(MoneyWatch) Jeff Fluhr has long had a ringside seat to innovation. In 2000 the entrepreneur co-founded StubHub.com, the pioneering online service that helped transform how people buy event tickets. He sold the venture to eBay (eBay) in 2007 for $310 million, and now the former private equity executive is on to his next venture: Spreecast.com. The social video platform wants to make online communication more lifelike, describing its mission as seeking to "connect people through conversation."
Fluhr spoke with The Startup about his journey in the world of high-tech and offered advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Rebecca Jarvis: What were you doing before you started your company?
Jeff Fluhr: I was taking some time off between jobs and I was angel investing. My last job was CEO of StubHub, which I sold to eBay in 2007. During the seven years when I was CEO of StubHub, I was working long hours and was ready for a break. So I spent about a year traveling with my wife and first child. Then I started angel investing and advising other entrepreneurs. I became very interested in how live video over the Internet was becoming a key component in communications, media and entertainment. And I saw how social media was becoming an increasingly important part of our culture and our lives. These two trends pointed to an opportunity to bring face-to-face live video to social media. And that's exactly what we're doing at Spreecast -- connecting people around real face-to-face conversations.
RJ: How long did it take to turn your idea into a business?
JF: I started working with a user interface designer and product manager in late 2010, and by January 2011 I teamed up with my three co-founders to start writing code. By November 2011, we released the public "beta." So it was about one year of planning and development before we launched the site publicly. We still have a long way to go to achieve our goals. We're still not quite a full-fledged business since we have not yet started generating revenue.
RJ: What's your No. 1 piece of advice to entrepreneurs?
JF: People are going to tell you that your idea will not work. While it's important to listen to others and think about their advice, ultimately you have to go with your own gut and make your own decisions. Most successful entrepreneurs were told all the reasons why their company would not succeed. Starting a company is risky and has a high likelihood of failure. But if you're passionate and believe in what you are doing, you should go full steam ahead and not listen to the naysayers. You cannot be paranoid of failure or you will never get started.
RJ: If you could ask one person for advice, who would it be and what would you ask?
JF: I would ask Harry Truman for his advice about how to make major decisions. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. This was obviously a huge decision with some proponents and some opponents. I am very interested in how leaders make major decisions when faced with many opposing opinions. I think I could learn a lot to hear about the process he went through to make that decision.
RJ: Are you hiring? How do you get hired by a startup?
JF: Yes, we are hiring! Right now there is a major shortage of technical people in this country. So if you want to work at a startup, one sure way to get a job is to get a computer science degree from a well-respected institution. Those kids are in high demand and are getting jobs without any problem. If you are already out of school and did not major in computer science, then you can always take a class in programming and start learning now. I've seen some examples of people who have done this very successfully. We're looking for software engineers, so please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com if you're interested.