Glen Wakeman, CEO, and Founder of LaunchPad Holdings — an SAAS company (Software As A Service) — makes for an intriguing read, as evidenced by a Q&A on Idea Mensch. Glen’s 20-plus years in the financial services industry, including stints as CEO of a public company, executive mentor, and investor, gave him the background and the passion for helping individuals and startups to reach their potential. The result of that passion is LaunchPad Holdings.
LaunchPad Holdings focuses on helping startups maximize their potential in five key areas: Leadership, Human Capital, Risk Management, and Governance.
One of Glen’s primary goals is to connect money to ideas, but the high failure rate of startups concerned him. Based on his years of executive mentoring, it wasn’t too hard for Glen to spot the problem — a lack of structure around a good core idea. Glen drily notes that “An idea isn’t a plan.”
Sometimes entrepreneurs have a poor business idea. Glen has, over the years, come up with a simple technique to separate the wheat from the chaff. He asks the entrepreneur to explain his idea out loud. If it doesn’t sound dumb after doing this, it might be a good idea.
Glen sees great potential in applying machine learning to business problems. As a businessman and mentor who has one foot in the classics and one foot in the future, Glen eagerly shares tech advice and the wisdom of the past. Among the apps he uses daily are Doodle (a cloud-based calendaring and schedule coordination dashboard) and Fiverr, a provider of freelance services on demand. The book he would recommend most? The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Glen believes the most critical practice one should engage in business and life is to question one’s value proposition. Is it simple, is it clear, is it worthy, and is it fair to the seller and the buyer.
When asked about the best use he’s made recently of $100, Glen replied, “A Berlitz Spanish Course,” because it helped him catch the eye of his beautiful Argentinian wife.
Glen holds a BA in Economics and Finance from the University of Scranton and an MBA from the University of Chicago.