Jumpstart Foundry Co-Founder, Marcus Whitney, recently launched his book, “Create and Orchestrate” diving into his story, philosophy, and wisdom on capturing one’s creative power through entrepreneurship. On July 9th, 2020, his Jumpstart Co-Founder, Vic Gatto, joined him to discuss the inspiration behind the book and why this book will be a valuable resource for all entrepreneurs chasing their dreams.
Once a college dropout who waited tables to take care of his family of four, Marcus taught himself how to code, then start businesses, then create things no one thought possible: from becoming an owner of a professional soccer team to being a founding partner of the most active healthcare venture fund in the United States.
What Inspired Marcus to Write His Book?
When asked what inspired him to write his book, Marcus Whitney noted that “I was thinking of my kids.” Marcus wrote his book, Create and Orchestrate, because when he entered the venture capital world he did not fully understand it. Entering into venture capital and not understanding it put him at a significant disadvantage. It was also very frustrating for him. “It made me upset because I am not a dumb person, I didn’t get it because someone did not want me to get it.”
Venture capital’s terminology creates a barrier that either inhibits people from entering, or, like Marcus, puts them at a disadvantage when they do enter. Furthermore, entrepreneurship has its own challenges. Therefore, Marcus wrote his book because he felt it was a key obligation as someone who was able to crack the venture code and be a successful entrepreneur to share the terminology and strategies with others.
Marcus documented in his book all the tools necessary for venture capital and entrepreneurship. Vic noted that “everything you need to be an entrepreneur is in the book, written in a way that regular people can understand.”
Launching Amidst a Pandemic
Although Marcus initially planned for a traditional book launch with in-person book signings, he had to pivot to be entirely virtual, recognizing that the timing of his launch could have been much worse. The launch date could have been in March, but luckily it was planned for June, which gave Marcus three months to recalibrate for a virtual launch.
During those three months, Marcus geared up for a 100% virtual launch. Instead of a book tour with in-person signings, he is selling signed copies of his book through his own online store and doing a plethora of podcast interviews.
Part of being an entrepreneur is quickly turning acceptance of reality into action. Vic mentioned that as an entrepreneur, “you have to pivot and change all the time.” Being able to adapt and change quickly adds value in major shifts like the pandemic this past spring.
The Impact of Marcus’ Book
When Vic asked how Marcus hoped his book would have an impact, Marcus noted that, “the biggest thing is I feel like I have left something for my kids and their generation.”
The book starts with Marcus in college and spans until the present. Therefore, he hopes his kids can read it and gain a piece of his wisdom. Marcus also hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs with his book. “I wrote this book for Marcus in 2007 who knew nothing about nothing. I hope first-time entrepreneurs can read and get value out of my experiences. And hopefully, avoid some mistakes.”
Pieces of the Book That Can Be Impactful for Black Entrepreneurs
“So many of the books I read to educate myself on venture capital were written by white men. That’s why my face is on the cover.” Books written on business and venture capital are not just books, but establish the culture of how to operate businesses. Since they are setting standards, it is an issue that there is not a diverse set of people writing these books. Marcus hopes that his book on entrepreneurship and venture capital becomes one of many written by a person of color.
In addition, Marcus touched on the inequality within healthcare. “There are not enough black and brown faces in leadership positions.” There is so much work to be done in making changes to leadership boards, talent development, and clinical priorities. But, Marcus does see a change can be made much quicker through diversifying investments and through vendor contracts to black and brown owned companies.
Key Takeaways for Readers
There are three main takeaways Marcus hopes his readers gain.
- Hustler: If you want to succeed, you have to be a hustler and have a serious work ethic.
- Hacker: You also have to be clever because it’s a very competitive world with many people striving for success at the same time.
- Hero: Finally, you have to be your own hero. Failures are a reality of the process, and they happen often. Entrepreneurs have to be able to pick themselves up and keep going.
Questions from the Audience
Q: What was Marcus’ most challenging aspect of writing his book and what top 2-3 lessons did he learn from the process?
A: The hardest thing about writing the book was when I understood what it meant to write a book. A book is 50,000 plus words. Plus, you have to do the research beforehand. Then, you move into editing and ensuring your main ideas are coming through how you want them to. By the end your eyes get blurry and you can’t see straight.
Q: Do you envision writing a follow-up book and what would the focus be?
A: Yes, I want to write my next book on being an active creator in the world and how to take care of yourself. Wellbeing will be the focus.