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Richard Melmon is a pioneer in the technology industry. He launched the first spreadsheet, VisiCalc, he was in charge of the early advertising for Apple, and he launched the first digital watch at Intel.

Richard is the Co-founder of Electronic Arts, a company with a $30 billion market cap. He also co-founded Melmon Tawa & Partners, a high-tech advertising agency acquired by Livingston and Co. in 1989. Richard built and sold Objective Software to Asymetrix in 1993. He has co-founded and built many businesses ever since.

More recently, Richard co-founded Bullpen Capital in 2010 with Paul Martino and Duncan Davidson and has led several of its key investments, including Braze and Homelight. Richard is also is Managing Partner at NSV Wolf Capital.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Richard Melmon became part of the early advertising team for Apple
  • Richard talks about how he cut his teeth in entrepreneurship, met Bill Gates, and became involved in the first spreadsheet, VisiCalc.
  • Why Richard called Steve Jobs’ bluff to run VisiCalc out of business
  • What is Moore’s Law, and what has it got to do with Richard?
  • The beginning of Electronic Arts and why Richard left
  • Battle scars of founding and exiting companies
  • The hard truth about venture capital success and failure
  • Why Richard decided to partner with Paul Martino and Duncan Davidson — and what working with them is like
  • What Richard does at NSV Wolf Capital
  • Richard shares why he’s skeptical about AI

In this episode…

One common thread among successful entrepreneurs is that they have built companies that failed. Richard Melmon is no exception. He thought all that a company needed to succeed was good marketing, but that became his most significant career regret.

Fast forward many successful exits later, Richard shares some of his entrepreneurial battle scars that could set you straight on your way to building the next Apple. Why does Richard think everyone else is wrong about AI being the future? What is that one thing a company must get right to succeed?

Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz featuring Richard Melmon, Co-founder at Bullpen Capital and NSV Wolf Capital. They discuss Richard’s tech background, his running with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, co-founding Electronic Arts (EA), becoming a venture capitalist, the many scars along the way, and skepticism about AI. Stay tuned!

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. And today’s guest is a pioneer in the tech industry. And I’m going to formally introduce Richard Melmon in a second. You know, Richard, I always like to mention other episodes that people should check out and appropriate for you. Because Richard was one of the co founders of EA, Electronic Arts and I had the Founder of Atari Nolan Bushnell, and he talked about on the podcast turning down $50,000 for 33% of Apple, from Steve Jobs. And why is interesting story. Tom Kalinske was CEO of Sega, who was featured in the book console wars and he talked about Sega versus Nintendo some fascinating stories there. And I had Alvy Ray Smith, who is Co-founder of Pixar, and he had some interesting Steve Jobs stories as well. And I think Richard has some, too. Before I get to that this episode is brought to you by Rise25 and we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. We do that by helping you run your podcasts. You know, Richard, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at a way to give to my relationships, and I found no better way over the past decade, to have the people and the companies I admire their thought leadership and profile them and share what their knowledge and lessons are with the world. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should have questions go to you can email [email protected] Richard Melmon I mean just a laundry list, he did the early advertising for Apple, he launched the first spreadsheet, Visicalc. At Intel he launched the first digital watch he co-founded Electronic Arts with Trip Hawkins in addition to being the co-founder of Electronic Arts, which is a 30 billion market cap, he co-founded Melmon, Tawa and Partners a high tech advertising agency which was acquired by Livingston and company 1989 and Objective Software which was acquired by Asymmetrix in 1993. He co-founded Bullpen Cap in 2010 with Paul Martino and Duncan Davidson. He’s led several of the key investments Paul Martino also was on the podcast had some fantastic stories in general and about you specifically Richard is well he also is Managing Partner at NSV Wolf Capital. Richard, thanks for joining me.

Richard Melmon 2:53

It’s my pleasure it’s I’m looking forward to it

Jeremy Weisz 2:56

you know, we’ll get into Paul, Martin and how you met him but I want to start off with Apple and you did the early advertising for Apple So talk a little bit about that and if you if you had interactions with Steve Jobs at that point

Richard Melmon 3:15

well I i worked, I worked for a company called McKenna McKenna was a marketing and PR firm a tiny firm. Regis McKenna was a personal friend of mine. He asked me to join him and help him build out both the PR and advertising side of his business at that time. One of his one of his clients, I mean one of his tiny clients was apple and I had had a long term relationship with the chairman of Apple Mike Markkula we knew each other well from Intel and I had met both Steve’s with my before there was anybody else just three of them. And I had always been fascinated with the personal computer I tried to get Intel to do it I was convinced it was the thing the next thing because I had launched as an when i say i mean you know as part of a team I had been involved in the launch of the first digital watch I was a marketing guy at at the mike Chroma division of Intel and and from that experience it was in the watch experience and the functionality we put into it led me to understand that would be a PC a personal computer at some point, but I couldn’t get Intel to do it they they hated the watch business and and they hated me telling them to you know, go even further into this consumer thing. So