UC Berkeley Innovator Spotlight: As Founder and CEO of Korrio, Steve Goldman ‘83 is transforming the youth sports experience
April 4, 2014
After a long career helping other founders realize their dreams, Steve combined his passion for technology, business, sports and kids to launch Korrio (derived from a Maori word meaning “to play”).
Korrio is a Seattle based technology firm with a young, smart team dedicated to transforming the youth sports experience via its cloud-based service for the 100 million+ Americans who participate.
Prior to Korrio, Steve served as CEO of Isilon Systems for four years. He led the company’s revenue growth from $1 million in 2003 to $89 million in 2007 and executed one of the most successful initial public offerings in 2006 with a market capitalization in excess of $1 billion. Prior to Isilon, Steve spent six years as a senior executive at F5 Networks, where he led the global sales, marketing and services organizations through rapid growth, from $1 million in 1997 to $110 million in 2000. He also helped F5 execute one of the strongest initial public offerings in 1999 with a market capitalization in excess of $1 billion.
Steve shares his experience as a Berkeley entrepreneur
Q. What advice would you offer students with a non-technical background who want to work for a startup or create their own startup?
First off, startups are challenging – and you should be prepared to fully appreciate the journey. You must intrinsically enjoy building things, whether it’s products, brands, the customer base, or any other critical element of the business. You must value making a contribution, and the reward will be seeing the fruits of your labor in much more tangible ways on a regular basis than if you go to work for a large established company. If you want to jump on board, you need to excel in an area that helps make the company go. You must be willing to roll up your sleeves, wear multiple hats, and get it done. You also need to have enough energy, drive, business acumen, runway and cash to launch and reach your goals. Hint: Make sure you are passionate about your product so it does not feel like work.
Q. What advice would you offer students just beginning their careers in the startup world, either as founders or as early team members?
10 startup tips:
- Build your brand from day one.
- Hire “A players” only.
- Communicate effectively.
- Set 3 goals annually that everyone works towards and stay focused.
- Use metrics to track success.
- Build a support network of those committed to your success.
- Make decisions. (Fail fast. If you make wrong decision, fix quickly)
- Get product right. Listen to your customers.
- Continue to learn each day.
- Build a culture that you are proud of. Have fun.
Q. What have you carried from your Berkeley experience to your work in innovation/entrepreneurship?
As an Economics major, I was able to take a broad array of classes in areas not specifically related to my major (eg: astronomy, psychology, sociology, political science, etc.) that I believe really gave me a grasp of the bigger picture and helped me to think strategically. As an example, I recall a class I took (taught by a former member of the President’s administration) on Mutual Assured Destruction, the principal upon which the former Soviet Union and U.S. achieved a stable balance of power with nuclear weapons. It was a fascinating class and it doesn’t get much bigger picture, or higher stakes, than that.
The other thing about Cal that really prepared me well for the real world, was the high level of competition. For starters, it was hard to get admitted to Cal (even harder now, I’m sure). Once there, I was always competing against top-level students to get good grades, and I was constantly challenged by world-class teachers. Even working out at the student Rec facility or competing in sports, I always had to bring my “A game” on a daily basis. Cal gave me many tools, and multiple settings, in which to hone these skills.
I believe learning how to think strategically and compete effectively are amongst the most valuable life skills one can learn in college and I’m very grateful for how well Cal prepared me in both.