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 Keep Your Company Alive – Observe, Orient, Decide and Act

This article previously appeared in the Harvard Business Review. It’s been updated with new information about the U.S. Paycheck Protection program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.   What cashflow-negative companies must do to survive We’re in uncharted territory with the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s increasingly looking grim. Companies that outlast this crisis will have […]

Why The Government is Isn’t a Bigger Version of a Startup

This article previously appeared in War On The Rocks There was a time when much of U.S. academia was engaged in weapon systems research for the Defense Department and intelligence community. Some of the best and brightest wanted to work for defense contractors or corporate research and development labs. And the best startups spun out […]

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 […]

The Evolution of Entrepreneurial Education and Corporate Innovation

I was interviewed by Philip Bouchard, Executive Director of TrustedPeer Entrepreneurship Advisory, about how entrepreneurship education has changed, mission-driven entrepreneurship, and what we’ve learned about corporate innovation. Worth a read. Interview highlights: How is the way that universities teach entrepreneurship evolving? Lean LaunchPad class developed for Stanford Innovation and entrepreneurship will become the liberal arts […]

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 […]

The Lean LaunchPad Class: It’s the same, but different

It’s the same, but different We just finished the 8th annual Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford. The team presentations are at the end of this post. It’s hard to imagine, but only a decade ago, the capstone entrepreneurship class in most universities was how to write – or pitch- a business plan. As a serial entrepreneur […]

Is the Lean Startup Dead?

A version of this article first appeared in the Harvard Business Review Reading the NY Times article “Jeffrey Katzenberg Raises $1 Billion for Short-Form Video Venture,” I realized it was time for a new startup heuristic: the amount of customer discovery and product-market fit you need to find is inversely proportional to the amount and availability of […]

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 […]

The Innovation Stack: How to make innovation programs deliver more than coffee cups

Is your organization full of Hackathons, Shark Tanks, Incubators and other innovation programs, but none have changed the trajectory of your company/agency? Over the last few years Pete Newell and I have helped build innovation programs inside large companies, across the U.S. federal science agencies and in the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. But […]