Entrepreneurship as educational product

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With the proliferation and tremendous popularity of entrepreneurship courses, it is worth pausing to reflect on what it is that they teach. Unlike accounting, finance or even marketing courses  – which offer a set of trade or professional skills with tangible career value – entrepreneurship courses are less susceptible to return-on-investment calculation. I am not […]

Is there life after Dragons’ Den?

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There you have it. The real-life Dragons have spoken. Your idea has been turned down. What are you to do? It is an emotional rollercoaster. On the one hand, you can resign and savor life without uncertainty. But then you start thinking about all those cases – too many to be discounted as flukes – […]

In search and praise of (well intentioned) failure

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To succeed, many things need to go right. To fail, only one of them needs to go wrong. Economists talk of the paradox of thrift: saving money is good for you, but if everyone saves too much, then we all may be worse off. Curiously, the same logic applies to entrepreneurial failure, but the other […]

Should we be suspicious of entrepreneurial stories?

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A very intriguing TED talk by Tyler Cowen. Let me recap some of his main points: 1. People love stories. 2. No one describes their life as mess. People typically describe it as a journey, battle, novel, race, play, etc. 3. By telling stories, we are imposing order on the mess that we observe. When […]

Entrepreneuship as herding Black Swans

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If you dig under any entrepreneurial success story, you will inevitably find some trigger events that could not have been anticipated and that are crucial for the unfolding of the story the way it did. Think of Kiva’s being featured on DailyKos on October 27, 2005 or being the subject of a PBS Frontline documentary […]

Succeeding by being out of control

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I have a growing interest in understanding the process through which entrepreneurial opportunities unfold from mere ideas. And it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the logic of process is fundamentally different from the logic of cause and effect, which over the years has become my default mode of thinking. In an unfolding process, […]

The pull of the null

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At a dinner last year, I met a partner at a major European VC firm. Upon finding out what I did, he drew me into an ongoing conversation about whether entrepreneurship could be taught and asked me for my opinion on the subject. The consensus opinion in the group was that entrepreneurs were essentially born; […]

Sticking with the good ideas; abandoning the bad ones

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Entrepreneurship is exciting: it makes life dynamic and, when used to harness inventions and new technologies, changes both its daily nature and quality. But in becoming an entrepreneur one is humbled by the impossibility of knowing whether the business idea at hand is the “right one”. It just does not have the aura of inevitability […]