I listened to David Heinemeier Hansson’s podcast titled “Unlearn Your MBA” a couple days ago, provided by Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Corner and it really struck a chord with a lot of the thoughts I’ve had regarding entrepreneurship.
Like Hansson, I earned an undergrad and graduate degree in a technical field, and returned to school for an MBA. Unlike Hansson, I did not invent Ruby on Rails, or become a partner in a very successful software company.
I received my MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell and participated in the entrepreneurship immersion. The school has a variety of immersions, like investment banking, operations, marketing… These immersions are built around core class focused on the immersion topic, and supported by classes on adjacent topics. Our core entrepreneurship class was a series of start-up and investment case studies designed to give a broad perspective on how entrepreneurship works. In most cases, one of the key players in the case study would lead the discussion in our class providing the insights they gained from experiencing the event in the case study. I loved the class, it was inspiring, exciting, and even frightening sometimes.
The main downside of the class was that it focused on $100M+ ideas. While the cases were all educational and helpful, I couldn’t help but notice that $100M+ ideas are a very narrow class of potential business ideas. In this podcast, Mr. Hansson talks about a different kind of entrepreneurship, one that isn’t based on venture capital, investor pitches, 80 hour weeks, rapid hiring, or years to break-even. Instead he describes a venture that is self-funded, developed part-time in 10-20 hours a week, built on satisfying latent customer needs, and designed to scale. It only takes about an hour to listen to or watch, and will definitely be worth the time.