How to Get Started
How to Get Started
4 minutes 04 sec
Failing ... Well
Failing ... Well
2 minutes 58 sec
Getting Along With Your Team
Getting Along With Your Team
1 minute 49 sec
Nail What Investors Looking For
Nail What Investors Looking For
1 minute 55 sec
Learning from Mistakes
Learning from Mistakes
2 minutes 41 sec
Failure Full Interview Interview Investment Mentorship Technology

Interviewing Chris Yeh (Internet Business Guru)

Once millions of dollars are involved, the darkest side of humanity will come out. Tweet This Quote

Bio: Chris Yeh has been building Internet businesses since 1995. He is the VP of Marketing for PBworks, which provides highly vertical collaborative solutions that help businesses work more efficiently and effectively. Its products serve markets such as advertising and marketing agencies, law firms, education, and the broader business market. Chris is also a General Partner at Wasabi Ventures, a global venture fund, startup incubator, and consulting firm, where he leads the firm’s investment committee.

You can’t fire your investors. Tweet This Quote

Previously, he was the first investor in and interim CEO of Ustream.TV, which provides an open and distributable platform for live interactive online video. He also helped start numerous other companies, including Symphoniq Corporation, TargetFirst, Juno Online Services, and FarSight Financial Services (divisions of D. E. Shaw & Co., L.P.). Chris is an active angel investor and advisor to a wide array of startups. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Harvard Business School Technology Alumni Association.

It’s important to be out there and engaging with people – seeking out that kind of serendipity. Tweet This Quote

About the author

Unreasonable Media

Unreasonable Media

As a company, Unreasonable Media is dedicated to leveraging the power of stories to shift paradigms and solve problems. That's why we have made almost all the videos you see on this site. Long story short, we are not your average production company. Visit our site to see for yourself.

  • Rachel Strobel

    Thank you for sharing this interview. I always enjoy hearing about people’s journeys and how they started their various businesses. I couldn’t help but think that the opening phrase in the blog to post was a little misleading, “Chris Yeh, talks about his early start in entrepreneurship, the mistakes he’s made along the way.” Mistakes!!? I don’t remember any mistakes being mentioned, mostly innovative solutions, which I love!

    It sounds like Chris is just an all out superstar. Chris is smart and innovative but was also surrounded by an elite network at Stanford and Harvard, so….what nuggets of advice do you have for up and coming entrepreneurs that are trying to build their networks that might not have the privilege to study at Stanford or Harvard?

  • Daniel Kelso

    I really like this guy, he seams to have a ton of courage. Seriously, to just go and decide that over one summer he is going to try to start a business and get it to sell. I like that mentality, then when he realizes he has to go back to school, all of the sudden he needs to find a new CEO. Its just a chain of unplanned events that move the company forward. I think that sometimes planning is waiting is waste of the business’s potential and Chris did right by driving right in.

  • Chris Yeh

    Thanks Daniel! In so many things, the most important first step is just to start.

    By the way, that summer I was invited to attend the Google launch party by a friend who was employee #2 there. I thought it was a waste of time! Had I simply done a summer internship there, that stock would probably be worth tens if millions today.

  • Chris Yeh

    Glad you enjoyed the interview, Rachel. I’ve made tons of mistakes, and continue to make them all the time. I just try not to make the same ones I did before.

    Stanford and HBS definitely help, at least at the outset. I got my start in the startup world with D. E. Shaw because of Stanford, and one of the reasons I was able to raise money for my first startup was because I attended HBS. But once you get your start, those credentials aren’t as important.

    Customers don’t consider the alma mater of the founder when they decide whether or not to buy a product.

    As long as you can find a way to get started, not having those credentials won’t matter too much in the long run. As for how to get started, that’s an entire other interview!

  • Tolla

    Hello Chris, thank you so much for sharing your experience and getting started and what to look for in investment and investors as well as mistakes and learning from it. I am glad I got to reD this post and listen to your interview. I am about to start out in the venture fund and investor world of creating a space, and capital opportunities for start-ups and entrepreneurs who are hoping to scale up in Nigeria and it’s really nice to hear some things to watch out for, especially how to act and treat failed investment opportunities. One thing that will stay with me is what you said about the guy you lost half a million of his money and how he stil wanted you to be on his team for a new venture. That says a lot about you, about your relationship with the investor and about the investor as well. I hope I can and will embody what you all have as I start out on this journey.

  • Chris Yeh

    Tolla,

    I’m glad that you’re helping entrepreneurs in Nigeria. VC gets a bad rap here in the US, but it really does help generate startups and innovation.

  • Glassborow

    I agree, sometimes I feel you just have to dive straight in and just see what happens. Even though taking risks may not be the best thing to do sometimes the outcome can be really great.

  • GSonDUBS

    @chris_yeh:disqus – What you shared with us in these short interviews were so valuable! The advice you gave us were all useful real life experiences that most of us will come across sometime in the future (that is if we haven’t run into them yet) My most favorite advice was choosing the investor, ask them about the investments that they didn’t do so well on. I would of NEVER thought of that!!! Stay small grow slower was another good one. You are absolutely right about losing control of the people as the company gets bigger.

    I’m from Phoenix Arizona, I would love to buy you a coffee one day if that is ever possibly.

    Once again, thank you for sharing! I will be keeping an eye out on your stories.

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  • AndreaOlsen22

    If you are working on a product this interview could be extremely helpful. It is important to keep in mind who you’re going to be working with, if the product is of people’s interest, the market, and the investment. Having a strong team allows for a variation of ideas to contribute to a successful product. I like how he explained how people will only purchase the item if they either “need” it or “love” it. This concept is 100% true if you ever listen to your mind while at the mall. Knowing the market you’re working with is crucial, because if it’s not right for the product or large enough your product will not be successful. Lastly, being smart about the investment is a must. Outweighing the options in a very critical manor, even though it may take up a lot of time, will be worth it. Following these steps will guarantee you success.

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