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…

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…

Why we need to unplug for 30 minutes

Last week, the homework assignment for one of my entrepreneurship classes was for each student to think about and write down what the value of the Internet is to them. The purpose of this assignment was to teach the students the difference between describing how they use something and its true value.  As entrepreneurs, we often…

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…

Celebrate Invention at A2 Draws Big Crowd

Last night the University of Michigan’s Tech Transfer Office held their annual Celebrate Invention event.  This event is held each fall to celebrate and honor inventors that are working on exciting new commercial opportunities using U-M IP. It was a cold and rainy evening so I didn’t hold much hope for a large crowd but was excited…

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…