You will keep a journal for the duration of this course. You will make entries in the week following each of the weekends in which we meet. The journal is for you. However, to maximize the learning across students in the course, you will post one reflection from your journal in the weekly discussion forum (for MGMT801 this is set up in Canvas) and then comment on one post of a classmate.
For the journal:
You will probably want to set up a Google drive folder (or equivalent cloud repository) for your work products for this course, including the journal.
The journal can be just free form text (e.g., a Google Doc). The journal is for you. You will submit a PDF of the entire thing at the end of the course just so we can give you credit for the work you are doing for the course. (You may redact any portion of the journal that you don’t want the TA and instructor to see.) You are completely unconstrained as to what is in the journal, but its contents will likely be primarily about you as a person in the context of entrepreneurship: How you feel about the possibility of being an entrepreneur. What roles you might want to assume in a new venture. What problem areas you’re excited about.
For the discussion forum:
Extract one reflection from your journal and post it to the discussion. It probably makes sense to keep these posts to a paragraph or two, say 100-300 words. If you are stuck about a topic to reflect on, just pick the podcast, film, or book you enjoyed most recently and offer some reaction to it.
In addition to posting a reflection of your own, please respond to the post of a classmate. Your response can be to any post from any week.
First Journal Entry – Self Assessment
Create an entry in your Entrepreneurship Journal entitled self assessment and put a date on it. You’ll probably be interested in returning to this entry periodically in the coming months and years.
Here are the prompts for the self assessment. (Note: some of these questions come from an article in the First Round Review about co-founders.) These are not structured as a survey scale or anything, but rather just questions that reveal your feelings about some of the key personal issues associated with being an entrepreneur. You do not need to answer all the questions. You should answer the ones that really force you to think.
What Do You Bring to the Venture?
[Either for the focal venture for this course, or for a hypothetical TBD opportunity]
- What are your strengths and superpowers?
- What are your weaknesses? How do you compensate for them?
- What would you want your role to be before the venture reaches product/market fit? What would you want your role to be after the venture reaches product/market fit? How do you see your role changing as the company starts to scale?
- If the CEO/Founder role becomes unavailable entirely (e.g. the board hires a professional CEO or an experienced executive), what would you want your new role to be?
Rate your competence in these areas (both as an individual contributor, and as a leader) on a scale of 1-10. Then rate your passion for each on that same scale.
- Design (graphic, UI/UX, industrial design)
- Company Building (e.g., organizing and scaling functions and systems)
- Domain expertise (e.g., healthcare, data science – please specify)
Vision of Future
- What are some examples of companies that represent aspirational outcomes for you?
- What does the exit or end game look like for you? (e.g., “becomes my job and life,” “create value in 3-5 years and sell,” “invest 7-10 years to grow a big company and IPO”)
- How do you think about the timeframe and pace of success? Are you willing to take the longer path? How long is too long?
Personal Motivation – Purpose, Fun, and Money
- Why do you want to start a company — in general, and in particular right now? [or if you don’t want to start a company, why not?]
- What is success to you? What motivates you personally?
- What impact do you want to have? Is your startup objective “getting rich” or “changing the world”?
- Is control or financial success more important? (i.e. Are you willing to step aside if the company is more likely to have a financially successful outcome or is it important for the founders to stay in control of the company’s destiny?)
- What would you want your personal financial outcome to be at exit? What’s the number?
- How anxious are you about the prospect of quitting your job and working full-time on starting a venture, with the prospect of not getting a paycheck for 6-12 months?
- What is your personal runway? Current burn rate? Would you invest your own money (likely retaining higher equity in return)?
- What is the minimum monthly salary you need to survive in normal times? To be comfortable? To feel like you’ve “made it?”
Commitment [may not be relevant if you aren’t committed yet.]
- Will this company be your primary activity? Do you have any other time commitments?
- What is your expected time commitment right now? How do you see that changing in the next 6 months? 2 years?
- How many hours/week are you willing to work? For how long? What sounds good? What sounds like hell? Do you have different expectations for different phases of the company’s lifespan (i.e. willing to work harder in the beginning)?
- Do you feel it is possible for you to build a wildly successful company without burning out or damaging other parts of your life (family, health, etc.)?
Gloria Lin. First Round Review. The Process I Used to Find my Co-Founder