BTU#38: Chris Shaw – Army to Startup Founder and Bunker Labs

“The autonomy is incredible. I think back to my time in the military and the best times I had was when I was flying around the mountains of Afghanistan, and we had a lot of flexibility in the mission we were running. When I think about being an entrepreneur, it’s very similar to that in a lot of ways. I love that I can set my own hours and create my own success. That is really exciting and gets my adrelanine going. The bad part is that you don’t have a paycheck. If you make a sale and get cash you can take a small salary from there, but there’s a lot of unpredictability there. Going into this I didn’t expect that aspect of this to wear on me emotionally as much as it does. But it does, and it’s real – you just need to understand that that’s part of the deal.”
 – Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw is the Founder of CORE Leader, the Director of the NY Office of Bunker Labs at the NYU Tandon Engineering School. He graduated from NYU Stern School of Business in May 2016. He started out at Cornell University, where he earned his BA in history, after which he served in the US Army as an Aviation Officer for 8 years flying the Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter. He deployed twice to combat in Afghanistan, most recently as the head of his squadron’s intelligence department in the 82nd Airborne Division.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How Chris decided to go to business school rather than industry after the military
  • An overview of Bunker Labs, and why every aspiring entrepreneur should consider applying
  • Advice on finding a co-founder… and how to make sure you get it right. Chris talks about the biggest mistake he made when starting his company
  • The experiences that best help Chris prepare for his life as an entrepreneur
  • And much, much more…

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 1:50 – Chris’ background
  • 2:30 – How Chris decided to leave the Army
  • 3:12 – How Chris thought about joining the Reserves and why he chose not to
  • 3:48 – The most surprising aspect of Chris’ transition to civilian life
  • 5:20 – A few bad habits Chris had to break when he left the military
  • 6:30 – How Chris decided to go to business school rather than industry after the military
  • 9:28 – Chris’ experience at Stern School of Business and his advice on how to apply and why to go
  • 11:10 – An overview of Bunker Labs, and why every aspiring entrepreneur should consider applying
  • 15:20 – What Chris’ day-to-day life looks like as a Director at Bunker Labs
  • 17:40 – An overview of Chris’ second company – CORE Leader
  • 20:13 – Advice on finding a co-founder… and how to make sure you get it right. Chris talks about the biggest mistake he made when starting his company
  • 24:17 – The experiences that best help Chris prepare for his life as an entrepreneur
  • 25:38 – What Chris’ day-to-day life looks like as an entrepreneur
  • 27:44 – What Chris like most and least about his life as an entrepreneur
  • 29:30 – Chris’ advice for other veterans considering entrepreneurship
  • 32:45 – How Chris felt ahead and behind his civilian counterparts
  • 36:37 – Final words of wisdom from Chris for all veterans