Some Nextcast guests have seen it all, and Ron Erickson is among them. Starting out in public policy and law, Erickson made waves in a few fields (including selling zucchini squash at the age of six) before settling in technology and entrepreneurship.
Now, the former Egghead, eCharge and Blue Frog Mobile executive is leading the team at Visualant, using his skills as “investor, coach, mentor, cheerleader” to continue his successful run as a leader in technology. Erickson, the sole angel investor in Seattle’s Double Down Interactive, which sold earlier this year to IGT for up to $500 million, sits down on this episode of NextCast to talk about luck, the future of apps, and waking up at 3 a.m. He also discusses how competing in Ironman races is a bit like a startup.
●After an extensive career in the field, Erickson knows that entrepreneurial success has a lot to do with two pretty basic factors: “timing and luck.” He explains, “There’s no substitute for preparation; luck serves the well-prepared,” so if you’ve got a good idea and the right timing, you might just hit it big.
●As an investor and business leader, Erickson listens to his gut when a decision has to get made, calling himself an “intuitive investor.” He says that unless he knows right away that he wants to pursue a concept, he’s usually just “slow-walking it to ‘no.’” Citing Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Ron says we know a good idea and a good team when we see it. (2:47)
●Ron comments on his current activities, saying he loves what he’s doing today. He counts himself as blessed to be so passionate about what he does, and able to experience the joy of being alive. (3:26)
●“Unrelenting effort” is a quality Erickson sees in successful startup leaders. “You have to be dogged,” he explains. “If this were easy, everyone would be doing it. But it’s not easy, it takes that unrelenting effort, you’ve got to get up early in the morning you’ve got to work late, you’ve got to take ‘no’ and you have to stay at it.” All that, and patience too. (12:37)
●“What’s going to be the most exciting app? “It’s the one we can’t imagine,” says Erickson of the future of technology. (11:40) He’s excited about the growing global marketplace and can’t wait to see where the industry goes next.
Nextcast founder Jeff Dickey is passionate about technology, business and philosophy. He works as the chief cloud architect at Redapt, a Redmond-based cloud and big data infrastructure company. [Editor's note: GeekWire is proud to partner with Jeff Dickey who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series].