Corporate Lean Startup, Co-Director Stanford Technology Ventures.

Philip Bouchard is the founder and CEO of TrustedPeer Entrepreneurship, providing insights from entrepreneurship thought leaders to a community of 5,000 educators, center directors, program managers and administrators from academia, government and industry.

Riitta Katila is W. M. Keck Chaired Professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP).  Her research is in the intersection of technology strategy and organizational learning, using machine learning, statistical analysis and mixed methods.

She is an expert on innovation, competition, and entrepreneurship in large firms, and her current research centers on responsible and inclusive innovation initiatives. Dr. Katila is also the Co-director of STVP’s PEAK Initiative (Principled Entrepreneurship: Action & Knowledge) on purposeful entrepreneurship.

In our session, Ritta was asked twenty-three probing questions on the Lean Startup Method.  Some topics discussed:  (1) Is lean startup now the lingua franca (“one of a kind”) of innovation, (2) how ubiquitous is Lean in corporations in the U. S. and globally, (3) what are the frontiers of a company’s competition network? (5) can embracing diversity be taught and how could you do it?, (5) is the growth in entrepreneurship centers and programs over the past ten years driving the growth in Unicorns?



Florida Gulf Coast Entrepreneurship Eco-System

At the March 2022 Media Roundtable (MRT) luncheon held at the 5-star cuisine downtown Sarasota restaurant Rosemary & Thyme, your editor was invited to give a talk about the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the Florida Gulf Coast.  He felt a little like he was “preaching to the choir” in that most attendees were successful entrepreneurs in their own right.  

The medium roundtable is a 72 year-old organization founded by George Allen in 1950 in New York City, and he continued the group when he retired to Sarasota in 1989.  Over the years it has included active and retired media, television, radio, print, film, internet, theatre, authors, and public relations members.

A short 2-minutes video below will give a flavor of the topic.  Florida is rated the fourth best state to start a new business enterprise right behind California, New York, and Georgia.  When digital tech resources are factored into the equation, Florida and in particular its Central I-4 beltway is among the most desirable in the country.  Three reasons are the Tampa hub of incubators and educational centers (U of Tampa, Hillsborough Community College), the Synapse innovation organization begun in 2018 to spur new companies, and the High Tech Corridor, a collaborative network of high-tech businesses, entrepreneurs, students, faculty and job seekers running west from Tampa through Orlando to Daytona Beach.

One would be hard pressed to find a more conducive geographic location to start a new venture than the Gulf Coast of Florida that includes two incubators each in St. Petersburg and Bradenton supported by Eckerd College and State College of Florida with its new 26 West Center providing entrepreneurs with seven different services, a TV studio, a digital collective, a coding academy, a collegiate nexus, student incubator, personal branding lab, and an entrepreneurship academy.

It is a special place to live apart from entrepreneurial opportunity.  As they say in the South, “come see us”!

MRT2 – SD 480p      ←  Short Video

What’s Next for Entrepreneurship

The 2022 Trends in Entrepreneurship Report features studies highlighting trends in venture funding and entrepreneurship quality, the career implications of entrepreneurial experience, and how diversity affects performance.  Based at UNC Raleigh, the Institute develops and promotes innovative, market-based solutions to vital economic issues by fostering the entrepreneurial spirit.

The 2022 Trends in Entrepreneurship Report features studies highlighting trends in venture funding and entrepreneurship quality, the career implications of entrepreneurial experience, and how diversity affects performance. Here’s a rundown of key takeaways.

Trends in Entrepreneurship Reports

It is becoming harder to be an entrepreneur

The number of new businesses has decreased over the last few decades. Has this trend affected the quality of businesses that do emerge? To find out, Victor Lyonnet and colleagues from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University developed a new way to measure entrepreneurial quality and used it to assess what factors help – or hurt – an entrepreneur’s chance of success.1

The team obtained detailed, representative data on French entrepreneurs and then tied this information with a firm registry for data on startup trends, value added and employment. The result was a new dataset that combines both exhaustive data on new business formation and a representative set of entrepreneurship characteristics for a subset of businesses.

After validating the dataset by using it to confirm trends in the quantity of French startups, they created a new measure for quality based on almost 50 entrepreneurship characteristics. Applying a machine learning algorithm to these characteristics revealed which factors are the most important for successful entrepreneurship.

In terms of five-year startup success, the researchers found that one of the most important factors was whether an entrepreneur had worked at or started a business in the same activity or industry. They also found that the factors that predicted whether a business would survive differed from those that predicted employment or value added after five years, accounting for the fact that some businesses will survive without ever growing.

Using their new approach, the researchers found that startup quality has increased through the years, particularly for industries where the quantity of startups has decreased. They interpret this to mean that it has become harder to become an entrepreneur, and thus, low-quality entrepreneurs have disappeared. They also found that the productivity of the largest firms in each industry significantly increased starting about 2000, kicking off a cycle of market concentration. This led to more firm exits and fewer businesses being formed, and contributed to the overall increase in startup quality.

Financial contracts for new ventures tend to become more investor-friendly over time

Contracting for new ventures is tricky because of the high level of uncertainty involved. Investors don’t always have a clear picture of the entrepreneur’s trustworthiness and likelihood of success, while entrepreneurs aren’t sure whether venture capitalists will deliver the support they have promised. Because most datasets capture only first or final contracts, it has been unclear whether all this uncertainty leads to contracts being renegotiated, or who stands to benefit most as contract terms evolve.

Tim Jenkinson from Säid Business School at Oxford University and colleagues used a deal-level dataset of new venture financing contract terms and a “three-dimensional” analysis strategy to study how financial contracts for new ventures evolve over time and across rounds.2 They extracted data from certificates of incorporation that must be filed by U.S. registered companies upon formation and each time a new class of stock is issued, providing the amount raised along with details on the participating investors, board members and executive officers.

They found that new ventures receive similar terms in their first formal “Series A” funding round. In fact, nearly 55% of new ventures studied adopted a common default contract for Series A rounds, even though there was limited overlap of investors across deals. For companies that deviated from the default contract, most adopted more investor-friendly terms.

The researchers also found a strong tendency to leave rights unchanged across funding rounds. If the rights did change, the changes were more likely to benefit investors. Although the default contract was the most popular option before Series E round, in later rounds, about 95% of companies adopted more investor-friendly contracts.

The study also provided insight into the debate over whether ventures are overvalued because preferred stock prices, rather than common stock prices, are often used to calculate the value. The researchers found that as companies succeed and enter later rounds of funding, the value of preferred stock shares begins to more closely approximate real economic values because of the increase in the likelihood that preferred shares will convert to ordinary stock.

Former entrepreneurs face bias when applying for jobs

Aspiring entrepreneurs must often consider what their job prospects will be if their ventures fail. Although many studies have examined what leads to entrepreneurship, not much is known about what happens after an exit, even though 50% of those who enter entrepreneurship leave within five years.

Waverly Ding and colleagues from the University of Maryland designed a study to address this knowledge gap.3 They provided 275 managers with a job description and four resumes (1,100 resumes total). The resumes were objectively identical, and the gender of the candidate’s first name was randomized. The main point of variation was in the candidates’ entrepreneurship experience, indicated by listing either founder or an executive title for the last held position. After managers selected a top candidate for the position, they completed a survey designed to assess their personal entrepreneurial aspirations along with their company’s size and demographics.

The study revealed that former entrepreneurs were 23% to 29% less likely to be selected than those with no entrepreneurial experience. Recruiters in the largest firms (more than 5,000 employees) were also significantly less likely to hire the job applicants with entrepreneurship history compared with recruiters in the smallest firms. The largest hiring penalty was handed out by recruiters without any personal entrepreneurial aspiration. Among recruiters with no entrepreneurial aspirations, those from large companies inflicted a 26% penalty on candidates with entrepreneurial experience while those from small companies inflicted a 14% penalty on these candidates. For recruiters with entrepreneurial aspirations, those from large companies were still 17% less likely to select candidates with entrepreneurial experience. Those from small companies inflicted no penalty.

Based on their findings, the researchers recommend that large firms develop anti-bias training programs to mitigate the penalty on former entrepreneurs during the recruiting process. They also point out that picking the right person for recruiting can help. For example, the entrepreneurial penalty can be reduced by using recruiters who have entrepreneurial aspirations themselves.

The relationship between diversity and performance is complex

Although many workplace initiatives target diversity, few empirical studies have examined how diversity affects performance in entrepreneurship. To delve into this topic, Sophie Calder-Wang and colleagues from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania studied performance trends among MBA students at Harvard Business School.4

The study included more than 3,500 students over four years who participated in a required team-based class that involved proposing and starting a real microbusiness. The businesses were later judged by a panel of venture capital investors and experienced entrepreneurs.

In 2013, the students were randomly assigned into entrepreneurial teams for the class. Then, for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 cohorts, students were allowed to select their own teams. The researchers saw a marked decrease in diversity in the self-selected teams. Students tended to group together with others from the same gender and/or race or ethnicity and, to a lesser extent, with others who shared a similar educational background or industry experience.

Analyzing the teams’ performance, the researchers found that greater diversity was associated with lower performance among randomly assigned teams, but this relationship was far less strong among organically formed teams. Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that it may be a bad idea to force people to work in a diverse team that they wouldn’t put together themselves.

The researchers also looked at the implications of diversity between the teams and their assigned faculty leaders. One key finding was that teams with more women performed better when advised by a female faculty leader. Since this relationship is similar to the one between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, the researchers suggested that female mentorship would likely benefit women in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Overall, the study suggests that imposed diversity can reduce performance, but this can be alleviated when people can pick their own teams, even if this might lower overall diversity. This points to the need to take steps to eliminate bias against underrepresented groups to fully benefit from diversity.

War and Entrepreneurship

We are all playing witness to a 21st-century war in Europe –seeing its widespread effects on all aspects of society across the globe… In his article titled, “The history of business and war: introduction,” Dr. Erik Lakomma (2017)[1]  describes how there is a significant lack of formal research currently being done on war’s influence and effect on business, specifically entrepreneurship. The following explores war’s relationship to entrepreneurship and proposes a humane approach to both the generation and rehabilitation of the affected economies, focusing on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

The people of Ukraine are no strangers to struggle. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has ushered in an era of frugal innovation, as most habitats have endured three, if not four, national crises in their lifetimes. But today—with nearly two million Ukrainians internally displaced and over two million have already fled the country—it’s time to ask, what happens when people are pushed too far into scarcity? When there are not enough resources to survive, let alone continue conducting business?

Both Russian and Ukrainian entrepreneurs and small businesses feel the steep effects of a wartime economy. While the rest of the world sees rocketing natural gas and dwindling supplies of staples like wheat, the Russian and Ukrainian experiences with both are intensified. As a result, the worth of the Russian Ruble has fallen to a record low against the US Dollar, and corporations around the world have worked tirelessly to relocate business operations and withdraw any assets from Russia. In addition, on March 11th, the United States, along with G7 countries and the European Union,announced the implementation of national economic sanctions with an intended goal of “building on the unprecedented package of economic sanctions and export controls already imposed on Russia.”

With such sanctions, what is demanded and what can be supplied shifts during the war in general. Wartime realities require frugal innovation, locally and globally, and the impediments of conflict can spur industry in new ways.Historically, there is a myriad of examples of this. While the War of 1812 is known for having provided “an impetus to American textile production,” World War II is acknowledged for the growth of the electronic and aircraft industries. Around the globe, we are experiencing new grassroots and viral movements of support in support of Ukraine. People worldwide began booking Airbnb staysin Ukraine without traveling there and purchasing digital downloads from Ukrainian vendors on Etsy and eBay, all to push funds into the country. Companies such as BlaBlaCar have even found more tangible ways to support transporting Ukrainians to safety.

Just as war influences business and entrepreneurship, conversely, entrepreneurship influences war. Known as the military-industrial complex, the phenomenon refers to the influence of companies on the government towards “continued or increased military spending.” Demonstrated most frequently by the United States elected officials who remain dependent on military industries and vote for pro-war policies, the military-industrial complex benefits primarily those in weapons supply and military technology advancement. Today, however, we see information and media companies playing much more prominent roles in the complex by disseminating (mis)information and advertising and modern offensive practices, such as cyberattacks.

These powerful companies can influence the votes of Congress. Unfortunately, the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are most likely not being represented or heard. These more singular units of economic power are so interwoven into our societal blanket that we often forget to consider their needs. When aiding them during trying times, they significantly lose between individuals and large companies.

Yet these small units communicate to the world: when it is safe, what to buy, and from where. They are local guardians, and until Ukrainian and Russian small business owners can open their doors once again, the imperative must be to protect their importance. War is another “pre-existing condition” [2] to global disease. If this new normal can not be based on any consistent sense of external stability, let’s decide to center it on an approach that is always within reach. In applying energies toward creating human-centered relationships, policies, and structures, there is a fighting chance to equilibrate the balance so that we can live in a place that upholds equity for all.

ICSB’s goal is to help bring perspective and voice to the MSMEs and entrepreneurs across the globe, and now, especially within both Ukraine and Russia. In 2016 when Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy formulated a proposal for a United Nations Day for MSMEs, he intended to see a day in which all countries, stakeholders, and companies of all sizes might celebrate the importance of MSMEs as the core units of modern society. Furthermore, MSMEs Day would act as a platform from which the global community could build ideas, synergies, and initiatives to help MSMEs prosper and grow while swiveling international attention towards these smaller units.

Courtesy of Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy, President & CEO, ICSB


Wisdom from Founder of Netflix Marc Randolph

Marc Bernays Randolph is an American tech entrepreneur, advisor and speaker. He is the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix. A serial entrepreneur who helped found the U.S. edition of Macworld magazine and the computer mail-order businesses MacWarehouse and MicroWarehouse,   Randolph now serves on the boards of Looker Data Sciences and Chubbies Shorts. He previously served on the boards of Getable, Rafter, ReadyForce.

Courtesy Entrepreneur Magazine, Dan Bova Host

5th Lean Innovation Educators Summit.


Held Feb. 3rd and based from UC Berkeley, the purpose of the Summit was to strengthen the entrepreneurship community by creating opportunities for lean educators to share best practices and a dialogue.  Some of the themes included training the next generation of entrepreneurs, facilitating the impact tech commercialization, engaging communities beyond our campus, lean innovation educators responsibilities, and practices-lessons learned in our COVID environment.

Keynote feature Dr. Richard Lyons, Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer of UC Berkeley who discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by lean innovation educators.  Chair Jerry Engle conducted a fireside chat below (starts at 52 minutes in of a 2.5 hours session).

Dr. Lyons emphasized the value of both sides of any question, to put a benefit lens on everything and to question the status quo.   He also spoke of the importance of working with and through other people to get the most done.  An interesting fact he shared was the fact UC Berkeley over the last 20 years has realized more revenue from startup equity than from the State of CA.

Some other thoughts from the Summit were Tom Byers of Stanford engineering reminding us of their Entrepreneurship Network that connects various campus entities, the Capacity Utilization Concept, an economic concept which refers to the extend to which an enterprise or a nation actually uses its installed productive capacity, and Phil Weilerstein of Venture Well commenting on the emergence of entrepreneurship in engineering schools and fact venture creation is the ultimate educational experience.

Content from the breakout sessions appears near the end of the You Tube recording above, the session led by luminaries in our field -Ivy Schultz, Columbia, Julie Collins from Ga Tech’s NSF program, UCSF medical’s Stephanie Marrus, Steve Blank and his co-author Bob Dorf, Jim Chung from George Washington, and Dave Chapman from University College London.

 Courtesy of TrustedPeer’s Philip Bouchard, Closing by Editor C. Day

Best SBI Entrepreneurship Conference.

The SBI, Small Business Institute, held its 46th annual academic conference this past Feb. 24-26th at the beautiful Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina in Mount Pleasant, SC on the water, a Conde Nest and U. S. News Best Hotel.  SBI is always a smaller affair, and even though your editor went for only the second time, it quickly becomes family. We sought out SBI in 2019, attending that conference in New Orleans one month before COVID-19 stopped most gatherings. The reason was as chair of the USASBE (U. S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Small Business SIG (special interest group), we were looking for an outreach to local businesses.  Someone had recommended SBI for its student consulting program that provides student internships to local businesses for a modest fee to help with accounting, marketing, and other everyday but important activities.

Our attraction to the 2022 conference was a plethora of breakouts explaining the student consulting model, one titled Leveraging the Student Consulting Model to Create a Comprehensive Academic Program, another on the Impact of the SBI on Students, Faculty, Clients and other Stakeholders, and finally a workshop titled How to Create and Run an SBI Program at Your University.  All were offered by “old hands” Ron Cook, Rider University business dean, Michal Harris, chair of Miller School of Entrepreneurship at Eastern Carolina University (ECU) and Dennis Barber, an Associate Professsor at the Miller School.  We were introduced to an academic paper on the student consulting model and the 6th edition of a textbook titled Management Consulting Project (Routledge, Taylor & Francis).

SBI is the premier organization for pedagogical research using field-based student experiential learning.  The new Leveraging the Student Consulting Model February 2022 focuses on the role of the Small Business Institute® (SBI) program in academic program expansion and sustainability by embedding the student consulting model throughout the curriculum. East Carolina University has used the SBI model since 1974, and it served as a foundational element in the creation of its comprehensive Miller School of Entrepreneurship. A central theme has been the focus of experiential learning as a key tool in expanding curricular and co-curricular offerings. This includes integration into multiple courses and impactful community partnerships. Best practices are provided on how to utilize the SBI student-consulting model to guide program development, expansion, and longevity –

The conference was not all work and no play with wonderful keynotes during meals including the author of What an MBA Taught Me…But My Kids Made Me Learn from Bea Wray.  She shared her experiences as a mother of three taught her how to negotiate, communicate, and adapt to the business world.  Results from her gratitude program are far reaching.  This photo of a social at the Harbor Resort’s Yacht Club overlooking Charleston show the spirit of the professors at play only outshone the final night of Salsa and Sangrias.  I cannot encourage any entrepreneurship academics enough to experience a SBI conference.  They have an array of practical and useful papers presented in a lively and enjoyable manner.

By Editor Clinton Day, Current in Entrepreneurship, Amazon Author




A Work World in Flux

The white-collar workplace has changed a lot over the last two years.  Remote work has gone from a quirky perk to a common experience.  Workers all the way up to the C-Suite have assessed what they want from a job.  And expectations for when and where work must be done has evolved.  As executives scramble to merge remnants of the “before times” with pandemic-propelled work shifts, graduating college seniors are preparing to enter the work force for the first time.  The new normal will be their first normal.

With nearly every aspect of their college experience upended, this year’s graduates are more accustomed than most to living alongside uncertainty.  The roughly two million people who will earn a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. College or university this year pursued academic and professional ambitions amid campus closures, online classes and remote internships.  For better or worse, they are entering the new work landscape without the memory of pre-pandemic life to guide or sway their choices.

DealBook spoke to 10 seniors who are graduating from universities across the U. S. about how they envision the trajectory of their careers -where they’ll work, how they’ll work and what factors might influence their choices.  Their goals, interests and outlooks vary, but nearly all anticipate careers that are less linear and more dynamic than those of generations prior.

And they’re ready for it. “I don’t care too much about change.  It happens”, said Austin Rosas, 23, a Texas A&M University economics major with a minor in mathematics.  “Adaptation is what matters.”

A National Association of Colleges new graduates survey provided this sampling:

♦”In addition to values, the impact that an organization has will make or break my decision to begin and remain working in a particular place”, Citlali Blanco, 22, human biology major, Stanford.

♦”I hope my future workplace is an environment that is collaborative, inclusive and values their employees.  I want a workplace where I feel safe and comfortable to share my voice, as well as a place where I will be able to continue to grown in the field I want to succeed in”, Rebecca Hart, 22, public relations major at American University.

Courtesy of NY Times article by Corinne Purtill in the DealBook 


Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Bumble App Founder

Whitney Wolfe Herd is cofounder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. Wolfe Herd first founded Bumble, the dating app on which women make the first move, with Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev in 2014. Andreev, who founded Badoo in 2004, sold his stake in both apps to private equity firm Blackstone in November 2019. Wolfe Herd, who owns a 21% stake in Bumble, became the youngest self-made woman billionaire after it went public in February 2021. Together, Bumble and Badoo operate in 150 countries with 2.8 million paying users as of March 2021. During her Forbes shoot, Whitney Wolfe Herd shares her most invaluable business lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs…

Courtesy of Forbes Magazine Online  –  5 Minutes

2nd Motivation in Series – Student Success

Moving Students to Success

A dedicated New Hampshire teacher, Susan Fitzell, has written a great paperback on student motivation and publishes resources on her website of We’ll visit the work in our series on student motivation that began below with entrepreneurs.

Susan centers around the priceless gifts of empowerment and accountability in addition to motivation in tackling any learning challenge telling us how to motivate the unmotivated, empower students to reach goals, and to make homework fun.  Interestingly, Susan uses mindsets, cornerstone of entrepreneurship training, describing her process as changing a student’s mindset from fixed to one of growth mindset.  The aim is for students to feel control over the lives and know they can learn.  A start is one-on-one communication to show them they’re good at some things and telling them they can succeed.

 Twenty years ago, educators had much more latitude in how they taught their classes.  We had a curriculum to teach, but we created our own lesson plans and are trusted to use our skills as professionals to successfully educate our students. We had the latitude to try a variety of teaching methods to help struggling students.  Educators today are limited in how much leeway they can provide students.  Sometimes, teachers are severely restricted in how creative they can be in their own classrooms.  But, one of the most empowering things you can offer a student is choice.  Even if it’s a choice in where they sit for a party the class, or what topic they get to write about, or the order in which thy complete an assignment.  By giving students choice, we not only give them more control in their life – nothing allows a wider array of choices than an intro to entrepreneurship course where students design and create individually.

This process is at its best during experiential exercises that are entrepreneurship training.   Learning by doing fosters a sense of personal power, engenders a feeling of control, and reinforces the core of the learning objective.  It is precisely why students come alive in entrepreneurship classes at the same time they gain the motivation to preserve, overcome obstacles and create solutions to problems.  Entrepreneurship-focused programs teach students crucial life skills that will help them navigate an uncertain future. These skills include problem-solving, teamwork, empathy, as well as learning to accept failure as a part of the growth process.  

Both adults and children alike know that if they don’t like doing something, they rarely do it well. The same can be said for education, and one of the major issues in learning is that it can be perceived as boring or non-beneficial to the pupil. If a student lacks the willingness to do something, this can make an educator’s job extremely difficult, especially when you have many other pupils to cater to. To avoid these pupils falling through the cracks, motivation is key to improving the learning environment for the whole class, enabling better absorption of information and improved engagement. Ensuring motivation stays high is not just crucial for classroom study, it is essential for life skills too. When children go into adulthood, they will need the skills for self-motivation to ensure everyday tasks can be fulfilled.

To quote Susan, “having taught bullying prevention for several years at that point in time, I taught youth to label negative self-talk as “bullying thoughts.” I encouraged them to look at their thoughts by suggesting that they “Be a mind detective.” I explained, “You’ve got thoughts going through your head. As a detective, determine: Are those thoughts negative? Are they positive? Are they telling you good things about yourself or bad things about yourself? What are they telling you? If they’re telling you bad things about yourself, tell them to stop it.  She quotes famed mindset Stanford professor Carol Dweck,  “people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.  A mindset, according to Dweck, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. People can be aware or unaware of their mindsets, but they can have profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other dimensions of life.

For a well-rounded liberal arts education, schools at every level should require every student take a year of entrepreneurship so they not only survive but thrive in the digital age,  which is dependent on innovation and creativity.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Walt Disney