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I had my reservations about starting the Top of Mind video channel—mainly because there are a lot of good sources for observations and opinions on the increasingly popular topic of entrepreneurship. But we have proceeded with this effort because one of the rare privileges I have, by virtue of my position and the work we do at the foundation, is being granted access to events and thinking that are not common to many.
One of the greatest gifts of my job is the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs. A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to talk entrepreneurship with Barnett Helzberg, Jr., former CEO of Helzberg Diamonds. Turns out this iconic entrepreneur, who's sold a company to Warren Buffet, knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship.
A lone startup that had set up shop in a house on a typical Kansas City block has some new neighbors. In less than one year—with the recent installation of Google Fiber serving as a potential catalyst—that same block is now home to a dense pocket of startup activity and has been duly dubbed the Kansas City Startup Village.
In her book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, Hillary Clinton famously (or infamously, based upon your politics) advocated for a society that assumes shared responsibility for raising children. I have concluded that there is some value to "the Village," but in an emerging way that may be redefining what we expect from the communities in which we engage.
When considering the optimal number of founders for any new entrepreneurial adventure, the calculus extends well beyond simple formulas seemingly supported by observations of startup cohorts within specific industries. Famous technology twosomes that come to mind include David Packard and William Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple, Paul Allen and Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. In these examples, it is widely observed that these buddy teams complemented each other well in the early formative years of their companies.
The latest Kauffman Sketchbook illustrates how the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program develops the critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills that help any individual think like an entrepreneur.
Long understood to be the engine of the U.S. economy, the world is embracing entrepreneurship as one of the primary means of building a long-term recovery. Ironically, for this spreading global fervor to make a sustainable impact, the world of entrepreneurship must shrink.
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.
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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