I just finished reading J.D. Vance’s excellent book Hillbilly Elegy, and had that funny feeling when you find the story arc of someone else’s life eerily paralleling yours.
Vance’s book and the story of my own life suggest that there is an archetypal journey (a pattern of human nature) that describes the flight from a dysfunctional family and the escape from the constraints of cluster, class and culture.
Here’s how my story unfolded.
Measuring how hard your team is working by counting the number of hours they work or what time they get in and leave is how amateurs run companies. The number of hours worked is not the same as how effective they (and you) are.
In 2012, in partnership with Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley and NCIIA, Jerry Engel and I first offered the Lean LaunchPad Educators Class. The class was designed to teach educators (and the adjunct entrepreneurs that support them) the Lean LaunchPad approach (Business Model Design, Customer Development and Agile Engineering) for teaching entrepreneurship. In addition the class offers a suggested “Lean Entrepreneurship” curriculum and the details of how to teach the capstone Lean LaunchPad class.
My co-author and business Partner Bob Dorf spends much of his time traveling the world teaching countries and companies how to run the Lean LaunchPad program. He’s back to Bogota, Colombia this week for round two.
Back to Colombia: Vive La Revolución Emprendedora!
Lean LaunchPad Colombia starts again today in Bogota with 25 more teams of tech entrepreneurs and at 25 mentors from the country’s universities, incubators, and chambers of commerce. The program is funded by the Colombian government and modeled after the NSF Innovation-Corps program created and built by my partner and co-author Steve Blank.
Jim Hornthal splits his time between venture capital, entrepreneurship and education. Jim has founded six companies, including Preview Travel, one of the first online travel agencies, which went public in 1997 and subsequently merged to create Travelocity.com as an independent company. Today he is the co-founder and Chairman of Triporati, LaunchPad Central and Zignal Labs.
While the Lean LaunchPad class has been adopted by Universities and the National Science Foundation, the question we get is, “Can students in K-12 handle an experiential entrepreneurship class?” Hawken School has now given us an answer.
Hawken is an independent school for grades K-12 in Cleveland, Ohio, committed to the idea that students learn more “by doing than by listening.” Experiential education is threaded in the school’s DNA.
The Lean LaunchPad entrepreneurship curriculum has caught fire. This week 100 educators from around the world will come to Stanford to learn how to teach it.
Life is full of unintended consequences.
Ten years ago I started thinking about why startups are different from existing companies. I wondered if business plans and 5-year forecasts were the right way to plan a startup. I asked, “Is execution all there is to starting a company?”
Describing something as the “Woodstock of…” has taken to mean a one-of-a-kind historic gathering. It happened recently when a group of educators came to the ranch to learn how to teach Lean entrepreneurship to K-12 students.
Our Stanford and Berkeley Lean LaunchPad classes are over for this year, and as usual we learned as much from teaching the teams as the teams did from us.
Here are a few of the Lessons Learned from these two classes.
D.R. Widder is the Vice President of Innovation and holds the Steve Blank Innovation Chair at Philadelphia University. He’s helping city government in Philadelphia become more innovative by applying Lean startup methods and Philadelphia University’s innovation curriculum. I asked him to share an update on his work on teaching lean techniques to local governments.