The Sydcast is all about intimate and informative conversations with fascinating people you may not know. Until now. Because everyone has a story.
Listen in as Syd talks to entrepreneurs, community leaders, professional athletes, politicians, academics, authors, musicians, and many more about who they are and how they got there.
Sydney Finkelstein is an award winning professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and a best-selling author of Superbosses and 25 other books. He’s written for the Harvard Business Review, the BBC, Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and more academic journals than you’d care to know about. He spends his time asking questions, and sometimes, even answering them.
From military logistics to mega-concerts to self-driving cars, Blair LaCorte has had a seat at the head of the table. How does one person move so ably from industry to industry, and what do you learn along the way? In this episode of The Sydcast we skip the platitudes and get right to what leadership looks like in the trenches, what skills make the difference, and why curiosity is the secret sauce of business success.
Syd Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Finkelstein has published 25 books and 90 articles, including the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, which LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman calls the “leadership guide for the Networked Age.” He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a consultant and speaker to leading companies around the world, and a top 25 on the Global Thinkers 50 list of top management gurus. Professor Finkelstein’s research and consulting work often relies on in-depth and personal interviews with hundreds of people, an experience that led him to create and host his own podcast, The Sydcast, to uncover and share the stories of all sorts of fascinating people in business, sports, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday life.
Blair LaCorte is an accomplished leader and strategist with a long history of leveraging his change management skills to drive operational alignment and company growth. Currently, Blair is president of AEye, an artificial perception pioneer and the creators of iDAR™, a perception system that acts as the eyes and visual cortex of autonomous vehicles. Prior to AEye, he served as the global president of PRG, the world’s largest live event technology and services company. He was also CEO of XOJET, one of the fastest-growing aviation companies in history and the largest private charter company in North America. He also served as a managing director and operating partner at TPG, a premier private equity firm with over $91B in global investments. LaCorte has held numerous executive and general management positions in private and public technology and investment companies throughout his career including, VerticalNet, ICGE, Savi Technologies, Autodesk, and Sun Microsystems. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine and holds an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, where he later served as an executive fellow at the Center for Digital Strategies. He has garnered numerous patents across several domains, served on the Senate’s High Tech Advisory Board, and has been named an “Innovator of the Year” by NASA. LaCorte is an investor and astronaut-in-training with Virgin Galactic, as well as an investor in Moon Express, designer of the next generation of robotic spacecraft systems.
Insights from this episode:
- Benefits of growing up with parents that were entrepreneurs including not wanting to be an entrepreneur.
- The three waves that have changed the way technology and data are manipulated; the internet, smartphones, and logistics and the implications of China driving the logistics wave.
- Difficulties companies face in implementing self-driving assets beyond perfecting the autonomous technology and when we can really expect to buy a self-driving car.
- Reasons why Blair has had success through many career changes and why curiosity is the best skill to cultivate.
- Details on the astronaut training program, the technology, and what it’s like to fulfill a childhood dream.
Quotes from the show:
- “The challenge is to convince humans that technology is to be trusted more than humans.” – Blair LaCorte
- “It’s really about the psychology of humans, at some point, people are going to say … it’s very beneficial for us.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “I do believe that live entertainment will be back. I think we need it. We communicate verbal, non-verbal but we also need that proximity and the energy transfer that proximity gives.” – Blair LaCorte
- On growing up with entrepreneur parents: “I learned to deal with entrepreneurs and, at a very young age, became someone who tried to put processes in place to get rid of the volatility.” – Blair LaCorte
- “It turns out that when you go to war the first thing they need on the tip of the spear is logistics.” – Blair LaCorte
- “One of the things that makes you valuable for each place you go is you’ve got a portfolio of experiences that are very diverse.” – Syd Finkelstein
- On his career success: “I like to say I was forged in the world of ambiguity and the world of crisis.” – Blair LaCorte
- “Gaining trust is the key that I’ve found in my success and the best way to get trust is to find truth and to speak truth.” – Blair LaCorte
- “One of the greatest things to help people learn is diversity and variety of experiences because then you start to see patterns.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “I think part of the challenge in capitalism is we’re always driven towards growth even when we should hunker down.” – Blair LaCorte
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
LinkedIn: Sydney Finkelstein
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LinkedIn: Blair LaCorte
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry (www.podcastlaundry.com)