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…

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…

Observe Trends When Scaling Up Good Ideas

When I co-founded Mobile Automation in 1997 we had developed an idea (and some technology) to allow IT Administrators to send large files to mobile employees with laptops when they were away from the corporate office. Back then, high speed Internet access outside of your office ethernet connection was very rare and the few employees…

Chance Favors the Connected Mind

Great progress has been made in developing processes and tools to help entrepreneurs take an idea and search for the right business model and turn it into a new venture. Not a lot, however, has been done to develop processes around taking an interesting idea and evolving it into something truly amazing and disruptive. Imposible?…

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…