Geoff Donaker: "Instant Karma"
This Week's Guest: Geoff Donaker
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
It is rare for someone to go from the earliest stages of a company, in this case being employee number 10 at Yelp, all the way through major growth, past IPO, and to serve as a chief operating officer in a publicly-traded company.
This episode with Geoff Donaker is a crash course for anyone in a start-up. Geoff has been working with internet companies for over 20 years and has seen every stage of the start-up journey. Prior to Yelp, Geoff worked at two startups and had roles at eBay and Excite at Home. He now brings his expertise to VC as the founder and General Partner of Burst Capital.
Geoff's perspective for employees of companies going public, and his advice for founders and new companies provide deep insight into common problems like stagnant prices, discovering new business models, or keeping employees and customers engaged. Combined with his vivid memories of Yelp's early days, this is a must-listen episode for any aspiring founder or startup team member.
We named this episode after the John Lennon song “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” because they both share a message of treating the world well (lest Karma comes back to get you). We’ve found that part of life in the Valley is recognizing that. As Geoff recommends: “Do anything you can do to avoid burning bridges in the early part of your career—and rather, build them. You're going to want to call some of these people 15, 20 years from now.” Hear the full story and the full tips from our friend Geoff Donaker.
BOOKS AND ARTICLES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
Dorm Room Tycoon podcast with Geoff Donaker: “How to Take a Company Public”
Geoff's 25-minute presentation “Building a Sales Team for Your Marketplace Business,” delivered at the 2019 Marketplace Conference in San Francisco
More About Our Guest
Founder and GP of Burst Capital,
Geoff is Founder and Partner of Burst Capital. Before founding Burst in 2017, originally as an angel fund, Geoff spent the prior 20 years helping build Internet businesses. He was Yelp COO for over 10 years, co-leading its growth from $0 to $700m revenue and 10-5000 employees, with an IPO along the way. Prior to Yelp, Geoff worked on two start-ups (one successful, one not) along with roles at eBay and Excite. He is a Stanford grad and began his career as a consultant with Oliver Wyman.