Today's Entrepreneur: David Carlick

Kristin Karaoglu · March 18, 2011 · Short URL:

No. 1 mistake: Trying too hard to fit into boxes they think investors will like


Vator’s community is the home to entrepreneurs who embrace their passion and follow their dreams.

Our newly-designed profiles allow members to express themselves by sharing their interests, lessons learned, as well as bits and pieces of their roller-coaster journey.

These profiles give entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase themselves and tell their story.

So if you are an entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, or even an aspiring entrepreneur, we'd like to hear from you.

Today’s entrepreneur is David Carlick, founder of Carlick Advertsing, DBM Group,, and DoubleClick. He has been in technology media for more than 30 years, and has been a venture investor in digital media companies since 1999. He is currently a Venture Partner at Rho Capital Partners.

According to his VEQ (Vator entrepreneur assessment test), David is good at marketing management, team motivation, and he is a thought leader.

I Am: An Investor

Name companies you've founded or co-founded:

Carlick Advertsing, DBM Group,, DoubleClick

Name companies you've invested in:

Ask Jeeves, Effective Measure, Intermix Media (MySpace), ReachLocal, Thoughtful Media, XGraph

List your favorite startups:

ReachLocal, Effective Measure, Thoughtful Media, XGraph, Brandscreen

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Except for rare cases (the iPad comes to mind) innovation isn't always welcome by the potential customers on whom the entrepreneur relies for oxygen.

If you really believe your innovation adds material value, then the rewarding part is when you manage to break through the customer's inertia and resistance, and show that your innovation really matters.

And, of course, the true reward is when that customer brings you your next customer.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

Trying too hard to fit into boxes they think investors will like.

Many startups would be better off trying to build a sustainable small business than making the rounds of VCs hoping to punch that ticket.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

One: you have to have a compelling, differentiating benefit. That's not three reasons, as all three make the one reason for existing. A 'benefit' is a win for the customer. 'Compelling' means it is attractive and the value is substantial. 'Differentiating' means it stands out from the crowd.

Two: Teams kill individuals in the market, so you have to be a team builder. Doing so means understanding, above all, talent, and right behind that, motivation.

Vision must be supported with execution. Execution is pointless without a vision.

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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