Just a quick point that many of you are putting too much weight on the personality of the pitchperson rather than the substance of their pitch.  This is entirely reasonable – we are humans after all – but remember that both honest and dishonest people can be very good at conveying trust in situations where better caution might be waranted.   Angels and Venture Capitalists are unanimous that successful investments begin with the ability to both “like” and “trust” the pitchperson, but obviously their due diligence has to go deeper than this.   Try to look beyond the words and image to form an impression of the enterprise that is being described.  Could you also like that entreprise???

September 16, 2009   No Comments

Welcome to our humble little Bootcamp…

For many of you, the concepts within Module 2 this week may be the most unfamiliar in the whole course.  The world of start-ups and venture capitalist seems a long way from the classroom.   However, every new venture has to start somewhere, and this critical phase of constructing a viable business framework around a great new idea is as essential as training before running a marathon.   Academics tend to believe otherwise – they come up with original ideas all the time and expect that the idea itself is all that matters.  It’s analogous to the conceit of a man who believes his contribution to creating a baby is all that matters.   The vast majority of ideas never become born as ventures because the gestation phase is so tough.

When we first launched 522 we included a module where we taught students how to read and analyse corporate financials.  While that skill is essential to every true entrepreneur (and educational venture analyst), it was too much for 522.  This isn’t a “business” course.  We decided instead to concentrate on the “pitch” because it is the purest, most concentrated, most accessible, and most social form of any venture.  It’s all in the story.  Just remember that you’ve got to be clear-minded and humble about your abilities to evaluate venture pitches.  If there isn’t something incredible or very hard to understand in any pitch, then it almost certainly isn’t breaking new ground.   Try to imagine what the pitches for applications like Twitter or Facebook might have sounded like before everyone knew what they were.  This module is aimed to help you start tuning your venture instincts.

Dive in and have fun!

September 14, 2009   No Comments

You’re all authors now…

If anyone has had trouble posting their introduction, please try again.  Out students’ “author status” had been inadvertently been turned off in the initial set-up, but now is on.  Please let us know if you have any trouble diving in!

September 9, 2009   No Comments

Welcome also

And hello from your other instructor – David Vogt.  You can reach me at david DOT vogt AT ubc DOT ca.  Please use a convention like that if you wish to reveal your email, because the WordPress platform we`ve chosen for the course is a public blog and you`ll need to be more aware of your postings than you might otherwise in an online course.

DavidV hiking the East Coast Trail in NFLD this summer.

DavidV on NFLD's East Coast Trail last June.

Yes, you`ve got two Davids as instructors:  DavidP and DavidV.  Rather than create two sections of the course, we prefer to bring everyone together as a means of crowdsourcing the great collective wisdom this group represents.   This makes a big group, which is why making your introductions and building a presence for yourself through good posting is important.  DavidP will be marking the group and participation assignments (Assignments 2 & 4) and I`ll be marking the essay assignments (Assignments 1 & 3), but we`ll both be involved throughout the course.

Your big job this week is to make your introduction, review how the course works, and ask any questions.

Also, please look at the Emerging Market modules (M4-M11) right away – if there any topics that are of special interest for you please let me know by the end of this week before we automatically assign people to their groups.

Please enjoy the course – we`re looking forward to your contributions!


September 8, 2009   5 Comments