Robin Chase: Lessons from Starting Zipcar and Buzzcar

October 3, 2012

9:00 am

Robin Chase will be a featured speaker at DCWEEK, a week-long festival co-produced by Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs. Get your tickets here.

Robin Chase is the founder and CEO of Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car sharing service. She is cofounder and former CEO of Zipcar, an innovative car sharing service. She also started GoLoco.org, a venture combining online carpooling and social networking. She is currently a board member for the World Resources Institute, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Transportation Council, and a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Tech Cocktail: What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?

Robin Chase: Build the smallest viable product to get close to your customer as fast as possible and then learn fast.

Tech Cocktail: What is the best and worst thing about technology-focused entrepreneurship?

Chase: Best: One can iterate and improve things quickly. Worst: It’s easy to imagine that development is a one-shot process, that you build it and you are done, but no, opportunities to improve your product/service just go on and on.

Tech Cocktail: How important is collaboration and knowledge sharing for you?

Chase: Most good ideas are now found at the intersection of disciplines. And every good company relies on a team of skills and expertise. Impossible to do any of this without collaboration and sharing.  And if you are afraid of someone stealing your idea, don’t be. Execution is where the hard work lies. There are so many, many ideas out there.

Tech Cocktail: You have received numerous awards and accolades, but what would you say is your favorite personal achievement?

Chase: Having made a real and important difference in people’s lives by offering them convenient and affordable access to a car. I have a collection of stories people have told me where access to a Zipcar made an enormous impact in their lives (getting to see their baby being born, getting to hospitals for treatments, being there for family members in times of crisis, getting to distant job interviews, getting leisure time outside the city).

Tech Cocktail: While I’m sure your allegiances lie with Beantown, what do you think makes Washington, DC, unique as a city?

Chase: It is at the crossroads of so many different things and therefore a nice place for that collision of ideas that produces innovation: politics, city vs. suburban, diverse populations and neighborhoods.

Tech Cocktail: What part of DCWEEK are you most looking forward to?

Chase: Being inspired by the enthusiasm and numbers of people who are excited, have ideas, and are ready to act.

Guest author Bryce Rudow is a proud DC native and creative strategist at iStrategyLabs

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