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.…

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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…

An Entrepreneurial Tsunami in A2 is Coming

Its not often scientists get to witness seismic events in our Earth’s crust that produce tidal waves.  Although our science is getting better they are still hard to measure and even harder to see up close and personal. I, however, had the distinct pleasure of personally witnessing a seismic event in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of…

Testing Ideas with Customers

I’ve sat through approximately 50 pitches in the last 2-3 weeks and many times I hear a common example of how the teams have tested their ideas with customers… “We went out and showed our prototype to a bunch of people and everyone we showed it to said yes, they would buy it!”. The problem…

Why Neo is an Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you look at life through a different lens.  Instead of seeing the world as it is, you tend to start seeing the world as it “should be” or “could be”. Instead of taking things on face value you tend to stop and question how they came into being and why and who did…

Disruptive Ideas Require Identifying Core Value

Consider this question:  “Describe the value of a gas station”. I like to ask entrepreneurs this question as a thought experiment of how hard it is sometimes to isolate value from something we are used to experiencing every day. A typical response is “a place where I gas my car”.  That is incorrect, that is…

225+ A2 Entrepreneurs at TechArb last night

Last night was the UM Student Startup Showcase at the new TechArb location where 225 Ann Arbor entrepreneurs gathered to see not only the 8 most recent student startups to complete the TechArb program but also to meet the 20 new UM Student Startups entering TechArb for session #7 (Nov-2011 through April-2012). Many thanks to…

Creating Disruption

We have made great strides in developing and teaching skills and processes that help entrepreneurs figure out how to take their ideas, reduce risks and more efficiently test and validate (or invalidate) they’re assumptions. As you probably know I’m a huge fan of the lean startup model and customer development.  I’m also really happy to…

Record Applications for TechArb (session #7)

A record number of University of Michigan student startup teams have applied for access to TechArb for the upcoming session (#7 – November 2011 through April, 2012). Tomorrow (Monday) we have interviews with each of the startup teams that are finalists for the remaining slots for most of the day. I really enjoy meeting entrepreneurs…

(2030) Order edited or modified

“(2030) Order edited or modified” is the latest status on my Chevy Volt order when I checked today… and I’m thrilled! It’s been two weeks since the last change to my Volt order (originally placed on 8/25/2011) and I was craving some update as to the status of my future car… incidentally, the update on…