Guest Blog: TEDx Talk Puts the Pieces Together

April 10, 2014


Lauren Hertzler, of the Philadelphia Business Journal, recently spoke to GIC Board Member Richard Vague, following his speech at TEDxPhiladelphia. The following excerpt has been reposted with permission of the author. The complete interview is available at


TEDxPhiladelphia, an independently organized TED event, hit the city last Friday with 21 influential speakers. Richard Vague, a managing partner of Gabriel Investments, chairman of the Governor’s Woods Foundation and managing director of the Miletos Group, talked up all Philadelphia’s startup opportunities. Vague had some good advice for innovative minds. After his TED talk he gave me a call. I was lucky to pick his brain:

What was the main point you wanted people to take out of your first TEDxPhiladelphia talk?
I have the privilege of being involved in several different areas of Philadelphia. I’m deeply involved at Penn Medicine, and I’m very involved in the startup community. While people may know of the exciting things going on in their area of interest, they might not know all the exciting things going on in other areas. When you put them together, that’s when you have a true sense of what Philadelphia has. That’s what I was really trying to accomplish.

What advice would you give people who are thinking about starting a company?
You need to be relentless. It’s harder than you’d think. I think most folks really underestimate what’s involved when running a business. It takes a long time. Hiring people and keeping those people is much more involved, especially as a startup. It’s also tough to get customers and grow rapidly. Every single thing you do in a new business is enormously challenging. And you must be prepared to come back again and again and again.

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