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#74—John Mullins: Exploring Entrepreneurial Mindsets

#74—John Mullins: Exploring Entrepreneurial Mindsets

John Mullins is an Associate Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School. He earned his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. An award-winning teacher and scholar and one of the world’s foremost thought leaders in entrepreneurship, John brings to his teaching and research 20 years of executive experience in high-growth retailing firms, including two ventures he founded and one he took public.

Since becoming an entrepreneurship professor in 1992, John has published five books, dozens of cases and more than 50 articles in a variety of outlets, including Harvard Business Review, the MIT Sloan Management Review, and The Wall Street Journal. His research has won national and international awards, and he is a frequent and sought-after speaker and educator for audiences in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

John has authored and co-authored three widely-recognized books: The New Business Road Test: What Entrepreneurs and Executives Should Do Before Launching a Lean Start-Up, Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model, and The Customer-Funded Business: Start, Finance or Grow Your Company with Your Customers’ Cash.

John’s newest book, Break the Rules! The Six Counter-Conventional Mindsets of Entrepreneurs That Can Help Anyone Change the World (released January 2023), identifies what makes entrepreneurs “entrepreneurial” and provides a road-map for how anyone can adopt and master these mindsets to challenge assumptions, overcome obstacles, and mitigate risk.

John has done executive education on five continents for a variety of organizations both large and small, including the Young Presidents’ Organization, Endeavor, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Kenya Airways, Merck-Serono, 3M, among many others. He has served on the boards of fast-growing entrepreneurial companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia. You can also listen to John on the From Founder to CEO podcast at London Business School.

In this podcast, he shares:

  • Why it's better to get customer funding than venture funding or getting your company to fund the new business

  • Five ways to get customers to fund your business

  • Six mindsets of successful entrepreneurs


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Introducing John + The topic of today’s episode

2:34—If you really know me, you know that...

3:41—What is your definition of strategy?

4:00—What drove you to develop your current career path, after your original one?

5:26—What was the topic you were known for that propelled you into becoming a London Business School professor?

6:51—Could you tell us a little about your book, Getting to Plan B?

8:49—Could you tell us about the story that illustrates the points in Getting to Plan B—it's so relevant to entrepreneurs?

10:08—Your next book is about next book, The Customer-Funded Business?

13:40—You say your most recent book, Break the Rules, is the most important book. Why is that?

15:53—Could you describe the six mindsets of entrepreneurs you describe in your most recent book?

20:59—Any last thoughts you'd like to leave our listeners with?


Additional Resources:

Personal Page:

Latest Book:



The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.