Madrona Venture Group’s Julie Sandler inspired a crowd of 15,000 high school students earlier this year with her talk at We Day, imploring the teenagers to approach entrepreneurial ideas with confidence all while embracing critics.

Julie Sandler
Julie Sandler

Even more important, she stressed the importance of not being afraid to ask other people for what they want. You have to be bold, and you have to ask, she said.

“In my experience, the best entrepreneurs are the ones who listen really closely to what their critics and their skeptics have to say,” explained Sandler. “They learn how to make their idea better based on that feedback. Sometimes that feedback can hurt … but if you can put that aside any hurt feelings about your and turn it into focus as you tackle your challenges, those critics can be some of your most valuable relationships.”

You can watch Sandler’s full talk from We Day — put together by international charity organization Free The Children and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll — above.

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  • greggottesman

    Wow! I was completely inspired and, more importantly, so was my 12-year-old daughter Ellie (and her two brothers).

  • kim2023

    just when you think it can’t get any more absurd, it does. how much did madrona PR get paid for lining this one up? and why the heck do we want these people talking to our high schoolers about, well, anything?

    • balls187

      Have you actually met Julie? She’s consistently been speaking to teenagers, and young women to further Entrepreneurship in those groups.

      Madrona is probably the most well known VC Firm in Seattle, and pretty much any startup that is looking to raise money will at least attempt to have a meeting with them. I don’t see why they need to raise their profile with PR stunts, as you suggest.

      Methinks you might be a wee bit bitter. Consider switching from IPA’s to something a bit more flavorful, like a nice wheat beer, or perhaps even a cider.

      • kim2023

        I haven’t met her, but I’m sure she’s super-smart, really nice, helpful, a great networker, and someone who gives great, inspirational speeches.

        But I’d find her much more authentic if she were talking about how all these kids should become investors, just like her. She could say there’s never been a better time to pursue your dream of raising money from wealthy individuals and institutions to buy slices of growing private companies. It’s a tough business and takes real skill. Seriously.

        But an investor telling people to become entrepreneurs? That’s just funny.

        • Amy

          I don’t ever chime in on comment boards, but I couldn’t help it here. This is a person who is known broadly – and among a lot us early-stage entrepreneurs – to spend her days and nights working extremely closely with founders (both the ones she invests in and ones she doesn’t). She, like all of us, wants to see more of us making the leap so that she can continue to see more strong partnerships like that form. And it’s critical to our startup community that they do. To me, that makes both the person and the message authentic, generous, and at least to my sight, inspiring.

        • Karsus

          In other words, it would mean “If you have the courage to ask for help, we might help you.”

          Her message is good, and worth saying in a simple way.

  • Mark

    Wow. I don’t know her but I think this is just a fantastic message for our children to be hearing. I am showing my kids.

  • blah

    Imagine if there was a stadium full of young men with a venture capitalist yelling be bold and ask for what you want.

  • Bob Crimmins

    This was terrific, Julie! I can’t wait to share this with Sarah and Annalise. Girls need to hear these messages over and over and especially from girls like you.

    You rock!

  • Thiago

    Awesome video, for sure. I will definitely share this with a couple of kids I know have real entrepreneurial spirit. Does she have a blog or anything? That’d probably be just as inspiring. Thiago |

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