Derek is the joyful CEO of Exeq, and he previously led product development teams at both Addepar and LinkedIn. He’s also a self-proclaimed party animal.
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3 Key Points:
- Entrepreneurs can get in their head so much that they forget to execute.
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- You can’t play the “blame game” as a leader — everything that happens is YOUR responsibility at the end of the day.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:51] – Derek is a proud father of three
- [01:03] – He lives in New York and is involved in tech
- [01:33] – His area of expertise is in building high-execution, high-functioning teams
- [01:48] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get bogged down by ideas—you get so lost in your thoughts that you forget about execution
- [02:22] – “Focus on the execution”
- [02:49] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Derek led a nonprofit in his early 20’s. They started out small, but began to grow. Their first week they had an awesome turnout, but their second meeting didn’t go so well. Derek did not fully explain the nonprofit’s vision, so when he told the audience they could leave if they didn’t align with his vision—they did!
- [04:25] – Derek learned that the vision itself and vision casting is EVERYTHING
- [05:04] – Paint the picture, tell the story
- [06:00] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Leadership is not about being at the top. Derek realized it’s about being the person that people rely on and look to for help. When Derek led a team to launch a product for LinkedIn, he realized he did not achieve success as a leader, but achieved success as a team
- [08:07] – Remember that even though it may not be your fault as a leader, it’s still your responsibility
- [08:46] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “We’ll launch in two weeks!”
- [09:21] – Looking at all financial tools across the board, Derek sees the underlying goal to make money
- [10:00] – Derek looks at money as a means to an end, NOT the end goal
- 10:24 – Exeq is building a tool that combines finance and lifestyle
- [11:11] – Level Money shut down because other tools were capturing the space
- 12:13 – Exeq is a joyful app that connects people to merchants
- [14:59] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “My ego and pride”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “I was told by a mentor about 6 years ago that I needed to get out of my own way and trust other people”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “#1: I take baths, not showers; and #2: I use pen and paper”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Masters of Scale
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Modern Monopolies – “it’s about building marketplace businesses”
- [16:29] – “Reverse engineer your outcome”
- 17:05 – Connect with Derek on LinkedIn, Twitter and via his website Exeq
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