Sean O'Sullivan

August 15, 2016

Sean O'Sullivan, founder of SOS Ventures, on Mentorship, Accelerators, and Loving What You Do


A cursory look at Sean O’Sullivan’s profile on LinkedIn, you could tell he is one busy man. As the managing partner of SOSV - an accelerator VC - he helps fund at the seed stage about 150 companies per year out of the thousands that apply in their various accelerator programs like HAX, IndieBio, Chinaccelerator, Interface, Urban-X and Food-X. (Bizzy Coffee was part of Food-X's Cohort III last December 2015.)

But being a VC-guy is just one of many hats that Sean has worn.

His interests are as wide as they are varied. He has worked as an “engineer, musician, computer programmer, software designer, marketing guy, sales guy, humanitarian worker, war photographer, cinematographer on music videos, short films, and documentaries, stock picker, freelance photojournalist, small business operator, venture capitalist and writer.

He was a co-inventor and popularizer of street mapping on personal computers, something he did while with MapInfo. Cloud computing? Well, he just happens to be credited with the co-invention of the term, along with with George Favaloro of Compaq.

Languages? He can do passable Spanish, as well as pidgin French, Arabic and Chinese.

How does Sean manage all these things - these skills, these activities, these accomplishments? His insights on being merely busy versus being actually productive, is instructive.

“The challenge is organizing your time so that you’re just not busy. It’s not about stacking your day, filling the hours with lots of activities.” he says.

“It’s about being strategic about what you’re trying to accomplish within a time-box period. Even within a short period of time, you can actually transform your life. That’s I think the key of being busy in a productive way.”

On Mentors and Accelerators

“When i was just starting out as an entrepreneur, I had the benefit of having some really good mentors.

As a first time entrepreneur, it’s really difficult. You cant know everything - how to close a corporate sale, how to negotiate term sheets with investors and VCs, or how to approach the media. All of that advice is critical.

Thats why we created accelerators. That’s why I love what I do.”


Teaser 1: On Being Busy vs. Being Productive


Teaser 2: On Productivity and Human Potential

Lisa Tarver

July 16, 2016

Lisa Tarver, founder of One World Play Project, on Doing Work that's Food for the Soul


“Play is in our DNA — a need as important as food, medicine and shelter. It’s an intrinsic part of our lives, regardless of geography or culture, and through play we become stronger individuals, build better communities and create a more positive future.”

That is the philosophy behind One World Play Project, a B Corporation that aims to bring the transformative power of play to the hundreds of millions of youth around the world. It started as One World Futbol Project in 2010, after discovering that many children the world over don’t even have something as simple as a ball.

Lisa Tarver is the founder and Chief Impact Creator of One World Play Project. She brings 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector to One World Play Project. She has worked in community organizing, grassroots fundraising, organizational development and finance. Her international experience includes five years living and working in El Salvador. Lisa has served on the board of directors of two Bay Area independent schools and been actively involved in the local East Bay soccer community fulfilling many roles, including that of “soccer mom.”

Lisa leads the global giving team of One World Play Project in identifying and partnering with organizations working with youth in disadvantaged communities worldwide.

For Lisa, “Play is so fundamental to our being, and to our being able to thrive. It’s so healing, it’s transformative for children who have gone through war, endured extreme poverty, or other kinds ofd trauma. When children have the opportunity to play, they begin to heal - physically, emotionally, psychologically. It’s food for the soul.”

Outside of work - or making a difference in children’s lives - Lisa enjoys gardening, singing and playing soccer with the company team. To her, play is adventure, joy and creativity.


Teaser 1: Play is Fundamental to Our Being


Teaser 2: Sustainability of Play: We're about Products that will Last

Ben VandenWymelenberg

June 19, 2016

Ben VW, founder of WOODCHUCK USA, on Bringing Manufacturing back to America, and People back to Nature


Ben is an entrepreneur, designer, speaker, and extreme adventure enthusiast.

Ben is dedicated to bringing jobs back to America through creating brands that source USA-made products, and understand the long term economic benefits to re-building the American economy.

Ben is the Founder and CEO of WOODCHUCK, a USA made brand he took from concept to Big Box retail shelves in one year. This international brand has gained attention from sources such as the; Business Upstart Journal, LA Times, and the Wall Street Journal. WOODCHUCK USA plants a tree for every product they sell, and is on track to have planted over half a million trees by 2017.

He is the Co-Founder of NORTH Co-working. A Co-working facility in Minneapolis which supports and promotes entrepreneurs throughout the midwest.

Ben is also the Founder of WORKBENCH STUDIOS, an agency specializing in building USA Made Brands that are e-commerce based. Clients range from startup to big box and mass market.

He speaks at events such as the National CEO conference on topics in Manufacturing, Entrepreneurship, Green Design and was one of this years "40 under 40” entrepreneurs, Minnesota Cup- General Division Winners, MN’s REAL POWER 50, and also "32 under 32” by the MN Ad Federation.

If you’re looking to go fly planes, jump off cliffs, race motorcycles, camp, and then talk business strategy; this is your guy.


Teaser 1: On How to Make an Impact in the World


Teaser 2: On why mentorship is crucial to individual and business success.‬


Kieran Folliard

May 31, 2016

Debut: Kieran Folliard's Full Interview 


Born in 1955 in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo in the West of Ireland, Kieran started out in the hospitality industry carrying the bags for the passengers in his father’s Hackney (taxi cab) business. After 17 years spent in corporate marketing including time in Ireland, Saudi Arabia and the U.S, he realized that he loved being in pubs. So, like any good self-respecting Irish guy, he decided to open one.

18 years later, the pub business had grown to include The Local, The Liffey, Cooper, and Kieran’s Irish Pub, all in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area. 2 GINGERS® Whiskey was launched as a test in those pubs in March of 2011, and quickly earned a loyal following. So, in order to focus on a new project in pursuing wider distribution of 2 GINGERS, Kieran sold all his shares of the pub business in July of 2011. He heeded warnings about the door hitting him on the way out, and went on his merry way. Today, 100% of ownership of those pubs belongs to the management team that had worked with Kieran over the years to make them successful.

2 GINGERS is now Kieran’s full-time passion. He’s lived in Minnesota for 25 years, but has seen more of the state since launching 2 GINGERS than ever before, as he hits the road to sample his new product and meet the people who support the new brand.

Just nine months after the statewide launch of 2 GINGERS in its home state of Minnesota, the whiskey can be found in over 800 liquor stores and over 1000 bars and restaurants. When he decided to start 2 GINGERS, it was with confidence in the product and an undeniable urge to make a go of a good idea. Kieran’s entrepreneurial drive is contagious to those who know him.

For more on Kieran’s inspiration, his “2 GINGERS” (Mother Mary and Aunt Delia,) read the Legend of the two women whose young faces grace every bottle of 2 GINGERS.


Teaser 1: Advice when SHIT hits the fan.


Teaser 2: On the Power of Vision