Teaching Startup: The Show Featuring WedPics Founder Justin Miller

The 2-block will be about marketing, perception, and pivot

2.20.17






So this is the first set of episodes we attempted with a special guest star, and for this first run-through, I went with a friend, WedPics co-founder Justin Miller, whom I've known since he left IBM to start his first company, DejaMi.

Justin is the kind of entrepreneur I want to highlight, not someone you'd likely find in an MBA program, and someone who can talk to the "startup for everyone" vibe I'm building Teaching Startup around.

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Teaching Startup: The Final Post in the Final Series for Startup Foundation Concepts

That's It. That's the Whole Startup Universe. You're Welcome.

2.16.17


A few months ago, I came up with The Grid, a five by five layout or map of what all my research and experience tells my what startup looks like. Then I started writing about each topic for Teaching Startup, with five concepts in each post.

It's so nerdy, but that 5x5x5 is a cube, and it's a perfect 3D map of everything you need to know about startup before you begin or when you're in the thick of it.

Today, I posted the final piece -- Five Reasons for Startup: Elimination. And it's kind of a catch-all, but the universe needed a catch-all, because it's inclusive and awesome and I didn't want to leave anyone out.

A book is forthcoming, but right now we're just working on making the show the best in can be. So while you're over at Teaching Startup reading this, check out a couple episodes of The Show is well.

Even if you're not an entrepreneur and you never will be, this stuff is good for your soul.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-reasons-for-startup-elimination.asp






Survive Or Die! Teaching Startup: The Show -Episode 1.6

2.14.17






You hear this all the time as a cautionary tale in startup -- Survive or Die! There will be times when you have to make the decision to power through all of your mistakes or give up under the weight of them. Unlike a corporate job, in startup, there's no structure to blend into, nothing to hide behind, and no one is going to swoop in and save you.

That's part of the growth process of becoming an entrepreneur. It's hard to do and not always fun to talk about, but we found a way.

Do startups fail because the idea isn't any good? Not likely. Bad ideas rarely evolve into startups in the first place, because it's hard to rally people around a bad idea. But even good people executing on a good idea can make mistakes. If you aren't self aware enough to see those mistakes as they're happening, or if you aren't a leader enough to fix those mistakes quickly, that's usually when a startup goes off a cliff.

It's so much easier to just ride the failure train off the tracks than it is to self-analyze and self-adjust, but it's something every entrepreneur has to learn and do.

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Teaching Startup: The Show: What's Your Biggest Weakness?

It's Not HOW You Fail, It's WHY You Fail

2.6.17


In this episode we focus on our weaknesses. Not necessarily our failures, but those pieces of us that we're bad at. Startup doesn't talk about weakness much. Failure stories are great, but 90% of the time they're humblebrags -- "We flew too close to the sun like Icarus!"

Honestly, that's not helpful. What we do is talk about what makes us fail, and succeed, in terms that everybody here can easily understand.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/whats-your-biggest-weakness.asp


Are You Meant To Be An Entrepreneur?

New *Five Reasons* Installment Looks at Personality

2.2.17


In the fourth installment of Five Reasons For Startup, I dive into the five personality traits that I see most often in great entrepreneurs. But this piece is a little backwards. Instead of talking about things you need to succeed, I'm looking at things that you might already have that might help you succeed. Be advised though, just because you don't fit any type doesn't mean you shouldn't try your hand at startup. I can't stress that enough.

I was built for startup. There's something about my genetic makeup, my upbringing, and my environment that makes startup right for me. It's not a job, it's not a career, it's not a lifestyle. It's what I do.

It may just be what you do too.

I've actually known this about myself my whole life. I've been building companies since the imaginary ones I built as a kid.

Yes, I had friends.

But I didn't discover an opportunity to get involved with startup until I had already been out of college for a year. In my world, you studied hard, you got good grades, you went to the job fair, you tried to get the job that everybody else wanted.

I did that. I hated the result. I didn't know startup was an option. I just didn't know any better. This shouldn't be.

There are a lot of personality traits that will lead someone to self-identify as an entrepreneur. Now, I should point out that even if it's in their blood, so to speak, it doesn't necessarily mean they're meant to be an entrepreneur, and it doesn't mean they'll be a good entrepreneur. It just means they need to test the waters at some point.

There are a lot of personality-based reasons for startup. Tons. So this isn't an exhaustive list of all the personality traits that might drive someone to become an entrepreneur. Your reasons will be your own, but the ones I've chosen here are the ones I see in a lot of great entrepreneurs, and when I ask them, these are the traits that they believe make them successful.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-reasons-for-startup-personality.asp


New Episode: The Corporate Reasons Behind Teaching Startup: The Show

The Crumbling of Corporate Culture - Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 1.4

1.30.17


I founded Teaching Startup because I believe we're on the verge of a new era of entrepreneurship.

Those jobs we lost in the Great Recession? They're not coming back. They're being automated and streamlined out of existence. Then you've got all these kids coming out of higher education, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt in some cases, who can't find a job worth their degree.

And the generation behind those kids, they're smarter than all of us put together. The smartest among them are going to start their own company, and the rest are going to work for them.

Corporate culture is on the decline. It's only about 50 or 60 years old anyway. Down the road, startup isn't going to be an alternative anymore. It's going to be the mainstream.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/the-crumbling-of-corporate-culture.asp


New Five Reasons for Startup: Common Good

Doing Startup for the Right(ish) Reasons

1.25.17


This morning I published the third installment of the Five Reasons for Startup series, and this one is a little more controversial than the rest. I'm trying to balance the pros of doing good with your business the the cons of replacing profit with good works.

I like good people. And I love people who do good. But I'm not going to come out and be all Yeah, go for it. Make the world a better place through startup.

If you were expecting that, I apologize in advance.

I've always been skeptical of social entrepreneurship or startup for the sake of doing good works. Startup with a cause? Awesome. Startup FOR a cause? Raised eyebrow.

Look, I'm a good person, too. Just like you. I do good things. I'm not saying don't blend your personal causes with your startup. I'm saying don't build a startup around a personal cause and expect that the magic of good to be what gets you over the finish line. It very well may and I hope it does. Just don't be naive. All the rules for survival still apply. All of them. You can still waste people's money in the name of charity. If you build something to help others and it fails, that's not OK.

As an entrepreneur, you have to separate business from personal. Always.

But I'll also be the first to tell you that common good should be a big part of your startup from day one. Because if it isn't, then you're no better than the powers-that-be you're trying to take down.

I know. It's a paradox. So let's dive in.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-reasons-for-startup-common-good.asp


The Show: Why Do We Make Startup So Damn Boring?

Teaching Startup: The Show -- Episode 1.3

1.23.17


So this week I upgraded the cold open a little bit to make it more visually appealing. MATI Energy is the sponsor. And we start to get into a little more back-and-forth with a little less exposition.

That time we talked about sucking all the fun out of startup, keeping people out of the club, and Joe's cut-rate accelerator idea.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/why-do-we-make-startup-so-damn-boring.asp


Second *Five Reasons for Startup* Installment Covers Money

The Lottery, Your Career, Investment vs Revenue, Foundation First, Don't Blow It

1.19.17


In this latest installment of this final series "Five Reasons for Startup" on Teaching Startup, I tackle money. Cold hard cash. It's a legit reason for becoming an entrepreneur, and it can actually be a pretty wise decision provided you know what you're getting into. I cover all of that in this piece.

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Five Reasons for Startup: Wealth

Let's talk about money. A lot of money. Big money. The root of all evil.

So you want to get into startup for the money. I get it. I'm not going to waste your time debating the merits of capitalism, morality, ethics, or throw a bunch of biblical tales at you. I actually admire your ambition. But there are some things you need to know.

Wealth is a legitimate reason for becoming an entrepreneur. As I discussed in the last installment, startup is full of unlimited possibilities, and in a lot of ways, startup makes it easier to get to where you want to be financially, once you throw out the conventional timetables and status symbols of the traditional American dream.

On the other hand, it's never easy to make money with startup, especially at first. Because unlike the corporate path, your mistakes won't get covered, you can't coast, and there's no large organization to get your back when your own personal results flag or you hit a slump.

And it's expensive to get your business to a point where the money coming in is both recurring and something you can count from month to month and year to year. That expense equates to either money out of your own pocket (or someone else's pocket who you'll have to repay before you get paid), or time, during which you won't be getting paid very much if at all.

But except for those two points on the near and far end, the rest of the Wealth equation for startup looks a lot like the Wealth equation for anything else. Work hard. Be frugal. Plan right. And if you're chasing startup only to chase Wealth, I mean, if you're chasing anything only to chase Wealth, you're probably headed into a world of hurt.

So don't do that.

Being an entrepreneur is not a lifestyle choice or a hobby, it's a career. There are just as many responsibilities, headaches, heartaches, and pitfalls as a corporate career. There are, however, a plethora of reasons why everyone should try startup at least once in their life. Here are some of those reasons, and yours might be totally different.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-reasons-for-startup-wealth.asp


Are Startup Accelerators Worth It?

New Episode of Teaching Startup: The Show

1.16.17


New episode of Teaching Startup is airing today. Are Startup Accelerators Worth It? features a conversation between Andy, who just got into 500 Startups and has been through a local accelerator, and Colgan, who has already been through 500 Startups with this company.

Plus there are a couple good questions from Chop, a rant or two from me, and a few laughs.

I did a "cold open" with this episode, and Sean is stepping up his game with the animations, bringing in definitions.

Episode 1.2: That time we talked about giving up equity, diva attitude, and the dumbest thing Colgan ever saw.





read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/the-show-episode-12--are-startup-accelerators-worth-it.asp


Five Reasons for Startup: Independence

Do What You Love, Do What You Want, Be Your Own Boss, Unlimited Possibilities, Fulfillment

1.12.17


I'm going to level with you right out of the gate. No matter what your reasons are for getting into startup, I can assure you that those reasons are valid.

There's no judgment here, there's no list of right and wrong reasons for becoming an entrepreneur, despite what you will hear from people, including me, about phony entrepreneurism (known as wantrepreneurism), greed, or even whether or not your idea is particularly good. Let the haters hate.

I will tell you this though: The primary reason you SHOULD be getting into startup is Independence.

Independence is the driving factor for why I'm an entrepreneur, nothing else. For me, the monetary rewards would likely be better elsewhere, I'm not necessarily a person who has to make this world a better place through my work, and I can thrive in both the entrepreneurial and corporate environments.

No, the reason I'm an entrepreneur is because I treasure my independence. I want to go to work every morning feeling excited about what I'm going to do that day, and I want to come home every night feeling satisfaction in a job well done.

That doesn't happen every day, mind you, but for me, it happens more often being an entrepreneur than not. It may not happen for you. It definitely won't happen every day. But at some point on your startup journey, you'll feel the rush of independence, and you might get addicted to it.

Being an entrepreneur is not a lifestyle choice or a hobby, it's a career. There are just as many responsibilities, headaches, heartaches, and pitfalls as a corporate career. There are, however, a plethora of reasons why everyone should try startup at least once in their life. Here are some of those reasons, and yours might be totally different.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-motivational-factors-for-startup-independence.asp


Teaching Startup Debuts Episode 1 of The Show

Bringing Startup to Everyone

1.10.17


Yesterday, my side/giveback project Teaching Startup debuted the first episode of The Show, an online TV series dedicated to bringing the concepts of startup and entrepreneurship to a broader audience by making it more accessible.





It's been a long time coming. And we're pretty hyped about the results, even though we know we have a long way to go.

On The Show, we talk about startup without droning on about startup. Sure, we talk about startup, in fact, we do that a lot, and you'll definitely learn something. But we also talk about stuff that's far more interesting.

Pop culture? Of course. We don't do our jobs 24/7. Neither should you.

Sports? Yeah, look at us. It's in our DNA.

Parenting? No better way to learn about being an entrepreneur.

Humor? If you're not laughing, we're not doing our job.

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Embrace Chaos

My Theme for 2017

1.5.17


I don't do resolutions. I don't. The reasons why have been well documented. What I do instead, is themes. A theme isn't a resolution, nor is it a slogan. A theme, if I do it right, not only neatly encapsulates everything I want to be and do and try in the new year, but it's an evolutionary statement as well, applying not just to me, but how I see the world around me.

Therefore, I believe my theme can help you as well. It's doesn't have to be your theme. In fact, it shouldn't be your theme. But my theme might help inform your theme.

Here's my theme: Embrace chaos.

This is a statement I've been thinking about for a while. Personally, it represents a lot of what I need to be able to do in terms of pulling success out of failure, creating something from nothing, and generally finding happiness in a world that doesn't allow you time to be happy, let alone find that happy in the first place.

I'm not immune to personal disaster or disappointment or life changes that leave me reeling. I had those in 2016. This is how I'm dealing with them.

Professionally, I've landed on this statement as a prescription for not only what I go through as an entrepreneur -- although in that, I think it buttons up my needs pretty well -- but also what I do with the things I do to find satisfaction in my life.

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Five Kinds of Startup: Hybrid

Service + Product, Add Digital, Add Retail, Everything Else

12.29.16


If you're doing startup right, you're going to be doing things that haven't been done before. Your company might not fit neatly into the Product box, or the Service box, or the Digital box, or the Retail box.

This is fine. Actually, it's great. It's also not a new phenomenon or strictly a startup phenomenon. Hybrid companies have existed throughout history. But in startup, especially modern startup in the Internet era, Hybrid Startups are much more common.

A Hybrid Startup is the combination of one or more of the four kinds of startup I've previously covered. Actually, any combination is viable, but there are some key components to the four I'll discuss here that make them unique. There's also a fifth option, Everything Else, just in case your startup does something so new that it doesn't fit any definition at all.

While all businesses are unique, there are really only a few kinds of startup. How these companies operate, grow, and succeed will depend on what kind they are. Thus, a lot of the decisions you will make and paths you will take will depend on what kind of startup you're running.

Service + Product is the most common Hybrid, and it's often used as an accelerator for the business in which the startup operates. Back in the installment on Service Startups, I briefly discussed how a Service Startup can scale their efforts by making their service repeatable and more efficient. Then that Service Startup builds a framework or methodology so that some to most of the service work can be done either automatically, say with software, or by someone who doesn't need as much expertise in the field and is therefore less expensive as a resource.

read the rest at: http://teachingstartup.com/five-kinds-of-startup-hybrid.asp


How Teaching Startup: The Show Almost Failed Immediately

You Can Do Almost Everything Right

12.22.16


First of all, a big thanks to the THOUSANDS of you who watched at least part of the Teaching Startup: The Show trailer last week. I'm pretty excited about this, even though a lot of how it will operate is still shrouded in mystery. That's partly fake-it-until-you-make-it, but I've been told it can be hard to get a handle on my vision for something like this, which makes me all the more grateful to Andy, Kyle, Sean, Jon, and Chop for just grabbing hold and hanging on.

Now, let's talk about how the trailer launch almost failed.





The three-word mission for Teaching Startup is "Take startup mainstream." Video, good quality, unique, fun, valuable video, is the way to do that. And instead of video, let's call The Show a television show, because that's what it is, but if I tell people I'm starting a television show it sounds even crazier that it already does.

That's cool and all, I don't care how crazy it sounds. I'm an entrepreneur. But people need a bridge to get on board with crazy. 15 years ago, electric cars were crazy. Then Tesla.

So anyway, I'm taking startup mainstream using television. But not reality television. That's why I took an unprovoked shot at Shark Tank. They're trying to take startup mainstream using corporate sensibilities.

Good for them. Go make your money. You're doing it at the expense of startup culture, but what do you care? You're owned by NBC Universal.

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