Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

News from the World of High Growth Student Startups | GrubHub | Packback Books | #Entrepreneurship #Dissertation

Been awhile lots of research and busy with new opportunities at George Mason Universities. The Campus is indeed the frontier. Three items from the frontier…

University of Chicago Booth School high growth startup GrubHub has filed for an IPO. From winning the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge to raising millions in venture capital, Matt Maloney‘s startup has been on the move.

Big celebrations in Chicago and at 1871 as a student startup from Illinois State, Packback Books, appeared on Shark Tank last week. They closed a deal with Mark Cuban. The company, founded Kasey Gandham, Mike Shannon and Nick Currier offers short term, pay per use digital textbook rentals. Kind of like renting a movie from itunes etc. Big changes in #highered #textbook market!

My dissertation, The Campus as Frontier for Entrepreneurship: High Growth Student Startups at U.S. Universities, will be completed in April 2014. The dissertation will include a case study, a database of high growth student entrepreneurs, their firms, and universities. Additionally, the work will propose 5 archetypes of high growth student entrepreneurs and will suggest a frontier framework for evaluating U.S. higher education and its value. I look forward to sharing this work as I complete by PhD from GMU’s SPP.





Effectuation | Saras Sarasvathy

Am I late to the party on Effectuation and Saras Sarasvathy at the University of Virginia (found it through some of the Babson folks and their new book, Action Trumps Everything)? From the Effectuation video:

Effectuation is an idea with a sense of purpose – a desire to improve the state of the world and the lives of individuals by enabling the creation of firms, products, markets, services, and ideas.

Effectuation is a logic of entrepreneurial expertise, developed from a cognitive science based study of 27 founders of companies ranging in size from $200M to $6.5B. Effectuation articulates a dynamic and iterative process of creating new artifacts in the world. Effectual reasoning is a type of human problem solving that takes the future as fundamentally unpredictable, yet controllable through human action; the environment as constructible through choice; and goal as negotiated residuals of stakeholder commitments rather than as pre-existent preference orderings.

via About Effectuation | SEA – Society for Effectual Action.

Rise of the ‘Edupunk’ Spells Opportunity For Entrepreneurs

Jack Stripling has an interesting piece in the wake of the recent TIAA-CREF Institute’s 2010 Higher Education Leadership Conference.

In a notable acknowledgment of the tail wagging the dog, several panelists alluded here to the possibility that if colleges don’t change the way they do business, then students will change the way colleges do business.

College leaders don’t yet know how to credential the knowledge students are gaining on their own, but they may soon have to, said Mark David Milliron, deputy director for postsecondary improvement at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are not far from the day when a student, finding unsatisfactory reviews of a faculty member on ratemyprofessors.com, will choose to take a class through open courseware online and then ask his home institution to assess him, Milliron said. Colleges need to prepare for that reality, he said.

While the concept of a self-educated citizenry circumventing the traditional system of higher education may have sounded far-fetched a decade ago, the fact that the likes of Spilde gave it more than lip service marks something of a shift. Indeed, there was more than a subtle suggestion across hours of sessions Monday that colleges are in for a new world, like it or not, where they may not be the winners.

The piece highlights the work of various leaders in higher education, but makes clear that budgetary challenges are looming and change will come, even if it is not openly discussed in policy circles. From the piece:

Among those lamenting the lack of real action was William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and a national advocate for improving efficiencies in higher education. During a session covering the college completion goals set out by President Obama and others, Kirwan passionately questioned the “enormous disconnect” between the rhetoric coming from policy makers and the reality in states that are slashing budgets. Moreover, he asserted that concrete benchmarks have not been set for how the United States will achieve Obama’s stated goal of returning to its historic summit as the nation with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

“If we were serious about this, we would have it mapped out,” he said. There are indeed maps, but Kirwan’s point suggests even policy wonks don’t see clear benchmarks.

The seriousness of the budget realities, however, did not go unnoticed by Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York. Speaking like a man under the Sword of Damocles, Goldstein suggested state deficits in New York and elsewhere were the “next bubble.”

“Here’s where the problem is really going to come and smack us right in the face,” Goldstein said.

“You don’t hear the talking heads and you don’t hear the politicians who are running for office saying how real this problem is,” he added.

Goldstein went further, asserting that the inability of states to meet obligations in higher education was a true “national security problem.”

There is far more to read in this piece if you are interested in the state of higher education in America — including positive actions such as UVA’s twitter based ‘flash seminar’ experiment.  (sounds cool, wonder what students think)

With knowledge at the center of our economy and society, and our knowledge makers and distributors undergoing radical change — from increasing demand and decreasing budgets to disruptive technology and global competition — the importance of entrepreneurship is clear.

Smart institutions will welcome them at all levels, from on and off of campus, many institutions and leaders will continue to fend them off, dreaming of security, not opportunity.

via News: The Rise of the ‘Edupunk’ – Inside Higher Ed.

Entrepreneurs Must Dream for Themselves and for Society

I am in the process of reading the book It’s A Jungle in There by Steven Schussler, the entrepreneur behind Rainforest Cafe and other customer-centric businesses.

Schussler has a great section on the importance of dreams to achieving success as an entrepreneur. He concludes his chapter on dreams with a piece of a poem by Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

There is no doubt that entrepreneurs are the dreamers of modern society and without them, society and economy do in fact become a barren field.

Yale Entrepreneur’s Cool Summer Business: An Ice Cream Boat

Fun and inspiring story of Jake Viola, a Yale undergraduate, who launched a business selling ice-cream from a boat to summer vacationers on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.  View Map

Yes, basically, the Good Humour Man on water. The story by Ray Routhier highlights the creativity of students and the role that family members can play in supporting entrepreneurs.

Viola, 19, of South Portland, has been selling ice cream from a pontoon boat on Little Sebago all summer long, calling his business Jake’s on the Lake. His family has a one-bedroom camp on Lyons Point, so he decided it would be a great launching point for an ice cream boat business.

His parents let him sell the family speedboat, and he used the money to buy a $3,500 pontoon boat, plus a freezer. He also printed business cards, which he hands out so people can call for special deliveries or party appearances. A family once asked him to come to their lobster bake, with more than 60 guests, and sell his ice cream.

He painted a big “ice cream” sign on the side of his boat, and now cruises the lake daily while blaring music from his sound system, including the ice cream truck standard “The Entertainer,” but with a hip-hop beat.

It didn’t take him long to develop a slew of regular customers along the shores of Little Sebago, which is densely populated with camps and homes. Viola had been to Lefebvre’s often enough that as soon as we landed, the family’s black Labrador retriever hopped aboard, apparently knowing full well that Viola had Frosty Paws, a frozen dog treat made by Purina.

The article notes that Jake does not want to major in business. (We have highlighted Yale entrepreneurs in the past).

Also interesting in this article are the comments. Many people support Jake, but there are a rare few, filled with spite that offer misdirected and blistering criticism towards Jake, his customers, Walmart, and any one else near Jake’s wake. Strange.

Either way, enjoy the article by Ray Routhier from the Portland Press Herald.

Writer Ray Routhier pilots Jake's on the Lake ice cream boat as Jake provides guidance on H2O ice cream delivery.

Yale Entrepreneur’s Summer Business Land’s Big Time

Governors Push College Completion, Inside Higher Ed

Incoming National Governors Association president Gov Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has made higher education productivity his administration’s agenda for the next year according to Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Education.

While this follows on Obama’s pronouncement and continued efforts by countless think tanks, trade groups, and philanthropists, this group is a welcome addition.

As Lederman’s post points out — 4 of 5 students engaged in higher education attend a public institution — only a handful (service academies, etc) of which are federally controlled. This unique, dispersed control of higher education supports the American Exceptionalism thesis.

From Inside Higher Education:

In a presentation at the association’s annual meeting and a news conference with reporters, Manchin outlined the steps the governors’ group will take to encourage its members, and the states they oversee, to try to increase the number of college- and career-ready residents despite what is virtually certain to be a time of continued fiscal austerity.

“As states face the worst economic crisis in modern history, we must collaborate to develop common performance measurements and take concrete steps to increase completion rates within our available resources,” he said in unveiling “Complete to Compete.” “From transforming first-year coursework to implementing performance funding, it is up to states and institutions to create policies that can improve degree attainment and more efficiently use the dollars invested by states and students.”

States do need to do more (both b/c of past transgressions and inability of federal policy makers to offer successful policies) to grow their way out of this recession. Higher education is crucial both as a driver and as a tool for other stakeholders. Whether Manchin and the National Governors Association see entrepreneurship policy on campus as the key mechanism the increased productivity remains to be seen. We will watch this one closely.

News: Governors Push College Completion – Inside Higher Ed.

Do Groups Kill Innovation – Knowledge@Wharton

From Knowledge@Wharton — the first business school in America (btw).

To come up with the next iPad, Amazon or Facebook, the last thing potential innovators need is a group brainstorm session. What the pacesetters of the future really require, according to new Wharton research, is some time alone.

In a paper titled, “Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea (PDF),” Wharton operations and information management professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich argue that group dynamics are the enemy of businesses trying to develop one-of-a-kind new products, unique ways to save money or distinctive marketing strategies.

How Group Dynamics May Be Killing Innovation – Knowledge@Wharton.

Apple’s iPad Struggles in Some Colleges | Some Ban the IPad

Melissa Korn over at the WSJ writes that the IPad is struggling as it enters the modern campus. The story highlights some difficulties over at George Washington University and Princeton University related to the IPad and network stability. From the piece:

The tablet, lauded by many as the next wave in education technology, is having difficulty being accepted at George Washington University and Princeton University because of network stability issues. Cornell University also says it is seeing connectivity problems with the device and is concerned about bandwidth overload.

Such issues could be a blow to Apple, which has gone after the higher education market by highlighting the iPad’s portability and availability of electronic books. But students may not be willing to pay $499—or more, depending on the type of iPad—if they still need a desktop or laptop computer to check course assignments or email. Some higher education insiders also worry there isn’t enough educational content available via the iBookstore application to eliminate expensive physical textbooks.

George Washington said earlier this month its wireless network’s security features don’t support the iPad—or iPhone and iPod Touch, for that matter. Princeton on Wednesday said it has proactively blocked about 20% of the devices from its network after noticing malfunctions that can affect the entire school’s computer system. Princeton is working with Apple to resolve the issue, according to a statement on the school’s Web site.

I have already had one student toting an IPad in class in the past few weeks and have two immediate family members (father and wife) who have purchased the IPad and are already in love.

The network issue is a big one for campuses as students already love watching video and sharing large files across school networks. I have no doubt that Apple products with their expanding array of Apps will only further push networks.  (Geek.com frames it: U.S. Universities Start Banning IPad Use)

BTW, I would love Apple to send me and my students some IPads to use in our New Venture Creation class. We could center our entire business planning segment around the concept of new ventures for the IPad. Anyone know who I should contact at Apple for this activity?

I look forward to learning more about how the IPad influences the campus and specifically entrepreneurs on campus.

<p><a href=’http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703594404575192330930646778.html’>Apple’s iPad Struggles at Some Colleges – WSJ.com</a>.</p>

Apple’s iPad Struggles at Some Colleges – WSJ.com.

The Darkside of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Peter Klein at Organizations and Markets points out a fun slide show of Obsolete Occupations from NPR. Entrepreneurship and innovation led to the end of most of theses occupations.

It is a great slideshow and it is interesting in that some of the occupations have made transformations and come back onto the labor market. For example, the slideshow mentions the typing pool of yesteryear, well today for example, scribes follow my ER wife around taking notes for her as she sees patients. The slide show also points out the milkman. I have noticed that in some of the more affluent metros in the U.S., delivery of organic milk and other farm products is entering the grocery marketplace. These are just my observations and I have no data to support them.

Enjoy the show.

Jobs Of Yesteryear: Obsolete Occupations « Organizations and Markets.

Entrepreneurship and Failure | 50 Brilliant Failures

Found this great list of 50 successful people who failed before they became great.

Really an interesting list and a good reminder for all entrepreneurs and those learning about entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship and failure come together. Thanks to Newmark’s Door for the find.

A couple from the list:

Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.

Harlan David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

Remember, failures happen throughout the entrepreneurial process and the greats learn from them and then work through them. Good luck.