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The Jeff Long hires: A look at the new KU AD's track record

exclusive

VIP Arkansas insider breaks down new KU athletic director Jeff Long

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The University of Kansas has found its next athletic director.

KU chancellor Douglas Girod announced on Thursday that Jeff Long — the longtime Arkansas athletic director — will fill the position for the Jayhawks formerly held by Sheahon Zenger. He will be introduced at a news conference on Wednesday, July 11 before, officially taking over the position on August 1, the university said in a release.

“Jeff Long has tremendous leadership and administrative experience in major college athletics, and he is a terrific fit for Kansas Athletics as we work to ensure our student-athletes succeed on the field and in the classroom,” Girod said. “Those who know him describe him as a man of character who cares deeply about higher education and the student-athletes he serves. For all these reasons, we are thrilled to welcome him to the University of Kansas.”

Long noted in the release he was "thrilled" to be able to join the university.

“It was clear from the moment I met with the chancellor and his search committee members, they have a deep love for the university and understand and appreciate the positive role intercollegiate athletics plays in the university community," Long said. "Through our conversations, it became evident we share a common belief that the student-athlete experience prepares young people for the challenges they will face throughout life. I am excited to work with the student-athletes, coaches, staff, the community of Lawrence and the incredible fan base to build on past success and create a shared vision for the future of Kansas Athletics.”

KU alumnus Drue Jennings, who was part of the search that brought Bill Self to Kansas, led up the seven-week process to find Long. He also commented in the release:

“We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s caliber joining the University of Kansas,” Jennings said. “Jeff has a record of integrity, experience in hiring coaches, ties with other Bowl Championship Series schools, effective fundraising and a willingness to lead on national issues affecting college athletics. We can be proud that he’s joining us at KU, and we can be confident that Kansas Athletics is in good hands under his leadership.”

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Interviews

The Foundation Capital partner is at the head of a new generation of Silicon Valley VC’s who did not descend from the heights of finance, but rose through the ranks of design. And, he believes, we're entering the century of the designer-founder.

By Barry Katz Image courtesy of Steve Vassallo

We don’t usually think of venture capitalists as the “creatives” in today’s economy—at best these stolid investors enable creatives by providing them with the financial backing and the management advice to make their ideas happen.

Think again! Foundation Capital partner Steve Vassallo is at the head of a new generation of Silicon Valley VC’s who did not descend from the heights of finance, but rose through the ranks of design. 99U met with Vassallo in his office at Foundation Capital in Menlo Park to learn about about his background, his motivation, and his future vision.

Steve, let’s begin by figuring out who you are. You took a degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford, but now you are working as a venture capitalist. Can you connect the dots?

I have been a maker since before I can remember, whether it was building crazy Lego models or starting my own business (Steve’s Snowblowing Service—I still carry the card in my back pocket). At Stanford I was planning to get a Ph.D. in robotics and mechatronic systems, but I got sidetracked into a course in “Visual Thinking” where I learned about drawing and sketching, prototyping and need-finding, and creative problem-solving in small teams. That was the beginning of my discovering product design as a discipline.

I then spent five years at IDEO designing sunglasses for Nike, a bun toaster for McDonalds (I think I’m the only venture capitalist who has ever taken a course at McDonald’s Hamburger University), and anesthesia delivery devices. My last project at IDEO was Cisco’s VoIP system; I had to go head-to-head with Cisco engineers who made switches and routers that sit in closets and data centers and who didn’t know the first thing about consumer products, like a phone that might touch a person’s face 100 times a day. We had to educate them about the behaviors we saw in the field—at call centers, trading floors, cubicles—behaviors that if you just sat at your desk you could have never imagined.

But I was never crazy about the time-and-materials model of consulting, so I decided to apply to the Stanford Business School. I spent two years learning about “the business thing,” which I knew nothing about.

Eventually, I joined the team at Foundation Capital—first as an entrepreneur-in-residence, then as a partner—and I found it to be the most stimulating job on the planet. I meet maybe 20 new entrepreneurs a week, and I can’t help but be compelled by the mission they are on. They have thrown themselves into an idea and they’re just not gonna stop until their vision comes to pass. That’s a pretty amazing thing to be around all day.

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— MailChimp (@MailChimp) December 18, 2015

In various interviews and discussions, Ben has suggested that the name MailChimp was coined more like a joke!

In an Preowned Leather sandals Paul amp; Joe hOCmnWAZz
published in Fast Company Chestnut said, “We weren’t banking on MailChimp, so we could take risks and be funny, and very non-corporate.”

Sharing Freddie paraphernalia (read T-shirts, knit caps, toys et al.) with their community looks like a great strategy for MailChimp, however, this strategy has not been a mere marketing gimmick for MailChimp. It is a way of testing, surprising and delighting their Logoembroidered Leathertrimmed Canvas Espadrilles White Saint Laurent WqPPd
.

Mark DiCristina , the Marketing Director quoted in an article “We think of them as gifts. There’s no way to directly measure the impact of giving away shirts and hats, and that’s OK with us. Thinking about them as gifts changes our perspective, too.

If we considered them primarily marketing expenses, we’d want to figure out how to minimize cost and maximize the brand effect—essentially, we’d be thinking about ourselves. As gifts, we think first about the recipients and about how they’ll feel when they receive the gifts. So we go over the top to make people feel special.”

Freddie wall of fame

MailChimp has definitely garnered an enormous patronage due to the word-of-mouth created by their startup swag! Needless to say, it continues to bring a truckload of loyal users on their table.

While many brands have adopted a similar tone with its users now, MailChimp has been doing this for the last 15 yrs!

Any startup that has its focus on growth CANNOT do without crunching valuable data. It is a metric that can open a treasure trove of opportunities for improving your product and delivering the best to your users.

MailChimp used data to analyze trends, launch unique features as well as in improving its team’s productivity. After launching their freemium version, MailChimp had to battle quite a few roadblocks, a significant one being the volley of abusive and spammy users.

By using metadata MailChimp developed an artificial intelligence model called Omnivore , an abuse prevention initiative. They’ve also got an Mils Black Mens calf leather loafer in black Bally 3tyf6Ph
in place to deal with any issues and educate its users.

Honesty is ingrained in the DNA of focused and growth-centric startups. That’s simply because they value their end users a lot. Buffer is well-known in the startup arena, for the level of transparency it shares with its user. Very recently Ryan Hoover also went public in response to a Medium post Womens Balkan Ankle Strap Sandals Les Tropeziennes OlJe3
.

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