Expert in Residence Spotlight: Robert Fish, Bart Greenburg, Sue Duris

Expert in Residence Spotlight: Robert Fish, Bart Greenburg, Sue Duris

 

Robert Fish

Robert (Bob) Fish, J.D., is the founding partner of Fish & Tsang LLP and an adjunct professor at UCI law school. He currently oversees more than a thousand active patent matters and numerous trademark matters, including extensive foreign filings. Bob is also involved in several patent enforcement programs including inbound and outbound licensing, arbitration, and litigation. Author of comprehensive guides to the patent process such as Strategic Patenting, White Space Patenting, Green Fields Patenting, and Prosecution Magic, Bob also pens the Patent Beast comic strip and designs patent-themed board games.

 

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration in life?
The greatest inspiration in my life has been my wife, Julie.  Among many other things, she has taught me that life is short – and that lasting satisfaction comes not from specific personal achievements, but from doing things that make the world a better place.

What is one piece of advice you would share with a new entrepreneur?
In a complex, highly competitive world, almost no one becomes very successful all by themselves.  To build a worthwhile enterprise you need a decent idea, and also funding, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, legal work, management, and a host of other resources.  In each of these areas you need people you can trust to pull together in the same direction.

Why did you decide to become a Cove Expert-In-Residence?
I see involvement with the Cove as one of the greatest opportunities of my life.  The immense resources being gathered together at the Cove, personal and otherwise, are something that I just don’t see being duplicated again anytime soon here in Orange County.  I am doing whatever I can to be a part of the Cove community and help it grow.

What has been your greatest adventure?
My most successful adventure has been building a thriving law firm.  But my greatest adventure has been discovering what’s important and what’s not.  Learning how to balance family with work.  How to be flexible with goals and processes. How to motivate, and receive guidance from my co-workers, family, and friends.  I’ve also learned the importance of timing – catching the big waves, while letting the little ones pass by.

Bart Greenburg

Bart Greenburg is the founder of Pivotal Law Firm, Inc. and has spent over 25 years practicing general corporate law with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings and the cost-effective representation of entrepreneurs, start-ups, and emerging technology companies. His experience extends to all types of general corporate matters, serving as outside general counsel to most of his clients. Bart’s scope of work includes mergers and acquisitions, private securities offerings for emerging technology companies, debt financings, the formation of business entities, shareholder buy-sell agreements, and employee compensation matters with an emphasis on providing equity incentives to employees through the use of restricted stock, stock options, and phantom stock plans. In his spare time, Bart enjoys staying in shape and gardening. He is also an extreme miles and points enthusiast.

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration in life?
My clients!  Face it, being a lawyer would be a terribly boring occupation if it weren’t for the numerous cool and paradigm shifting clients with whom I have the pleasure of working.  I not only get to learn about exciting new technologies and new business models, but, to quote from ABC’s Wide World of Sports, I get to experience my clients’ thrill of victory and their agony of defeat.  I’ve now had the pleasure of helping three clients go from their initial start to a billion dollar valuation.  There is nothing like watching your babies grow up and succeed!

What is one piece of advice you would share with a new entrepreneur?
Not only is there is an entire ecosystem in Orange County devoted to helping new entrepreneurs, but it has become socially “cool” to help start-ups.  It’s like bragging rights for some people – you know, cocktail discussions like “How many startups are you working on?”  The point is that there are a significant number of highly skilled and qualified people who want to help, and new entrepreneurs should not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.  The best advice is to just take the first step and start asking for help.  The Cove is an excellent place to get started.  From there, a new entrepreneur can build his or her “rolodex” through quality referrals.  I also strongly encourage new entrepreneurs to become active participants in networking and Meetup groups relevant to their needs, such as The Cove and Tech Coast Venture Network.  The point is, don’t just show up once and move on.  Give it a chance and, most importantly, go and go often as that is how deeper and more meaningful relationships are made.  If someone shows up once and I never see them again, I can’t help.  However, if they show up time and time again, I can build a relationship with them, which means I will better understand their needs, how I can help and who would be a great referral for them.

Why did you decide to become a Cove Expert-In-Residence?
I don’t recall it ever being a conscious decision.  I think it just happened!  I have always enjoyed teaching and mentoring.  It started at UCLA, where I served as an Orientation Counselor to incoming Freshman and Transfer Students during the Summers of 1984 (the “Olympic Summer”) and 1985.  That was by far one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever held.  While at UC Berkeley for law school, I served three semesters as a Tutor for students participating in the school’s Academic Support Program – Berkeley’s then affirmative action program.  Some of my awesome students were cool enough to make me an honorary member of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Law Students Association!  After nearly 30 years, I still have that T-Shirt!  As a practicing corporate attorney, I continue to mentor founders and entrepreneurs “on the side.” Serving as an EIR at The Cove has simply been the formalization of what I have always done informally.

What has been your greatest adventure?
Those people who know me, know that traveling is one of my great passions.  Traveling with my wife and two daughters makes it that much greater.  Together, we’ve been on nearly 20 cruises and numerous land tours.  We’ve traveled to nearly 50 countries and, together, we’ve enjoyed incredible activities such as river rafting, canyoneering, jet skiing, snorkeling, sailing, and Segway tours.  So, traveling has been our family’s great adventure, and we look forward to many more adventures together.

Sue Duris

Sue Duris is Co-Founder and President of M4 Communications, a Palo Alto, CA-based marketing strategy and communications firm helping startups build strong marketing and customer experience infrastructures, enabling them to grow. Graduating with a BA in Economics from the University of Colorado, Sue began her career in finance and marketing, obtaining various high-level and eventually founding M4 Communications. An experienced marketing leader with a history of helping companies create customer-centric models that drive growth and increase market share, Sue has an extensive skill set in marketing strategy creation, building customer experience programs, content development, brand management and product marketing. Her unique ability to combine marketing strategy with analytics has enabled her to acquire, retain, and create lifetime brand advocates. She has helped numerous SaaS startups build and extend their brands. As an innovator and forward-thinker, she influences change and serves as a catalyst for success for a growing list of clients. Graduating from UC Irvine with an MBA in June 2016, Sue also speaks and writes frequently to share her knowledge with others. She also gives back to her community by serving on nonprofit boards such as the Golden Gate Opera and the UCI Merage School of Business Dean’s Leadership Circle. 

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration in life?
I would say there are four people who have been the most meaningful to me thus far in my life. First, my mother as she has given me tremendous insight and a wonderful spiritual foundation. Second would be my husband because of his support, being my sounding board, and his incredible ability to help ground me. And last but not least are my two personal heroes – Pat Summitt (former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach) and Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple). I did not meet Pat and wish I would have before her death this past June. Both Pat and Steve were innovators who always cared about what what they did and how it would affect others. They also always lived life to the fullest.

What is one piece of advice you would share with a new entrepreneur?
The one piece of advice I would share with a new entrepreneur is always be focused on the customer. It doesn’t matter what your product is. If you can’t communicate and engage with a customer on an emotional and personal level so that they trust you, you won’t be able to win them over. Always make converting prospects into lifetime customers who are brand advocates your number one goal!

Why did you decide to become a Cove Expert-In-Residence?
I first heard about the Cove and Matt Bailey from one of the Steve Howard, one of the EMBA program staff from the business school. He said that Matt was someone who I had to meet. Matt and I met in January and we discussed what I had been doing as a C-Level Silicon Valley startup employee, my own company, and the startups I advise in addition to my knowledge of the Silicon Valley venture capital community. After giving me a tour, we talked about Applied Innovation’s mission and what it was doing to move the entrepreneurial needle. When he invited me to be an EiR, I didn’t hesitate, I said yes because I wanted to help promote the organization, help move the entrepreneurial needle at UCI, and help as many of the accelerator entrepreneurs as I could.

What has been your greatest adventure?
I’m too young to have a greatest adventure yet! I would say the most exhilarating time of my life has been when I worked for my first startup in the dotcom bubble days. I enjoy collaborating with different sets of folks towards one common goal and it was so exciting when we achieved goals,  had “a ha” moments, and even when we had setbacks because we were learning and journeying together. I have been so grateful that while I was a dotcom bubble burst survivor, that the journey eventually led to my founding M4 Communications.