The Startup Catalyst™ Podcast: 45-Days in Review

Reflecting back upon the approximately 1 and 1/2 months of the podcast, it’s been a wild ride!

With about 10 guests under our belts, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some thoughts and statistics of the past 6+ weeks.

We’ve been fortunate to welcome over 10 amazing people on to the show, with another 5 interviews completed and waiting to be released, and another handful waiting in the wings in our interview queue.

I decided it would be fun to include some of my personal favorite highlights from each episode. There are many good tidbits, and I could list multiple quotes and lessons, but I tried to prune what stood out to me the most and showcase a few of them here:

Episode 01 – Tarik Sultan: The local guru of financials sheds some light on how entrepreneurs can learn to build a solid financial model. Research and more research. Then Unit Economics: The back of the napkin math. Investors will evaluate your business and revenue model on your unit economics even while you’re pitching or talking to them. The name of the game is decrease your customer acquisition costs, and increase your customers lifetime value. Eventually, you’ll need to do the full fledge forecast, but keep it simple and straightforward in the beginning.

Episode 02 – Meli James: Great lesson in pricing for value and knowing your market. Meli’s wine app, Nirvino, was priced competitively to other apps. When they decided to test something – doubling the price of the app to appeal to a higher target demographic and see if people would still download – they quadrupled their downloads.

Episode 03 – Steve Haumschild: Steve had a self-awareness at a young age to pivot to the lifestyle entrepreneurial journey. A lot of people look at entrepreneurs as people that are pursuing a pile of money. He classifies himself as a lifestyle entrepreneur, for the peace of mind it brings. Life is way to short – it’s about finding ways to help immediate friends and live a more comfortable life in a place and way he wants to live. To pull a quick quote, “There’s a value and a currency to your life. So I add a life value on top of any value that I get off of a business.” Good on ya Steve. Much respect.

Episode 04 – Rechung Fujihira: Just do it. That’s how I’d sum up this great conversation with Rechung. He had an advisor, Darren Kimura, that at one point while they’re having a beer tells him straight up to stop talking and get to work. Rechung did, launched Box Jelly; had basically zero customers at the beginning but he hustled and hustled some more, eventually growing Hawaii’s first co-working space into the successful enterprise it is today.

Episode 05 – Susan Yamada: Susan’s one of those rare people who when you listen to them talk, they bring such an element of clarity that you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it that simply before. She’s got a phenomenal ability of self-awareness. That was one of the greatest takeaways I had from her stories. She knew very early on in her career what type of role excited her: she loves the early stage growth and challenge. When the company crosses over 20-employees, she doesn’t like it anymore. Minute 3 also has one of my favorite stories she told about getting fired from the company that she spent several years working for and which she led to profitability and relevance. This was one of my all-time favorite episodes. We could’ve talked for another 2 hours.

Episode 06 – Peter Rowan: So much good stuff in this episode, but if I were to sum up a key lesson I have from knowing and chatting with Peter it’s this: Do interesting things. It’s a simple life lesson I think that being an interesting and engaging person, pursuing your natural curiosity where it will take you (including learning, speaking, and doing business in Russian if your name is Peter Rowan). Listen to the full episode and you’ll be one of the few people who know what the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is.

Episode 07 – Sean Ho’okano-Briel: My biggest lesson from Sean is Gratitude. Sean is so thankful for his opportunities in Hawaii and the family or “ohana” he has developed here. He’s also a lifelong learner, which will suit him well in life. Make sure and catch Sean’s tips to better communication (minute 45): Teaser: 1. Structure and Alignment, 2. Accountability 3. Feedback.

Episode 08 – Chenoa Farnsworth: The Startup Paradise “brand is bigger than we think”. Chenoa sheds light on some of her travels and efforts globally to help put Hawaii on the startup map. The efforts by the whole community, she says, have contributed to a strong brand awareness and curiosity of what’s going on here in paradise.

Episode 09 – Mark Quezada: It was really cool to chat with Mark about his experience in telephony and especially Twilio. This episode launched the same week that Twilio’s stock launched on the NYSE. The bonus anecdote at the end of the episode, where he talks about working with Pierre Omidyar is priceless.

Episode 10 – Gabe Mott: A major takeaway from interviewing Gabe was the pursuit of passion. He lives and breathes his passion for color theory and it’s absolutely fascinating and inspiring. Want to know how Claude Monet’s art can trick the brain? Listen to the episode!

Clearly, we’ve had some rockstars join us, and we’re so humbled by the positive reactions in the community.




People all across the world are listening to the podcast: we’ve had listeners from 37 different countries!

The USA tops all countries by a very wide margin, with all the top cities being America-based.


Not surprisingly, Honolulu tops the list of cities tuning in. The interesting one is the booming metropolis of Piscataway, NJ (random!). We probably have Tarik’s NJ homies to thank for that.

Our biggest fan is this guy:

biggest fan

We love you @braddahboots!

Tarik’s episode leads the pack with 209 downloads at the time I’m writing this. Mark’s podcast has been the fastest to 100 downloads, however.

Mark’s episode drove the most traffic to the site, making it the 8th most popular page YTD, measured by pageviews, for (our site gets several thousand pageviews per month so not an insignificant traffic bump).


Most views are through iTunes podcast app, with a decent chunk through the browser. Overcast is the top non-iTunes podcast app people tune in with, and interestingly Producthunt is a decent referrer of listeners (we add each episode to the podcasting section of PH).

Our goal is to continue to help tell the stories of Hawaii’s startup entrepreneurs and investors. But beyond that, we see the future in many of the “rise of the rest” communities as being incredibly bright. The landscape is changing, and it’s easier then ever to start a company in an “off-the-beaten-path” locale.

Even Google’s Sergey Brin agrees. At the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit he stated that it’s easier to start a company outside of the Valley. He says it forces entrepreneurs to be scrappy, and it can also be expensive to build a startup from Silicon Valley. The same thing we tell local entrepreneurs.

Our philosophy is that capital follows talent. And we are stoked to showcase some of the talent we have in our home of Hawaii, as well as the many communities we engage with around the country and globe.

If you have a startup story to tell and would like to be considered for an interview, please email us! social at!

PS: Did you know there’s some pretty cool startups in Hawaii building podcast apps?! Check out:
Podcat – the for podcasts made by John Patrick-Whitacker
Remarks – Make footnotes on podcasts and have conversations around episodes with your friends made by Adam Smith and Andrew Verboncouer