UP Global’s Marc Nager: ‘There’s no one way to build a company’

Marc Nager

Marc Nager

Marc Nager believes in the power of entrepreneurs, so much so that he’s a first-time entrepreneur himself building a network to enable and empower even more entrepreneurs around the world.

As the CEO of UP Global, Nager coordinates Startup Weekend and a number of other non-profit projects all designed to make entrepreneurship possible by connecting people and technologies, and helping innovation happen.

In this episode of Nextcast, Nager tells his secret for maintaining a work-life balance, and shares his best tips for making it as a successful entrepreneur.

  • “I get excited about way too many things,” says Nager. As a first-time founder, he’s constantly learning, and says that the area of his job that excites him the most is building his UP Global team. “Business is easy, people are hard,” Nager says, adding that he is happy to be “growing an incredible efficient machine.” (1:20)

  • As an entrepreneur, Nager knows the challenges entrepreneurs — especially first-timers — face. “No matter who you are, it’s a learning experience,” Nager says. Thats why he makes a point to connect with his own mentors regularly, and to connect with Startup Weekend entrepreneurs at least once a week too. His goal is “to stay really grounded with who our end user is.” (3:40)

    Startup Weekend organizer Marc Nager

    Startup Weekend organizer Marc Nager

  • Nager doesn’t believe work-life balance is achievable for most entrepreneurs, himself included. Instead, he says he pursues “work-life integration…and being intentional about unplugging every once in a while.” (8:45) In spite of his best efforts, though, Nager admits that entrepreneurship “has been incredibly taxing on a lot of my friendships.” His solution is to never forget how closely tied one’s personal and professional ties are, and not to feel guilty for nurturing both. (16:00)

  • Nager’s best advice for fellow entrepreneurs is all about believing in yourself and your ability to make the hard calls. “Just be confident,” he advises. “If you spend more time questioning yourself…you’re never going to be an effective decision-maker.” In addition, Nager reminds entrepreneurs to be “open and saying yes as much as possible.” (14:30)

  • Nager is excited about technology, and “the accessibility through price and hardware and machines” that is available today. But at the end of the day, he is all about the people. “The team matters so much more than the idea or anything else,” he says. The startup world is “tough and treacherous…so you better make sure you’re doing it with the right people.” (18:00)

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 who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series]. Past interviews here.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about taking the startup leap at GeekWire’s Startup Day on Oct. 25th.

  • http://startedinseattle.com/ ChetCrunch

    Nice work Jeff, great interview! Marc, you’re the man. #luckytoworkwithyou

  • KyleKesterson

    3 years later, and each time I hear Marc talk, I still learn so much more. The growth and maturation is astounding.

    Jeff, great questions and the the production quality has drastically improved! Love the series.

  • Marc Nager

    Thanks for doing this Jeff. Fun to do the more candid & personal interviews, and thanks to Chet and Kyle… @Jeff you should get these guys on there next!

  • jeffdnyla

    Marc, thank you for taking time out for the interview. It was fun hanging out and learning from you. Keep up the great work!