Startup Gospel and Ecosystems in Alaska

Ever since reading Jack London, I’ve wanted to go to Alaska. Looks like July is the time toklondike_puppy go as its Alaska Startup week and there are events throughout the state, from lean startup workshops to pitch competitions. 2017 is the Year of Innovation in Alaska. From Naomi Klauda at the Alaska Journal of Commerce:

The seasonal cycle featured the Innovation Summit in Juneau Feb. 15-16, the online Alaska Business Model Competition Feb. 4, the Alaska Business Plan Competition in April, the techy Interior HackaThon in Fairbanks and the fall Arctic Innovation Competition.

“You can enter at any point, but it starts with seeding the idea — there’s a total of six that we make a point of highlighting that illustrates a cycle,” Shepherd said.

Startup week or Startup Weekend offers immersion into ideation.

“Within one year you could go from idea to launch with $60,000 in investments,” Shepherd said. “To launch right here in Alaska means you no longer have to go anywhere else from idea to launch.”

It is quite amazing, but not surprising, to see that people (entrepreneurs, policy makers, educators, etc) are setting about building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Alaska. There is likely no place in the US that retains so much of Turner’s Frontier as Alaska – but I’ll have to go next July to find out. For more on Turner’s frontier in the entrepreneurial age, check out my recent paper — Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal or SSRN version.

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21st Century Entrepreneurship | Franck Nouyrigat | Marc Nager | #AshokaUOnline | Audio | Slideshare

Last night our Entrepreneurship and Globalization course hosted Marc Nager and Franck Nouyrigat, co-founders of Startup Weekend — a high impact social venture in the field of entrepreneurship education. You can listen to the show here (my apologies for my enthusiastic interpretation of our ‘talk radio’ platform).

Also, see the really interesting slideshare they shared. I love slide 5 and slide 9. They were also great sports in that they interacted with our students on twitter. If you can get yourself out to a Startup Weekend event please do: Here is the Startup Weekend events map.

21st Century Entrepreneurship by Franck Nouyrigat | SlideShare.

Disruption in Higher Education | Thank You Steve Blank

In my 6 years at GMU I have been fortunate to participate in many discussions regarding disruptions in higher education and even Mason’s specific opportunities.

I’ve been bewildered by the bureaucracy and slow pace of modern universities a few times in regard to online education.

Steve Blank has an interesting post, Why Innovation Dies,  highlighting the dangerous, bureaucratic, but professional approach that many universities are taking to online opportunities and challenges. Moreover, Blank offers an online education infographic (see below). Thank you Steve Blank, I hope this makes it to many  .edu in boxes.

The problem is that the path to implementing online education is not known. In fact, it’s not a solvable problem by committee, regardless of how many smart people in the room. It is a “NP complete” problem – it is so complex that figuring out the one possible path to a correct solution is computationally incalculable.

Later,

Online education is not an existing market. There just isn’t enough data to pick what is the correct “overarching strategy”.

Making a single bet on a single strategy, plan or company in a new market is a sure way to fail. After 50-years even the smartest VC firms haven’t figured out how to pick one company as the winner. That’s why they invest in a portfolio.

via Steve Blank.