Bulldog 100 interview: Marc Gorlin

Bulldog 100 interview: Marc Gorlin

January 25, 2019
Dayne Youngdayne@uga.edu

We are honoring our Grady College alumni included in the 2019 Bulldog 100.

Bulldog 100 celebrates the 100 fastest growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

We interviewed honorees about their experience, advice and expertise for the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) is co-founder of Kabbage. He is also the founder and CEO of Roadie.

How did your experience at Grady College help prepare you for post-college work?

MG: Grady taught me how to tell a story and how to make people care. I really think Grady grads are the best at connecting with an audience, bringing an idea to light and, most importantly, making people care. If you’re raising money for things, starting a business, hiring employees or bringing in customers, you have to make sure people care. You have to connect with them on a personal level. From the very beginning at Kabbage, storytelling made a difference. It’s how we got people engaged — from our engineers to our partners to our investors. And it was from that beginning that we got enough folks caring about the vision and mission of the company that it was able to become what it is today.

What does it take to be a viable entrepreneur in today’s business climate?

MG: It all revolves around people, both internal and external. Inside a company, you have got to find dragon slayers. You have to find those people who believe they can achieve something impossible, especially if you’re trying to start something new. These kind of people are doers and “figure-it-out’ers.”Scrappiness is in their DNA. These are the kind of people you need inside your company, but you need them on the outside, too. , Whether you’re looking at a prospective customer or partner or investor, you have to find people who care and people who have juice within their organization to get things done.. Find people who care, find people with juice and find small projects you can work on together.

How did you land your first job after Grady and how would you advise current seniors soon searching for jobs?

MG: Everybody has a unique voice and path. As you’re
searching for jobs, ask yourself questions like: what are you passionate about,
what do you want to do and what will it take to get you there. There is nothing
worse than doing something you hate. Figure out what you like to do and write
it down. Create your own filter of what is important to you. When opportunities
come in, you run them through that filter.

For me, that meant figuring out how to be an entrepreneur from the very beginning. My dad was entrepreneur, so of course he told me early on: “Don’t get a job. Find a deal.” For me, that meant starting my own company right out of college instead of going to work at somebody else’s.

What is the most important skill an entrepreneur must master?

MG: You’ve got to realize that perfect is the enemy of done. You have to be agile. Not only are things not going to be perfect, but sometimes they’re going to be just plain messy.But sometimes you need to get that first version  done, just so you can start working on the second version and continue making it better.. Move quickly and make the best decision you can based on information you have at the time. Then, move on. It’s easier to make a wrong decision and correct course quickly rather than getting stuck in the mud trying to be perfect. The way you find the right answer is to try things and make mistakes. Then, learn and formulate the next step.

Bulldog 100 honorees will be celebrated with a ceremony in Atlanta on Jan. 27.

See our other Bulldog 100 profiles with Matthew Allen and Harold Hayes Jr.