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.

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 […]

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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 […]

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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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Instagram

  • Asked my #learningtofail students to sell a @jollyrancher for $100 today. For the first time ever, everyone #failed.
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In related news, I heard a report from a campus tour guide that dozens of prospective students and their families were continuously being solicited to buy absurdly expensive candy during their campus visits.
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What a strange coincidence. Must have been someone else selling candy today, too...😒
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #sweettooth #collegevisits
  • Finally had a freshman discover the Duke-sponsored free lunch opportunity.
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I forgot to ask Julia about the most important thing she’s learned in my class, but she’s taking another one with me next semester, so I feel like that’s a good sign she’s not just using me to get free food ☺️
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneruship #socialmediamarketing #teaching #freelunch
  • The end-of-semester FLUNCH parade continues... this time with Thomas, one of my soon-to-be-graduating seniors in the @dukeinnovation capstone who’s heading off to work @txinstruments.
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When asked to share the most important thing I’ve taught him about #entrepreneurship, Thomas had trouble coming up with an answer. Sounds about right 🤔
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#entrepreneur #innovation #teaching #freelunch #duke2018
  • “When you go into a company, whatever you decide to do, you want to be closest to the money. That’s the safest place to be in every business.” - @cleithe, VP of Sales for @adwerxre, who I conned into speaking to both my @dukeinnovation capstone classes.
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#sales #marketing #startups #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #innovation
  • Doing a little FLUNCH with @adam_kershner,  Ben Lee, and Adam’s freshman roommate who was just there for the free lunch ☺️
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Adam says the most important thing I taught him was: “How to think differently and approach problems in an unorthodox way, and how that approach to problem solving is one of the most valuable lessons from Duke.”
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Honestly, I don’t think I taught him that. I think he already knew it when he showed up as a freshman in my very first class @dukeuniversity. Now he’s a graduating senior in my @dukeinnovation capstone, and it’s been a privilege to watch his Duke journey. I’m sure he’s going to do great things, and I look forward to following his post-college journey via Instagram.
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P.S. Adam, tell Ben to follow me here so I can keep tabs on him, too 😉
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startups #teaching #duke2018
  • “I’m not tasked with trying to sell you anything. Thankfully. There’s nothing more boring. What we’re looking to do is be magnetic. Pull you into our orbit. Be interesting.” -  @gavinohara, the global social creative lead for @lenovo, talking with my @dukeinnovation class about the importance of sharing good content online instead of trying to “sell.”
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#entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #innovation #socialmediamarketing #socialmarketing #startups #corporatemarketing
  • Here’s the final viral #meme  video created by my @dukeinnovation #learningtofail class: #piggybackchallenge
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Would you randomly take a ride on a stranger’s back? 😁
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startups #socialmediamarketing #viralvideos #memes #memestagram
  • Being part of @dukeinnovation is the best.
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Spent an hour discussing how I&E can help support Duke’s new #esports initiative, then spent an hour with @clairecatenaccio talking about launching a new I&E course connected with the #classics department.
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Where else could I get to think about Homer and video games in the same afternoon? Errr... except for a @thesimpsons video game. But not that kind of Homer ☺️
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#innovation #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurseverywhere
  • A tour group of prospective students encounters viral #meme number three from my @dukeinnovation #learningtofail class: #cornered
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Watch all the way through. Totally worth it 😂
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startups #socialmediamarketing #viralvideos #memes #memestagram
  • Viral #meme number two from my @dukeinnovation #learningtofail class: #forkflipchallenge
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They seem to be liberally interpreting my “nothing dangerous” rule... 😒
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startups #socialmediamarketing #viralvideos #memes #memestagram
  • In today’s @dukeinnovation #learningtofail class, I challenged my students to create #viral memes.
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They’ve got one week to get as many people as they can to watch, recreate, and post their own versions.
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Who wants to help them out? Here’s the first meme: #smoothpickupchallenge
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#innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startups #socialmediamarketing #viralvideos #memes #memestagram
  • A bumblebee 🐝 has fallen in love with my motion-activated security camera. It would be adorable if it didn’t keep making me think a burglar was breaking into my house 😒
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#truelove #birdsandthebees #camerasandthebees

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