Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins

Cofounder & CEO of RSE Ventures


Too many of us are driven by fear, waiting for the perfect moment to act. We subconsciously construct an insidious safety net that becomes our undoing. Looking at those who have triumphed reveals the truth and offers us a template for achievement and success. This keynote will show that resiliency and self-motivation are vital for thriving in business.

Executive fellow at Harvard Business School, Guest Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, and famed angel investor Matt Higgins has held many titles over his 25-year career. He believes in the necessity of trusting his instincts and never outsourcing his judgment.

Matt shares a counterintuitive formula for life practiced for thousands of years by military leaders who want to motivate their troops for success. The practice is to burn the boats, destroy all opportunities for retreat, and go all-in on the mission. When it’s about winning or perishing, the clarity of sheer desperation propels victory.

Matt uses this metaphor to make the case that burning the boats isn’t just advantageous in times of war or crisis but a strategy we can all use. The mere contemplation of a Plan B weakens our resolve and diminishes chances for breakout success. As a bonus, all conference attendees will receive a copy of Matt’s book Burn the Boats: Toss Plan B Overboard and Unleash Your Full Potential, released February 14, 2023.

Using his gift of storytelling and his rags-to-riches life story, Matt shares that the boat is a metaphor for all the internal and external issues that hold us back in our lives and prevent us from committing to all we can achieve. Matt has interviewed over 50 people from all walks of life, including billionaires, artists, activists, and athletes who have gone through stunning failures. He uses this insight as a methodology for helping us overcome our obstacles.
Matt’s work and life experience remind us that although we are all human, we are equipped with the power to pull off the impossible. Matt grew up in Queens and was on a mission to transcend poverty as fast as possible, dropping out of high school at 16 to work full-time, get his GED, and enroll in college early.

Over the next decade, he earned a law degree from Fordham at night and began a career as the youngest press secretary in NYC history, where he helped manage the global press response to 9/11. Matt became an executive for two NFL teams and a founder and investor in some of the most dynamic brands through RSE Ventures. He was a guest shark on ABC’s Shark Tank (seasons 10-11). He is an executive fellow at Harvard Business School, where he co-teaches “Moving Beyond Direct-to-Consumer.” He’s also the host and executive producer of “Business Hunters” on CNBC, a show that guides everyday Americans through buying a small business.

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