I just brought back the entrepreneurial program at Coe by announcing Startup in Summer to all students. It was a great experience when I taught it as a regular class, but I wasn't satisfied with what I saw. I figure there were four things I did wrong.
- Demo Day and other PR events: I knew entrepreneurship was a hot topic, especially in higher education. I pursued fame and glory while what startups really need is a pure, no-distraction environment to work on products and prototypes that are liked by users. In Startup in Summer, we will have no Demo Day or any other type of PR events. They don't just distract the students and me, but also suck up all my energy.
- Wrong type of students: Entrepreneurship is designated as an elective for Accounting majors. More than half of my students in the Entrepreneurship class were Accounting majors. I like accounting students, but they are not the founder type. In Startup in Summer, all majors are welcome, but I will select students that are motivated to have a startup life.
- Group chemistry: Because students were allowed to take my Entrepreneurship without any permission, many took it without knowing what they signed up. Most of them came alone. I had to put them in groups that had no chemistry together. It was not healthy. In Startup in Summer, students have to form groups and be screened before joining.
- Dedication: During the semesters, the Entrepreneurship class was just one of four classes students took. They were not dedicated to building products. No dedication, no products. It is as simple as that in startups. In Startup in Summer, students will have just one job-making the product.
I hope my redesign of the entrepreneurial offering can have a meaningful change and bring about great Coe startups.
The program is DOA.