Episode 152
April 4, 2023

Big on Brand and Obstacles

with Joe Spector, Founder and CEO of Dutch

About this episode

Joining the show today is the Founder and CEO of Dutch, the first all-encompassing pet telehealth company! Joe Spector sits down to talk about the path leading to his current work helping to make pet care easy and accessible for all types of pet owners, and we get to hear from him about his early years in the former Soviet Union, and the roots of his rebellious and entrepreneurial spirit. Joe unpacks his educational background, his first forays into business, and the startup experiences that taught him the biggest lessons and shaped his current philosophy. Our guest also explains why it's important to over-invest in branding early on, and why we should never avoid confronting the biggest obstacles in our path. Join us to hear it all!

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • [03:14] Joe's early years in the Soviet Union, and the story of running away from camp!
  • [08:30] Moving to the US, Joe's rebellious nature, and thoughts on what contributes to reaching beyond the status quo.
  • [16:21] Joe talks about his college years at Berkeley and moving into investment banking.
  • [21:04] 'Bungee jumping' into business and building the muscle to take the leap. 
  • [27:15] The origin stories of Hims and Hers, and a few of Joe's other startups. 
  • [38:09] Finding the perfect match for talents and values.
  • [41:51] The biggest lessons from building Hims and Hers.
  • [46:06] Challenges when fundraising and dealing with investors.
  • [50:00] Recounting the beginnings of Dutch, choosing the company name, and the journey so far. 
  • [58:13] Joe talks about his commitments as an investor and his advice for entrepreneurs.

To Find Out More:

Joe Spector on LinkedIn


Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Stairway to CEO on Instagram

Stairway to CEO


“I almost think it's an entrepreneurial rite of passage to have a dating app startup.” — [0:23:05]

“One of the lessons I have learned is that you only learn by doing.” —[0:24:22]

“I always figure, it never hurts to ask.” — [0:38:05]

“There are times when people are going to see my talents and what makes me tick, and if they see that, that's that perfect match.” — [0:38:47]

“Go do the hard things!” — [0:42:01]

“We actually have clients who come to us for UTI issues, ear infections, digestion issues, nutrition and weight management. We cover over a dozen categories for our consumers, so I wanted a name that could grow into a lot of different areas.” — [0:53:15]

“The fact is that culture is happening whether you like it or not, so you can either control it and be thoughtful about it or just let it happen.” —[0:55:45]

“It's working great, and I'm like 'We need to find a bigger problem!'” —[0:57:35]

“I want to make sure that I'm able to provide money and provide them with a competitive advantage from my involvement.” — [0:59:22]

“I think earlier in your career, I would say, invest the time in building relationships, because it will pay off.” — [1:00:54]

“I am excited to make Dutch and pet telemedicine something that is a common consumer behavior.” — [1:02:31]

Read the transcript

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