Steven Berlin is a finder and founder of innovative startups and the founder and CEO of uskape as well as co-founder and popcorn colonel at cornandco. He is a repeat entrepreneur with a passion for new ideas and big challenges, who is currently dedicated to changing the way we work by bringing context and clarity to our personal and professional lives. Follow him @uskape.
Who is your hero?
Jerry Garcia. Both his music and his spirit have inspired so many (myself included) on a deeply personal level. The love and adoration that he still receives is a testament to how special he was as the leader of his band.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
You have two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak. While I don’t always adhere to this practice, I do try to focus on listening and learning. Failure to do so means wasted time and missed opportunities.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Assuming that you know best and not letting go is a devastating mistake and a recipe for disaster in any venture. Success requires more than an army of one. The team matters. What’s the point of dreaming big if there’s nobody to share the journey with?
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I drink coffee, read the New York Post and have breakfast with my three boys. My morning routine helps me clear my head, get energized and prepare for the day. Once the day begins, so does the chaos.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Believe in Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Never underestimate how long it will take and how much it will cost. Running out of gas along the way can kill the hard work you’ve put in for all those years.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
I recommend that all entrepreneurs follow Rodney Dangerfield’s advice from Back to School: “It’s a jungle out there. You gotta look out for number one. But don’t step in number two.”
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
There are many ways to measure success. First and foremost, success can be breaking Newton’s first law: The law of inertia. That’s a huge measure for me. Taking an idea and transforming it into a business — breaking that inertia of doing nothing– is a real victory. But winning that one battle does not win the war.
True success is when users embrace your approach and are willing to change their behavior. For Uskape, that means a day when email is no longer the dominant place and means for getting work done. It’s a day when users are empowered by the connected workspace rather than frustrated by juggling multiple tools for even the most basic tasks.