10 questions for Comcast Ventures' Amy BanseSeptember 18, 2013: 11:50 AM ET
Comcast Ventures' managing director Amy Banse shares her best advice for young entrepreneurs.
By Chanelle Bessette
FORTUNE -- Fortune's annual Brainstorm Tech conference brings together the best and brightest minds in tech innovation. Fortune periodically turns the spotlight on a different conference attendee to offer their personal insight into business, tech, and entrepreneurship.
Amy Banse runs Comcast Ventures, the internal early-stage investment arm of the Philadelphia-based media cable giant. She scouts new investment opportunities from her base in San Francisco, and one of her recent ventures includes Houzz, an interior design startup. We asked her to answer 10 questions about life outside of work, the best advice she ever received, and industry tips for young entrepreneurs. Read on for a good example of managing up as well as Banse's surprisingly old-school card-playing hobby.
1. What is the best advice you ever received?
Early in my career at Comcast (CMCSA), I lost a deal. Crushed, I explained what happened to [CEO of Comcast] Brian [Roberts]. He shrugged, smiled and said, "Life is long. The deal will come back around." [Which it eventually did.] It's true, much in life comes back around and patience can be as strategic as speed.
2. What was the last book you read?
The Legacy by David Suzuki. Suzuki outlines how our actions today will affect our children's world tomorrow -- and suggests that the results could be disastrous.
3. What would you say to a group of young people looking to enter the tough job market?
Finding a growing company in a dynamic industry with a small but excellent management team and getting in any way you can.
4. What was your biggest missed opportunity?
I'm blessed with few regrets, but as a newcomer to SF, I'm fascinated by the Bay Area energy and wonder what it would have been like living and working here for the past 20 years.
5. What is one startup you would have wanted to found?
Facebook (FB), YouTube, Houzz, Pinterest, any large social network that harnesses the power of community.
6. What was the most important thing you learned in school?
Profit = revenue minus expenses.
7. What do you do for fun?
Bike the Marin Headlands and play bridge with friends.
8. What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?
Ralph and Brian Roberts -- both are good people who have an uncanny ability to build smart, focused teams. I've sat across the table from many companies, and few have teams that work together as well as ours. That's the culture Ralph and Brian built.
9. What other companies do you admire? Why?
Amazon, Apple, Starbucks -- because they never stop thinking about consumption from a consumer's perspective.
10. What technology sector excites you most?
Digital video and OTT [Over-The-Top content: a broadband internet delivery system for video and audio] television. New distribution platforms drive new forms of content. Just as broadcast networks followed the invention of TV and cable led to an entire ecosystem of cable networks, new forms of news and entertainment are exploding online every day.
11. What is one characteristic that every leader should possess?
The ability to recognize a good idea.