This summer, the new WHU Most Awesome Founder Podcast was launched, which focuses primarily on the stories of WHU founders. We took the opportunity to talk to the host of the podcast, Gerrit McGowan, and the responsible chair holder, Professor Dr. Christoph Hienerth, about the background of the format.
From an early age, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management made itself a name in the field of entrepreneurship. With well-known founders such as Oliver Samwer (Rocket Internet), Robert Gentz (Zalando) and Dominik Richter (HelloFresh), there is a long list of successful companies founded by WHU alumni. In 2017, the Business Insider moreover published a study according to which WHU, with a total of five unicorns, is the German business school that has produced the highest number of billion-dollar companies. With this as a background, it would be crucial to make these success stories public to create a learning resource which is accessible to everyone, explains Hienerth, who is also in charge of the Master in Entrepreneurship at WHU. "The majority of German unicorns are now from WHU," he adds proudly.
Not yet a unicorn, with more than 1000 employees yet a very successful company, WHU alumnus Dr. Marco Vietor has founded Audibene. In the third episode of the podcast series, he shares with McGowan his learnings about founding and building a successful company. With Audibene, with which he has been selling hearing aids since 2011, he is now active in nine countries across the world. One of the things he learned along the way and now shared with the podcast audience is that "structure makes companies slow." Instead, companies should focus on the drivers of innovation and constantly change, adapt and incorporate feedback. For this reason, one piece of advice he shared in the conversation with McGowan to (future) founders is not to think too much about potential risks, because "the biggest risk is not to take risks," Vietor says.
It is this kind of personal insight that makes the WHU Most Awesome Founder Podcast so successful. According to Hienerth, podcasts are one of the best media today for publishing content, one reason being that you can listen to them anywhere, whether in the gym or on the way to work. As McGowan further describes, their goal herewith is not to chase market share in an already highly competitive podcast market: "Our competitive advantage is the large and close network of founders who all want to give something back to the student body and to whom we therefore offer a platform." That is also why the question would no longer be on who should be interviewed, but rather in which order the interviews take place, because there are enough interested founders who offer to share their stories.
But what will the podcast look like in five years' time? McGowan and Hienerth have a very clear vision here: They want to cover as many subject areas and tell as many founding stories as possible in order to create a platform for students, entrepreneurs, and people interested in founding a company that is both, educational and inspiring.