Before Hacker News, and the wealth of Paul Graham essays that came with it, there was, for me, ignorance.
Of course, I’d heard about the “dotcom boom”, and, being a geek, I stayed relatively on the bleeding edge of tools and web-based startups. Hell, I even knew about Ruby on Rails and Basecamp. But the landscape of “learning about startups” was largely made up of the typical books you find in your average library, about “how to deal with your company finances”, “10 steps to marketing success” and other dispiriting works, along with more inspiring but largely useless biographies of successful businessmen.
So, when I stumbled upon this treasure trove of startup lore, it shaped my view of entrepreneurship for years to come. Thank you, Paul, for putting so much valuable insight online.
That said, today I want to, ungratefully, attack one theme that was common in those early essays, back in 2007 and earlier. Before I do this, it’s fair to point out that Paul’s view of this may well have changed since this was written (5 or more years ago!). There are many things I believed 5 years ago that I wouldn’t stand behind today.
Read the full article here.
By Sramana Mitra
I know I am entering highly contentious territory. Academia generally looks down upon entrepreneurs even as they teach entrepreneurship in business schools and other university programs around the world.
Meanwhile, I have come to observe that most business school programs have an extensive emphasis on fundraising, especially from venture capitalists, and little pragmatic understanding of what it really takes to get a venture off the ground. As a result, business schools launch students into the real world with completely unrealistic expectations, and in doing so they set them up to fail. I recently launched a discussion on my blog asking my readers in academia to weigh in on teaching bootstrapping in business schools. It generated an active discussion from which I will synthesize a few points.
Robert Hacker is representative of the kind of dismissive attitude prevalent in academia. Hacker writes: “I have been teaching entrepreneurship at FIU in Miami for five years. [The] focus of the course is on building big companies (revenue over $100MM) rather than self-employment or family businesses. I generally focus on friends and family as the first round of capital because of the importance of capital raising in most growth businesses. I generally discuss bootstrapping in the context of capital efficiency and certain business models/industries that lend themselves to this approach, such as certain Web businesses with high margins and low start-up costs.”