Episode 92: Why the Future of Business is Sharing: Featured Interview with Lisa Gansky - My Quest for the Best

Episode 92: Why the Future of Business is Sharing: Featured Interview with Lisa Gansky

lisa gansky

Marketect, Author, and Business Advisor

Lisa Gansky talks to Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about how capital flows into startup, entrepreneurship, and the early days of the internet.

Listen to this interview to learn:

  • How successful companies are built on incredibly talented, committed people
  • An early insight about how the Internet would level the playing field led to forming a startup acquired by AOL
  • Implications of how technology advances have lowered the barriers to entry dramatically
  • Where to find entrepreneurs creating new ideas and companies in major cities
  • Where on the balance sheet many companies can find underutilized and undervalued assets
  • How the meshing.it database became the foundation for both the book as well as an open source resource
  • Clues and tips for finding life-work balance

Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

1:32 [On being an entrepreneur] – “The ability to see an opportunity or to hear someone with a really great idea and recognize it, that’s the number one thing.”

2:13 “Being an entrepreneur is more jazz than symphony, it’s more impromptu.”

2:59 Gansky tells the story of her Russian Immigrant entrepreneur grandfather and his linen business – “I learned many things from him. One of which was his incredible way of reading people and interacting with people, making people really comfortable, and trying to understand what they were trying to do with their business.”

4:15 “Though I didn’t finish college, I was trained in science, and I’ve always had a real interest in science/biology especially.” 

5:30 Gansky tells about GNN, the first commercial website. – “I started to see the internet when it was in its most extreme infancy.”

7:00 [On the birth of the internet] – “There were all sorts of media types – video, audio. There were all sorts of people with crazy ideas and applications that this could appeal to.”

7:37 [On selling GNN to AOL] –  “It was just being around really great people, at the right time.”

8:05 How the tech industry’s culture of collaboration fostered the rise of the major internet companies.

9:33 [On photography in the pre-kodak era] – “I just really loved taking pictures, but I really hated the business of being in the distribution business – printing and writing little notes and going to the post office and doing all that.”

11:02 [On the reaction shift from film to digital] – “It became really clear to us how rapidly this shift was taking place, and we started to build out what was the first photo sharing and printing service, which got bought 2 years later by Kodak.”

11:45 How Gansky’s team developed oFoto and generated $60M in revenue. – “I look at oFoto as kind of the first social network that connected eCommerce.”

14:30 [On selling oFoto to Kodak] – “Once I lost control of the brand, it was going to be very challenging to keep the service as it was.”

15:35 Gansky explains what her team goes through now to vigorously test new ideas. “If it goes through this process and survives, then we go and get this thing funded.”

17:28 “What often happens is that new of our working on something leaks out and investors are in a conversation even before we’re ready to talk.”

18:30 The role of “meshy” collaboration.

18:52 [On how Mesh came about] – “There were two things that brought it together for me. One was that there was this idea that we raise $60M to do oFoto, and I looked around in 2008 and thought: ‘If I were going to start oFoto today,’ I asked myself the question, ‘what would I need to do it?’”

20:00 “The entry point of being an entrepreneur is so low right now, you can create a little idea or a product and get it to market in all sorts of ways.”

21:12 “All ventures should be social, if we aren’t making the customers’ we’re targeting lives better, then it’s not a sustainable business.”

22:34 “Cities are places where there’s lots of people and less space.”

24:36 How SaaS has changed the game. “It’s available as a buy the drink business model, as opposed to having to own the whole thing.”

24:58 [On the new business model] – “We don’t have to own things but we can access what we want, when we want it, and pay for just what we use is gaining traction.”

25:36 “Last century was a century of ownership, and we’re moving to a world in which access to goods, services, and talent triumphs over ownership.”

26:02 “Unused value = waste.”

27:50 How co-working spaces help Gansky work while on the road.

29:02 “If I’m really wanting to not be disturbed, I sit on a plane or go home and work…Being in a co-working space is a really vital, really exciting environment. I really enjoy it. It’s social when you want it to be, but it has a little bit of everything.”

31:07 “You bring the part that you’re great at to people who are looking for your part of the puzzle.”

33:21 Types of car services capitalizing on the idea of unused value = waste.

35:19 [On Gansky’s database] – “Each author or each artist can determine how they want their work distributed.”

35:58 [On how Gansky stays focused and productive] – “I start my day and end my day by going outside, because it if I didn’t force myself to do that…then I would get sucked in, and it still happens.”

36:33 The enjoyment of unnecessary travel. “It’s allows me to get out of my own head and observe people, and listen to conversations.”

38:19 “I think it’s really helpful to not take things so seriously.”

Expert Bio

Lisa Gansky is, at heart, a marketect and “impact junky” with a strong interest in breaking the edges of formerly happy business models and bringing together not-so-likely characters in the form of new offerings, teams and partnerships. She is the author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing.

As CEO, co-founder and chairman of Ofoto, Lisa drew on her entrepreneurial spirit and experience developing global web services. Lisa and the team worked to develop Ofoto into a world-class consumer services offering which she left once Kodak Gallery reached over 45M customers in 2005. In addition to her roles at Ofoto and Eastman Kodak, she was a Co-founder and CEO of GNN, the first commercial website, acquired by AOL in 1995, where she then directed Internet Services for AOL through 1997.

Lisa has been an investor and board member of more than twenty internet and mobile services companies. Currently, she serves as an advisor and investor in New Resource Bank, Vayable, Loosecubes, TaskRabbit, RelayRides, Scoot Networks, Squidoo, Greenbiz, Pixelpipe, Mingoville, and Honest Buildings.

For more information, visit Lisa’s website.

Contact Info for Lisa Gansky

Web address: LisaGansky.com

Web address: Meshing.it

Travels From: San Francisco, CA

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Books by Lisa Gansky

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