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I was disappointed to have been unable to make the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress last week in Moscow. It's a historic event, in its fifth year, that gathers startup champions from around the world--entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, thought leaders and policymakers--to work together to help bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. This kind of annual assembly has contributed to the expansion of a global entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting experts and entrepreneurs across borders and sectors to unleash their ideas and transform innovation into reality.
For years, Dave Felker created equipment for one of the world's leading golf companies, Calloway Golf. There he designed golf balls and clubs for the game's best golfers. Then, Dave left Calloway. Throwing the USGA rules out the window and using the laws of physics instead, Dave created the Polara golf ball, which would help correct an average golfer's hook or slice.
As the final hours ticked away at Healthcare's Grand Hackfest: Idea to Breakthrough Innovation in One Weekend, teams huddled together in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, continuing to brainstorm on their design and prototype innovative breakthroughs from the last few days.
People everywhere. Parties that seem to be on continuous loop all day. Vendors marketing new ideas, new startups or new swag everywhere you go. And then there's the conference with its many speakers presenting on topics ranging from anything to everything. With 30,000 people in attendance, the South By Southwest Interactive Conference can be overwhelming. So from a recent SXSW newbie to you, here are three questions to ask yourself when preparing to attend SXSW 2015.
Venture capital certainly has its place within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of our nation's largest companies (and employers), like Apple, Google and FedEx, have secured this form of funding. But plenty of Kauffman Foundation research tells us that VC funding isn't as mainstream in startups as one would gather based on its common place in startup news. In fact, less than 20 percent of the fastest growing young companies ever take venture capital money.
At Healthcare's Grand Hackfest: Idea to Breakthrough Innovation in One Weekend, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, day two of the program began with presentations from a panel of keynote speakers who shared some words of wisdom for innovators in the group.
"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.
Baby boomers are micromanagers, work hard, do not understand technology, are stubborn and want to destroy the planet. Millennials are lazy, entitled, tech savvy, want to save the world and don't know how to communicate in person. Although the generalizations of baby boomers and millennials vary, they do share one similar characteristic, they both share particular entrepreneurial characteristics. Millennials crave freedom and earning potential. Baby boomers have a desire to build something.
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.
Chasing an entrepreneurial dream can be an all-consuming effort. Particularly in those crucial early days of a startup, founders seem to eat, sleep and breathe their businesses. But this heads-down mode is not without its drawbacks, one of which is neglecting to stay up on current events—particularly the happenings that can impact the entrepreneurs who are inadvertently paying no attention to them.
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