Is Capitalism Saving Or Destroying Us? Davis Smith WG’11/G’11 (Video)

Capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty, but has also been the most destructive force on the planet. Serial entrepreneur Davis Smith WG’11/G’11 grew up in the developing world and in this TEDx talk discusses the controversial nature of capitalism and how a chance encounter with a young street-boy in Peru put him on a path to use capitalism as a force for good.

As a four-year old, Davis ended up on a unique life-path when his family left the United States and moved to the developing world. His father was an adventurer, so Davis grew up climbing into active volcanoes, floating down the Amazon in a self-made raft, and surviving on uninhabited islands. He developed a love for adventure and the outdoors, which extended into adulthood. He has since traveled to over 60 countries and recently led a kayaking expedition from Cuba to Florida. While his life path was shaped by these childhood experiences in the outdoors, it was actually his exposure to those living in extreme poverty that most impacted his life. He believes that it is only through service to others that we can find true happiness. Davis is the CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear company with a humanitarian mission at its core. He is also a member of the eight-person United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Start Up Selling with Jeffrey Goodman WG’96 (Video)

Who are the most strategic customers—in terms of companies and people—for a startup to target? And once you have decided who your best sales targets are, how do you connect with and sell to them as people?

In this Entrepreneurial Workshop with Jeffrey Goodman,WG’96, VP of Sales at Genweb2, held at Wharton San Francisco, takeaways include:

  • A framework for relationship-based selling;
  • Why it is important to be able to sell to people based on their social style instead of yours… and a structured approach for doing so;
  • A powerful model for targeting the right kinds of customers—both companies and people—based on the growth stage of a technology company.

Pennovation Center Opens

Dean Geoffrey Garrett on the grand opening of the Pennovation Center and the state of innovation and entrepreneurship at Wharton and Penn

On Friday, October 28, the Pennovation Center officially opened the doors to its three-story, 58,000-square-foot facility located on the banks of the Schuylkill River. The multipurpose space offers co-working, lab, and production spaces, and more resources for researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs seeking collaboration and community.

The Pennovation Center joins two key initiatives to enhance the overall innovation profile at Penn and Wharton — The Mack Institute for Innovation Management and Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship.

“We’ve got a fantastic skill set when it comes to innovation at Penn,” said Dean Geoffrey Garrett in a video message to celebrate the launch.

“The Mack Institute is focused on a key challenge — innovation in large, mature organizations, that really want to innovate but sometimes find it hard to get that innovative mindset.” “Then on the student-facing side, [Penn] Wharton Entrepreneurship provides incredible opportunities for our students to learn by doing,” continued Dean Garrett.

The Center is already home to 20 startup companies and over 100 individuals, ushering in a new hub for innovation and entrepreneurship at Penn.

To learn more about the new Pennovation Center visit


One Question: What advice do you give food entrepreneurs? Soom Foods’ Shelby Zitelman WG’07 answers.

Soom Foods, co-founded by Shelby Zitelman WG’07 and her sisters, has been quietly revolutionizing how Americans eat tahini, especially here in Philadelphia, where we can’t get enough of the hummus at award-winning restaurant Zahav (and its sister hummisiya Dizengoff), which is always made with Soom tahini.

We got the chance to ask Shelby Zitelman one question: “What advice do you give other food entrepreneurs?”

Here’s what she said: