Kurt Uhlir at Emory University Goizueta Business School for Hack

Top performers always have advisors
and mentors in their lives

High-growth companies and high-bandwidth founders always have board members and advisors opening doors and providing guidance on “moving the needle” for the company.

Top performers in business and life have coaches and mentors in their lives that give them wise counsel, help them realize their potential, and identify potential hidden opportunities (or concerns). As a marketing leader and former executive, Kurt helps pre-scale and growth stage B2B companies shape and run their marketing efforts.

Kurt has been blessed to have had a number of people much wiser than himself, frequently several seasons of life ahead of him, pour into him over the years. In every one of his growth phases, he can identify at least one trusted advisor in his life – sometimes a personal mentor, other times an investor, and frequently a board member that had walked the same path multiple times before. In almost every one of his companies and roles, he chooses one or more board member to coach them through their growth phases.

If you’re not familiar with the difference between a mentor and a coach, watch John Saddington’s video and read his article on The Difference Between a Mentor and Coach.

Kurt actively advises/coaches/consults high potential leaders to help companies accelerate their growth through marketing and customer success. Sometimes this involves being a member of a company’s advisory board or board of directors. Other times, it’s a short-term or long-term consulting role. Either way, he brings a unique combination of his experience growing companies, behavioral science, and sometimes tough-love.

These are paid / contractual relationships with some combination of equity and or monthly retainer. Need to accelerate your acceleration? Connect with Kurt and see what makes sense.

Some of the reasons people and organizations typically ask for Kurt’s help

Go-to-Market Strategy

Taking a product to market is hard. Magazines like to write stories about the “over night success”, but the reality is a ton of hard work, frequently a pile of failures, and many tests to find the right messaging. Kurt can help your team find “authentic demand” before they even begin building a product and iterate your go-to-market strategy to maximize ARPU.

Accelerate Business Growth

Kurt steps in, rolls up his sleeves, and works side by side with your team to optimize every aspect of your business. Sometimes a companies growth has slowed, and other times they just need to adjust their cadence and find a faster stride. Areas of expertise include finding authentic demand, raising capital, adjusting sales pitches, finding product market fit, and other strategies to increase sales and profits.

Leadership and Culture

Your company will succeed or fail based on your and your team’s leadership styles and culture. High bandwidth, top performers will run from toxic employees and environments. Good intentions are important but being able to bring your team into a story that will transform people’s lives is a skill that can be taught. Kurt will come alongside your team with his unique style of servant leadership and authenticity that will consistently “move the needle” for the company and change the lives of your team.

Fundraising

Kurt works directly with your team to create an end-to-end fundraising strategy. This includes creating your ideal investor avatar, developing target lists, refining your message, creating fundraising materials, creating a strategy for moving investors through their decision making process, identifying potential red/yellow flags in your pitch, helping with common mistakes entrepreneurs make while fundraising and how to avoid them, reviewing ideas for deal structure, and even helping guide you through negotiating your deal.

Product Innovation

Kurt is often quoted as saying “Innovation will cause the death of average.”, and you see it happening every day as more and more industries are disrupted. The speed of innovation continues to move faster and the spikes of product growth are increasing. Kurt will guide your team through their search for authentic demand and identify potential technology solutions and product opportunities. If needed, he will dig in and help your team identify opportunities for protecting your intellectual property and can even pull together what is needed for counsel to draft patent applications. Having been the inventor on 16 US and international patents, with hundreds of submitted invention disclosures, and having been in the trenches with many early-stage, high growth companies, he brings a unique mix of business skills and technical talent to help your team.

Professional Transition

Need help transitioning industries, moving from one professional environment to another, how about from corporate life into startup founder, or help breaking through your current professional ceiling to your next phase? Kurt will work with you to position your strengths and find team you want to work with. HR experts claim it takes 1 month for every $10k-$15k of base salary to find your next role. Kurt will help compress that time.

What others say about Kurt

Kurt’s leadership and experience is a major reason we’ve grown as a company. He represents the best in strategy and execution when it comes to building world-class SaaS companies and coaching executives to grow the team and company. His push for excellence in customer discovery, innovation, and execution have guided us on a path to solve real problems for our customers. His advice and coaching was key to having the fundamentals set up in our SaaS venture to be able to raise our first major round of funding. What sets Kurt apart from others is his ability to dive deep and go well beyond any expectations because of discipline, character and work ethic. Kurt can bring the best out of people, and it is through his ability to help others see their full potential that makes him a pleasure to work with.

Kurt is an inspiring leader that motivates his teams to deliver their collective and personal best in all that they do. He is a visionary that leads change within an organization. Kurt operates with the highest level of personal integrity, and he expects the same of the team and organization in which he works.

Kurt epitomizes a servant leader. He is both comfortable talking with the President of the United States and then rolling up his sleeves to work alongside the team to reach our milestones. His experience leading high-growth companies around the world has helped us raise the bar and build the foundation to let our organization truly scale.

Kurt is very good at what he does, he has excellent analytic skill sets and business insight. Kurt worked on number very important projects with me at NAV2 including Nokia, Shanghai GM and Shanghai VW. I’ve enjoyed working with Kurt very much and highly value his opinions and inputs.

He has been instrumental on a number of high stake projects, including the acquisition of GamesThatGive, Partnership establishment in the paid media space, Vitrue’s funding, and the sale of the company itself. Outside his high business acumen, Kurt is a great person to be around…I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Kurt on some of these projects and would highly recommend Kurt in any endeavor he undertakes next.

Kurt is a very strategic thinker with the passion to execute. His skills in change management and organizational process improvements clearly came through in our involvement on the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). He’s a great collaborator and I certainly look forward to working with him again

Kurt is an all-star executive to who people across the company call upon when crucial programs are in dire need of decisive action. His remarkable ability to envision and conceptualize corporate strategy is equally matched by his talent for implementing these strategies. He does this work with integrity and humor, and as such, is a highly respected and inspiring leader. I would welcome the opportunity to work with Kurt at any point in the future.

Due to his understanding the China market, Kurt always has the right and fitful answers for strategies. Kurt is a team player, we have lots of round of discussion among different companies in China, and he can always lead the effort and coordinate well within them.

What I value most about Kurt is his ability to think beyond the obvious and his desire to push the organization to challenge itself. One clear example was Kurt’s efforts to commercialize alternative uses for navigational maps at NAVTEQ (e.g. gaming, athletics, etc.). Kurt not only played a leadership role in the technical specification but also led the effort to drive the program within the company. Beyond his strategic and creative capabilities, Kurt is unique in his ability to see things from both a technical as well as a business perspective.

He has a unique combination of technical and business smarts to cut through a haze of information and identify if a product or service is viable to take to market.

He has the keen ability to cut through complex technical details to get to the heart of the value proposition and espouse that in a way that resonates with customers. Kurt’s a born leader; a strong charismatic individual, yet with a discerning ear and the natural ability to listen. Kurt acclimates to the big picture quickly; yet is willing to roll up his sleeves to get the job done. He makes a definite worthwhile addition to any team. I am happy to endorse him.

Kurt has a passion and enthusiasm for business that is catching. It is always a delight discussing ideas with him. Kurt has a truly amazing ability to bring people together for productive discussion and finding solutions to complex intellectual property licensing negotiations. He combines a visionary imagination with an analytical mind to craft innovative new strategies for bringing value to the marketplace

I worked with Kurt both as a customer and a colleague while at Useful Networks and NAVTEQ. Kurt spearheaded multiple teams partnering with key executives within NAVTEQ and other companies to develop and launch strategic initiatives that rapidly expanded NAVTEQ into new markets. He brings a wealth of industry knowledge and business know-how to the organization that really helps with setting direction and decision making.

WHAT GETS KURT EXCITED

Leadership and company building is not for the faint-of-heart. Kurt believes that successful advising is ultimately about mentorship, trust, community building, hard work, compassion, shared learning, and a bit of luck. He’s never been afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty alongside others. Here are some of the traits Kurt tends to look for in those he consider working with.

  • Passionate people

    Fire in the belly matched with humility. Ideas are a commodity – I work with amazing people, driven to win.

  • Great products

    I’ve seen it time and time again – great products win. I look for beautiful software products and great customer experiences – and the desire to get there.

  • Big opportunities

    It takes the same amount of effort to build something small as something large. It’s not just the size of the market – it’s the scalability of the business model and the amount of friction in place that slows scaling.

  • Unique vision

    The goal is to find authentic demand. I love people humble enough to ask the right questions of potential customers and wise enough to seek the “blue ocean” opportunities.

  • Servant’s heart

    A desire to serve others – customers, team members, your family. The most consistent top performers I’ve worked with all have the heart of servant. It’s also a trait I seek to continuing developing in myself, so it will be a journey together.

© Copyright 2018 - Kurt Uhlir