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…

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…

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…

Chicago’s Entrepreneurial Spirit is Burning Bright

Today ends a 3-day fast paced visit to Chicago for myself and many UM entrepreneurial students who came here to engage the Chicago entrepreneurial network. On Sunday, I was thrilled to see so many wolverines participating in Chicago’s Startup Weekend event.  This 50+ hour event is a great way to build energy in a community…

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…