Ep: 212 The Secrets Behind a Successful Startup: With ‘Parallel Entrepreneur’ & CEO, Doug Campell

Ep: 212 The Secrets Behind a Successful Startup: With ‘Parallel Entrepreneur’ & CEO, Doug Campell

Startups and self-run ventures are the way of the future – with the right idea, the right team and a little dash of being in the right place at the right time, you have the potential to take something from its humble beginnings in someone’s basement to enjoying exponential growth and worldwide reach. 

It stands to reason that it’s no surprise that everywhere you turn you see new startups, entrepreneurial businesses or those wanting to try their hand at creating something unique and new in the world, hoping it to strike it lucky and stumble across the next ‘big’ thing.

What sets the ventures that succeed apart from the ones who never get off the ground? 

What does it take to be the CEO of a successful startup and to solidify the global impact of a company? Furthermore, how can those of us with multiple passions and interests narrow in and choose just one to focus their energy on and see the start-up through to fruition? 

Unconventional Life caught up with Doug Campell, a parallel entrepreneur, CEO, and co-founder of Solid Power – a leading developer of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles who has partnered with the likes of Ford and BMW – along with co-founding 2 additional Colorado-based startups. 

Doug’s mental strength and drive come from his passion for physical activity  – “for me exercise is my religion” and it allows him to stay grounded, unwind and perform at the level he does. In fact, he believes that it is his ‘life experience’ and the discipline that was involved in being a professional cyclist that allowed him to be able to run multiple startups and succeed so much in his entrepreneurial ventures.

“As I got into being a professional cyclist that taught me the discipline… it’s a lot like a business – success comes very very slowly in business and cycling kinda taught me that.”  

For Doug, he has had a highly non-linear career, not completing tertiary studies until very late into his 20’s and doing things fairly out of the classic sequence of what you would expect – “I didn’t just wake up one morning and think, ‘Gosh I’m going to just start one company after another…’”

Doug sees himself as an opportunist and attributes his success and his ability to juggle many different pursuits at the same time to this, even if it wasn’t intentional initially – “for me stepping into the world of being an entrepreneur was a little bit of a kid in a candy store sort of situation”. 

He talks about how he wanted to pursue everything and how choosing what he chose to pursue “was really scratching whatever itch of the day was there…” 

Doug admits that it came as quite a surprise when all the ventures he was involved in took off the way they did – “when things really start to take off there’s a point where you look in the mirror and think… I didn’t necessarily plan for this”.

Doug’s advice for multi-passionate entrepreneurs and those wanting to pursue a start-up of their own is really to realize “it’s not all about you as an entrepreneur… you need to recognize early on that you need help”. 

“For me… it really comes down to come down to a high degree of humility… recognizing what you’re good at, what your individual superpower is, but also recognizing that everything else is not necessarily your superpower and finding people who compliment you.” 

Doug advocates that it’s super important to find people who compliment your strengths and support you in the ways you need, “embracing this team mentality and focusing on what you individually are good at and then delegating, outsourcing or deferring to others on everything else.” 

He also stresses that you need to keep the end game in mind, particularly in the super early stages and that you’re “ok to exchange a paycheck for equity” which makes it even more important to pursue something that you are truly passionate about, as it might be some time before you see any financial remuneration for your effort.


Doug is giving someone the chance to win a branded Solid Power T-Shirt. To be entered to win the giveaway, click here. A winner will be selected next week.


You can learn more about Doug and the work he does by finding Solid Power on twitter or Linkedin, or you can head to entrepreneurialdisfunction.com his personal blog.