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2 posts from September 2009

September 10, 2009

Healthcare and Entrepreneurship

President Obama's compelling healthcare speech last night made the case for acting now. In a follow-up email that he sent to millions, he urged action to finally address this pressing issue, positing that we are "closer now than we have been in 60 years." Here's my question - where can I find an analysis of the impact of the plan on entrepreneurship? Why has this major engine of job growth been silent or ignored in the debate - or have I just missed it? Anything that creates friction in entrepreneurship is a bad thing for our innovation economy. I have seen aspiring entrepreneurs hold back in pursuing their start-up dreams because of fear of losing health coverage. Lowering the barriers to allow the flow of great talent to seek great opportunity needs to be a fundamental tenant of the new plan and I'm concerned that our leadership isn't focused enough on this lens. Has anyone seen any good data or dialog on this topic? Led by former venture capitalist Karen Mills, shouldn't the SBA be a strong, relevant voice here?

September 08, 2009

Serving as an Entrepreneur in Residence at HBS

When I was at Harvard Business School (HBS) in the early 1990s, entrepreneurship was an afterthought.  When I joined the venture-backed Internet start-up Open Market in the spring of 1995, I was one of only a handful of graduates that joined a start-up out of business school (at a fraction of the salary of my classmates, I might add!)

Today, the entrepreneurship department is the largest department at HBS.  Students aren't just joining start-ups, they're creating start-ups.  The annual business plan contest is a huge draw and it is estimated that as many as 40-50 start-ups are created each year by students coming out of the school.  Today, 50% of all HBS alumni describe themselves as entrepreneurs 10-15 years after graduation.

I always love my visits back on campus, interacting with the students, judging business plan contests and hearing about the latest faculty research.  That's why, when one of my former professors invited me to join HBS as an "Entrepreneur in Residence" at HBS, I eagerly agreed.  It's a very part-time gig and will not take away from my day job in any way, but instead will give me a chance to learn from all the brilliant faculty and students running around campus.

I will be working, in particular, with Noam Wasserman, who runs a great course and blog about "Founder's Dilemma".  Noam's research in choices founders make and his very popular course will be a great learning environment for me as well.

So if folks have any answers to the question, "What would I advise HBS students who want to become entrperneurs", let it 'er rip!