The Champions of the World

July 22, 2014

Early in my career, I worked for a commercial bank. Most of the new Lending Officers hated the dreadful Wednesday morning Credit Committee meeting. There, the Officers presented client requests to the members of the Credit Committee, which consisted of the President, the senior risk officer, and a few other top lending officers, and hoped [...]


Recognizing Opportunities

July 8, 2014

The Oregon State Advantage Accelerator is not just an accelerator. We are not an incubator. We are a hybrid—a combination of both at the same time. Both accelerators and incubators provide important services, education and community to entrepreneurs. The major differences between the two is that incubators tend to provide office space and companies can [...]


No Golf Joke

June 24, 2014

I finally picked up my golf clubs after a 10-month hiatus. I went to the golf range to hit practice balls, get the rhythm back and the swing in tune. Upon my return, my wife commented that I appeared much calmer and that golf is possibly better for me than my morning runs. It was [...]


Start with the Business Model Canvas – Not Yet

June 10, 2014

We at the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator are big believers in the Business Model Canvas methodology. We use the Canvas, we also use software for the Canvas, and we make our clients read the books by Steve Blank and Alex Ostervalder. However, the fact is that Canvas may put a technology entrepreneur at a [...]


The Last Mile

May 27, 2014

Fitness experts and athletes know that when they are lifting weights, the number of sets and repetitions within each set vary according to weight. On normal days their weightlifting tends to be three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Good athletes understand that the first eight of ten or thirteen of fifteen reps do not [...]


The Entrepreneur as Magician

May 13, 2014

We want our startups to act convincingly with passion and a compelling vision for their invention or process. We want them to suspend our disbelief and stunningly convey the magic of their innovation. A magical story is the single best way a startup can acquire the talent required to build a successful company. Passionate people [...]


Grace is in the Resolution – Customer Service

April 29, 2014

I know that all of you at some time have experienced poor customer service. Remember how frustrating that can be? Some of you might remember receiving outstanding customer service that is gracious and fulfilling. Think about the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) and customer retention costs (CRC). However unfathomable it may seem, one poor customer [...]


Out-Of-The-Building Blocks

April 15, 2014

I had the opportunity to chat with Steve Blank about the Business Model Canvas and his Stanford class. I suggested that there is much work to be accomplished even before embarking on the Lean Launchpad Class. When I taught at the University of Southern California (USC), the cornerstone class before the Business Plan class was [...]


Effective Mentor Protégé Relationships

March 30, 2014

We recently launched our Mentor program at the Oregon State University OSU Advantage Accelerator. In developing the program, I began to think about the attributes and workings of an effective mentor and a good protégé. Effective mentors get off to a good start. They set good ground rules and hold them right from the beginning. [...]


Pitching—But Not Baseball

March 18, 2014

25 Rules for Pitchers At some point in time, every entrepreneur needs to pitch his or her business. Rather than focusing on a specific pitch to a niche industry, these notes concentrate on the general aspect of pitching to potential investors. There is less focus on the content of the pitch and more on the [...]