The People-Data Equation That’s Saving Today’s Startups, With Nikki Blacksmith

Filed in Podcasts, Previous Episodes on June 11, 2024

What entrepreneur doesn’t dream of hitting it big with the next Big Idea? After all, that’s the premise of hit TV series like ABC’s Shark Tank and famous startup accelerators like Y Combinator. But are shiny new ideas enough? Not by a long shot.

A stunning 65% of VC-backed startups fail because they obsess over ideas—instead of their people. Yet it’s their people who generate ideas and build products. Their people close sales, make big decisions, and keep the business humming. And when they’re not managed well, it’s these people who will quickly become the biggest problem.

“To build a successful startup or invest in one, analyzing human capital—in every way possible—must be priority number one,” says scientist-practitioner Dr. Nikki Blacksmith, co-author of the new book, Data-Driven Decision Making in Entrepreneurship: Tools for Maximizing Human Capital. “To compete in today’s market, hard data, not gut feelings or past experience, is your savior.”

Tune in to hear Nikki’s thoughts on:

  • The startup ecosystem has exploded in recent years, yet many ventures fail. What role do you believe human capital plays in increasing their success rate?
  • Your book emphasizes the importance of human capital data in entrepreneurship. Why is this often overlooked compared to other metrics?
  • Beyond your book, what are some key takeaways you want listeners to remember about the power of data and human capital in creating successful entrepreneurial ventures?
  • The startup ecosystem suffers from significant inequities in funding. How can data-driven human capital analysis contribute to fairer and more inclusive investment decisions?
  • How can data-driven insights on team dynamics and human capital compatibility inform the matching process between investors and founders?
  • Your book provides valuable insights, but how can entrepreneurs and investors practically implement these data-driven approaches in their decision-making process?
  • What tools or resources do you recommend for startups and investors to get started with leveraging human capital data effectively?
  • And much, much more!

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About This Guest: ()

DR. NIKKI BLACKSMITH is co-founder and CEO of Blackhawke Behavior Science and an adjunct faculty member at American University in Washington, D.C. She has nearly 15 years of experience as a scientist-practitioner, focusing on psychometrics, selection, decision-making, and entrepreneurial performance. She has published over 80 conference papers, book chapters, and journal articles, and her scientific research has been featured in top-tier academic publications, including American Psychologist, the Journal of Business and Psychology, Personality and Individual Differences, and the Journal of Behavioral Decision-Making, and media outlets including New York Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, and BBC. She’s the co-author of the new book: Data-Driven Decision Making in Entrepreneurship: Tools for Maximizing Human Capital (CRC Press; April 2, 2024). Learn more at Blackhawke Behavior Science – The Science Of Startup Success.