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“A life of leadership requires passion  and discipline -

being able to say  

‘I know who I am’”



Leadership combines art and science requiring us to both appreciate and understand it.


What can we learn from the hard won lessons of founders and those who back them?


What can the founder's journey teach us about the fundamentals of leadership?


Is there anything we can do to increase the odds of our success?

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Those are some of the many questions inspired by an over a decade long friendship and an ongoing dialogue about leaders and the startup world between Jim March, the Stanford GSB professor, a leadership guru of gurus, and his student and the book author, angel investor and a ‘startup philosopher’ Vlasta Pokladnikova.


In a series of interviews with founders and investors about the founder's journey, we explore the main ideas about Leadership researched and elaborated by Jim March and his colleagues



In a conversational format, the book highlights the latest approaches and thinking on the topic of leadership, and summarizes insights, myths, and the truths as perceived by the practitioners themselves. It questions the assumptions of leading science and education, not unlike what Professor March has done over his long research and teaching career.

The idea for a book on leadership and Silicon Valley emerged during the hundreds of hours of conversations with Jim March to whom is this book project dedicated.


Share the Journey

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Heidi Roizen
Partner, Threshold Ventures 

“You have to be an optimist to be an entrepreneur, at least in part… You really have to have a set of core values that drive you through difficult times, because if you give up by definition is not going to happen”

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Deena Shakir
Partner, Lux Capital 

“I love to see leaders who do their own work, who take pride in what they're building, who are creative, who lead by creativity and also empathy” 

Chris Barton
Co-Founder, Shazam 

“I believe that there's not just one innovation actually with a startup. I think there are hundreds, or even thousands of innovations that go on, and people tend to think of just the one. But really what makes all these companies successful is all the hundreds of little innovations that go into it.”

Learn from Insights

Tim Westergren
Co-Founder, Pandora

“Entrepreneurship is a fundamentally quixotic adventure. If you are doing it for the outside reward it will bring you, be forewarned: you will most likely get burned at the stake”

Stina Ehrensvärd
CEO & Co-Founder, YUBICO

 "The next generation of leadership is women and men together. If we don't come together I don't think we can solve the world's problems. But I think we can do it together.”

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Ijad Madisch
CEO & Co-founder, ResearchGate

"Systems, processes, people, everything is a reflection of the CEO, especially in that very early phase"


Join our community

Welcome to our community!


Vlasta Pokladnikova

Vlasta Pokladnikova studied Economics and Organizational Theory at Stanford University. She worked in Silicon Valley for over 15 years, working closely with founders, venture capital firms, investing in companies, and developing new products alongside founder-CEOs. In recent years, she has reconnected with her graduate school advisor driven by the passion to understand how ideas from leadership theory apply to the technology startup world. 

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