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Tristan Walker on the Roman Empire and Selling a Start-Up to Procter & Gamble - The New York Times
By David Gelles
Dec. 12, 2018

Tristan Walker founded Walker & Company, a maker of health and beauty products for people of color, in 2013. On Wednesday, the company was acquired by Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum. The deal represents a successful exit for Mr. Walker and his investors. It also signals an effort by Procter & Gamble, the maker of Gillette, to reach new markets with its shaving products. But while many start-up founders make a hasty exit after getting acquired, Mr. Walker is planning to stay on and grow Bevel, his men’s shaving brand, and Form, his women’s hair care brand. “We’re a team of 15 with very grandiose ambitions,” he said of Walker & Company, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., but will move to Atlanta as part of the deal. “We want this company and its purpose to still be around 150 years from now.”

What’s that book you’ve got there?

It’s “Parallel Lives” by Plutarch. I’ve really been getting into Greek and Roman mythology. I’m reading something right now about the history of Rome during the 53 years when they really came into power, and this idea of the Roman state growing, the Greek state growing, and the differences therein fascinate me beyond belief. I’ve just been devouring it for the past few weeks now.

Walker attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. And from there, he got to see how the other half lived. It completely changed his life. He got to see what success could look like. He got to see what wealth was. And it completely changed his worldview.

How so?

I would walk down the halls and see last names like Ford, go to some classes and realize they’re Rockefellers. These are names that were in my imagination. It taught me the importance of name and what that can mean, not only for you but your progeny. When I started at Hotchkiss, I didn’t know what a verb was. So I spent all of my time in the library studying. I spent all of my time thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

What are your priorities as you keep building the company?

I’m dedicating my life to the demographic shift happening in this country. Not only for Silicon Valley. Not only for business. But for this country’s competitiveness. It’s changing. And folks need to respect that and they need to celebrate it.
African-Americans  Bevel  biographies  books  demographic_changes  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  exits  Form  insights  long-term  P&G  Romans  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Tristan_Walker  wealth_creation  black-owned  brands  consumer_goods  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  founders 
december 2018 by jerryking
P&G Buys Walker & Co. to Expand Offerings to African-Americans - WSJ
By Aisha Al-Muslim
Dec. 12, 2018

Procter & Gamble Co. PG +0.19% has acquired Walker & Co. Brands as the consumer-products giant looks to serve more African-Americans with health and beauty products.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Walker sells grooming products for men under the brand Bevel and hair-care products for women under the Form Beauty brand.

Walker will operate as a separate and wholly owned subsidiary of P&G, continuing to be led by its founder and Chief Executive Tristan Walker, ......Last year, Anglo-Dutch consumer products firm Unilever PLC acquired Sundial Brands, a New York-based hair-care and skin-care products company predominantly targeting African-Americans, for an undisclosed sum. Sundial’s brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio.
African-Americans  Bevel  black-owned  brands  exits  hair  P&G  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  Tristan_Walker  Unilever  founders 
december 2018 by jerryking
HOW TO: Land a Business Development Job
So you want to be a business development professional? The job title has certainly become a coveted one of late, especially in the tech sector where the business guys and gals are the ones forging newsworthy partnerships.
The question is, do you know what the job entails? Even then, do you know how and where to start on this newfound career path? Or better yet, do you have the qualities that make for success in these always-on positions?
Mashable interviewed six experts in the field at various stages in their careers to get their tips on what it takes to become a business development professional at technology companies and startups.
Biz Dev ProsHere is some background information on these six seasoned business development professionals.
Charles Hudson: Newly turned entrepreneur Charles Hudson was the vice president of business development at Serious Business, a top social game developer acquired by Zynga in February. Previous engagements include senior business development positions at Gaia Online and Google. Hudson also produces two conferences focused on gaming: Virtual Goods Summit and Social Gaming Summit. Hudson is now co-founder of Bionic Panda Games.
Jesse Hertzberg: Hertzberg is the former vice president of operations and business development at Etsy, the immensely popular social commerce site for handmade and vintage items now valued at close to $300 million. Hertzberg currently advises a number of startups, including Squarespace, and is the founder of BigSoccer.
Matt Van Horn: Van Horn is the vice president of business development at the super stealth startup Path. His past jobs include more than three years working in business development for Digg, as well as a four-year stint with Apple while attending college.
Tristan Walker: Walker is the up-and-coming investment-banker-turned-tech-star heading Foursquare’s business development efforts. Walker is directly responsible for coordinating a majority of the trendy startup’s biggest strategic partnerships. This role has also brought considerable visibility to Walker, who’s been featured in Vibe Magazine, as well as named in The Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power 50 list, Black Enterprise’s 40 Next list and Mediaweek’s 50:20 to Watch list.
Jason Oberfest: Oberfest is the vice president of social applications at game developer Ngmoco, which was recently acquired by DeNA for $300 million with a potential $100 million more in post-acquisition bonuses. Prior to joining to Ngmoco, Oberfest was the senior vice president of business development at MySpace, and before that the managing director of business development at Los Angeles Times Interactive.
Cortlandt Johnson: Johnson is the chief evangelist at SCVNGR and actively works to recruit businesses to participate in the startup’s rewards program. Johnson also co-founded DartBoston, an event-centric community designed to connect entrepreneurs and professionals in the Boston area.
Education and Internships

What undergraduate school should I attend? Do I need to go to grad school? What about internships? These are all questions you’re likely to face as you explore a future in business development. The esteemed professionals we interviewed all have backgrounds of varying degrees, so we asked for their input on these subject matters.
Walker’s own personal story is perhaps the most unique example of how to come by a business development position. While certainly making his mark in business development now, Walker initially pursued a career on Wall Street before packing it up and heading to Stanford Graduate School of Business, a shift that pushed him in the tech direction.
All things considered, does Walker recommend internships? “Certainly depends,” he says. However, based on his own internship experiences, “if you want to work in tech long term, interning at an investment bank may not make the most sense,” he jokes.
Hertzberg is a big proponent of internships. “Interning is the best job interview you can ever get, and is critical to beginning to build your professional network. Some of my favorite professional relationships are with folks who once interned for me,” he says.
Johnson suggests going after internships that push you outside your comfort zone. “The goal of my internships was to learn how to interact with all kinds of people. I always went after positions that forced me into different types of situations, whether they be social or otherwise,” says Johnson.
Grad school is something Walker has a bit more conviction about. In his words, “B-school” is “very important … not only for the skills (i.e. accounting, finance, operations, etc.) that could be beneficial for all managers to comprehend long term, but also for the softer skills of ‘people management.’”
Oberfest found an immediate opening in the biz dev field right as he was starting out. “I was fortunate to get my career started at the beginning of the first Internet boom, so for me it was trial by fire,” he explains.
If you’re on the fence about grad school, consider the following statement from Oberfest. “Grad school can help, but [it] is not a requirement. Good knowledge of the mechanics of deals — how to structure and negotiate deals — is an important component of the job and an MBA or JD can certainly help there, but I think the single most important attribute of an exceptional business development person is good product intuition.”[jk: being product-orientated}
Van Horn is also proof that graduate degrees aren’t absolute requirements. “I’ve never attended graduate school, but if you’re able to attend a top tier school, I hear you build an incredible network for life,” he says.
Instead, Van Horn spent his undergraduate college years working for Apple. “It’s very powerful to have a big brand behind your resume,” Van Horn shares. “I worked for Apple for four years doing campus marketing while in college and it helped a lot.”
For Hertzberg, his MBA, “was worth half of what I paid for it, as I already had a business background.” But, he says, “The network is why you go and, yes, that has been worth its weight in gold.”
Required Reading

All of the professionals we talked to strongly advocate that those aspiring to work in the field read up on mentors past.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi is Van Horn’s personal favorite read.Johnson, who also recommends Never Eat Alone, finds Tim Sanders’s Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence to be an important read as well.Walker suggests that business development professionals-in-training pick up a copy of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.Unfortunately, it takes more than a few good books to read your way to success. Hertzberg recommends an aggressive approach to ongoing education that entails consuming as much information as possible.
“Read industry rags voraciously and know who is starting up, who is funded, who is growing, who is cutting what deals, etc.” he says. “Have a deep and holistic understanding of the industry and marketplace beyond just your company’s focus.”
Hudson strongly advises that, “all BD people, especially start-up BD people, should read Steve Blank’s work on customer discovery. That’s a big part of your job.” You might also want to start by reading Hudson’s own in-depth article on what being the “business guy” at a startup entails.
Must-Have Qualities

If you want to work in business development, and do so successfully, these experts agree that there’s one thing you absolutely need — a tangible passion for product.
In actionable terms, Walker describes this as a “tireless hustle.” Van Horn agrees. “I think you need to be passionate and have hustle,” he says.
Van Horn also recommends being an “early adopter of interesting products. If you’re looking for a technology job, make sure you use every awesome sounding new product you read on Mashable.”
Those best suited for business development roles are the make-it-work types, says Johnson. “The most successful people I’ve met are those who know how to quickly adapt and hustle to find ways to overcome any obstacles put in their way,” he advises.
Oberfest believes these three qualities are key: the ability to “quickly read people,” innate negotiation sensibilities and an appreciation for long-term relationships.
Hertzberg reminds that “you have to like people,” if you want to do well in a biz dev role.
Hudson agrees and points to human-to-human interaction as a huge part of the job. “If you want to go into business development, I think you have to be good at dealing with and understanding people. If you’re not comfortable with interpersonal communications and relationship management, it probably isn’t the right job for you,” he says.
On the flip side, Walker says that those possessing a “lack of humility” are least suited for biz dev positions. In a similar vein, Hertzberg says, “Be humble. Always represent your company’s brand faithfully. Constantly work to enhance and preserve that brand. Remember that your personal brand will never be bigger than your company’s.”
Getting Your First Biz Dev Job

For those just looking to get their foot in the door somewhere, knowing the answer to the question, “How does one get a biz dev job?” is of the utmost importance. We posed this particular question to our professionals, who all have slightly different, but uniquely encouraging takes on how and where to get started.
“For me it started with just recognizing the pretty significant business opportunity at a startup that I was already passionate about,” says Walker. “It always starts with product, then recognizing the opportunity on top of that.”
If you’re still an entry-level professional, Oberfest recommends not taking a job in business development at first, but rather in product management.
“I would first go work as a product manager in the industry you are passionate … [more]
business_development  job_search  social_media  social_networking  marketing  product-orientated  tristan_walker  via:sfarrar  thinking_holistically  top-tier  the_single_most_important 
august 2016 by jerryking
Tristan Walker Raises $6.9 Million From Andreessen, Others - Digits - WSJ
June 17, 2014 | WSJ | By KATHERINE ROSMAN.

Walker's Bevel (https://getbevel.com/) brand of razors, shaving creams and salves has sold well, with more than 90% of customers returning for more products, Walker says. He won’t reveal revenue or sales numbers, though.

Walker plans to use the newly raised money to develop new and existing products, and to get Bevel into brick-and-mortar locations like barber shops and specialty stores. He also is planning in-person and video-conference educational programs to teach African Americans how to shave.
Tristan_Walker  Andreessen_Horowitz  start_ups  Bevel  Foursquare  entrepreneur  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  African-Americans  underserved  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  bricks-and-mortar 
july 2014 by jerryking
Search for a Market Niche, and You Might Find a Crowd - NYTimes.com
By JENNA WORTHAM FEB. 8, 2014

Tristan Walker decided that his moon shot would be revolutionizing the skin-care and beauty-product industry for African-Americans....Kartik Hosanagar, a professor of online commerce at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said that even the smallest companies would soon have to start paying attention to so-called unconventional markets.

“There are still two Silicon Valleys,” Mr. Hosanagar said. “Young entrepreneurs in San Francisco, working at a tech firm, surrounded by the tech 1 percent, solving problems for the 1 percent. And there are companies that manage to break through that and become relevant. The Googles, Twitters and Facebooks of the world.”

The companies that break out, he said, are successful because they are adept at appealing to all users. But even those tech giants must think ever more broadly if they are to have continued success and growth. Signs suggest that these companies are trying to extend their reach and understand the complexity and diversity of their users and potential users.
African-Americans  niches  entrepreneur  moonshots  Foursquare  Andreessen_Horowitz  unconventional_thinking  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  underserved  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  Jenna_Wortham  Tristan_Walker  pay_attention 
february 2014 by jerryking

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