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"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.
It was a thrill for me last summer when I had the chance to sit down with best-selling author, entrepreneur and teacher, Gifford Pinchot III. For someone like me who has been an entrepreneur and who now works at the foundation for entrepreneurs, to meet the legend who actually coined the term "intrapreneurship" was a real treat. During our visit, I had the chance to ask Gifford about the motivation that led to the publishing of his best-selling book, Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur, in 1985.
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.
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. This naturally occurring tunnel vision has a purpose, of course, allowing entrepreneurs to give their business babies the time and attention they need to mature. 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.
Rahul Sood, General Manager of Microsoft Ventures, is changing how we help startups accelerate. Targeting markets across the globe, Microsoft Ventures is bringing entrepreneurial mentoring, backed by Microsoft's products and support, to give their accelerator companies an unfair advantage in the market.
There's been a growing resurgence of working areas of long tables with copious amounts of white boards. They call them co-working spaces. Since the coining of the phrase in early 2000s, they've grown into warehouse size places with cubical conference rooms and modern furniture, becoming a hip thing for entrepreneurial ecosystems and startups across the globe. But recently, I've come to a realization: Co-working spaces are lame.
Innovation Fund America (IFA), our program delivering high-impact education, coaching and pre-seed funding to scalable, technology-based startups via community colleges around the country, has quietly been having a big couple of months. It's a complicated and demanding program to launch and it's taken nearly a year and a half to get to this point, but we're excited that IFA is now open for business in two communities--and we're really just getting started.
As a father of three, I vividly remember those chilly, early-summer mornings of packing bags, loading up the car, and waving a sad goodbye as my children began their latest adventure at the summer camp of choosing. And there were plenty of those mornings over the course of 18 years. There was volleyball camp, and Science Olympiad clinics, and lacrosse camp.
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