START WITH CORE VALUES with Darius Mirshahzadeh

Audio production by James Ede, Be Heard

“I hate this company,” I said to myself, sitting in the office in San Francisco. “I can’t believe I created this.”

This is how my guest today, Darius Mirshahzadeh, opens his book, The Core Value Equation.

Darius had been successful by any external measure. He was the founder and CEO of a company that would soon hit the $10,000,000 revenue mark. He had 150 employees and a seventeen-thousand-square-foot modern tech office space in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district.

And yet, he had serious regrets as a founder.

He realized that the company he created was not the one he intended to build. Somehow, while trying to build a successful business, he lost track of what he now considers one of the most important factors to achieve success and grow with minimum growing pains – the core values.

And core values are what we are focusing on in this episode.

Episode Highlights

Here are some of the topics we discuss:

  • What made Darius focus on culture as a founder of a growing startup
  • The importance of owning our failures as leaders
  • Authenticity and vulnerability as key leadership attributes and powerful tools to build trust
  • How to use core values as a tool to create scale and intentionality in your business
  • Some of the reasons why core values don’t work for many businesses
  • Characteristics of great core values: authenticity, simplicity, stickiness
  • Why being a jerk authentically might be better than pretending you are nice
  • The importance of redefining what successful capitalism really is
  • Ways to operationalize values – from recruitment, onboarding, visual cues, use of stories, measurement, etc.

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

Audio production by James Ede, Be Heard

More about Darius Mirshahzadeh

Darius Mirshahzadeh is a dad, husband, twin, brother and son who was born and raised in California and now lives in Austin Texas. He is a serial entrepreneur, author, conscious capitalist, speaker, and mad scientist CEO. He was ranked #40 in Inc 500 CEO’s in 2007 and #9 in Glassdoor’s Top Ranked CEOs in America for small to medium business. He participated in Birthing of Giants at MIT, graduated from Stagen Integral Leadership Program, is a TEDx curator and expert on core values. Darius’s new book, The Core Value Equation, explains everything on core values and is being released to the world on September 15, 2020. Connect at

Books Mentioned in this episode

The Core Value Equation by Darius Mirshahzadeh

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow by Chip Conley

Additional resources

Scaleup’s Guide to Creating a Culture Playbook

Personal Core Values Discovery Guide

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