Happy New Entrepreneurial Year!


Let’s hear more entrepreneurial voices to learn from
In a recent tweet @molly_delaney asked if she could “hear more from entrepreneurs!” Yes! Please! Allow me to introduce some examples and ask for more…

Learning from the voice of the entrepreneur…
I have no job without entrepreneurs. I respect the voice of entrepreneurs and innovators above all. I know that in my few decades of entrepreneurship that what really mattered was hearing relevant, practical examples and stories of business building from other entrepreneurs, innovators and peers I could relate to.

As inspiration, here’s a recent example from Adam Melonas. Adam is a wonderful example of a risk taker. He’s risking his life on changing the quality of food for the better. Here’s a fresh post Envisioning Better Food? Chew! from Adam derived from one of our Startup Secrets workshops where he shared how he weaves vision, mission, and culture into is work.

Slide51I hope you can relate to Adam’s entrepreneurial voice but if you’re in a different domain, here’s another recent great post from Mike Duffy who looks to answer when is the best time to work on Vision, Mission and Culture? And then how do you operationalize it…


Learning from failure too…
And not all the stories we look to tell are about success. I’m a big believer in learning from failure – I did very early on in my career and it was phenomenally formative.

Here are a couple of great learning examples from failure:

  • Greg Favalora, founder of Actuality systems talks through his pioneering days of building the world’s first 3D display (Resource and Video here)
  • Don Bulens, a CEO who has worked through some unsuccessful startups and situations, partnering with founders to ultimately show great success. (Resource and Video here discussing Trellix, Equallogic and now Unidesk)

And coming back to Adam Melonas above, he exemplifies so much of what I love about entrepreneurs. He’s a professional chef. And, confident in his abilities, he’s willing to make failure a part of his recipe. In fact he claims it takes a 98% failure rate to discover the secret sauce to his products!


Go Adam – may this inspire all entrepreneurs! CLICK to Tweet: Examples of learning from failure… #nomorefear only learning

Of course there are many success stories we’ve covered in our Startup Secrets series varying across frameworks from hiring to marketing to financing. Our current list of case studies can be found here, including examples from Acquia, Actifio, Actuality, Apperian, Brightcove, Cylent, Demandware, Diagnostics for all, Disqus, Endeca, Givology, Google, Hubspot, PatientPing, Salsify, Solidworks, SplashScore, Symantec, Unidesk, UTest (Applause)


But like Molly, we want more!
Even though entrepreneurship has been my life, over the last decade plus, I’ve combined it with investing. So in order to help and keep close to current and future full time entrepreneurs, the Startup Secrets is designed as a framework to draw out as many of those learning moments and stories as I can get entrepreneurs to share. And I’d like to share more of them – as Molly asked! So please consider this a call to action to let me know if you have an interesting story to share that you think would make either a good case study for me to bring to Harvard, or at a simpler level, just a blog post you’d like to share. And even if you’re not someone who wants to tell your story, recommend someone we can talk to, interview or get to work with. Just leave ideas in the comments below so we can reach out.

Thank you in advance and here’s to a great 2015 for you entrepreneurs and innovators out there!