When I wrote Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors with Mahendra Ramsinghani, our goal was to help entrepreneurs understand how to create an excellent board of directors, manage it effectively, and get optimal value out of it. This was challenging to do, as the topic of boards can be boring. Based on the feedback we’ve gotten, including consistently positive reviews on Amazon, I feel like we accomplished that goal.
Last year the Kauffman Foundation, with which I’ve had a long relationship and am a big supporter of, approached me about doing a Kauffman Founders School video series on Startup Boards. We completed it early this year – the teaser follows.
There are seven modules that are each five to ten minutes long.
- Board Functions and Responsibilities
- Forming and Organizing Your Board
- Choosing Your Board Members
- Recruiting Your Board Members
- How to Run a Board Meeting
- Managing Your Long-Term Relationships
- Managing Company Transitions
Each module also has suggested additional readings, beyond our book Startup Boards.
I’m proud to be part of the Kauffman Founders School, which includes some great courses such as the ones listed below by folks like Dan Pink, Steve Blank, Bill Reichert, and Meg Cadoux Hirshberg.
For a number of years, my partner Jason Mendelson has been teaching an extremely popular course at CU Boulder Law School with Brad Bernthal titled Venture Capital – A 360 Degree Perspective. While it’s a course taught in the law school, it’s (not surprisingly) become popular with the MBA students at CU Boulder.
Brad Bernthal, Phil Weiser (the Dean of the CU Law School), and I have been talking about a new course to complement VC 360 called Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Public Policy. We’ve decided to take a crack at a cross-campus course (law, engineering, and business) that focused on contemporary issues around entrepreneurship, would be a great introduction to any student who wants to immerse herself in entrepreneurship, and would enable us to create some unique content around this topic.
We envision a two hour a week course (over seven sessions) that has a heavy reading, class participation, and writing component. Our goal will be to put this up on the web as well to provide content (and potentially interaction) to a much wider community.
Following is a first draft of a syllabus. I’m looking for two types of feedback: (1) comments on the syllabus and (2) suggestions for web services to use to package this content up for broader distribution.
This one credit course, available to first year law students in their second semester as well as a select number of graduate students in the Business School students and School of Engineering, will explore a set of cutting edge questions around entrepreneurship. Students in the class will be required to write a ten page paper as well as participate actively in the course (including on a class blog). Since class participation is a core part of the course (counting for 20% of the grade, with the other 80% based on the paper), any missed class must be made up by writing a 1 page reaction paper.
1. Being an Entrepreneur. Reading: The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career (Hoffman, Casnocha). Five Minds for the Future (Gardner).
2. Leadership and What Makes a Great Founding Team. Reading: Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup: (Cohen, Feld). Leadership Lessons From the Shackleton Expedition (Koehn).
3. Building and Scaling A Business. Reading: The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (Ries).
4. Entrepreneurial Communities. Reading: Startup Communities: Creating A Great Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City (Feld). Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity 1996 – 2010.
5. Financing Entrepreneurial Companies. Reading: Venture Deals: How To Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer (Mendelson, Feld). Improving Access to Capital for High-Growth Companies (Department of Commerce – National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
6. Entrepreneurial Leadership in Government. Reading: Alfred Kahn As A Case Study of A Political Entrepreneur (Weiser). Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (Senor and Singer).
7. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy: Reading: Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors (Henderson, Newell).
As entrepreneurship in Boulder continues to grow, Boulder Digital Works is offering a new course with Robert Reich (co-founder of OpenSpace, OneRiot, and the Boulder New Tech Meetup) called StartUp: Learning Entrepreneurism. This is the first BDW course open to anyone in the Boulder community to join BDW’s graduate students.
StartUp begins with the premise that entrepreneurship, rather than being the result of genius and magic, can be learned. StartUp takes the students through the actual conception, development, and launch of an original product or service during the semester. This course puts students inside the mind of the entrepreneur and immerses them in the daily leadership and innovation challenges of the startup environment. While its primary focus is the startup and what it demands, this course is also a clinic in thinking, decision making, and mental agility that will benefit any area of business – not just startups.
Download detailed information and an application for StartUp: Learning Entrepreneurism if you are interested.