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

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


New Five Reasons for Startup: Common Good

Doing Startup for the Right(ish) Reasons

1.25.17


This morning I published the third installment of the Five Reasons for Startup series, and this one is a little more controversial than the rest. I'm trying to balance the pros of doing good with your business the the cons of replacing profit with good works.

I like good people. And I love people who do good. But I'm not going to come out and be all Yeah, go for it. Make the world a better place through startup.

If you were expecting that, I apologize in advance.

I've always been skeptical of social entrepreneurship or startup for the sake of doing good works. Startup with a cause? Awesome. Startup FOR a cause? Raised eyebrow.

Look, I'm a good person, too. Just like you. I do good things. I'm not saying don't blend your personal causes with your startup. I'm saying don't build a startup around a personal cause and expect that the magic of good to be what gets you over the finish line. It very well may and I hope it does. Just don't be naive. All the rules for survival still apply. All of them. You can still waste people's money in the name of charity. If you build something to help others and it fails, that's not OK.

As an entrepreneur, you have to separate business from personal. Always.

But I'll also be the first to tell you that common good should be a big part of your startup from day one. Because if it isn't, then you're no better than the powers-that-be you're trying to take down.

I know. It's a paradox. So let's dive in.

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


The Show: Why Do We Make Startup So Damn Boring?

Teaching Startup: The Show -- Episode 1.3

1.23.17


So this week I upgraded the cold open a little bit to make it more visually appealing. MATI Energy is the sponsor. And we start to get into a little more back-and-forth with a little less exposition.

That time we talked about sucking all the fun out of startup, keeping people out of the club, and Joe's cut-rate accelerator idea.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/why-do-we-make-startup-so-damn-boring.asp


Second *Five Reasons for Startup* Installment Covers Money

The Lottery, Your Career, Investment vs Revenue, Foundation First, Don't Blow It

1.19.17


In this latest installment of this final series "Five Reasons for Startup" on Teaching Startup, I tackle money. Cold hard cash. It's a legit reason for becoming an entrepreneur, and it can actually be a pretty wise decision provided you know what you're getting into. I cover all of that in this piece.

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Five Reasons for Startup: Wealth

Let's talk about money. A lot of money. Big money. The root of all evil.

So you want to get into startup for the money. I get it. I'm not going to waste your time debating the merits of capitalism, morality, ethics, or throw a bunch of biblical tales at you. I actually admire your ambition. But there are some things you need to know.

Wealth is a legitimate reason for becoming an entrepreneur. As I discussed in the last installment, startup is full of unlimited possibilities, and in a lot of ways, startup makes it easier to get to where you want to be financially, once you throw out the conventional timetables and status symbols of the traditional American dream.

On the other hand, it's never easy to make money with startup, especially at first. Because unlike the corporate path, your mistakes won't get covered, you can't coast, and there's no large organization to get your back when your own personal results flag or you hit a slump.

And it's expensive to get your business to a point where the money coming in is both recurring and something you can count from month to month and year to year. That expense equates to either money out of your own pocket (or someone else's pocket who you'll have to repay before you get paid), or time, during which you won't be getting paid very much if at all.

But except for those two points on the near and far end, the rest of the Wealth equation for startup looks a lot like the Wealth equation for anything else. Work hard. Be frugal. Plan right. And if you're chasing startup only to chase Wealth, I mean, if you're chasing anything only to chase Wealth, you're probably headed into a world of hurt.

So don't do that.

Being an entrepreneur is not a lifestyle choice or a hobby, it's a career. There are just as many responsibilities, headaches, heartaches, and pitfalls as a corporate career. There are, however, a plethora of reasons why everyone should try startup at least once in their life. Here are some of those reasons, and yours might be totally different.

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


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