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.

How To Reject A Meeting Request

How to reject a meeting request A couple weeks ago, I had multiple meetings where, going into the meeting, I was absolutely sure I wouldn’t be able to help the entrepreneurs in the ways they’d hoped, but they were persistent, so I agreed to the meetings. Unfortunately, I was right. After lots of wasted hours […]

Continue Reading

Rejection Is A Beginning, Not An End

In 2010, my then-co-founder and I flew to Seattle to participate in “Techstars for a Day.” For those who don’t know, Techstars is a prominent and selective startup accelerator. During “Techstars for a Day,” they host companies they’re considering admitting. It’s an unofficial finalist interview of sorts. As we flew across the country, we were […]

Continue Reading

This Blog Doesn’t Deserve an A. Do You?

Confession time: I’m bad at blogging. Just look at the dates on my articles. I post as consistently as an MTA train during rush hour. If that weren’t bad enough, instead of writing concise tutorials and easy-to-follow “how to” guides — the kinds of things that make blogs useful — I tend to write rambling […]

Continue Reading

Imminent Death? Or Ultimate Growth Hack?

When people want examples of amazing growth hacks, they usually reference tech companies. Some of the canonical growth hacking stories come from Airbnb, Dropbox, and the classic example of Hotmail adding “Get your free email at Hotmail” tagline to the end of every email. Sure, those are all good examples of growth hacking, but I’ve […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Instagram

  • After today’s #learningtofail class, I discovered one student accidentally left his computer charger, and another student accidentally left his spare tire. I wonder how often other professors encounter that combination of forgotten items... 🤷‍♂️
.
.
.
.
.
#entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurlife #innovation #lostandfound #freetire
  • Day 1 of #socialmediamarketing and my @dukeinnovation students already hate me and refused to dab for my boomerang. So all you get is this boring still. Sorry.
.
.
.
.
.
#entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #innovation #marketing #socialmarketing #fdoc #bestprofessorever
  • #MoreThanDouble with 4 minutes left... still #MoreThanDouble at the end! I especially love doing that to a safety school. Definitely a good day to be a @dukembb fan. #letsgoduke
  • Dear @dukeinnovation students... pay no attention to the tiger on the chalkboard behind you. #nothingtoseehere #grr
  • Today, the @southwestair Twitter account shared some valuable wisdom with my @dukeinnovation #socialmediamarketing class. I couldn’t agree more 😁
  • Founder of @thestartupfactory and one of my first business mentors, @davenealnc, stopped by the @dukeinnovation Capstone class to discuss #venturecapital and why the #researchtriangle is a great place to build a #startup.
.
.
.
.
.
#entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurlife #startups #startupstories #venturecapitalist #innovation #researchtrianglepark #rtp
  • When Bill Aulet, author of Disciplined Entrepreneurship and managing director of @eshipmit swings by Durham for a day, you cancel your lesson plan and convince him to guest lecture in your @dukeinnovation #entrepreneurship capstone class 😁
.
.
.
.
.
#entrepreneur #startup #startups #entrepreneurlife #startuplife #innovation #business #guestlecture #disciplinedentrepreneurship
  • Lucky to have @youtube #tech personality, #entrepreneur, and #startup founder @matt_schaefer_ swing by my #socialmediamarketing class today to talk about strategies for building audiences online.
.
.
.
.
.
#videomarketing, #influencermarketing, #startups, #entrepreneurship, #marketing, #fearthealgorithm
  • Thanks to Bill Walker, founder of #medtech startup Hemosonics and @dukeengineering director of #entrepreneurship, for speaking with my @dukeinnovation capstone class.
.
.
.
#entrepreneurship #startup #startups #innovation #inspirationalquotes #knowledgebomb
  • In today’s #socialmediamarketing class for @dukeinnovation, I agreed to give students extra credit if they could convince any celebrities to follow them on Twitter. One of my students was a bit more successful than I’d expected 😳
.
.
.
#entrepreneur #innovation #startup #marketing #hustle #impressive
  • Giving a 3 hour lecture to a wonderful group of Chinese students from Yangtze University visiting @dukeuniversity. We’ll be taking about #marketing #sales #startups #entrepreneurship  #innovation #socialmediamarketing and lots of other stuff that’ll probably put them to sleep. 😴.
.
P.S. It’s really hot in this room and we’re all sweating.
  • ‪“In a business, you can hire to solve almost any problem, but nobody can replace discovering the problem and finding the path toward solving it. That’s what an entrepreneur does.” ‬- Sam Fox, a brilliant young #entrepreneur and @dukeuniversity alum who came back to talk with my @dukeinnovation capstone class about his journey into healthcare innovation.
.
.
.
#entrepreneur #startup #innovation #healthtech #healthcare #guestspeaker

Follow Me!