29: Howie Rhee, Duke University: Required Listening for Young Entrepreneurs

Required listening for young entrepreneurs.

Howie Rhee is Managing Director, Student and Alumni Affairs, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Duke University. Howie is also my brother, and one of the most intellectually and culturally curious people I know. We talk about his work, his life, and his interests, which are wide-ranging. His email is hwr2@duke.edu. Here’s his Twitter.

Howie Rhee’s Four Questions he asks students:

  1. If you received five equal job offers in five different cities, which city would you choose? Top two answers Howie hears are San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.
  2. If you could receive a job offer from any company, which company would that be? Top choices Howie receives include Tesla, Google, Apple, Square, and Palantir.
  3. Question Number One, but 10 to 20 years from now.
  4. Question Number Two, but 10 to 20 years from now.


  • Bill Gross gave the commencement speech for Duke University’s Fuqua Business School in 2004, when Howie Rhee graduated. Bill Gross for many years ran the largest bond fund in the world at PIMCO and is a Duke alum. Howie read some inspiring quotes in the episode, including “You must find not only your niche, but also the niche through which you can symbiotically nurture your business enterprise and yourself at the same instant.”
  • Donald Trump’s The Apprentice on NBC started in January 2004 so it was part of popular culture in Spring 2004, especially for those with a business orientation.
  • Professor Yael Hochberg focuses her research on entrepreneurship, innovation, and venture capital.


Howie Rhee mentions these three accelerators (better than incubators) along with the Duke Startup Challenge, which he helps run.

A list of accelerators that Howie mentions

Prof. Yael Hochberg also has a list called

Other Resources

  • $100 MBA’s Omar Zenhom attended University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, but dropped out after one semester. He’s done pretty well since then.
  • Stanford’s StartX founded by Cameron Teitelman
  • Duke #1 business school according to Business Week
  • If you have no idea who Coach K is, he is Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the Duke University (the Blue Devils) men’s basketball team. He has achieved a lot in college and Olympic-level basketball and is an inspirational speaker.


  • Howie Rhee mentions Final when it comes to security. This company tries to make life with your credit cards easier
  • Two companies attempting to “kill the email inbox:”


Books & Audiobooks

Howie Rhee also gave me a list of some of the favorite books he has listened to or read recently:

  • The Startup of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
  • Give and Take by Adam M. Grant
  • Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Double Helix by James D. Watson, PhD
  • Einstein by Walter Isaacson

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