Six Powerful Lessons from Jon Brumley

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On a gorgeous afternoon in Austin, Texas situated in a private dining room inside the AT&T Conference Center at The University of Texas, students and staff of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs got to sit down with Jon Brumley himself for an engaging Q&A.  Here are six powerful lessons from Jon Brumley to current entrepreneurship students everywhere, especially at the University of Texas at Austin.

  1. Be success oriented, but not by knocking other people over – Brumley believes culture is incredibly important for a company to be successful. Most importantly, everyone at the company needs to know that “success is important” and that success is what we want but we won’t knock others over to get it.  We’ll get it ethically or not at all.
  1. Your work, no matter what level, is Important; every job matters – All too often people get into a trap believing that what they do doesn’t really matter or won’t affect any outcomes. This trap is something Mr. Brumley believes should be avoided.  Everyone in the company needs to know and believe that every job matters, even if it’s seemingly small and unimportant.
  1. Lose your prejudice and learn to listen – Growing up in the 1950s – 60s, Mr. Brumley saw some of the worst types of prejudice in practice. The key, he believes, to overcoming prejudice is to listen and be honest.  Listening today and being open and honest will lead to friendship in the future.
  1. Don’t try to win it all in your first go – get investors an early return – Entrepreneurs looking for that big win should look for it after they’ve achieved some small wins for their investors, Mr. Brumley believes. Building your credibility and opportunity for future deals is more important than maximizing that first big exit or really any exit.
  2. Get out of your comfort zone and learn to be okay with rejection; try sales – Mr. Brumley worked during college selling men’s clothing at retail on commission. Sales, he says, can teach you how to “put yourself out there” and “learn to be okay with rejection”.  These critical personal skills and values will help any entrepreneur succeed.
  1. Ask about their children – Mr. Brumley believes learning to develop relationships is one of the keys to successful sales. Building on Dale Carnegie’s concept of How to Win Friends, it is important to remember details and ask about family.  Asking about children, in particular, can go a long way towards building lasting and successful relationships.

Thank you to Jon Brumley for his advice and encouragement and especially for his support of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs.