This is What Disruption Sounds Like

What do CDs, laptop computers and 4-year universities have in common?  They all are being disrupted. Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Clayton Christensen, which describes the process in which a simple application that appears (and are initially dismissed) at the bottom of a market consistently moves up market until they eventually displaces the…

Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Make a Statement

The largest business plan competition, Accelerate Michigan, had just completed its main award ($500,000) a week before.  This week, however, a dozen startups gathered in the basement of Ann Arbor SPARK  to give their pitch after weeks of hard work not for prize money but for the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to take…

Leaving Safe Harbor

The wind was a steady 25 knots gusting to 30 at 10am Saturday morning. Outside the harbor break wall the waves were 8-10 feet rolling South towards our next port of call and I had a decision to make: Stay put or leave our safe harbor to engage the open water towards our next adventure.…

Can startups do battle with giants?

I’m often asked by people if a startup really can compete with a behemoth software company like Microsoft?  After all, couldn’t Microsoft just turn their attention on any startup and squash it like a bug? In theory, possibly… but in reality, not likely!  Big companies are usually so full of bureaucracy they can’t even do…

How do you know when to jump off the cliff?

One of my favorite entrepreneurial quotes is by Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn.  Reid wrote:  “The entrepreneurial journey starts with jumping off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.” This perfectly captures the essence of the fear, leap of faith, commitment and urgency that surrounds the entrepreneurial journey!  But it doesn’t answer the big question…

3 Days, 80 Scientists, 300 Customer Interviews

This week was the kick off of the University of Michigan Innovation Corps (I-Corps) summer session where 80 scientists, engineers and mentors gathered in Ann Arbor to participate in the 8-week entrepreneurial-immersion program developed by Steve Blank and the National Science Foundation (NSF). For those not familiar with I-Corps, it is an intense entrepreneurial training…

How would an entrepreneur apply for a job?

First of all, the title of this blog doesn’t make sense.  Entrepreneurs don’t typically apply for jobs – they create them!   That said, I wanted to use this subject to illustrate something we talk about a lot at the University of Michigan – the entrepreneurial mindset. Too often I hear from people who are frustrated…