Jun 7, 2017
Howard A. Tullman, CEO of 1871,share his advice and wisdom from
his years as an entrepreneur, academic, speaker, columnist,
futurist and community leader. The conversation starts with the
sudden growth of Chicago’s tech sector, supported by 1871, and the
objectives of 1871 in preparing entrepreneurs to build a business
community and innovate for growth. Howard discusses the business
and university partners of 1871, and the programs they sponsor. He
also talks about Bunker Labs that helps returning veterans to
become entrepreneurs. The discussion turns toward principles of
entrepreneurship, trends in the workplace, and why everyone will
need to be entrepreneurial before too long. He says, if you’re not
in a hurry, you’re probably too late. Listen in to learn how
entrepreneurism is leadership.
[2:38] Howard was involved in 1871 from the beginning, and took
the CEO role after a year, taking it from a community hub to a
sustainable business. The state and city had ceased to support
them. Howard’s ‘Job One’ was to make themselves into a profitable
[4:53] Howard stresses the key message of moving faster than
your competition, and being in a hurry to get to market. In five
years, Chicago has moved from virtually not having a tech sector,
to being the top U.S. city for successful tech startups. Chicago,
with its many universities and industries, is a natural center for
talent, capital, and customers.
[7:09] 1871 connects startups with large corporations looking
for ‘innovation juice’ and ‘disruption stuff.’ They all have the
same five problems: being much too slow, doing insufficient
R&D, not being attractive to young creative digital workers,
thinking the leaders who broke the company will fix it, and not
passing institutional knowledge between generations of workers.
1871 addresses all these problems.
[8:43] Howard notes that besides large companies, 1871 has seven
university partners. They have a different problem: they have many
inventions and new ideas, but the faculty is not interested in the
messy work of commercialization. 1871 builds companies around the
tech and brings it to market.
[9:42] Bunker Labs at 1871 specifically helps veterans to become
successful entrepreneurs. Howard talks about the range of
entrepreneurs, young to old. Right in the middle are the vets, who
are mission-focused, more mature, and more committed — this is
their shot. The Bunker has been a critical way to smooth that
transition. With 500 companies, they can find someone they can
help, or go solo.
[12:55] Howard wrote an article about his long-time friend Bruce
Springsteen, and how he brings everyone’s experience alive. “The
Boss” embodies entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to have: passion
to make a difference, preparation, perspiration to do the hard
work, perseverance, and principles. These are all values-based
attributes. These are values shared by veterans.
[16:03] Howard speaks frequently in Chicago on future trends. He
says 1871 is designed to produce serendipity and synergy. Real
innovation occurs at the edges and at the intersections of
different interests and domains. Leadership requires showing a
vision and a path to get there. Howard does homework to keep
current in about 20 fields. He works to help people not repeat
[23:32] Howard talks about effective leaders. They eat the
elephant one bite at a time. They don’t try to boil the ocean. They
nail it before they scale it. They don’t care who gets the credit.
They make real things happen. Make it easy to do business with your
business — audit your website for ease of use!
[29:26] Howard looks to entrepreneurs, not to government, for
change. Regulations lag innovation by about 10 years. Uber and
Airbnb are the cheerleaders for asking for forgiveness, not
permission. If the government doesn’t catch up, that’s the only way
change is going to happen. 1871 is going to be teaching a
ninth-grader class. High school students, rock stars, and jocks all
want to be entrepreneurs!
[33:46] Howard wrote recently that not only are the business
schools not teaching leadership, but they are not teaching the
equally important subject of sales. A leader starts by selling
himself. Howard models behaviors he wants the startups to
incorporate into their business. Build the culture right, and
people who come in will adopt it, or will leave. Entrepreneurship
is all about execution, and hard work.
[36:31] Howard cites Andy Warhol, “Being good at business is an
art.” Entrepreneurs paint a roadmap on a blank canvas. 1871 is
filled with art to show various ways to achieve excellence.
Entrepreneurs take their satisfaction from performance.
[40:57] Howard notes one huge difference between Special
Operations Forces and entrepreneurs. The Special Ops have a team
behind them. It’s lonely to be an entrepreneur. It’s hard to build
that team, but you need a team.
Website: 1871.com Celebrating
our 5th year!
Howard A. Tullman is the CEO of 1871 in Chicago – where digital
startups get their start – and the General Managing Partner for the
Chicago High Tech Investment Partners, LLC and for G2T3V, LLC –
both Chicago-based venture capital funds. He most recently was the
Chairman/CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint College which he co-founded in
2007. He is the former President of Kendall College in Chicago and
the former Chairman/CEO of Experiencia, Inc. He is also the
Chairman of the Endowment Committee of Anshe Emet Synagogue, a
member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (NACIE); a member of Mayor Emanuel's ChicagoNEXT
and Cultural Affairs Councils; the Innovate Illinois and Illinois
Arts Councils; a member of President Preckwinkle’s New Media
Council, an Advisory Board member of HighTower Associates, Built in
Chicago, and Imerman Angels, and an Adjunct Professor at
Northwestern's Kellogg School, as well as a regular guest lecturer
at the Northwestern University School of Law. Mr. Tullman also
serves as a Director of Vehcon, SnapSheet, and PackBack Books and
served as a long-time Director and Board Chairman of The Cobalt
Group, a Trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and
of the New York Academy of Art and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum
of Art at Northwestern University, and as the lead Director (and
briefly Chairman) of The Princeton Review. Over the last 48 years,
he has successfully founded more than a dozen high-tech
Books Mentioned in This Episode
“What 'The Boss' Can Teach Us About Loss,” Inc. article by
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin