Thank you Better World by Design for inviting me to share to a wonderfully crowded session! Very special thanks to Hanna McPhee for designing a gorgeous presentation and Sidney Kushner (Founder, CCChampions) and Faisal Khurshid (MED International) for powerful stories about the impact of the virtues on explicit aspects of
Entries in Entrepreneurship (26)
Anita Verna Crofts is a Flight Instructor at the University of Washington. Yes, you read that correctly. She wrote this post last year and it's only appropriate to repost as we start the new academic year. Anita is one amazing lady who is taking education to new heights - Flying Lessons. There is hope for higher-ed! Thank you Anita! Come meet her at BIF-10!!
The University of Washington Announces Flying Lessons
I have never flown a plane or sat in a flight simulator, but I’ve been teaching people how to fly for years. This spring the Department of Communication at the University of Washington made it official by naming me their Flight Instructor.
Choosing to be named the Flight Instructor reflected my approach to teaching, which encourages students to lead and soar higher than they ever imagined possible, inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to the classes I teach, my punch card includes:
- Encouraging students to see their education as an opportunity to build knowledge and relationships that spread their wings. A degree isn’t just about making the grade, it’s about making a network that lasts a lifetime.
- Reminding students, faculty, and staff to seek the perspective that comes with altitude gain. The broader landscape looks different and reveals patterns that are invisible from the ground.
- Supporting faculty efforts to move students from co-piloting planes to taking over the controls themselves. Everyone has the ability to pilot their own plane.
- Championing opportunities for students to lead in class, on campus, and in the community. The sky’s the limit.
The vision for my role reflects the entrepreneurial instincts of the Communication Leadership graduate program, where I teach and serve as Associate Director, and the department as a whole. Our program houses two unique degrees in digital media and community/networks, both aimed at creatives who are on the frontlines of shaping superb communication strategies through story-driven content, audience engagement, and insightful analytics. The freedom faculty, staff, and students enjoy to dream, build, and grow is my fuel.
As the Flight Instructor, I help students navigate takeoffs, weather turbulence, and stick their landings. Last week an incoming student tweeted to me, “I would love to talk to you about my flight plan.”
Buckle up. It’s time for takeoff.
You know how much I believe in serendipity & random collisions (a la Saul Kaplan!). Meet Samir Rath (bio below). I met Samir when he was in the 2nd cohort of the IE-Brown E-MBA while simultaneously investing and starting companies all over the world, including Chile, because, doesn't everyone? Read Samir's thoughts on serendipity, luck and entrepreneurship - and join in!
“Innovation is serendipity, so you don't know what people will make.” - Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web.
How often do we hear our friends and family say “Oh! She is so lucky. She moves in the right circles”. Or “He is so lucky. He is always at the right place at the right time”. Beyond the tinge of jealousy that such messages communicate, also hides a subtle ring of despair. May people feel that no matter how hard they work or how capable they are, their spate of bad luck just keeps messing things up.
Luck is nothing but an attitude. Richard Wiseman, the author of “The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind”, defines luck as the outcome of how we deal with chance and that some people are just much better at it. ‘Unlucky’ people tend to be very apprehensive of the future, uncomfortable with change and want to control their circumstances. They tend to have set pre-defined expectations of how a situation should play out, often leading to disappointment. This is inevitable given how bad we are at predicting the future. ‘Lucky’ people, on the other hand, embrace the randomness of life with open arms and accept that change is the only constant in the equation of life. Serendipity becomes a way of life, with happenstance encounters evolving into friendships and business relationships. The ‘lucky’ ones make it much more likely that they will stumble on incredible events and be at the right place at the right time with the right people. Sometimes things work out.
Todd Kashdan, a psychologist at George Mason University, observes that getting lucky gets much harder as we get older and wiser, not because the game of life has changed but rather because how we play the game has. We get wiser with age and armed with experience, we form very strong convictions on how the world works. This applies to companies too. AT&T, which traces its origins to original Bell Telephone Company, could not anticipate a change in behavior, blinded in part by its domain expertise in telecom infrastructure. A young startup, Whatsapp, figured out that we have changed the way we communicate and want to share images, video and audio media over the internet across multiple platforms. At the start of the year, Whatsapp had more than 450 million users, all built and supported with a team of just 32 engineers.
We will be engineering some serendipity for the launch of our forthcoming book “No Startup Hipsters”. With the common thread of building technology companies that focus on real problems, we will be connecting tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and enablers. Each person would login through a social network and a twitter style 140 characters description of what they are working on. Curated profiles from across the globe will quickly zip by in a “hot or not” style and when both sides choose to connect - Boom!. So, come create some luck by signing up at ThunderClap and get the book for free too.
SAMIR RATH is a financial technology entrepreneur and angel investor working with technology startups globally from over 20 countries. He helped build the Asian operations of GETCO LLC, one of the worlds largest trading technology firms, listed on New York Stock Exchange today as KCG. He began his career as a Macroeconomist for the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He is the co-author of a forthcoming book titled "No Startup Hipsters - Build Scalable Technology Companies”. . Twitter: @Samir_Rath
We humans love to divide the world: yes, no; either, or; black, white; true, false; winners, losers; successes, failures. Yet little in life is really that nice and tidy, despite how much we want it to be. And our world is not going in that direction anymore.
Many of us know that new discoveries, the disruptions, the innovations are found in the grey – in between the extremes, by recombining what is out there through And and Both instead of Either and Or. As someone with a head of black, white and grey hairs, believe me, I live it!
Perhaps one of the most dangerous of these artificial constructs is that of successes or failures. This has insidiously permeated so many of our systems – especially the language of entrepreneurship and innovation. We don’t allow a middle or blended path. When we look at the successful entrepreneurs, how many of them were successful the very first time? How many had overnight successes that truly were overnight, instead of years? Very few.
What if we start talking about Tryers (which obviously means people will go to the opposite extreme of Non-Tryers) instead of just winners or successes?
What if we started encouraging and supporting those who try, over and over, be it the same or a different venture.
What if we helped the Non-Tryers to understand why they didn’t try? Perhaps it is fear, time, who knows… but perhaps we could develop a support structure to allow them to become Tryers, in their own time?
What if we started to infiltrate our education system with tools, lessons, examples, opportunities to Try so that our children could become Tryers at earlier and earlier ages. And What If we rewarded them for it? And What if we rewarded our teachers for teaching smart Trying?
While a full societal adoption of the Trying construct certainly will take time, you can start now! There are many ways you can start embedding Tryers into your organization’s lexicon. So What If you, tomorrow, asked one of your people to Try and What if you back her or him up when she/he raises objections for why something couldn’t be done? What if you just started with that?
Thank you to @mattmurrie for helping me more fully embed “What If” in my lexicon.
- Thank You for Your Service by Lt. Col. Matthew Fritz ~ read, reread, be grateful!
- The Slippery Slope of Not Asking Why (me)
- Let Them Fail by Robin Pendoley ~ we need to accept & learn from failure in all sectors, including non-profits -- Yes!
- For Whom Do We Innovate? by Anish Sarma ~ Technology & Innovation for true "Good"
- Integrating Design Theory & The Scientific Process by Hanna McPhee (Brown '14) ~ Hanna also hosted an Innochat, She's one of the leaders on Techstyle Haus, She's co-president of Brown's STEAM & on & on...