Stages of a company

As MIT mentors we usually see very early stage companies, in contrast to the mature organizations at the Social Innovation Forum. Here’s a rough guide to a startup’s life stages. In startups many things go on in parallel, not serially – such as product development and customer development. So this list is fluid, your MVP … Continue reading “Stages of a company”

Homework is not just for kids

I’ve found the practice of assigning homework in various contexts to be a very powerful way of learning about people, their capabilities, and their work habits. In hiring I often would ask candidates to prepare something relevant to the job they were applying for. This is now common practice, but I was doing it in … Continue reading “Homework is not just for kids”

How to be a good mentee

If you are offered a mentoring session you want to take maximum advantage of the opportunity. Here’s some tips: Be prepared. If you have a presentation or demo, rehearse it and make sure it works before you come to the session. Bring any necessary adapters you may need to hook up your laptop or tablet … Continue reading “How to be a good mentee”

Capture their imaginations …

and their wallets will follow. Another variation on this theme is capture their hearts and minds and their wallets will follow. I think I first heard a version of this from Frank Ingari, then a Lotus Development executive. I’m convinced that most audiences – investors included – decide with their guts and then use their minds … Continue reading “Capture their imaginations …”

The journalist story telling framework

Journalists tell stories in their articles for the media. Traditionally every story had to answer the following six questions to get by the editor’s desk: Who?, What?, Where?, Why?, When? and Where?, not necessarily in that order! I’ve found that asking an entrepreneur to put the story of their company into this framework can really help them … Continue reading “The journalist story telling framework”