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Business Mentors

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'Sales is Like Oxygen,' and So is Education
Wendy Torrance
11/4/2013
Blog Resource
Summary:

During my years at the Kauffman Foundation I have seen firsthand the effect that education can have on the development of entrepreneurs and their companies. The entrepreneurs with whom I have worked have taken the lessons they have learned and applied them to great effect in their endeavors as founders. These entrepreneurs benefited from opportunities to learn critical skills, and from gaining an understanding of crucial decisions or junctures that often can derail entrepreneurial businesses.

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How "People-Problems" Can Confound Early Stage Ventures
Wendy Torrance
12/13/2013
Blog Resource
Summary:

Some of the very first decisions founders must make early on in their ventures are crucially important to the future of the business. Many of these decisions concern the ubiquitous "people problems" that challenge even experienced entrepreneurs. When should I found? Should I co-found with someone? With whom? How should we split the equity? Bad or ill-informed choices at critical junctures could have significant consequences for startups. In fact, research has suggested that 65 percent of new firm failures were related to problems within the management team.

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Why A Startup Is Not A Big Company
Wendy Torrance
1/22/2014
Blog Resource
Summary:

Once you've heard the insight--that startups are different from big companies--it seems so obvious. Yet too often entrepreneurs, and those that teach them, approach the building of new companies with the same goals, staff structures and assumptions that motivate the management of large companies. Startup founders build teams to focus on engineering, and on the process of creating a product and bringing it to market.

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Founders School: Surviving the Entrepreneurial Life
Wendy Torrance
2/26/2014
Blog Resource
Summary:

When I read Meg Hirshberg's book "For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families" I knew instantly that I wanted Meg to join our slate of Founders School experts. The goal of Founders School is to provide entrepreneurs with crucial skills and knowledge, and to do so with an eye to topics that are important but rarely discussed in typical entrepreneurship education programs. The subject of Meg's book is just such a topic. We all know that entrepreneurs have to juggle a variety of considerations when founding a company: team building, assessment of product/market fit, intellectual property, and how to get that first important customer. What many entrepreneurs and, more importantly, their families, know is that there's a juggle on the family side of the equation as well, but it's one that many entrepreneurs may be reluctant to talk about.

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Startups: How to Build Something People Will Buy
Wendy Torrance
3/14/2014
Blog Resource
Summary:

"No business plan survives first contact with customers," Steve Blank says. What? Isn't the point of planning that you maximize the likelihood of success in the marketplace? Well yes, but perhaps not the kind of planning you might be thinking about. A business plan conceived on paper, powered by a great idea or invention, enhanced by research on the size of the market and a customer profile, has great potential. But it also has a crucial flaw.

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Stimulating Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace
Sutton Robert I
8/26/2006
Audio Resource
Summary:

Robert Sutton, Co-Director of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization at Stanford University focuses on what it takes to stimulate innovation and creativity in the workplace and relates the key points from his book "Weird Ideas that Work."

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The No Jerk Rule
Sutton Robert I
5/30/2007
Audio Resource
Summary:

In this audio podcast, Professor Bob Sutton discusses "breakthrough" ideas in his latest book about dealing with difficult and conflicting relationships in a work environment. Sutton describes strategies to deal with "jerks" in an organization, and he illustrates the application of his ideas by using real-world examples sourced from readers' email responses to his new book.

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Technology Innovator Helps Women Transcend the Ginger Rogers Principle
Strom Bernee D L
4/1/2005
Article Resource
Summary:

Serial entrepreneur Bernee Strom started her career as a math professor and still considers teaching and mentoring important ways to give back.

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The Next Wave of Industry: Global Clean Tech
Straser Erik
10/8/2008
Audio Resource
Summary:

Mohr Davidow Ventures partner Erik Straser offers insight on the unfolding sector of new energy technologies, and discusses how it will be affected by an economy in credit crisis. He unveils the market's high level of industrial innovation, and offers students of entrepreneurship sound advice on finding the next crest in grand socioeconomic opportunity.

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Creating Personal Wealth Through Entrepreneurship
Stowers James E Jr
4/1/1999
Article Resource
Summary:

Entrepreneurs hoping to preserve wealth may want to avoid selling big stakes in their businesses to raise capital. The founder of a major mutual-funds company built his net worth by selling preferred, rather than common, stock.

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