The Entrepreneur’s Essentials: Acknowledgments

First, I want to thank my wife Debra for always believing in me. We’ve been married 23 years now, and I became an entrepreneur shortly after we got married. We both had entrepreneurial parents from our childhood, so that helped us relate to the massive ups and downs that entrepreneurship inevitably leads to — but we simply wouldn’t have had the success we’ve enjoyed without her support. While I was at Wharton earning my MBA, she worked very hard as an interior designer to support us so that I could give living my entrepreneurial dream a real try while in school. When I graduated, we had no income from Coremetrics for a long time. She never faltered in supporting me and through a lot of grit and luck, we’ve made it to this point in our lives. We’ve come a long way from the $1,000 and $2,000 in net-worth that we brought to the table at the beginning of our marriage (I always joked that I married the wealthier woman).

Second, I want to thank my mom and dad, who unfortunately are no longer with us and I miss every day. Lucky7 is named after my mom, and my dad was also a very supportive entrepreneur and extremely generous to his family, friends, and neighbors. When I first read the book Outliers, I gave a copy of it to my mom and said, “See what you created?!” I had calculated that I had programmed around 22,000 hours from age 7 on. She believed in me since the very beginning — she knew I had found my passion early, and there were many around her that thought I was “wasting my life” on that “computer thing over there”.

Third, I want to thank our children. Our daughter, Rachel, inspires me and it was her writing Guardians of the Forest at the age of 13, while making terrific grades in middle-school and doing a superb job on her Bat Mitzvah, that made me think, “Well, why not now?”, when I began writing this book. Our son, Levi, is quite the chip off the old block and is constantly creating on his computer. Parenting is the most challenging, but also rewarding, experience of my life. It’s the ultimate entrepreneurial endeavor!

Fourth, I would like to thank Josh Baer for all he does for the entrepreneurial scene in Austin and for nominating me for the Henry Crown Fellowship. The Fellowship has been one of the most inspirational experiences I’ve had as an adult, and it had a lot to do with me getting back into the arena to found

Fifth, I would like to thank Jay Coen Gilbert and the B Lab team for all they do. We were brought together by the Henry Crown Fellowship, and I’m proud to be alongside them pioneering a new way of being as a business. I have felt equally inspired over the years by the many CEO speakers and the team at Conscious Capitalism.

Sixth, I would like to thank the hundreds of people that I’ve worked with at Coremetrics, Bazaarvoice, and now who believe in me. So many of the lessons in this book are their lessons too. We learned together. We cried together. We laughed together. We worked so hard together. We created the future together. We changed industries forever.

Seventh, I would like to thank many people who have inspired me along the way and serve as role models at inspiring others. As Kirk Dando, my long-time CEO coach, would say, they are the definition of for-you leaders:

  • Of course Kirk Dando, who is one of my closest friends and the author of Predictive Leadership (he’s seen me make every mistake listed in his book and supported me all the way through, serving as my CEO coach since 2007)
  • Dan Eggleston, my middle-school computer teacher, who stoked my passion for programming
  • Rick Byars, my favorite MIS teacher at U.T. Austin, who showed me that the path of life can take many twists and turns as you live your passion
  • Stew Friedman, Peter Fader, Eric Clemons, Il-Horn Hann, Len Lodish, and many other professors at Wharton that taught me valuable entrepreneurial and leadership skills
  • Eugene Sepulveda, CEO of the Entrepreneurs Foundation
  • Bong Suh, my first Board Director at Coremetrics, who mentored me as a first-time VC-backed entrepreneur
  • Arthur Patterson, co-founder of Accel Partners and my first Series A investor at Coremetrics
  • Keith Benjamin, General Partner at Highland Capital Partners at the time and also my first Series A investor at Coremetrics (I wrote a tribute to honor Keith when he passed)
  • Julie and Mike Maples — Julie has invested in me since the beginning of Coremetrics, Bazaarvoice, and; and Mike since the beginning of Bazaarvoice and; Julie created the V Foundation’s Wine Celebration, which raises millions each year to fight cancer (my mother passed from lung cancer and never smoked)
  • Ralph Mack and Steve Katz, who have believed in me since my Wharton years; Ralph has backed me since the beginning of Coremetrics, Bazaarvoice, and, and Steve since the beginning of Bazaarvoice and
  • Chris Pacitti, Tom Ball, Neeraj Agrawal, Brian O’Malley, Satya Patel, Mitchell Green, Scott Booth, Jamie Crouthamel, Suneet Paul, Eric Simone, Dwight Foster, Emily Brady, Richard Marcus, and Josh Kopelman — who made a real difference in helping me and Brant grow Bazaarvoice from the early years on as very supportive and creative investors and advisors
  • Jason Pressman, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures, whom I’ve known since the beginning of Coremetrics (he was our initial breakout customer as the head of operations of and has backed me, Bryon, Jon, and Matt since our Series A at
  • Pat Ryan, Stuart Larkins, Peter Christman, Lindsay Knight, Jon Medved, Laly David, Josh Wolff, Leighanne Levensaler, Mark Peek, Brittany Skoda, Sarah Ospina, John Mackey, Walter Robb, Gary Hoover, DJ Patil, Steve Katz, Paul Hurdlow, John Gilluly, Venu Shamapant, Adam Zeplain, Ravi Mohan, Nitin Chopra, Adam Ifshin, Doug Ulman, Christian Frey, Patrick Chang, Frank Quatro, Jim Kennedy, Dean Allemang, Andy Sernovitz, Seth Greenberg, Sarah Laessig, Devi Ramanan-Stauffer, Bob Campbell, Jono Bacon, Craig Fryar, Theresa Kushner, John Morkes, Kelly Wright, Adam Grant, Paul Miller, Scott Kokka, Ken Backus, Kate McLeland, and the many other investors and advisors that help us fight the good fight every week at
  • All of the entrepreneurs that give us the opportunity at Hurt Family Investments to be a part of their journey — we’ve learned a lot from seeing you in action, and you inspire us
  • My YPO Forum, both current and past — and a big thank you to Steve Katz for introducing me to YPO in the first place
  • Many TED speakers that I’ve seen over the years — you have to be really brave to step in the middle of that red circle, realizing your passionate talk will be archived for the world to judge, and I’ve learned so much from them (TED is the world’s best classroom with the world’s best teachers and students)
  • Lawton Cummings, who I’m lucky to work alongside of as she is the fearless CEO of the non-profit that Josh Baer and I created
  • And too many others to list…

I can honestly say that I’m the product of so many that have believed in me. I’m lifted up on the shoulders of giants. I feel very blessed, I feel very lucky, and I feel very loved. I do my best to honor them.



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Brett A. Hurt

Brett A. Hurt

CEO and Co-founder,; Co-owner, Hurt Family Investments; Founder, Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics; Henry Crown Fellow; TEDster; Dad + Husband