Essays

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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  • The incredible @mynameisjessamyn came to speak with my @dukeinnovation social marketing class. She left us with this awesome selfie and the following words of advice: "At the end of the day, authenticity is the only thing you have that's valuable on social media." She even wore @dukeuniversity blue 😁#entrepreneurship #socialmediamarketing #truth #awesomeselfie
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  • Conned #entrepreneur and #investor Bill Spruill of Global Data Consortium to speak in my @dukeinnovation capstone course. His #1 piece of advice: "Figure out what you're really good at as quickly as possible and then focus on that." #startup #hustle
  • One of my favorite days of the semester: pitch day for #learningtofail. The assignment is to identify the biggest problem on college campuses, but I think I prefer this student's way of framing the assignment #entrepreneurship #angrystudents
  • Even Santa Clause needs a little help finding good parking on a college campus. #parkingfail
  • Today's @dukeinnovation #failure challenge: how far can you toss an egg without it breaking? #learningtofail #entrepreneurship #egglympics
  • Had my @dukeinnovation students sell lemonade again today, but this time they could only walk around with empty bottles. They sold $434 worth of... well... air (versus $334 of actual lemonade last week). The lesson: people don't buy products; they buy stories. #entrepreneurship #learningtofail #lemonade #hustle
  • A stranger cutting off a lock of her hair for one of the attendees of my @dukeinnovation #learningtofail workshop #entrepreneurship #rejectiontherapy #haircut
  • Lemonade challenge results: $334. Not bad for a $20 investment and one hour of work. #learningtofail #maybenot #entrepreneurship
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