I teach at Duke & started RocketBolt

Earned a PhD in English while teaching myself to code and build companies. I enjoy sharing my entrepreneurial and academic misadventures.

5 Tips On How To Ask For An Introduction

Having survived as a founder in the tech startup world for a decade, I’ve met lots of fellow “industry folk.” Being a dutiful founder, I’ve connected with most of them on LinkedIn. As a result, while I’m by no means a tech industry goliath, on LinkedIn I show up as a second degree connection to […]

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Quora: What Makes A Professor’s Lecture Boring?

I write lots of Quora answers. Sometimes, when I particularly enjoy on a question/answer combo, I’ll share it here, too. If you like it, be sure to check out my other Quora answers. Upvotes welcome! Quora Question: What makes a professor’s lecture boring? That’s an easy question to answer: Lack of saber toothed tigers. While you probably don’t […]

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How Young Entrepreneurs Can Find World Changing Ideas

As someone who teaches in an entrepreneurship program, I spend lots of time talking with my students about how to come up with ideas for products and companies. Personally, when assessing the potential of a company, I don’t prioritize ideas or products. I believe the most important indicator of success is a company’s approach to […]

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The Two-Letter Word That Will Kill Your Startup

As a young entrepreneur, I remember calculating the market opportunity for multiple startup ideas using some formulation of the following “back-of-the-envelope” math: The market has X-many-millions of people. So, if I only capture Y-tiny-percent of that market, I’m going to have Z-ridiculous-amount of money. Luckily, I advanced beyond that kind of flawed thinking fairly quickly. […]

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Instagram

  • I had 6 p-frosh ask if they could sit-in on today’s #learningtofail class, so I challenged my @dukeinnovation students to take them around campus and show them the best parts about being #dukestudents. My goal was to remind my current students about all the amazing opportunities they take for granted and often overlook when they get too focused on the #dailygrind of being students and entrepreneurs. Also, I wanted to see how many students I could get to #ridethecamel 🐪😁 #entrepreneurship #innovation #letsgoduke
  • Now this is what I call #puppylove 😁😁😁😁 #wheatenterrier #wheatenlove #steak
  • Helping @mackenziedrazan with her #learningtofail challenge for @dukeinnovation class taught by me #entrepreneurship
  • Helping @seanshank_redempsean with his #learningtofail challenge for an @dukeinnovation class taught by me! (Mostly because I love his Instagram handle.)
  • Today’s challenge is for my class to get other people to take selfies with them and post it to their social media accounts with the following message: “Helping @c_proctor23 with his #learningtofail challenge for an @dukeinnovation class taught by @aarondinin #entrepreneurship”. What do you think of the first one?
  • “Your social media is your brand.” - @ndotsmitty (#thepeopleschamp) guest lecturing in my @dukeinnovation #socialmediamarketing course.
  • Today’s #parenting failure challenge: sneak a #lovie into your #kids daycare classroom before nap time without being seen. #parententrepreneur #learningtofail #innovation #daddy #daddyslittlegirl
  • It was raining during class on Monday so, instead of sending them around campus like usual, I challenged my @dukeinnovation students to complete 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles in one hour. **SPOILER ALERT** They didn’t get close. #learningtofail #entrepreneur #innovation #puzzle #arewefive
  • Today’s #entrepreneur lesson from my @dukeinnovation class: in #entrepreneurship, you often have to pursue goals using a non-traditional set of resources. To simulate this challenge, I gave each student a pack of @starburst and told them to go buy breakfast with it. Amazingly, almost everyone came back with food! #innovation #entrepreneurmindset #startup #hustle #learningtofail  #passthebacon
  • #theresnoplacelikehome #goduke
  • Happy first day of #socialmarketing class @dukeuniversity. Let’s see how many of my students hate me by the end of the semester #FDOC #entrepreneur #innovation
  • #learningtofail is back. Today’s challenge for my new batch of @dukeinnovation students: bring me a snowball, a tire, and a lock of someone’s hair. I wanted to test their #entrepreneurmindset. Got some interesting and unexpected results #innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #failure

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