This is everything I've written here or elsewhere over the last few years. You can search, filter by publication, or choose from some highlights below.
FILTERED: ALL TEACHING STARTUP

Teaching Startup: The Poker Episode

THE SHOW - Episode 4.3

5.22.17





In startup, everyone talks about failure and a lot of folks even encourage it -- Fail fast and fail often, they say. There's nothing wrong with this mantra, on its face, but it's rare that someone will actually walk you through what failure looks like and how to prepare for it. In startup, failure isn't the loss of your startup, failure is a long parade of pain.

In corporate life, failure is the loss of your job, maybe the loss of your house, your car, your family, everything you've worked so hard for. A lot of folks avoid startup because it seems like the risk is much higher to wind up in that aforementioned nightmare situation. But contrary to conventional wisdom, entrepreneurs don't love risk, they love to stare down risk, tolerate it, and mitigate it. If they're good, they eliminate it.

That got us talking about poker.

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Teaching Startup: All Startups Are Scams

THE SHOW - Episode 4.2

5.15.17





There's a fine line between being a dreamer and being an entrepreneur. Don't get me wrong, I mean this in the best light possible. Without dreams, without suspension of disbelief, without the ignorance of what can't be done, the entrepreneur is no different than the cubicle drone. One thing separates the entrepreneur from the dreamer: Execution.

There's also a fine line between being an entrepreneur and being a scam artist. Let's face it, if you're doing startup right, you're doing something no one has ever done before with no proof it will work, much less succeed. And you're trying to sell that vaporware, that dream, those magic beans, to customers or investors or both.

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Teaching Startup: When Do You Call Yourself An Entrepreneur

THE SHOW - Episode 4.1

5.8.17






Why do people hesitate calling themselves entrepreneurs? I meet entrepreneurs from all over the country -- these are smart, ambitious, even successful people who having trouble getting the term entrepreneur to roll off the tongue. And more often than not, it's because they feel like they don't know enough about startup to label themselves as an entrepreneur. This is ludicrous. And it makes me furious.

But I can understand the awkwardness of it. It's not like being a doctor or a lawyer -- there's no credentialed association to back up the fact that you studied and worked hard to become what you are. There's also a bit of sketchiness to it, those multi-level marketing and huckster salesmen who go with entrepreneur because it gives them a showy legitimacy.

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Chasing Money, Trading On Your Name

Episode 3.4 of THE SHOW, the Last One With Thad Lewis

4.10.17






So this is the last episode with NFL Quarterback, entrepreneur, and all-around great dude Thad Lewis. We find a comfort level and a common theme here, and get into a great discussion about funding and sales.

Colgan does this exercise in which he pretends to be Thad and dreams up his cold email marketing campaign. There's a lot there for any entrepreneur to take away. The initial marketing boost, or lack thereof, is something that kills companies quickly, and Colgan is brilliant at it.

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Athletes and Entrepreneurs, Confidence is Everything

Episode 3.3 of THE SHOW with Thad Lewis

4.3.17






The Teaching Startup crew definitely got rolling with this episode and it produced some of our most entertaining and interesting content. Discussing confidence and strategy, we get into the similarities between high-level athlete performance and high-level founder performance. The common theme is confidence.

You can have all the talent in the world and still fail. Every athlete knows this. What you put around you is important, but feeling like you can win, against all odds, that's critical. There will be times in startup when you're tested, when you have to survive, and being able to make the right decisions is rooted in your strength of character.

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Learn or Hire - Episode 3.2 of THE SHOW with Thad Lewis

Just Because You Have Resources Doesn't Mean Startup Is Easy

3.28.17






In this 2nd episode of THE SHOW with 49ers QB Thad Lewis, we talk about learn vs. hire. In other words, you can't do all of startup by yourself, and you shouldn't -- so when does it make sense to learn the skills you don't have, like coding, as opposed to hiring in those skills.

Thanks to a lifetime of hard work and some good fortune, Thad Lewis has the means and the connections to start whatever business he wants and get it off the ground in a way that most people can't. But that in no way guarantees his success, and he knows this.

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NFL QB Thad Lewis Joins Teaching Startup

Four Episodes on the Link Between Sports and Startup

3.21.17






We were actually going to stop having guests on the show.

The episodes with Justin Miller had gone really well, but I came away from them thinking we could make The Show even better if we spent some time refining it. No guests for a while, get into a rhythm and tune our chemistry.

Because Andy was in California last month at 500 Startups and because we all have, you know, day jobs, I was meeting with each of the guys individually and laying out my no-guest plan. Andy agreed immediately and offered to start playing host, which he does here. He's great at it. Colgan was also down, as he and I are starting to find our own chemistry, and you can see that starting to develop.

Chop agreed too, thought it was a great idea, but also wondered out loud if we'd like to have Thad Lewis do a guest stint.

I remember Thad Lewis from his time at Duke. He's that good. And when Chop told me what he was doing as an entrepreneur with his TL9 label, it was just way too good to pass up.

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Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 2.4

How To Build Relationships With Investors

3.12.17






The final episode with WedPics cofounder Justin Miller. We squeezed a lot of relevant information out of these four episodes, covering everything from the brand of the entrepreneur to selling product to raising money to what to do when it all goes sideways.

For a first attempt with a guest, it went pretty well.

As liked and respected as Justin is, and that comes out in this episode, he's had his doubters. I was there at the beginning, when the take on him was for his looks. I was there when he raised his first round, when the take was his company was all customer acquisition and not revenue (something else he discusses in this episode).

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Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 2.3

How To Get Noticed

3.6.17






I'm going to admit something to you. When we were shooting this series of episodes with Justin, I was uncomfortable the entire time. It doesn't show and I had no reason to feel it, and the more these episodes roll to final product, the stupider I feel for being so sketchy during the shoot.

I mean, there were legit reasons. We'd never had a guest before. And Justin is great and I've known him forever and he's perfect on camera, but I was worried it would become an interview show instead of a conversation, which it did. But it kept its honesty, even in that interview style format, so I'm happy with that.

There are a lot of good lessons in these episodes.

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Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 2.2

What Does Success Look Like?

2.27.17






This is the second episode in the series we're doing with WedPics co-founder Justin Miller. Doing the show with Justin, whom I've known for about 10 years through a total of six startups between the two of us, was a bunch of awesome. But it went by fast. Real fast. And we didn't get to talk about a lot of the topics I wanted to hit.

One thing we did get to was the concept of what an entrepreneur is supposed to look like. We didn't get as deep as I'd like, again, it went real quick, but we did talk about the most universal concept -- That what an entrepreneur looks like doesn't, and in most cases, shouldn't, matter.

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Teaching Startup: The Final Post in the Final Series for Startup Foundation Concepts

That's It. That's the Whole Startup Universe. You're Welcome.

2.16.17


A few months ago, I came up with The Grid, a five by five layout or map of what all my research and experience tells my what startup looks like. Then I started writing about each topic for Teaching Startup, with five concepts in each post.

It's so nerdy, but that 5x5x5 is a cube, and it's a perfect 3D map of everything you need to know about startup before you begin or when you're in the thick of it.

Today, I posted the final piece -- Five Reasons for Startup: Elimination. And it's kind of a catch-all, but the universe needed a catch-all, because it's inclusive and awesome and I didn't want to leave anyone out.

A book is forthcoming, but right now we're just working on making the show the best in can be. So while you're over at Teaching Startup reading this, check out a couple episodes of The Show is well.

Even if you're not an entrepreneur and you never will be, this stuff is good for your soul.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-reasons-for-startup-elimination.asp


Survive Or Die! Teaching Startup: The Show -Episode 1.6

2.14.17






You hear this all the time as a cautionary tale in startup -- Survive or Die! There will be times when you have to make the decision to power through all of your mistakes or give up under the weight of them. Unlike a corporate job, in startup, there's no structure to blend into, nothing to hide behind, and no one is going to swoop in and save you.

That's part of the growth process of becoming an entrepreneur. It's hard to do and not always fun to talk about, but we found a way.

Do startups fail because the idea isn't any good? Not likely. Bad ideas rarely evolve into startups in the first place, because it's hard to rally people around a bad idea. But even good people executing on a good idea can make mistakes. If you aren't self aware enough to see those mistakes as they're happening, or if you aren't a leader enough to fix those mistakes quickly, that's usually when a startup goes off a cliff.

It's so much easier to just ride the failure train off the tracks than it is to self-analyze and self-adjust, but it's something every entrepreneur has to learn and do.

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Teaching Startup: The Show: What's Your Biggest Weakness?

It's Not HOW You Fail, It's WHY You Fail

2.6.17


In this episode we focus on our weaknesses. Not necessarily our failures, but those pieces of us that we're bad at. Startup doesn't talk about weakness much. Failure stories are great, but 90% of the time they're humblebrags -- "We flew too close to the sun like Icarus!"

Honestly, that's not helpful. What we do is talk about what makes us fail, and succeed, in terms that everybody here can easily understand.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/whats-your-biggest-weakness.asp


Are You Meant To Be An Entrepreneur?

New *Five Reasons* Installment Looks at Personality

2.2.17


In the fourth installment of Five Reasons For Startup, I dive into the five personality traits that I see most often in great entrepreneurs. But this piece is a little backwards. Instead of talking about things you need to succeed, I'm looking at things that you might already have that might help you succeed. Be advised though, just because you don't fit any type doesn't mean you shouldn't try your hand at startup. I can't stress that enough.

I was built for startup. There's something about my genetic makeup, my upbringing, and my environment that makes startup right for me. It's not a job, it's not a career, it's not a lifestyle. It's what I do.

It may just be what you do too.

I've actually known this about myself my whole life. I've been building companies since the imaginary ones I built as a kid.

Yes, I had friends.

But I didn't discover an opportunity to get involved with startup until I had already been out of college for a year. In my world, you studied hard, you got good grades, you went to the job fair, you tried to get the job that everybody else wanted.

I did that. I hated the result. I didn't know startup was an option. I just didn't know any better. This shouldn't be.

There are a lot of personality traits that will lead someone to self-identify as an entrepreneur. Now, I should point out that even if it's in their blood, so to speak, it doesn't necessarily mean they're meant to be an entrepreneur, and it doesn't mean they'll be a good entrepreneur. It just means they need to test the waters at some point.

There are a lot of personality-based reasons for startup. Tons. So this isn't an exhaustive list of all the personality traits that might drive someone to become an entrepreneur. Your reasons will be your own, but the ones I've chosen here are the ones I see in a lot of great entrepreneurs, and when I ask them, these are the traits that they believe make them successful.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-reasons-for-startup-personality.asp


New Episode: The Corporate Reasons Behind Teaching Startup: The Show

The Crumbling of Corporate Culture - Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 1.4

1.30.17


I founded Teaching Startup because I believe we're on the verge of a new era of entrepreneurship.

Those jobs we lost in the Great Recession? They're not coming back. They're being automated and streamlined out of existence. Then you've got all these kids coming out of higher education, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt in some cases, who can't find a job worth their degree.

And the generation behind those kids, they're smarter than all of us put together. The smartest among them are going to start their own company, and the rest are going to work for them.

Corporate culture is on the decline. It's only about 50 or 60 years old anyway. Down the road, startup isn't going to be an alternative anymore. It's going to be the mainstream.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/the-crumbling-of-corporate-culture.asp


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