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Chris Kuenne

Wall Street Journal and Amazon Best-selling Business Author, Built For Growth; Founder, Rosetta and Rosemark Capital; Princeton University Lecturer, High Tech Entrepreneurship

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New Jersey
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$25,000 - $40,000
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Business | Colleges & Universities | Editor's Choice | Leadership & Strategic Management

Fascinated by the question of what motivates people to act as they do in a commercial context, he built Rosetta into the largest privately held digital marketing firm in the world. At Rosetta, Chris and his colleagues translated insights about customer motivation into personalized sales and marketing techniques designed to accelerate growth. In 2011, Chris sold Rosetta to the Publicis Group for a record $575M and now teaches the growth techniques he developed at Rosetta to students at Princeton in one of the University’s most popular courses, High Tech Entrepreneurship. He also applies these growth approaches in selecting and helping to drive the enterprise value of companies he and his partners invest in at Rosemark Capital, the private equity firm he founded.

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Princeton Tech Meetup #21 - Chris Kuenne

Chris Kuenne Talks Built for Growth

Chris Kuenne

Speaker Resources

  •  Chris  Kuenne

Chris has devoted his entire 32-year career to growing new and existing businesses as a corporate manager, consultant, entrepreneur, professor and now best-selling co-author. Much of Chris’ professional success centers on a singular curiosity about the underlying motivations of people and how best to translate those insights into commercial value.

Early in his career Chris applied this curiosity as the marketing director of the Band Aid brand to reposition and restructure the product line. Chris was the marketer who introduced characters on Band-Aids for young children, more durable strips for active adults and adding ointments and gels to improve the healing process for those concerned about scarring. This work reversed years of market share loss and deteriorating profitability, earning him the promotion to run Johnson & Johnson’s largest brand at the time, TYLENOL. It also became the basis for the idea of personality-based segmentation that became the basis for launching Rosetta, the marketing services firm he founded and grew to be the largest privately held digital firm in the world, before the Publicis Groupe purchased it for a record $575M.

Chris now devotes his time to applying the various techniques he has pioneered to teaching budding entrepreneurial students at Princeton University, co-investing in consumer-centric companies with leading private equity firms through his firm, Rosemark Capital and speaking to audiences about the central role personality plays in building, growing and scaling businesses.

The ‘general theory’ that underpins all of Chris’ work is a technique that he and his Rosetta team developed and patented called Personality-based clustering. This technique isolates the underlying beliefs and preferences that drive a person’s behavior within a specific context. Whether that context is a commercial one in which a business seeks to understand which consumers select and use a given brand of cell phones, or credit cards, pain relievers or any other consumer product and why they do so. With these insights about the drivers of consumer choice in hand, Chris and his teams have helped to optimize the product and personalize the marketing in order to significantly accelerate revenue growth and thereby the value of the enterprise. At a higher-level context, Chris and his co-author, John Danner, have used this same personality-based modeling technique to understand how the beliefs and preferences of entrepreneurial business builders define the builder’s personality and in turn how one’s personality explicitly shapes the growth path of his or her company.

Chris is a dynamic speaker who consistently receives the highest marks for his content-rich insights that audiences consistently report are actionable the moment they return to their office. Some have described him as having the passion and finesse of a grandmaster as he shares specific and proven approaches to accelerating growth from the perspective of a marketer, entrepreneurial founder or investor.

This speech can be paired with John Danner.  

Growth is Job One for every business, nonprofit and government agency – to expand their reach, improve their operations, reward their employees and sponsors, and better serve their customers and clients.  Our economy depends on growth – for wider opportunity, better wages, and improved standard of living.  We understand that.  But who builds that growth?  Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs do.  They start the independent businesses and new ventures inside existing corporations that create new value for customers, jobs for employees and payback for investors.  Yet most of these efforts fail to achieve the growth they seek.  We need new answers to this challenge.

John Danner and Chris Kuenne’s research into the personality characteristics of highly successful entrepreneurs has discovered four types of Builder Personality– the Driver, Explorer, Crusader, and Captain. These are the men and women who build businesses that scale and last; and they each do it very differently.  Chris and John will share their insights and show every member with your audience what they can do to put those insights to work.


This speech can be paired with John Danner. 

Building a business – whether as a standalone startup or new venture inside an established company – is a complex and difficult challenge. It’s like a marathon. Many people and organizations think about entering the race, but most don’t because they’re afraid of the risk, don’t think they’re in good enough shape, or would rather just watch from the sidelines. Lots of people do enter the race, but many falter along the way and only a few win. Who are those winners, and how do they succeed when so many others don’t?

In this talk, your audience – whether they are runners or sideliners, trainers or sponsors, crew members or colleagues – will learn about the men and women who win that marathon of entrepreneurial success. These are the people who build the businesses that fuel growth in our economy and opportunity in our communities. Chris and John will share their fascinating stories and the personalities behind their success.


This speech can be paired with John Danner.

Growth is the fuel for creating value in standalone startups and new ventures inside corporations. Many experts have developed theories about how to accelerate growth, and all approaches focus on the mechanics of growth strategies, rather than the dynamics orchestrated by the protagonist at the very center of those growth aspirations, the builder him or herself.

In this talk, Chris Kuenne and John Danner will demonstrate how personality-based insights can help audiences systematically understand the behavior of the two parties most essential to growth: the builders at the center of the company and the customers it serves.

Second, after understanding the who of building, Kuenne and Danner show the power of applying the same technique to identifying the highest potential customers for a company, enhancing product-market fit, accelerating profitable revenue growth and ultimately, enterprise value.

Through vivid stores and concrete case studies, Chris and John will arm audience members with the key takeaways so they can return to their office and begin to put these techniques to work.


Leaders of standalone startups or new ventures inside existing corporations are all seeking new and more effective ways to achieve breakaway growth and enterprise value acceleration.

Chris Kuenne, the founder of Rosetta, a leading marketing services firm he built over 13 years and sold for $575M, will share the lessons he learned from building his company.  He now teaches these growth techniques to entrepreneurial students at Princeton, applies them to private equity investing in his firm, Rosemark Capital and they played the central role in the research for the bestselling book he and John Danner wrote, entitled Built For Growth.  In this talk, Chris will discuss what he has learned and provide an actionable set of principles he has found can help those charged with accelerating growth.

Audience members will be treated to a dynamic format that includes entertaining stories ranging from Ah ha! moments and the success that followed to agonizing moments of personal challenge and the lessons he has drawn from them and leave inspired by the new business growth that is illustrated by the Rosetta story and a set of pragmatic takeaways they can consider adapting to growing their own businesses.


Profitable growth is the central task of key managers and executives in every type of business, whether it is a standalone startup or a publicly traded multinational corporation.  Growth techniques can be described as being centered on one of 2 approaches:



  • Product or innovation push – in which the company seeks to develop or leverage an innovative technology, process, or distribution channel, in which they presumably have some competitive advantage.

  • Customer Pull – In which they seek to serve an unmet or underserved need in a superior manner


Of course, the most successful and sustainable forms of growth start with one of these techniques and then move to the second.

Chris and his teams at Rosetta and Rosemark have pioneered a strategic frame that allows those responsible for growth to approach these two traditionally sequenced approaches simultaneously.  Chris will demonstrate an approach, he calls Personality-Based demand generation and organizational alignment, through case studies and vivid stories that demonstrate its power and ‘make it real.’

Over the course of the past 20 years, he has implemented these growth techniques across companies ranging from standalone startups to some of the largest Fortune 500 companies. He will explain how to instantiate these approaches into the very fabric of a company’s culture in order to dissolve the boundary that separates it from its customers and thereby unleash an entirely new level of growth.


Those who invest in, and support management teams in pursuit of, enterprise growth are all focused on a similar question:  How can we systematically evaluate the growth prospects of a target investment or a prospective or existing client?  The best firms have experienced partners and senior executives who have spent years developing a set of heuristic rules and gut feelings that tend to have a pretty good success rate in answering this question.  However heuristic knowledge and intuition are difficult to replicate, scale, track and optimize over time.

In this talk, audience members will learn about two sets of tools Chris Kuenne and his colleagues have built to convert growth heuristics to a more repeatable and fact-based approach.  These insights come from years of building, advising investing and researching the elements at play that either facilitate or confound company growth.

Chris will draw from his own experience in building and selling Rosetta, the largest privately held digital marketing agency in the world when it was sold for $575M in 2011.  He also draws these lessons from the research he and his co-author, John Danner, completed in support of their bestselling book, Built For Growth.