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Finding Founders

Finding Founders

Author: Finding Founders

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A podcast about vulnerability and entrepreneurship — learn from the life stories of founders 🚀, activists ✊, and even drug lords 💊 Our aim is to inspire you and let's face it... you aren't inspired when you hear about success. Real inspiration comes from hearing someone's lowest moment, and rising with their success. Using music, sfx, and voiceover, we interview the founders of companies, movements, and even drug cartels to reveal vulnerability so you can learn from victory. I’m your host, Samuel Donner, and together with my team we aim to inspire and educate a global community of leaders.

307 Episodes
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Mari Takahashi’s first video for SMOSH, a YouTube sketch comedy channel, wasn’t immediately met with praise. And this gig was far on the side – she had a legitimate career as a professional ballet dancer. Youtube stardom wasn’t even a consideration… but eventually she’d have to make a choice. Today Mari has a large digital media presence, has won 2 Streamy Awards, produced shows like Smosh Pit Weekly, Maricraft, and Operation: Open World, and amassed over 2 billion collective views. Today, she’s focusing on her own YouTube channel and is the co-owner of SpacestationGaming. Let’s find out how she got here! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
It’s not every day Barbara Corcoran slides into your dms, but for Caleb Simpson this was suddenly the new normal. Now, if this name is sounding familiar at all, it’s because you’ve probably met Caleb before….on your For You page. Known for his casual house tours and the signature question “how much do you pay for rent,” Caleb has amassed over 7.1 million followers on TikTok and 2 million YouTube subscribers in the past few years. Traveling from house to house in New York to LA, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, he isn’t afraid to test out a stranger’s bed or play with your pets, or listen to a soundcloud music sample. But while these videos seemed to go viral in an instant, Caleb’s journey to filmmaking was anything but easy. From finding odd jobs on craigslist to sleeping behind a curtain in someone’s living room, Caleb had to build his skillset from the ground up while learning how to survive in NYC. And before tik tok was even invented, before Caleb first picked up a camera, his journey started in the unlikeliest of places: being homeschooled, amongst his eight other siblings.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan Williamson is a dedicated artist and community leader who’s transformed Southern California's art scene over three decades. As the executive director of the 18th Street Arts Center, she has grown the organization into the region's largest artist residency center, supporting nearly 700 artists. She’s co-founded environmental art initiatives and led 18th Street through reinvention with new programs and significant grants. Active in her community, Jan serves on Santa Monica's Art Commission and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism board, demonstrating art's power to transform and unite communities. Let’s see what inspired her creative endeavors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This project, Shit Art Club, started from creative expression in high school. But from a high school rebellious art project, it grew into a thriving artistic community in Downtown Los Angeles. Dedicated to genuine creative expression, Shit Art Club rejects conventional form and function, embracing authenticity and anarchy. The collective invites everyone to join their creative crusade, fostering a space where beauty and discord coexist harmoniously. Their journey from a paint-soaked backyard to a vibrant hub in Skid Row exemplifies their commitment to real, unpretentious art that challenges norms and celebrates the true essence of creativity. But let’s start before all that, back at the beginning. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Despite thinking his career was shattered by his injury, Eric Clem continued to follow his passion for woodworking. In 2010, Eric was able to mix his love for archery and woodworking through Bowyer Brooklyn, where he sold handcrafted bows and arrows to the people of New York. He would eventually move to Los Angeles where he realized his dream of sharing his craft with others, as he opened the doors to LA Woodshop, a haven for aspiring artisans seeking to carve their own path in the world of woodworking. Let’s go back to where it all started in Houston. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Midtown Lunch was a hit but we’ll come back to that later… because before Zach Brooks was looking for hidden gems in food he was looking for gems in music. Zach’s career would go from radio to food blogging, to eventually becoming the general manager at Smorgasburg where he operates the largest open-air food market in LA county. But let’s find where this love of food started and go back to his childhood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
So if you don’t know Berenice Abbott was a famous photographer known for capturing New York's transformation from low-rise to skyscraper-filled in the 1930s. Julia’s apprenticeship with this renowned photographer was just the beginning. Despite facing financial constraints, Julia's determination propelled her forward as she traversed the landscapes of the United States, capturing the essence of societal shifts and cultural nuances through her lens. Settling in Los Angeles, her passion for street photography flourished, leading her to establish the Julia Dean Photography Workshops, later evolving into the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Now she organizes an outdoor exhibit called Projecting L.A. that showcases stories about Los Angeles and its people. Let’s dive into how she got to where she is today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Amidst Covid lockdown disruptions, Adam Pisk navigated the challenge of keeping his Manila-based business running. Recognizing opportunities, he swiftly spearheaded the development of an online store for a major Supermarket, followed by a similar success with one of Australia's leading fashion retailers. With years of Global Sales experience at other companies, Adam co-founded Bruntwork, propelling it into a $5 million MRR business within just three years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
From raising $60,000 to support social justice to founding the Venice Run Club, a run club with 1000+ runners, to the Abbot Kinney One Race, Justin Shields has always been successful in creating inclusive environments that connect people to the community. Justin continues to make his mark on Venice, one stride at a time, but let’s go back to where this race starts in Berkeley California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The realization that religion could prevent its followers from getting life saving medical attention, was something that shocked Evan. And this was yet another reason that he felt drawn to “atheism,” a word that he first discovered in a dictionary years before. Later, Evan would attend California Lutheran College which inspired him to create a Secular Student Alliance. Through this, he was able to create a community for students like himself who did not feel connected to religion. Springboarding out of college, he eventually settled in Los Angeles where he continued creating community for Atheists through his role as the executive director of Atheists United. But let’s go way back to life before all of this. A life that started in a conservative catholic school. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jiabao’s bioengineered clitoris is just the tip of what she’s capable of as an artist, designer, inventor, and professor. From a stint at Harvard to China’s 30 under 30 to TED talks on how technology mediates how we perceive reality, Jiabao’s multi-disciplinary approach to life flows into her art. She’s able to pull from her experience at Apple, founding experience of three companies, and numerous art exhibitions to bring innovative and unusual ideas to life. However, Jiabao Li was not always an artist. She studied to be an engineer, so let’s go back to the beginning to her early life in Shenyang China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Redfin had become a multi-billion dollar company, and that’s not all Dave Selinger has been involved in. He has stories of hacking into the early internet, working with Jeff Bezos, being unimpressed with a young Mark Zuckerberg, and eventually creating his own security company, Deep Sentinel. But let’s take it all back to the beginning to growing up in Oregon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Niyc spent many years perfecting her businesses, driven by a dual pursuit of personal fulfillment and financial success. Enduring personal trauma and health challenges, Niyc never let hardship stop her for too long, as she continuously worked towards her ultimate goal. Today, she is a motivational speaker and coach with a focus on positive psychology. With 7000+ current students and an impact on millions of people, let’s dive into how this all started.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dylan has navigated through many unexpected twists and turns, transitioning from professional Super Smash Bros commentator to martial artist, and now, a pioneering figure in the realm of biohacking. Through the follistatin gene therapy, Dylan not only experienced a physical transformation but also a renewed sense of vitality. As he continues to fine-tune his body, Dylan’s journey serves as an example for athletes seeking a safer, more sustainable path to peak performance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the exploration of boundary-pushing biohacking, Jacob immerses himself in unconventional self-care. From his ventures with everyday supplements like fish oil to unusual psychedelics like toad venom, Jacob is driven by curiosity and experimentation. Today we go through his treasure trove of substances used for self-optimization, mood balancing, and just personal fun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ryan’s home is a space dedicated to unlocking the secrets of longevity. From altitude generators to plunging into ice-cold waters to using a Petco heating lamp, every endeavor is a step toward extending human potential. Calculated and precise, Ryan is not afraid to balance risk with reward. With biohacking at the center of his day-to-day, we delve into his routines and his focus on longevity.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Alec is a hacker. But he’s not just hacking computers, he also hacks the human body. From his early explorations into biohacking and biology, Alec became one of the founders of the Biohack ATX club and eventually took part in the Minicircle gene therapy. With a journey marked by curiosity and experimentation, we discuss what brought Alec into the biohacking world and tour Kuya, a sanctuary where science meets the soul. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dr. Dan’s office is a hub of innovation that is redefining healing. He employs an array of tools that help in navigating the realms of consciousness and longevity. Through it all, he advocates for a balanced approach to health, emphasizing the integration of technology with human biology for a future where lifespan extends far beyond conventional limits. Let’s explore the types of therapies Dr. Dan offers and dive into his personal embrace of Minicircle’s follistatin gene therapy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sometimes all it takes is one viral video to change your life. Following the pandemic, Karho Leung was able to help his fellow businesses in Chinatown and make that area lively again by simply throwing a barbecue. Since Karho had moved to New York at a young age, he became acclimated to the city’s fast-paced hustle and learned to always keep trying. Through his passion for connecting with the community and creating experiences, Karho was inspired to open 12 Pell, a barbershop-shoe shop fusion. From humble beginnings to the helm of a multimedia empire generating millions of views, his journey illustrates the boundless possibilities of success. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
San Francisco grapples with a housing crisis that challenges families to navigate perplexing American housing protocols in a market whose prices are only getting higher. We’re back with Leonardo Shapiro as he gives his perspective on what it’s like to find housing in the Bay Area as an immigrant. As we walk through Leonardo’s neighborhood, we discuss immigrating to the U.S. and the potential pathways for affordable housing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (18)

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Jan 15th
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Nov 17th
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ID26471623

Music

Sep 7th
Reply

John G. Maxwell

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Aug 8th
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Jordan Schuman

Super interesting podcast!

Mar 25th
Reply

Natalie Young

this! interesting, new, real interactions.

Mar 25th
Reply

Stacey Book

Nice!

Mar 25th
Reply

Jen Bergren

Love hearing founder stories, from all different industries and backgrounds

Mar 24th
Reply

Hafsah Ansar

Love how we get to hear the career and life trajectory of so many different people. Very inspiring!

Mar 24th
Reply

Gnilaeh Stowers

$$$

Mar 24th
Reply

Nevaeh Stowers

I liked episode #105 10/10

Mar 24th
Reply

nameeta shinghwani

Very inspiring podcast

Mar 24th
Reply

Felicia Enuha

🔥🔥🔥

Mar 23rd
Reply

Samuel Donner

Weve launched a new and improved newsletter! It will offer actionable advice from the lives of our founders alongside other exclusive content! Click here to subscribe —> https://bit.ly/3DhjKq5 Excited to see ya there 🙌🏻

Oct 4th
Reply

Samuel Donner

Hello hello! We just released a mini episode about how a life extension tech could only be in the hands of billionaires and what steps we might take to stop that future and make sure everyone has access. It kind of reminds me of that movie In Time with Justin Timberlake. Solid movie. Definitely check it out. Anyways the founder of oval.bio thinks that a decentralized business can ensure life extension technology isn’t just for the super rich. Do you think that’s enough to democratize health?

Apr 5th
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Samuel Donner

Hey! 👋 It’s Sam the host of Finding Founders! Welcome to all the new people coming in and super excited to have you. We have some exciting episodes coming up with our drug dealer series over the next few weeks and I can’t wait to hear what you think of them! If you have any questions or just like the podcast leave a comment! I’ll reply to every one and answer all your questions!

Mar 30th
Reply

Tim Connors

Kong’s episode was so amazing😍 thanks sam for making this stuff, i feel hella inspired 💪🏻

May 15th
Reply