I recently gave a talk at UW-Madison. The presentation--part of WARF's Entrepreneurons Series--was about entrepreneurship generally, and more specifically, about what it's like to think up, launch and scale a start up. It's something I've done four times, and I really enjoy drawing lessons from the success and failure I've had along the way. Start-ups are … Continue reading The Startup Maze
In my last post announcing my EIR role at American Family Ventures, I mentioned how much I value working shoulder to shoulder with smart people. Today, I want to highlight another method to surround yourself with brilliant people that can teach you, inspire you and drive you, even if you don’t have the opportunity to … Continue reading Find the Experts-How to use Podcasts & Curated Lists to get Smarter/Faster/Better
I just finished a year off. As I mentioned here (Why I’m Taking a Sabbatical), I set out to have an adventure with my family and to better answer the question "what am I on this earth to do?" It was an incredible opportunity to step out of regular life and take a long, hard look … Continue reading Why I’m Working at an Insurance Company
I’ll admit it. As an entrepreneur working in Wisconsin, I’m jealous of Silicon Valley. Case in Point: A few weeks ago, a social planning app called Free (Ffrree.com) launched. It wasn’t much different than the dozens of other mobile apps that have tried (and failed) to solve the tricky problem of social planning. There is … Continue reading What We Can Learn from Silicon Valley
My wife, son and I just returned from a 5-month trip. We spent most of this time sailing a boat from Grenada to the Virgin Islands. Just the three of us—it was an amazing, inspiring, awesomely fun adventure. I had several goals for the trip, but now that it’s over, I think one of the … Continue reading Travel School. What I Learned Homeschooling my Son for Five Months
What should I do next, after Nextt? Since shutting down Nextt a few months back, I’ve asked myself this question many times. It’s a strange place to be—between things. And although it feels weird and a bit scary to be here, I’ve decided that I need to spend a little more time right now in … Continue reading Why I’m Taking a Sabbatical
I gave a talk this week to a group of graduating business school students at Edgewood College. They asked for real world advice. This is what I told them. Regardless of your career stage, I hope these insights are helpful! There are two ways that college trains you to fail in the real world: #1 … Continue reading Two Ways College Sets You Up To #Fail
I was just reading Peter Thiel’s fascinating new book, Zero to One, in which he argues that the best startup businesses strive for a game changing technological breakthrough. Rather than work on small incremental enhancements, entrepreneurs should seek out quantum leaps that enable their companies to enjoy monopoly profits. Think Google. Not the 42nd e-commerce startup … Continue reading Want to be more creative? Go Running.
Remember Jeff Foxworthy's redneck bit? My favorite: You might be a redneck if you’re too drunk to go fishing. But seriously people. Thanks to Jeff we all know how to gauge our redneckness, but what about those of us who want to figure out whether they "might be" an entrepreneur? I meet with lots of new entrepreneurs and … Continue reading You might be an entrepreneur if . . .
My most recent start-up, a mobile planning application known as Nextt, is shutting down. “Starting a company is like throwing yourself off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIN co-founder I’ve jumped off 4 cliffs in my career. On two occasions, I helped build teams that put together airplanes … Continue reading Nextt is no more—A postmortem