March 23, 2014: We have many distinguished speakers in our Longhorn Startup program with considerable business successes on their resumes. We hope our students begin to recognize patterns and to learn behaviors that may lead to their own success stories a few years down the road. When one has been a founder of a really big win, he or she always has great justifications for that win, but, in truth, it’s hard to realize and explain the full array of forces that must have converged to make that possible.
March 12, 2014: Another year of SXSW Interactive has concluded, and I’ve reclaimed my couch from my valued guest (and son). I spent the majority of my formal event time at the SXSW Accelerator, as a coach, judge, and spectator. I look forward to this every year as the culmination of my Qualifying Committee’s work in reviewing and vetting all the 500 or so entrants when they submit their applications in November. It’s great ultimately to see the finalists and alternates in person where they can really bring their ideas to life.
March 9, 2014: Last week we discussed how the online world is affecting spectator sports in terms of their financial results and fan behavior. There’s another huge sector of the economy that is starting to feel the heat, and that is nonprofit organizations (NPO’s). Commonly cited statistics are that NPO’s employ 9.2% of the US workforce in about 1.5M entities that collectively raise about $300B per year. And, there are a small army of consultants and a few hundred software companies servicing those organizations as well.
March 2, 2014: I had already written the bulk of this post when last night I saw my title in a Tweet from God, or more specifically @TheTweetofGod. Whoever writes that is generally on point in a rather sardonic way. Then this morning I heard the Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle, the Episcopal Bishop for Texas, refer to the thought experiment of Schrodinger’s Cat.
February 23, 2014: The run-up to SXSW is in full force here in Austin. I’m already looking at my calendar for the next two weeks and seeing overlapping events at nearly every waking hour, and some that are well past my bedtime. My couch is rented (family), and we have a parking spot (secret). There will be tens of thousands of pitches made in around SXSW, and it’s not easy to stand out in the cacophony. However, something good can always happen if you throw yourself into the action and allow serendipity to reward you.
February 9, 2014: Yours truly was on deck for the class lecture this past week, and one of the points I covered was building a personal network. There’s going to be more on that in a later class about selling, but it was relevant to my primary topic of how to structure, finance, and accomplish the important deals in growing your startup.
February 2, 2014: Like the movie “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray keeps repeating the day over and over until he discovers some karmic insight, we bring Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean, to our class early each semester to introduce our students to the practice of the lean canvas. Unlike the movie, Maurya has such a rich body of work on this topic that there is never a rerun, and last week was no exception.
January 26, 2014: One of the pillars of our UT undergraduate class is writing. The students get credit toward their degrees for what is called a “writing flag” because we meet certain standards for our writing assignments. Bob Metcalfe is a strong proponent of the value of this skill in any startup endeavor, no matter how technical your personal role may be. And, I share that view.
January 19, 2014: After the NFL championship games, the hype machine is focused on the Big One -- that’s right, the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway January 25-26. Yes there’s some more football after that in New Jersey, but racing provides better analogies for the topic of this post. The 24 Hours of Daytona brings together multiples classes of prototype and GT cars in an annual endurance race that is the harbinger of the racing s