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Article

What Should We Teach Kids About Startups?


  

Imagine what would happen if we spent as much time trying to teach kids to become entrepreneurs as we did trying to get them to prepare for the SATs?

Let's remember that a disproportionate amount of our academic focus is around a series of standardized tests designed in an era where homogenizing the workforce was our number one goal (side note: it worked).

Now our goal is the polar opposite: differentiating our workforce. The only way our kids will succeed is if they can stand apart from others and chart their own course.

That's the essence of entrepreneurship, and it's something we can absolutely teach.

Why should we start with kids as entrepreneurs?

Kids are natural entrepreneurs.

They possess the most powerful skill any of us can have...



Article

The Secrets to Crafting an Irresistible Elevator Pitch (With Examples)


  

What is an elevator pitch?

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a Founder and a VC walk into an elevator…

In all seriousness, if you’ve spent any time swimming in the startup waters, you’re probably familiar with the idea of the elevator pitch. But in case you missed that day in Founder School, the scenario is this:

Say you got in an elevator, and standing in that elevator was the one person that could make or break your business. You have the length of that elevator ride to convince this person to get on board. And no, the electricity can’t suddenly cut out and leave you with a couple of hours to fill instead of a handful of seconds.

Well — What the @#*! do you say?

We’ll get to that.

Why are elevator pitches important?

There’s a reas...



Article

Can Doing Non-Startup Stuff Help My Startup?


  

Sometimes the best way to grow our startups is to spend some time doing stuff that has nothing to do with our startups!

It sounds easy to do and yet so many of us have a huge issue with getting outside our own startup bubble.

But what if we knew that time away was the key to actually making our startup grow faster?

The problem with "startup all the time"

Aside from the obvious challenges around things like burnout, being focused exclusively on our startups prevents us from getting some new perspectives that we would have otherwise missed.

Whether it's that passing thought during meditation, that interesting point another Founder made at dinner, or the inspiration we got when we were sitting on a beach staring at the sun — our time away fro...



Article

The Challenges and Rewards of the Blended Workforce


  

The blended workforce is made up of people who work full-time and part-time, as well as temporary workers, freelancers, and contract workers.

The so-called “gig economy,” or the rise of popularity in freelance work, that took root with the recovery from the 2008 recession and expanded with the advent of the Affordable Care Act is making the blended workforce the workforce of the future and the workforce of today. Around 40 percent of today’s labor force is made up of non-traditionally working people, including freelancers (sometimes referred to as agile talent, 1099s, consultants, contractors, etc.), temporary workers, and self-employed workers.

As with any labor force, the blended workforce offers advantages and disadvant...



Article

What Appearing on “Shark Tank” Taught Me About My Business


  

Seven months after filming an episode for season six of ABC’s hit television show “Shark Tank,” I finally received the email I had been waiting for: my episode had an air date, and it was only 18 days away!

My immediate thoughts were relief and terror, in that order. Relief because it was the end of an almost year-long waiting game since producers had first contacted me with an invitation to appear on the show, and terror because I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea what my business—or my life—would be like in 30 days’ time.

Moments after receiving the email, I shared the “Shark Tank” news, along with my feelings of excitement and uncertainty, with a friend, Colin McGuire. After a short congratulations, he said something that r...



Article

Samuel F. Poirier: “I Think To Succeed, You Need To Become Mentally Strong Enough To Ignore These Dark Times”


  

Samuel F. Poirier is the first French Canadian to be named a Thiel Fellow. Samuel founded his first company when he was 14, where he would import minerals from several countries to Montreal. At 18, Poirier founded the first debit card for Bitcoin. His most recent venture, Retinad, is an analytics platform for virtual reality that helps VR companies understand how users are interacting with their platform. He currently remains a shareholder of Retinad, but recently left the day to day operations to focus on a new project that he isn’t quite ready to talk about! I took the time to speak to Samuel about his journey as a young entrepreneur and the challenges that he has faced both personally and professionally to get to this point.

Determinati...



Article

The Age of Napoleons: Conquerers in Tech


  

It’s no secret that our time in history is unique. Our times are unique in a myriad of ways, but an area of some concern is the state of entrepreneurship in the world of technology.

In recent decades fund-raising has become not only much easier, but also more popular. Even businesses with seemingly little potential to truly become scalable, try to raise money, and they even sometimes succeed. While fund-raising is a decent way to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, it’s not end-game for aspiring entrepreneurial-Napoleons.

In some ways, the entrepreneurial scene hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. For example, the average age of entrepreneurs today is not significantly younger than 100 years ago.

Steve Blank considers...



Article

How to Make an Easy Transition From Employee to Employer


  

Most people who start their own businesses must make a transition from employee to entrepreneur. There are some exceptions, such as people who are brought up in a family of business owners. For the most part, though, society trains us to be employees. This starts in school and continues as we begin to earn money with part-time and full-time jobs.

So when you decide to take the plunge and start your own business, it can be easy to unwittingly bring an employee mindset with you. Here are some pointers to keep in mind to help you make this crucial transition:

Consider a Gradual Transition

There are both pros and cons of leaving your job and putting all of your energy into your own business. On the one hand, you can devote all of your time to ...



Article

The 20 Best Startup Podcasts for 2020


  

The past few years have seen an explosion of podcasts — it seems like everyone wants to get in on the audio. And startup founders (many of whom have probably been listening to podcasts since they started in the early aughts) are no exception! But how do you know what to listen to in this vast sea of startup podcasts?

Don’t worry — we have you covered. Here are the top 20 best startup podcasts as we head into 2020. Grab your noise cancelling earphones — and get listening.

1. Startup Therapy

Hosted by Startups.com founders and serial entrepreneurs Wil Schroter and Ryan Rutan, Startup Therapy is an inside perspective on issues startup founders really care about. From what to expect in your first year after launching to how to deal with the e...



Article

Good Enough Never Is (Or Is It?)


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One of the sayings I hear from talented managers in product development is, “good enough never is.” It’s inspirational, always calling the team to try harder and do better. It works to undermine excuses for poor or shoddy work. And, most importantly, it helps team members develop the courage to stand up for these values in stressful situations. Especially in teams that are managing by objectives (or OKRs), the pressure to deliver is intense. Under such pressure, the temptation to cut corners, to quit prematurely, or to hand off shoddy work to another department is overwhelming. It requires courage to stand up and say: “this work is simply not good enough. Sure, we could get away with it, but that’s not how we work.” Good m...



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