Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top Ten Myths & Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship

Top Ten Myths & Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship

                     (so what do YOU think?)

1. Entrepreneurship is About Making Money

2. Entrepreneurs are Born, not Made

3. Entrepreneurship is About Great Ideas

4. Entrepreneurship is About Great Entrepreneurs

5. There is a Shortage of Capital

6. Entrepreneurs Fail Most of the Time

7. Jobs at Entrepreneurial Firms are Inferior

8. Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses Are Essentially the Same

9. Small Firms are the Job Creators
            You have to be small/new to be entrepreneurial

10. We Can Have Innovation without Innovators;
We Can Have Entrepreneurship without Entrepreneurs

Bonus Myth: Business Plans, Not Business Models

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Conference Madness ;)

Conference Madness ;)

[p.s. I need a REAL job! LOL but there is nothing like being around great minds. Boise is chock full of great minds just not in entrepreneurship research, education or policy. So if any of you who might have a job, academic or policy-related are reading this.... ]

To paraphrase Isaac Newton: If I see farther, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants. Some of whom really wish I wouldn't wear golf shoes.... :)

Two great conferences where I met many of my peers - nothing hanging out with smart people who are passionate about understanding AND helping entrepreneurs!

Babson Entrepreneurship Research Conference ( - the #1 research conference. I had two well-received papers [possibly well-received because my brainiac co-authors made the presentations? :) ]

International Council for Small Business (; - the big dog globally for entrepreneurship educators & scholars.
        I learned a lot, made some new friends, danced a little, and plotted some new projects - there are always more young talent coming up, both smart and hungry.

And that is a GREAT sign for the future of entrepreneurship as an intellectual field. Just as the revolution in entrepreneurial learning is starting to surface, the next generation of scholars is showing up in force. Definitely a bull market for talent. AND they are increasingly immersed in their local entrepreneurial communities.

Any school who wants a great teacher, great researcher and is deeply entrepreneurial... can find one.
(Best of all, most of them have NO idea how good they are... and how great they can be!)

But that means Norris has to work harder & harder just to keep up! At these conferences, my co-authors & I came, we saw, we kicked butt. It always helps to have great audiences that are supportive but won't tolerate sloppiness or bullcrap. I would not be this productive if it weren't for the pull of great audiences and great new ideas and the push from co-conspirators

Babson - 

1) Do entrepreneurs and their ventures co-evolve?
First paper in what should be a wave of interesting work --  Looking at a leading incubator program, the answer so far... Yes! Brilliant work (and vast quantities of it) by U Twente's Gabi Kaffka (and supported by her Twente mentors, Aard Groen & Jeroen Kraaijenbrink). Thank you!

2) Success factors for high-growth immigrant entrepreneurs 
Still finding that bootstrapping (not VC/angel $) is their path and that being deeply embedded in the local culture (industry & civic) AND in their 'home' culture matters enormously. Big implications for the Startup Visa. This builds on my friend Suresh Kumar's PhD thesis (Suresh is also on his SECOND Inc 500 venture. He & I are plotting #3!)

Also at Babson, the publishing house of Springer (@SpringerNomics) demanded a book on Designing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems [a/k/a Innovation Systems].
They also want me to edit a whole series... so ideas welcome (as are potential co-editors).


1) Workshop on my proposed Ecosystem Markers (http://bit/ly/EcoSys) - this is already getting some good press; Idaho was a great place to work on it!

2) Paper applying my neuroscience interests to social entrepreneurship - relieved to conclude that two of my passions do speak to each other ;)

3) My favorite! Workshop on bridging the gaps between Academe and the entrepreneurial community. Killer discussion. Tentative conclusions? #1, the barriers are nastier than we feared but... #2 the opportunities are even greater! (Another hat tip to Suresh!)

Future Conferences of note: 

Like this new acronym? HOTBED.... Helping Organize Tech Based Entrepreneurial Development! 
Globally, NCIIA is *the* organization supporting cutting edge education to support technology commercialization, especially sustainable tech. Always one of THE best groups to hang with.  My offering is "Mindsets, Mentors and Metrics: Design Thinking in Entrepreneurial Development", teamed up with one of Silicon Valley's brightest young design minds, Savannah Peterson. Tapping directly into the brilliance (and fun) of Stanford's D-School? Yes please!

Technology Transfer Society: 
You can probably guess what this group focuses on, LOL. Proposing a paper, "Critical Competencies for Tech Commercialization Practitioners" - if you were going to assess tech transfer professionals (even certify them) you will need a list of BFOQ's and this is going to be pretty fundable.

I'm also discussing a hands-on workshop, "What LEAN Means to You: Leveraging the Revolution in Entrepreneurial Learning," a pretentious way of saying "let's take 2 hours & learn the lean startup method AND start applying it."

Enough blather - and back to action! I'd still love comments on the Ecosystem doc, of course, so I can turn it into a useful tool for communities to assess how much of a "HOTBED" they are... and how they can get there!

Entrepreneur Up, Y'all!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Texas to New Zealand? Or why I love my colleagues!

Babson and New Zealand!

This week is the annual Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference ( this year at TCU in Fort Worth. I then have to get to Wellington in the GodZone for the global conference of the International Council for Small Business  (

The #1 research conference (2 papers) and the world’s largest collection of entrep educators (2  papers & 2 workshops)

Hectic to be sure but... what a chance to go hobnob with some of the most passionate entrepreneurial champions in the world! Passionate and brilliant, yes, but most also really “get it” – they deeply get the entrepreneurial mindset and how to promote it. They are immersed in the entrepreneurial community in ways that most schools simply do not. 

Two examples - Franziska Gunzel, a young German scholar now working in Denmark is the brightest prospect studying business models and how they evolve. About the only one who gets the bottom-up nature of the process. Funny thing, though.. she has now become a Startup Weekend fanatic & is working overtime to immerse herself in the real world of entrepreneurship. Good on ya, Franziska!

Another is my friend Suresh Kumar- on his second Inc. 500 company and now a PhD in entrepreneurship. Amid his entrepreneurial adventures and doing good research (if you like Startup Visa, read his stuff), he & I are part of a group working to find ways to bridge the gap between Academe & entrepreneurs.

(You can scan the blog for the great folks like this at Twente, Chalmers, etc.)

Put it another way: I will be around hundreds of scholars/educators who if they moved to Idaho would instantly be the best entrepreneurship professor in Idaho… by a large margin. 

Even if I was still teaching.

That’s how good they are. I am so blessed.

Check the links - and - look up the papers and participants & let me know if I can hook you up with papers or introductions!