November 24, 2015

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After building the organization most founders are faced with the critical decision on how to exit. In some cases, the company has succeeded in realizing value for investors and for its founder and employees. In most cases, the company has failed to earn a return. Often the company is balancing on the knife’s edge between success and failure. Small decisions tilt the balance. What are the factors that determine if a company is likely to exit successfully? If it is on a path to failure, how can the founder ensure that it ‘fails well’? What is a good failure?

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5 ways to fail well
Last modified on December 16, 2015 at 11:32 am
There is a lot startup founders can do to manage their failure “successfully” Failure stinks. No one founds a company for it to fail one day, but the sad truth is than 9 out of 10 fail. Some suffer from [...]
Wounded by Failure
Last modified on November 24, 2015 at 12:35 am
Psychology of failure and what can be learned from it

Building the Organization

October 29, 2015

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As the business grows Founders face the task of building an organization that is capable of executing the mission. Individuals and processes that were critical in getting to market become impediments to growth. Assets become liabilities. Founders are faced with difficult choices of replacing people, introducing structure, and creating  new cultural norms. Please share your observations on how founders should address these challenges. What are the early indications that the  you need to bring in a new team, redefine the culture or change the organization? What are you looking for from your VC’s and your Board? What are the biggest challenges you are likely to face while hiring a new team and letting go of the people who brought you to this point? How can you train yourself to effectively handle the difficult conversations that these transitions entail?

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Building a Billion Dollar Brand
Last modified on October 29, 2015 at 8:53 pm
Opportunities for disruption abound in established industries. Here are some tips in helping you build a company that will displace its predecessor.
The Missing Trend in the Fashion Industry: Company Culture
Last modified on October 29, 2015 at 12:55 am
Poor pay, high turnover rates, questionable hires, outsized egos and rotten culture are all characteristics that one might encounter when working in the fashion industry.  Company culture is a vital component of life at a startup and also represents a challenge [...]

Starting a Startup

September 23, 2015

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The thesis of our course is that early decisions that founders make have a disproportionate  impact on their ultimate success or failure. What pathways did they open? What chains did they forge around their own ankles?  Consider the choices that Jessica Matthews  of Uncharted Play, Lew Cirne of Wily, or Hillary Mallow of ProLabs made. Their choices resulted in stable or unstable business partnerships, years of sacrifice and struggle, loss of  control of their companies and even the destruction of a marriage.  In other situations early founding decisions have resulted  in  financial and personal success. The challenges founders face as a business matures can often be traced back to the seeds they sowed at the founding stage.

The founders we have studied often stumbled into these choices blindfolded – without much consideration of their implications or regard for their consequences. They often did not even recognize their decisions as choices. What observations can you share with entrepreneurs that are seeking co-founders and making their first commitments to the business? What questions still intrigue you?  What factors would you advice others to consider before taking the plunge into the ocean of possibilities that entrepreneurship offers? When should they persevere, when should they close the business?

Please limit your post to 500 words. include pictures, links to other sites and videos, if they make the entry more compelling. Remember that to make an impact, your entry has to be read by others. Try and make it visually appealing, provocative and thoughtful.  And,  please comment on the blog entries of others.  Your blog post will be accessible on the internet. It is due before 9 pm on September 22nd, 2015. We will be discussing a few of your posts in class on the 23rd.

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A Role by Any Other Name
Posted on September 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm
Society values the title of "founder"... perhaps we do more than we should
The pitfalls of hiring based on conventional wisdom
Last modified on September 23, 2015 at 4:11 am
A company can only be as good as the people within it. As a founder, it is imperative that you decide what it is you value most in an employee and plan your hiring decisions accordingly. You can establish whatever [...]
A Startup Reality Distortion Field?
Posted on September 23, 2015 at 4:07 am
Who can be a founder, and how must one run a venture? In answering these questions, today's startup world presents a reality distortion field; should one remain within it?