…was my specialization during my MBA and I sub-specialized in International Business, so the recent feature in the Economist on Entrepreneurism took me back. It was also relevant to my day job as it talked about clusters and what is needed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in Vancouver’s inner-city.
The two most popular posts I’ve written with entrepreneurs are generally this 10 point list and accompanying links and this spreadsheet you can use when thinking about starting just about any entrepreneurial venture.
I tried to write this post earlier today, but a co-worker kept asking me questions about blogging and WordPress. When did I become a world renown expert on blogging?
Regardless I’ve drank four beers since work ended and the Bootup Labs event with Brad Feld is largely completed, so it has fallen to me to write some inadequate account of the event tying together my experience and leveraging the voluminous material I’ve already written on the subject.
First the event was really good, Brad was a great speaker, the turnout was good, not enough free food down front though. The entire thing should be available online (here or here sometime) and it was streamed live. They had a hashtag too, but I let the twits Twitter, I sat and tried to pay attention. I even got the speaker’s attention twice with my glibness.
Once someone asked about which books an entrepreneur should read, people were a bit surprised by his answer. His second recommendation was a long novel which he thought showed commitment to follow and complete, so I immediately asked about “Infinite Jest” which he knew and agreed would adequately replace “Atlas Shrugged“. I once famously described “Infinite Jest” as a foot stool of a novel. I literally stood on it to change a light bulb while in Japan.
The second time was for creating an Excel spreadsheet which proved a business model was basically flawed, even though the business didn’t exist. Funnily enough no one has used it much, I’ll have to post it online someday. I already have plenty of Excel spreadsheets people from the event can steal.
This incident reminded me of a Mark Twain quip, about people who can read, having no advantage over people who can’t if they don’t read good books. If you want to read a good book, that is well written but also extremely thick, I recommend “The Brothers Karamazov“. If you can’t be over-educated, at least be well read.
So back to the event, it was attended by a lot of entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs as well as a VC from every firm in town if you were looking to press the flesh or give an elevator pitch. There will likely be a lot of comments about it online, I’m too tired to find them, plus there were other things I meant to blog about including a bunch of posts I was going to link to. A lot of my previous posts on what VCs look for, how enterprises are valued, the importance of the ‘ecosystem‘ were all mention by Brad and other VCs in the room. Some of the questioners could have prepared better, I mean they should have read “Infinite Jest” or better still “Under the Volcano“.
There are no short easy posts on Muskblog it seems. That domain appears to once again be available if you want to squat on it. This story always amuses or annoys people. I have plenty of stories.
I still haven’t posted some of the many links I’ve collected or saved over the last few days, hours, or months. Here are some more things to read, they may even be related to entrepreneurialism, Brad Feld, and Bootup Labs:
- What can we learn from Boulder?
- Can a “startup factory” work?
- How to do buzz marketing well
- How not to handle online complaints (2009 Edition)
- Hello – Kim Jong Il Speaking Here
- Why Korea (or anywhere else) can’t create another Silicon Valley
- Wanna learn some Digital Kung Fu?
- Worried about defamation while blogging?
Video is now online (May 6th 2009)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance gets more press
For a book no one wanted to publish in the 1970s, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” still gets trotted out as a ‘must read classic’. A Must Read Classic is slang for a book people talk about reading but don’t actually bother to read, instead they just peruse the Wikipedia page. As alluded to in this post from 2009 (it’s now 2012) Brad Feld was recommending it to would be entrepreneurs for a while. Now Forbes is writing about how Quality is actually important in tech products. This goes against ‘first mover advantage’ and ‘monetizing eyeballs’ gospel from the dot.com boom/bust. Who knew Quality actually matter when creating a product?
I actually took Brad’s advice and read the book. I even wrote about the importance of Quality in writing, but really in any form of creation from startups to art to motorcycle maintenance, you differentiate based on Quality even if you can not quantify or measure the Quality. I recently spent a lot of time cleaning my grandfather’s shop and there is something about hand tools… If you’ve never built something from scratch with just your bare hands and some simple tools, are you really evolved?
Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.
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