Dave Whorton - From Built to Sell to Built to Last - The Tugboat Institute Story [The Business of Family]

00:00:00
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00:53:48

21 September 2020

53 mins 48 secs

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About this Episode

Dave Whorton is an entrepreneur, business leader, education reformer, and investor. Dave founded four companies including Good Technology and Drugstore.com. He also worked for three venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TPG, and Interwest.

A small angel investment that Dave made in 2005 opened his eyes to an alternative way of supporting seasoned entrepreneurs who wanted to build large, profitable, innovative businesses that they would run privately for their lifetimes. In 2013 he founded The Tugboat Institute, a membership organisation designed to support Evergreen leaders and their companies over the very long term.

"We believe in the vital importance of humans coming together to create and grow enduring, private businesses that make a dent in the universe." - Tugboat Institute

Standout Quotes

  • "How do you help a company have good hygiene? A very important component of that is how you develop the family members into the business" - Dave Whorton [31:44]
  • "If you feel your company is deeply purpose-driven and meant to have a significant impact for a long time in the world then you do think naturally about it from a standpoint of stewardship" - Dave Whorton [34:04]
  • "How can I take this incredible asset and move it forward before handing it over to the next steward?" - Dave Whorton [34:16]
  • "I think it's really important to develop a work ethic in your kids, I don't care what level of wealth you have" - Dave Whorton [45:50]

Key Takeaways

  • The 7Ps that makes a company evergreen: Purpose, Perseverance, People First, Private, Profit, Paced Growth and Pragmatic Innovation [21:44]
  • Entrepreneurs have to be very clear with CEOs about what they want from their investing partners [39:37]
  • Dave describes some qualities that he observed to be common among evergreen leaders which mostly include being introverted and humility [23:46]
  • Developing a work ethic at a young age is critically important and also exposing them to the importance of saving [46:11]

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:48] Mike introduces Dave and tells us a little about him
  • [02:06] Dave shares his backstory and work background in more detail
  • [17:20] The Tugboat group and how it's evolved over time.
  • [21:44] The 7Ps that makes a company evergreen: Purpose, Perseverance, People First, Private, Profit, Paced Growth and Pragmatic Innovation
  • [23:46] Dave describes some qualities that he observed to be common among evergreen leaders which mostly include being introverted and humility
  • [30:18] How does Tugboat support generational transitions of family members or other closely held businesses?
  • [34:04] if you feel your company is deeply purpose-driven and meant to have a significant impact for a long time in the world then you do think about naturally about it from a standpoint of stewardship; How can I take this incredible asset and move it forward before handing it over to the next steward?
  • [39:37] Entrepreneurs have to be very clear with CEOs about what they want from their investing partners
  • [45:33] Dave shares his thoughts on generational wealth and legacy building in contrast to a focus on the children developing a work ethic and inheriting nothing.
  • [49:29] The failure Dave faced that eventually took him on a journey to where he is today.

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