about an orchestra of people who played music, I think, generally speaking, there is some amount of, you know, the ego that is sort of driving them in the pursuit of becoming a master musician, you have to be pretty doggone good to actually play in any orchestra, those seats don’t come easy. And so the people who get those seats, I think they’re pretty proud of their capabilities. But then how do you get that person to then work in sync with everyone else, you’re painting a vision of this, this grand thing that they are, they are able to be a part of right? That can’t be possible if they’re not a part of it, but also can’t be possible if all the other people that are on stage with them are not a part of it, right? And so orchestration is, is that and I think it is, it is a, it’s the difficult mindset to shift to unless you’re naturally designed that way. Because when you’re a founder of a business, you have to do everything you’re, you know, when you’re, when it’s a one-person business, you’re doing all the things. Over time, you have to both replace yourself with other people who are better than you, and especially the things you’re weakened, but you have to then coordinate all those people to collaborate and to work together and to all, you know, move in the same direction, with the same rhythm, and harmony, that’s a that in itself is a masterful skill, that’s a that’s not an easy thing to do. Most people don’t get good at it right away, there’s a reason why most conductors don’t just kind of graduate from school and go right to conducting they’ve probably played in a couple of orchestras, they probably had to move their way up in the rank of seats to probably get that opportunity. And, and, and it’s no different. So in venture capital, you know, I’m very fortunate that I’m able to operate in the space. But I also think I’m very competent, because I have done multiple businesses, and I’ve done venture-backed businesses, I’ve both seen them fail, I’ve seen them succeed, a done deal terms. I’ve watched technology that’s, you know, generated millions of dollars of genetic technology that’s failed in the heat of the moment. And so, you know, going through all those experiences, those hero’s journeys, they help you to sort of understand what can go right, what can go wrong, and what the key ingredients are. And that gives you the ability to orchestrate and then a certain point, you know, you just you get more pleasure out of helping other people to fulfill their dreams and sort of more being in the background. And so that’s, that’s where I am right now as a venture capitalist, you know, investing and other great founders, but also trying to mentor them along the way and help them to build their teams out. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 29:44
And in the book, I guess it is interesting but writing a book like this is you have to be reflective and kind of look back and acknowledge those things that went well, the things that didn’t go so well. There was one example you talked about, which was, was this you know, why did this happen? Thing fails. And you said it was really got to do with not really crafting a vision and values. And then bringing this into the English canal talks about culture, like how you build a, you got a sense, like what the culture was, but it didn’t wasn’t really be expressed in the vision and values to communicate that. When you’re talking like you’ve got a startup founder, you know, she comes into your office looking for funding, she’s in the mid-20s, she got that, that those eyes kind of look at, okay, we want to do this. What do you talk to, when you talk about culture, about how to build a culture, creative culture in an organization?
-How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
Marcus Whitney 30:38
Well, I believe that most startups there will come apart with a point where they are no longer a start-up, and they need to change in this way. But when they’re startups, the culture is largely built around the founder. And if it is not built around the founder, it probably won’t work. Because the founder is such a key linchpin to the business in the early days, they, they can’t escape doing a bunch, they can’t escape, sort of being the living embodiment of the purpose of the business, right, that’s what the founder is in the early days of a business. And so what I want is authenticity, I don’t want the founders sort of make up some values that they saw one day on a poster and thought were really cool, you know, I want them to try to extract the things that made them really want to do this business. And, you know, the highest principles, or the highest, you know, philosophical, philosophical aspects of life that they personally aspire to, you know, things that they naturally will want to work towards. There are many, many strengths out there, and, you know, I’m fairly certain you’re familiar with Clifton Strengths Finder, you know, there’s, there’s a bunch of different strings out there, every company doesn’t have to have the same strengths, or have to have the same values, but the values do need to be authentic. And in the early days, they need to be very authentic to that founder. So I would want to talk to that founder and ask her, you know, what are the things that really, really mattered to you? And what are your strengths and let’s try our best to make sure that the culture is easy for you, not something you have to kind of wake up every day and work hard at, because you’re already gonna have to work hard on the business. Right? Let’s make that let’s make the culture reflect the best parts of who you are already. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 32:25
Fantastic. Well, Marcus, it was a real pleasure speaking with you today. And also reading this book, create and orchestrate the past, reclaiming your creative power from an unlikely entrepreneur. Where’s the best place for people to go and learn about the book, get a copy of the book and also learn more about you and you know, your, your speaking your other things you’ve got going on? Just now?
Marcus Whitney 32:45
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So um, you know, you can buy the book on Amazon, and also creativepower.store, you can, you know, go get autographed copies of the book. And then you can just follow me everywhere on social at Marcus Whitney, I’ve been, I’ve been pretty heads down, building out a new fund. That’s going well, but even though I do believe in, in focus, and so I’ve been very sort of focused on that, and not very active on social, but I imagine by the end of the year, once I’m done raising the fund, I’ll be, you know, back pretty, pretty active. So, but yeah, you know, I definitely would encourage people to get the book and reach out to me on social media. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
James Taylor 33:21
Well, Marcus, thank you for telling your story in the book for sharing it. What’s it all in your story is a great story. Thank you so much for coming to the SuperCreativity Podcast today. -How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship
Marcus Whitney 33:31
Thank you for inviting me, James. It was an honor. Thank you so much.
James Taylor 33:34
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-How To Claim Your Creative Power Through Entrepreneurship