Hacking for Defense @ Stanford 2020 Lesson Learned Presentations

We just finished our 5th annual Hacking for Defense class at Stanford. What a year. At the end of the quarter each of the eight teams give a final “Lessons Learned” presentation. Unlike traditional demo days or Shark Tanks which are, “here’s how smart I am, please give me money,” a Lessons Learned presentation tells the […]

Brown University Talk

Every year I head to the East coast for vacation. We live in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato farm across the street and an arm of the ocean in the backyard. While they own tech, smartphones and computers, most of my neighbors can’t tell you about the latest trends […]

You’re Not Important to Me but I Want To Meet With You

If you’re a busy startup founder, you’re likely delegating the task of scheduling key meetings about things you want/need to your admin. This is a mistake. That’s because the dialog you have in setting up the meeting is actually the first part of your meeting, not some clerical task. Treat it this way and you’re […]

AgileFall – When Waterfall Sneaks Back Into Agile

This article previously appeared in the Harvard Business Review AgileFall is an ironic term for program management where you try to be agile and lean, but you keep using waterfall development techniques. It often produces a result that’s like combining a floor wax and dessert topping. I just sat through my a project management meeting where […]

How to Stop Playing “Target Market Roulette”: A new addition to the Lean toolset

Modern entrepreneurship began at the turn of this century with the observation that startups aren’t smaller versions of large companies – large companies at their core execute known business models, while startups search for scalable business models. Lean Methodology consists of three tools designed for entrepreneurs building new ventures: The Business Model Canvas – to […]

Fireside Chat with Sebastian Thrun

I did a fun fireside chat with one of my most favorite people –  Sebastian Thrun – at the Udacity conference. Sebastian is the embodiment of a renaissance person. I first heard about him when his driverless car won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. He founded Google X and led the development of the Google self-driving car. He was a Professor of Computer […]

In a Crisis – An Opportunity For A More Meaningful Life

Sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, my coffees with current and ex-students (entrepreneurs, as well as employees early in their careers) have gone virtual. Pre-pandemic these coffees were usually about what startup to join or how to find product/market fit. Though in the last month, even through Zoom I could sense they were struggling […]

How to Convince Investors You’re the Future not the Past

This article previously appeared in VentureBeat. I just had a coffee with Mei and Bill, two passionate students who are on fire about their new startup idea. It’s past the “napkin-sketch” stage with a rough minimum viable product and about 100 users. I thought they had a great insight about an application space others had […]

Getting Schooled – Lessons from an Adjunct

This post previously appeared in Poets and Quants I’ve been an adjunct professor for nearly two decades. Here’s what I’ve learned. Colleges and universities that offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to teach innovation and entrepreneurship classes may benefit from a more formal onboarding process. The goal would be six-fold: Integrate adjuncts as partners with their entrepreneurship […]

Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy

When you’re up to your neck in alligators, don’t forget the goal was to drain the swamp. I love teaching because I learn something new every class. This time it was, “Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy.” The latest “aha” moment for me when I was at Columbia University teaching an intensive […]

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