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How to Bring Good Ideas to Life: The Paul English Story


BRIAN KENNY: It’s hard to find a better example of an inventive genius than Thomas Alva Edison, creator of the light bulb, the phonograph, alkaline batteries, x-rays, and over a thousand other devices that changed the world. And he was equally prolific in business, launching over 100 companies to promote his inventions. But there was just one thing: Edison was a terrible manager. He took enormous risks to grow his business enterprises as fast as he could, often destroying them in the process. It’s a familiar storyline. Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos are renowned for their unbridled creativity and ability to build vast enterprises, but they’re often reviled for their backbreaking management styles. Fortunately for us, there are also examples of leaders who are skilled at nurturing innovation while also stepping on the gas. Today on Cold Call, we welcome Professor Frances Frei and case protagonist Paul English to discuss the case, “Bringing Ideas to Life: Paul English.” I’m your host Brian Kenny, and you’re listening to Cold Call on the HBR Podcast Network. Frances Frei’s research investigates how leaders create conditions for organizations and individuals to thrive by designing for excellence on operations, strategy, and culture. Her newest book, co-written with Anne Morriss is called Move Fast and Fix Things: The Trusted Leader’s Guide to Solving Hard Problems. And she’s also a fellow podcaster, so I’ve got to up my game here. Frances, thank you for being here.

FRANCES FREI: It’s such a pleasure to be with you.

BRIAN KENNY: Great to have you back. It’s been a few years since we’ve had you on Cold Call, so welcome back. Paul English is a serial entrepreneur, founder of Boston Venture Studio and co-founder of kayak.com, and he is featured in this case. Paul, thank you for joining us.

PAUL ENGLISH: It’s great to be here.

BRIAN KENNY: It’s great to have you in the studio. You didn’t have to come too far. You live right here in Boston on the Seaport.

PAUL ENGLISH: Yeah, pretty close.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah, and I think your Boston accent might even be prevalent to some of our listeners as we get going here.

PAUL ENGLISH: It gets worse if we have a couple drinks during this episode.

BRIAN KENNY: That would’ve been fun. I wish I thought of that in advance. Anyway, thank you both for being here. This is a really interesting case. And Frances, we’re discussing this case because it was the one that came to mind when you thought about a case that would help to underscore some of the ideas in your new book. So, I definitely want to talk about that and hear what some of those ideas are and how it relates. Before we get started, maybe I’ll ask you to kick us off, Frances, by telling us what’s the central theme of the case and what’s your cold call when you start this discussion in the classroom?

FRANCES FREI: So, the central theme is where do good ideas come from. And what I ask the opener is how do you distinguish between a good idea and a bad idea? And what’s beautiful about that is you’ll get 10, 15, 20 different answers, but then you can narrow in on the implicit assumptions of what’s the process for doing it. And the reason I love the case so much is by the end of this case, not only do you believe that there is a systematic process for coming up with good ideas that’s repeatable, but Paul has kindly laid his out so you can use that to pivot from, so it’s quite thrilling.

BRIAN KENNY: Why did you decide to choose this case as the way to kick off the ideas that support your book?

FRANCES FREI: I think because it is systematic in the process, so it makes no sense that Paul is as successful as he is. It couldn’t be luck. It has to be by a system. And as an operations professor, I have reverence for processes and systems and even things like good ideas, which we often think, oh, it came to me in the shower, and you just like a bolt of lightning. Actually, it’s much more systematic than that. I think if you study what Paul has offered to us, you will generate more good ideas.

BRIAN KENNY: And there’s been so much written and so much work that’s been done on how do you corral innovation and how do you make it systematic in a way that it’s repeatable. And I feel like the case really does give you a great insight into how Paul’s been able to do that. Paul, we’re speaking about you in the third person and you’re here in the room. We’re going to come to you in a second, but before we do that, I do want to mention this is a multimedia case. It had video to compliment the written work, and I’m wondering why you chose to do the case that way.

FRANCES FREI: Well, I fell in love with video and audio over COVID when we weren’t able to come onto campus and I started teaching cases audio only, and I was doing that on Clubhouse, which was an audio only network. And then I was like, “Huh, what if I wrote cases for audio only? And then what if I got to cheat with video?” And what’s beautiful about this is you’ll hear in Paul’s words, but he makes wild success accessible, and it’s accessible in that how straightforward he talks about it. But then, also, it’s still aspirational and it would’ve been hard for me to capture that in words alone.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah, and that’s part of the reason that we do podcasts as well, I think, because it does humanize the content in a different way.

FRANCES FREI: It’s a nice way of saying it.

BRIAN KENNY: When you hear people talk about why they pursue certain ideas and why they decide to write about it, the passion comes through in a different way.

FRANCES FREI: That’s exactly right.

BRIAN KENNY: Paul, let’s turn to you. It would be great if you could just describe your background a little bit for us. What’s your journey been like?

PAUL ENGLISH: Sure. So, I grew up in West Roxbury. I’m number six of seven kids and went to school in Boston, bumped around quite a bit. Ended up going to Boston Latin School and then almost didn’t go to college, but ended up just by chance going to UMass Boston where I studied music and computers and that was incredibly fun. After I graduated with my master’s at UMass, I worked for one company in Cambridge for five or six years. And since then, I’m doing my own startups. So I’ve now sold six companies in a row. And these days, I’m running a little venture studio called BVS, Boston Venture Studio, where we have half a dozen companies under development and I’m having the time of my life.

BRIAN KENNY: Did you think to yourself when you were young, “I’m going to be an entrepreneur, I’m going to go out and build things?”

PAUL ENGLISH: Well, in a way, but not in the way you imagine. I was really into cars. I recently found my baby book. I don’t know if all parents or moms keep baby books, but I found mine and my brother Ed, who’s the oldest, his is about 100 pages. I’m number six, mine’s about four pages. But my mom just said, and not that unusual, but a lot of kids, I was just obsessed with cars and trucks. And so, by the time I was 16, if you would’ve asked me at age 16 what my aspirations were, I think I would’ve said, “I want to own a carwash. I really want to do something around cars.”

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. All right. There’s still time, by the way, for you to buy a carwash if you want to do that.

PAUL ENGLISH: I think so, yeah.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. Frances, can you tell us what characteristics do you think Paul has that make him a successful entrepreneur?

FRANCES FREI: Well, one I just learned now that you’re number six of seven, I’m number six of six.

BRIAN KENNY: Wow.

FRANCES FREI: And my mom was 25 when she had me, and she recounts that she would say at the end of the day, “Did I feed her?” And I think there is something to that, the scrappiness you learn and the benefit of learning by example. Now often the example of what you didn’t want to do. I would say one of them is that I think Paul has a fixer mentality. He’s very rigorous but also very optimistic. And I think those two things are really magical together. Then, I’d say the last thing is that Paul wants to compete. Each company they sell, he thumps the competition, but he’s not trying to compete by getting regulators to build a moat around his business. He’s trying to do it by a betterment and competing by winning, not by protecting. So, I would say that that’s some of the characteristics.

BRIAN KENNY: So, Paul, you’ve had lots of ideas over the years, I’m sure. You haven’t pursued all of them, but you pursued some with great success. How do you decide which ones are worth chasing?

PAUL ENGLISH: When people ask me how many companies, ideas, I’ve had over the years, the first thing I do is I go to my GoDaddy account and see that I have about 500 domain names. With each domain name, there’s a Google document. I’m obsessed with brand and names, and each time I come up with an idea, I’ll spend a long time, sometimes weeks to come up with a name for it and I’ll buy it. It’s easier now that I’m post economic that I can afford to pay for really nice domains. But as far as deciding which idea, because I’ll write up an idea for a company a week, sometimes more, it’s to be successful in business, I think there’s two skills which are most important. One is you need to learn how to be a storyteller and how to become more charismatic, and I could say more about that. And the second one is to be a recruiter and to spend time really cultivating the people around you. They say you’re the average of the five people you spend the most amount of time with. Well, I’m very selective about who I spend my time with, and I like spending time with people who are really bright and driven and who want to create things and who are optimists, but also who are critical. It’s only when I get a few people in my studio to say, “Can I work on that?” Or they start working on their own that I say, “Okay.” I think that’s step one. I found some really talented people who are willing to work nights and weekends on a new idea they just heard. If you can’t get really talented people to work on one of your ideas either it’s just a terrible idea or you’re not compelling enough, and both of those things are things you can actually work on.

BRIAN KENNY: Frances, does this sound familiar?

FRANCES FREI: It sounds so perfect and very, very familiar.

BRIAN KENNY: What’s your process once you’ve got those five or six talent people, whatever the number is to start working on something? How do you nurture the idea and move it forward?

PAUL ENGLISH: Most of my career is in software, and specifically consumer software – so building websites and apps. It’s getting easier and easier as years go on to build websites and apps with these AI tools that have come out in the last year, it’s really shocking how quick it is to put something together. My studio is a design shop, and we have an idea. We’ll look at the market, what are the other solutions out there? We see if we like them or not. How big is the market? We then will talk to some users who have the same problem that we’re trying to fix. And I’ve also always said, as an entrepreneur, it’s more important that you fixate on what’s a problem that you want to correct than it is that you fixate on your idea, because the original idea might be terrible, but if you pick a good problem that a lot of people have and a lot of people are really, really, really upset about, if you just keep iterating, iterating, and testing, eventually you’ll solve that problem. So, for me, it’s iteration, talking to users, fixating on the problem you’re trying to solve, and then eventually coming up with a good solution to it.

BRIAN KENNY: That’s just like you were saying, he’s a problem solver.

FRANCES FREI: And you can feel the echoes of Move Fast and Fix Things in here. So, the first part we have of it is make sure you get to the real problem. All of Monday is devoted to doing that and that’s what you have there. And then, when you get to Thursday, we think you can solve hard problems in a week. Thursday is tell a good story. It’s the storytelling day and I think it just echoes so cleanly. What’s amazing to me is how repeatable it is. And then, when other people adopt your ideas, it works, which is just beautiful.

BRIAN KENNY: I’m going to make you go through the whole week before we’re done here today.

FRANCES FREI: Sure.

BRIAN KENNY: Because I do like, that interests me so much. Paul, let’s go back and sort of take what you’ve said and put it into something concrete. I want to talk about kayak.com. It’s a site that millions and millions of people use. Many of our listeners have probably used it before. What was the problem you were trying to solve with Kayak?

PAUL ENGLISH: So, my co-founder is a guy named Steve Hafner, a really exceptional guy. He was one of the founders of Orbitz, and one of the problems that he saw at Orbitz is 70% of the people go to Orbitz to search for a flight, let’s say. They’d find the flight they want and instead of buying it on Orbitz, they’d leave Orbitz, go directly to the airline and buy it there. That’s very devastating for him because he would buy a lot of traffic and make zero revenue from it. And so, he wanted to figure out is there a way to make money from people who want to buy direct and don’t want to buy through a merchant. And so, we came up with this idea of, we had an internal tagline we never used externally, but we said, “Search with us, buy with them.” And we built a pure search engine. We’re not a merchant. Kayak didn’t sell anything, but we searched everything. And once you found the flight or the hotel or the rent-a-car that you wanted, we would show you four or five places to buy at the price at each place. You could pick the one you want, click, and then you’re at that site ready to put in your credit card and complete the purchase.

BRIAN KENNY: So, you were innovating on a model that existed and finding ways to improve on the experience that had been started by others. I always wonder, in technology in particular, it seems really hard to gain a sustainable advantage over your competition because people reverse engineer stuff all the time and it seems like everything that’s out there either gets bought up by the biggest players or disappears. And so, I’m wondering in your experience, does innovation really give you a way to sustain a lead?

PAUL ENGLISH: It’s innovation, but more important than innovation, this might sound funny to some of your listeners, but it’s recruiting. And when we first pitched VCs and a bunch of VCs turned us down, some that would say things like, “You’re five guys with a PowerPoint deck. Why would we give you money? Because Expedia spends a billion a year on brand alone, not even on traffic acquisition. How do you think you can compete against them?” And what I said, and I apologize for the hubris, I am probably overconfident in 10% of life, I said, “I’m a better recruiter than the guy who runs product at Expedia. And if you look at my first 10 hires against his top 10, I’ll put them up against him any day and we’ll innovate faster. We’ll build new versions of Kayak every two days.” And Expedia wasn’t doing that, they weren’t rebuilding Expedia every two days. And so, we just iterated faster. We did that by recruiting and by getting that team to be obsessively customer-focused. One thing we’re famous for at Kayak was we had no customer service people. The first year, I did all the customer support. In year two, I decided, let’s have the engineers do all the customer support, which sounded terrible. But it turned out to be pretty successful for us because engineers, when they would see a problem, they get the same problem two or three times a week. They’d be like, “I’m so sick of this phone call. I’m going to stop whatever I’m doing and fix the code so no one will ever call me about that again.”

BRIAN KENNY: I haven’t worked with a lot of engineers, I’m trying to imagine how some of those conversations went, but I suppose it can work, right?

PAUL ENGLISH: It did work. It worked incredibly well.

BRIAN KENNY: It did work. So, what you’ve done is empowered your employees, and I want to talk to Frances about this because I’ve read both of your last two books and the one that came out before the most recent book is called Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. It sounds like Paul read that book. It sounds like he’s doing it.

FRANCES FREI: No, Paul is that book. He didn’t have to read any of these things. He’s an inspiration.

BRIAN KENNY: So are these sequel… these are companion pieces almost.

FRANCES FREI: They are very much companion pieces.

BRIAN KENNY: Can you talk about that?

FRANCES FREI: Yeah. And so, I think that when we got to Unleashed and convinced people that empowerment and recruiting… that the HR lifecycle – that was a point of differentiation. People were doing it, but they were taking their time doing it. I’m a very impatient person, which can be a curse, but it can be a blessing. And so, I was impatient with progress. And so, we started looking around at well, who’s able to move fast? What we found, unfortunately, is that the corollaries, anytime you say move fast to someone except Paul, anytime you say move fast, they think you’re going to be reckless. And that’s because of Mark Zuckerberg made famous move fast and break things. And then Elon Musk, well he doesn’t say it, he just does it like the move fast and break things. And the problem with that is not only that going fast means you break things and the collateral damage that’s often human, but it’s how many people were scared into going slow and what we call responsible stewardship, and that’s the most polite way we can say going slow. And I found it tragic. I find it tragic that in the face of important challenges, we are encouraging one another to go slow out of fear of being reckless.

PAUL ENGLISH: I think that speed is misunderstood. Some people think speed is recklessness. It’s not necessarily that. Sometimes speed means you have the process fine-tuned. The example I always give, if you watch Formula One racing and you watch the pit crew how fast they can change tires-

FRANCES FREI: Beautiful.

PAUL ENGLISH: They make a mistake, someone dies. So, they’re really, really good at changing tires. They’re incredibly fast and they’re perfect at it. So, for me, going fast sometimes means if it’s a repeatable process, just get really good at that process.

FRANCES FREI: This is indeed what is inherent in the Move Fast and Fix Things. I do think it’s practically genetic in you. There is nothing reckless about what you do, and you do it with such reverence for process and systems and the repeatable nature of it. I love the Formula One example, but even today, we have never met anyone who did something successful in change who has ever said, “I wish I had done less,” or has said, “I wish I had taken longer.” And yet go down the corridors of any organization and you will hear people trying to seduce one another into going slower and doing less. And so, the audacity and that lack of recklessness, that’s why we wrote the book, I want more problems. I want more Paul Englishes in the world. I want more problems to be solved at more pace.

BRIAN KENNY: Now, Paul has done this quite successfully, but always in smaller enterprises. I’m wondering when you get to a behemoth enterprise, is it harder to do this?

FRANCES FREI: Much.

BRIAN KENNY: I mean, can you really innovate in a big place? Talk about that.

FRANCES FREI: Yeah, you can, but it requires leadership. If you just leave in large organization to its natural inclination, you will end up with the house of no. And the house of no-

BRIAN KENNY: I’ve lived in that house.

FRANCES FREI: And everyone can tell you where… if I go into an organization, I’m just like, “Where’s the house of no.” And they’ll tell me who the people are and what the things are. And these are the people that you have to not tell what you’re doing because if they hear it, they’ll try to stop it. Big organizations have the house of no, because people are protecting what their incumbency is. They’re predisposed to be protectors as opposed to, and they’ll take incremental innovation, but they don’t like radical innovation. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t do it in large companies. In fact, they’re endowed with such great resources, I think you should. But then, you have to look to companies like ServiceNow, which is going at a faster pace now that it’s big than it did when it was small. And that’s the question you want to ask yourself. Are large companies going at their fastest pace ever? If not, the size of the organization is getting in the way.

BRIAN KENNY: Does some of it also come down to creating a burning platform, for lack of a better word? If there’s no sense of urgency, then there’s probably no tolerance maybe at the senior levels to do this. But if you’ve picked the right problem to fix, does it give you more leverage?

FRANCES FREI: Well, so it’s easiest to fix a problem that’s on fire. So firefighting is the easiest way to do it. But I like going from good to freaking fantastic. And there, we used to call it fire prevention, but I want you to fall in love with the possibility of adding a zero. And so, you can’t be incremental. It can’t be 10% better, 20% better. So, I think that’s the leadership challenge. And probably, I liked Paul’s word of charisma, storytelling and charisma. You probably have to be really gifted at capturing the imagination of people. I often use magic dust as a metaphor, and I say, if I had magic dust and I sprinkled it on the problem, what would the scoreboard look like then? And then, let’s fall in love with that. And so, maybe that can replace things, having to actually be on fire.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah, getting people aligned with a vision.

FRANCES FREI: And I mean with crazy audacity.

BRIAN KENNY: Paul, I’m going to assume that it’s not always been successful for you. Can you tell us something you’ve learned about failure along the way?

PAUL ENGLISH: Let me see. The first one that comes to mind is at Kayak, I had a lot of failures, a lot of products that we created that ended up not working at all. One of them was we created a TripAdvisor-like product that we called internally Kayak Forms where people could come to Kayak and discuss travel and write reviews and read reviews, really create a community where they could talk to each other. And it was a total failure. It was a great product led by an extraordinary engineer. But the thing I learned about it was, as a designer, you need to know a lot about brand and intention. And it’s a little bit important how your marketing team talks about your product. What’s way more important is how your users talk about your product. And at Kayak, no one thought Kayak is about research. They thought, I need to go to Chicago tomorrow. I’m going to go to Kayak because that’ll get me the best price. They didn’t think I want to go there to research my dream honeymoon. So, we built a product for a user base that just had no interest in that product.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. You spoke before about breaking things, moving fast and breaking things, and we hear a lot about the importance of failing fast. And I’m wondering if that’s the way that we should be thinking about this. I mean, because failure has such a negative connotation to it.

FRANCES FREI: Well, I think we should be iterating fast. I think that failure, the reason that the word is so problematic is that we use one word to mean so many different things and sometimes the complete opposite. So, if I fail a test that I should have passed, that’s the kind of negative connotation. But let’s say I’m playing tennis for the first time and I fail to hit the ball over the net. There’s nothing negative about that at all. I haven’t yet, it’s an expectation. So, I envy the German language when there’s one word that means such a nuanced and contextual thing. We have the opposite of that. We have failure mean so many different things. I want to have the specific word for failing the first time when it’s a learning by doing thing. So, I like to think of iterating fast. I also think that related to this, perfectionism is more of a curse than a blessing. I think Paul will talk about obsession and I love obsession, but the perfectionism that comes gets us fragile to failure. And if one round doesn’t work, get up and do the next one and take the learnings with you.

BRIAN KENNY: Which gets a little bit to the moving fast thing. So, I do want to talk about the week.

FRANCES FREI: Sure.

BRIAN KENNY: Tell us what the week looks like if you are listening to this podcast and you’ve got a problem that you’ve just not been able to fix. How do you do it?

FRANCES FREI: Well, one is go from the symptom to the cause on Monday, takes all day, but make sure you are down to the morsel that needs to be fixed. And a lot of us confuse the symptom from the cause. It’s why Toyota very famously referred to root cause analysis as the five whys. They found it took five, well why is this here, well why is that? Five layers. In practice, I find it’s closer to three, but it’s almost never one or two. So, whatever the symptom is, don’t solve that, go lower. So that’s what we do on Monday. On Tuesday, we try to find a good enough plan. You come up with this is our iteration of it. In our experience, the reason we call it the trusted leaders guide is that if you have a problem, you have broken trust with someone. Part of the solution is going to be to rebuild trust. But we want you to come up with a good enough plan. On Wednesday, we want to do what Paul does quite naturally is which is go test the idea with people you wouldn’t naturally test it with. Who are the stakeholders that weren’t involved in the development? What do they think about it? So, we call it make new friends, but it’s really robust testing of it. Thursday is storytelling day. Once you’ve come up with your plan, how are you going to get people to act in your absence on it? Only way you can do that if you tell a good story. And by good story, if people are thinking about it, I’d say think 10th draft, not 1st draft and not even 2nd draft. That we want to understand something so deeply that we can describe it simply. And that’s where I think the genius comes in. But that’s like earned and learned genius. You can do 10 drafts and it’s amazing how many words you can take out and how much tighter you can make it. And then, on Friday, you get to go as fast as you can. So, when you want to move fast and fix things, you can do it in a week, but you can’t go fast until Friday. You got to do all of those other things Monday to Thursday.

BRIAN KENNY: You talk a lot about trust in the book. Can you maybe expand on that a little bit? I mean, how does a leader know if they’re trusted?

FRANCES FREI: Yeah. If you make a decision in a meeting and it gets re-litigated after the meeting, you’re not trusted. If people are asking you to compromise a lot, they don’t trust you. I find that in the presence of trust, we can go faster and further. And so, if you notice that people are wanting you to unnaturally slow down, trust is a culprit. And very fortunately, we now have published the secret memo on how to fix trust. It’s got three component parts and you can figure out which one it is, isolate it, fix it, and do it. So, the myths of trust that it takes a lifetime to build and it can never be rebuilt as strongly. None of those things are true. You can actually build trust quickly. I bet somebody sits down with Paul and they’re going to be trusting him in five minutes. If trust is broken and targeted where it is, you can rebuild it to be just as strong as it was before.

BRIAN KENNY: Paul, how do you think your team would describe – whichever team you want to pick – how would they describe you as a leader?

PAUL ENGLISH: Infectious energy has been used even from early in my career that showed up in my performance reviews a lot that I just enjoy people. I like to laugh. I like having fun at work. And then, I’m always pushing the team to do more faster to try new things. I like Frances’ use of the term of iteration, which is often a much better word than failure, but getting people to iterate as rapidly as they can. If something doesn’t work out, that’s okay, as long as we learn something from it, and let’s just try again.

BRIAN KENNY: And you mentioned earlier that once you’ve convinced four or five or six smart people to get excited about an idea that you have, that’s when you know you’ve turned the corner. But at what point do you say, “All right, this one’s not catching on. I’m just not going to bother trying to push this one through the funnel?”

PAUL ENGLISH: Well, ultimately, if you are building a product and no customer’s willing to pay you money, that’s a problem. So first, you want to find the team that’s excited to work on it. The second thing you need to do is find customers that want to pay for it. And you also want to find customers that bring you other customers, because if you have to spend money in marketing to acquire every single customer, you might have a good product, but a product that’s too expensive to sell. So, it’s really those things of are you really solving a problem that is such a big problem that people are willing to go through the hassle of downloading a new app, setting up a new account, trying a new system. And then, when you solve their problem, are they so joyous about it that they will tell their friends and family, “You must try this out.”

BRIAN KENNY: And all of this, I would imagine, takes some vulnerability. You’ve got to be vulnerable enough to know that that’s probably not an idea worth pursuing. And that helps to build the trust. Is that a fair way to link those things?

FRANCES FREI: I think it is that because what you’re showing in that vulnerability is one, you’re authentic, you’re not sublimating who you are, and the vulnerability is towards others. I’m going to be vulnerable in service of you, which is an act of empathy. And those are two really important component parts of trust.

PAUL ENGLISH: I’ve often said that people follow confidence, but they’re loyal to vulnerability.

FRANCES FREI: Nice.

PAUL ENGLISH: Just being honest with people, companies created out of integrity. Speak from honesty about how you actually think and how you actually work. And when you speak from honesty, people will know how to react to that.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah, that’s great. I love that. This has been a fabulous conversation. I knew it would be a lot of fun having you both here. So, I’ve got one more question for each of you. And I’m going to start with you, Paul. And that’s simply what’s one word of advice, one thought you would have for people who are listening to the show, who are would-be entrepreneurs like you?

PAUL ENGLISH: Spend more time recruiting. Spend more time turning over every rock, trying to find those next fascinating, exciting, wonderful people to pursue your next idea with.

BRIAN KENNY: Great. And Frances, I’ll ask you to end by just telling us if there’s one thing you’d like people to remember about the Paul English case and about your new book, what would it be?

FRANCES FREI: That go after the world’s biggest challenges. And the best time to start is right now. So, when we see a challenge and we delay, it’s now on our watch. And so, I guess my advice, if I could describe it in its simplest terms, is simply begin.

BRIAN KENNY: Love it. Frances Frei, Paul English, thank you for joining me on Cold Call.

PAUL ENGLISH: Thank you. It was fun.

BRIAN KENNY: If you enjoy Cold Call, you might like our other podcasts, After Hours, Climate Rising, Deep Purpose, IdeaCast, Managing the Future of Work, Skydeck, and Women at Work. Find them on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen, and if you could take a minute to rate and review us, we’d be grateful. If you have any suggestions or just want to say hello, we want to hear from you. Email us at coldcall@hbs.edu. Thanks again for joining us. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’ve been listening to Cold Call, an official podcast of Harvard Business School and part of the HBR Podcast Network.



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