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…

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…

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…