Friday, May 18, 2012

"Summer's Here & The Time is Right for.. "

"Summer's Here and The Time is Right for..
Entrepreneuring in the Streets?"
(and checking the links below)

Time to put the pedal down! (Me too!) Just saw yet another credible forecaster point out that the odds are still climbing for a return to recession. 

Ouch! BUT.... why not think about this as.. 
          An opportunity to reboot?
          To do what you WISHED you had done when the last recession kicked in? 
          Don't you wish you had seized the opportunity to start something?  
            (And if the economy doesn't crater.. all the better, eh?)

On Wednesday I judged at Idaho TechLaunch - what fun! [a big shout-out to Steph Cook of INL and... **] It was very eye-opening as to:
a) the need to amp the advice (correction... good advice) and mentoring; let's take advantage of our global world and connect with experts all over;
b) just how much more we could be doing. Many of you make fun of my excessive traveling, but as I go around the country and the world, I see so many things that we could steal, er, adapt that would cost no more than what we spend now.

"Doctor, Heal Thyself"
All this applies to me too. If ANY of you has thoughts on what I should be doing differently, I am all ears.  The most common suggestions I get are to: 
     1) Start doing some events. I prefer being Tom Hagen but if I have to be Don, so be it.
[more on that below]
     2) Start writing down what I'm learning. To do that, here are some drafts that reflect the state of the art of what we know (and crowdsourced from experts I know)--
Markers of a Truly Entrepreneurial Ecosystem ( -
          Once I get 'notes' from you, I will turn it in into a scorecard where people can rate their communities. (Wouldn't that be a fun dashboard so communities could brag about their progress??)

A Candidates' Guide to Growing Entrepreneurs ( - 
           I tried to write this in a more conversational mode but it focuses on what civic leaders most need to know about what it takes to grow entrepreneurs. Future variants (stay tuned!) include a Top Ten List ofthe 10 biggest myths and misconceptions about entrepreneurship and a Top Ten List of the ten dumbest (er, least smart) policy ideas we've seen that affect entrepreneurship. (I fear that the latter one will ruffle feathers.)

Speaking of ruffled feathers, let me repeat this link to where Idaho jobs come from and... well, READ it! ONE page, I promise! ;)  
[if not in Idaho, get thee to to do your own.. or hire EMSI in Moscow]

But there's GOOD News! The fourth doc is almost as short and recaps the three known robust predictors of entrepreneurial activity, how Idaho is doing, and what else we could do quickly and cheaply to support!

Even BETTER News
I've asked this before: Why the hell isn't Idaho the mecca for social / sustainable entrepreneurship? (And any community can ask that as well..) I was stunned at Idaho TechLaunch that nobody really knew the term (or how widespread -and powerful - it is) or about the megatrend around impact investing. My next blog post will address that - a bunch of people wanted insights into that world and I would be thrilled to turn you on to it. And...
Did You Know... the guy who runs the huge Dell Social Innovation Challenge visits Idaho regularly?
It is definitely time for a Social Entrepreneurship Weekend in Idaho... and in ALL of your communities! 

p.s. and if you scroll down, you will see some other things that we WILL be doing, such as the lean startup course.

        Have a great weekend - even if I gave you all that homework, LOL!

** and my fellow judges, the always-awesome Faisal Shah, John Fordemwalt, Tom Harrison and Steph C. I like smart people, I like 'git 'r dun' people but smart git'r dun folks? Priceless

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Social entrepreneurship - No such thing as "Rara Avis"!

"Rara Avis" = "rare bird" in Latin...

Or think of AVIS as.... Any Venture Is Social! That AVIS better not be "rara" ;)

To paraphrase my compadre, Bill Drayton of Ashoka, any good social entrepreneur thinks like a great entrepreneur; any great entrepreneur thinks like a social entrepreneur.

Lots of hype about the "triple bottom line" and "People, Planet, Profits" but there is a reality there. Great ventures are sustainable: Environmentally sustainable, socially sustainable and economically sustainable. It is VERY hard to sustain your venture without all three.

Missionary NOT Mercenary
Entrepreneurs are in the business of creating rents - but never lose sight of the truth that entrepreneurs create rents for others. Ideally, they create rents (economic and non-economic) for as many of their stakeholders as they possibly can. If they're good at it, then they create rents for themselves.

I have NEVER understood how hard it is for many people - especially business professors - to get that Entrepreneurs Pay Themselves Last. ("residual claimants" in econ-speak)

Dell Social Innovation Challenge, William James Foundation, et al.
I just finished evaluating 14 proposals for the Dell Challenge, proposals from students all over the world. What a joy and what an honor to help. Many thanks to Rob Hanna for involving me. I try to never miss an opportunity to judge for Ian at the William James Foundation. Different format, but also a joy and a privilege to see if I can add value to some terrific potential (and existing) ventures.

Note: I recommend judging for these - I will hook you up, if interested!

Munich Social Entrepreneurship Weekend
Amazing to see how this was perfectly natural in Munich - they already have a Social Entrepreneurship Academy (next one this fall) and the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship ( has student teams doing sustainable ventures, including a delightful focus on urban farming. (Chalmers School of Entrep's Karl Palmas was right: Urban farming will be HUGE.) The four key Munich schools are collaborating & I think we're going to see an explosion of connecting among these programs & I think the Academy will be the key driver of that. Witness Ludwig Maximiliens Univ's new IDEEN Garage [see Facebook] which will be a great incubator for sustainable ventures [see my pictures on Facebook for both IDEEN Garage and my talks at SCE],

Why aren't we doing this in Idaho?????? (and who wants to help?!)

The Godfather of Social Entrepreneurship
Bill Drayton founded Ashoka []; he coined the phrase 'social entrepreneurship' way back in 1980. Ten years ago, I got Bill to speak to the Academy of Management. Little guy with a thin voice and overhead transparencies, speaking to several hundred highly skeptical entrepreneurship & management professors.

And he blew away the room. 

Holy crap!

Now social entrepreneurship is mainstream. If seeing opportunities is the heart of entrepreneurship, then social entrepreneurship is its soul. But if Bill read that, he'd laugh and remind me what he said back in 2002: ANY good social entrepreneur thinks like a great entrepreneur; ANY great entrepreneur thinks like a social entrepreneur.

Now Bill has agreed to do it again here in 2012, this time at NYU's great social/sustainable entrepreneurship conference that brings together the very best educators, scholars and practitioners to, yes, look how far we've come but, more important, where are we headed?

Ashoka's new mantra is "Everyone a changemaker." So how can I help YOU to make a needed change?

Entrepreneurs WILL transform the world. They're the only ones who actually can. Which means...

YOU will transform the world... My friends and I stand ready to help!

Isn't a GREAT time to be alive??

NK/ Boise, ID May 2012.
norris.krueger[at]; @entrep_thinking;

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

More Lean Startup Tidbits

being (ahem) verbose, I was challenged to explain the Lean Startup model in tweets (max of 140 characters) - gulp. This is also posted on Facebook & Google+ (and the tweets went out individually)

Comments welcome -, Facebook, or @entrep_thinking

MY LEAN TWEETS series (what did I miss? What did I screw up?)
Entrepreneur up, y'all!

1. What’s a “startup” anyway? Vehicle to ruthlessly test each assumption of your business model BEFORE launching. “Nail it, then scale it!”

2. LEAN = Learn Entrepreneurial Agility NOW! ;) Think of LEAN as really meaning LEARN. Although ‘business model evolution’ is sexier :)

3. OK, what’s a “business model”? 3 pieces: Value Creation (value prop), Value Delivery (how you do it) & Value Capture (how to get paid)

4. So what assumptions to test? All of them. Especially those you have 100% faith in ;) Remember: Be ruthless. Get REAL data from REAL people

5. How do I figure out my assumptions? Causal maps & cool tools like Alex O’s Business Model Canvas (

6. I’m still stuck on surfacing assumptions! Use a 3 year old ;) Ask “why is this true?” Then ask why again…and again. (cf. Morten map)

7. So how do I test? A) It’s a hypothesis, so try to DISprove! B) Talk to real people. Per @sgblank – “Get out of the damned building!”

8. Did you Get Out Of The Building yet? With something tangible (a/k/a “Minimum Viable Product”) that potential customers can beat on?

9. But Norris. what if, God forbid. I am WRONG on an assumption? So you might have to change elements of your biz model, a/k/a “pivot”
[n.b. Norris is OFTEN wrong... thanks to my friends, I actually HEAR about my screwups!]

10. Test alternative assumptions. Get feedback – from smart people, from industry people. FROM CUSTOMERS! And… LEARN!!!

11. Hypothesis testing? Try A/B testing. Better to brilliantly test small pieces than make Big Tests. Did I mention “And.. LEARN?” ;)

12. Did you Get Out Of The Building yet? ;) How many potential customers? Did you give them something (MVP) to beat on?

...and as someone who loved wearing 13 in sports... one more!
13. Lucky 13th: Want to learn more? From THE best & brightest? [fave:] @AlexOsterwalder @sgblank @Nailthenscale @leanstartup @Lean