e-Boost Chicago returns April 8, 2017!

e-boost Chicago is an event for entrepreneurial Hope College and Trinity Christian College students, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

Visit Google Headquarters, 320 N Morgan St #600, Chicago, IL 60607, Chicago, IL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2xO4p0ApXw

Tour 1871, the “hub of Chicago’s thriving technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem,” theMART, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212, Chicago, IL

Reconvene at Chicago Semester, 11 E Adams, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL

The Relevance Partnership*

To assure relevance, education has to be a partnership between college and community. In a capstone business class, for example, the community may be represented by experienced practitioners who serve as both coaches and clients. The college is represented by students and faculty. Both faculty and practitioners, then, could coach students, helping them to apply newly learned business concepts and provide fresh perspective on existing business problems for organizational clients. We call such a class “Org Consulting.”

The syllabus looks like this:

  • Student teams meet with faculty at least once per week.
  • Before a semester begins, faculty and clients outline the scope and “deliverables” of a consulting project.
  • Once the semester begins, students are introduced to clients and continue the negotiation on the “statement of work” with help from faculty.
  • Students then meet with practitioner coaches to review the situation and get advice on “tightening up” the statement of work, including their problem statement and approach (research plan/methodology) to collect data to solve the problem, and what the students will provide the client at the end of the semester.
  • Student teams then seek approval of the statement of work from the client.
  • Halfway through the semester the student teams meet with their practitioner coaches to review the status of their methodology and hypotheses regarding the underlying problem (that is, their diagnosis of the problem underlying the problem statement) and solution strategies).
  • The student teams then meet with their client to review their progress, share their findings, and test their underlying diagnosis and solution strategies.
  • At the end of the semester the student teams meet one last time with client with their practitioners coaches in attendance to tell the story from problem statement to diagnose to solution strategy to implementation plan. The client and practitioner coaches (the community) then provide evaluation feedback for the faculty and students.

To assure relevance, education has to be a partnership between college and community.

*Special thanks to great students, coaches (Aaron, Cal, Jim, Seth, Virgil) and clients (Jordan Vande Kamp(AppProvider), Ryan Hesslau (foreverU), Chicago Semester, Palos Area Chamber of Commerce, Providence Bank & Trust, Providence Life Services, Royal Oak Landscaping) for a great Fall, 2016 Semester!

Good Company

Future Founders 2016 U.Pitch Semifinalists

  • Keyante Aytch, 3Dime Designs, DePaul University (IL)
  • Michael Black, ParkingBee, Pennsylvania State University (PA)
  • Linwood Butler, MT Music Transporter, University of Tampa (FL)
  • Claire Coder, AuntFlow, Ohio State University (OH)
  • Vinesh Kannan, Omnipointment, Illinois Institute of Technology (IL)
  • Arjun Kapoor, Scala Computing, Inc., University of Chicago (IL)
  • Tom Kruse, Win-Kel Peer-to-Peer Storage, Indiana University (IN)
  • Jason Lees, GoSpot, Northwood University (MI)
  • Jekolia Matuszewicz, UhTa Ancient Brews, Colorado College (CO)
  • Eddy Mejia, ShoeBoxOne, University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
  • Dulbadrakh (Daniel) Natsagdorj, Urban Delivery, University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
  • Gabe Owens, WiNot, Washington University in St. Louis (MO)
  • Matthew Rooda, SwineTech, Inc., University of Iowa (IA)
  • Pranay Singh, Averia Health, University of Chicago (IL)
  • Parisa Soraya, Find Your Ditto, University of Michigan (MI)
  • Riley Tart, MidTrade, Auburn University (AL)
  • Jordan VandeKamp, ApptProvider, Trinity Christian College (IL)
  • Ben Weiss, Zcruit, Northwestern University (IL)

Who Is START Consulting?

START Consulting is a “dream team” of Trinity Christian College students working under the auspices of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment. Some are Bachelor of Science students majoring in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Human Resource Management, Finance, or Marketing who already have project experience because it is part of their major. Others seeking advanced business experience are students majoring in Art, Communication, Computer Science, Digital Design, English, etc. who assist as needed.

All are project-based learners with a passion for learning and serving collaboratively.

Why Do They Do It?

We are called and endowed by God to do good work. Trinity Business faculty and alums empower students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling to do that work through personal, practical, and professional education. START Consulting provides advanced learning that pushes students even further.

How Do They Do It?

START Consultants are coached by experts: practitioners and scholars. We learn from a healthy, holistic mix of perspectives across disciplines, experience levels, and generations, the kind of mix that results in creative ideas.

What Do They Do?

START Consultants work as a team on projects for for-profit and non-profit organizations. Their work involves collecting primary and secondary research and analysis, developing marketing strategies, and creating implementation plans. They help client firms explore new markets and new product ideas or help them see old ones in new ways. They think outside the box because they don’t see the box. They facilitate innovation.

 

Consulting Student Consultants

Many college students work in teams. Many engage in project-based learning. Some apply and test their knowledge, skills, and values by engaging in consulting projects, working on problems/questions given them by businesses and non-profit organizations.

Many times the students are advised by a faculty member, only ONE faculty member, their professor. But professors, even if they have Ph.Ds and years of work experience, have limited knowledge and wisdom. Their perspectives and perceptions are based on and biased by their own unique experiences. Think of the fable of the blind men and the elephant. Each of us is “blinded” by our own point of view. Thus the quality of students’ consulting work is limited by the professor’s and the students’ particular experiences (or lack thereof).

So bring in more “blind” people!

Here’s how wise practitioners add value (help us see the “elephants”):

  • Give insight into the client’s problem/opportunity
  • Give insight on the internal workings of the student team
  • Give insight on the consulting process
  • Give insight on the academic program
  • Give insight on what is holding us back!

Engaging alumni and friends in the education process is part of our not-so-secret sauce.

Asking them to advise (consult) our student consultants on intra-curricular and extra-curricular projects is just one way to do that.

And the best advisers do that simply by providing analogies and asking insightful questions.

What Does It Mean to Find Your Calling?

1st and 2nd-year college students ask: What program do I major in?

3rd and 4th-year college students ask: What type of job do I pursue?

College alums ask: Am I in the right job? The right career?

For many people the question ultimately becomes: Am I called to do something? What am I called to do?

The answers aren’t clear. And the questions don’t end. They don’t end because many times our jobs, careers, and lives don’t jive with our deepest beliefs and values, or God’s Word.  You might say, at an archetypal level, we always feel a bit lost because we were created to work and we can’t find work that completely fulfills us; in short, we are looking for a way back to Eden — where we live in perfection relationship with God, humanity, and creation. The truth is that we won’t find it in this world, but in the next. So our quest in faith continues. It has to. We are wired to seek God’s blessing. It is our journey of faith.

What We Are Called To Do

The Gospel of Matthew calls us to be blessed. What does that mean?

It means to be pure of heart. It boggles the mind to think it is a blessing to be pure of heart. To be pure of heart seems so boring. It doesn’t seem like living that way would be any fun. But that is our good culture perverted by sin making us feel that way, not the Word of the Gospel.

So what does being holistically counter-cultural mean for our daily lives?

Three Levels Of Calling

Gordon Smith also tells us that in addition to being called to believe, we are called to a mission and to immediate responsibilities. In other words, I believe that when we choose to accept God’s Word we choose to strive to be pure of heart.  To be pure of heart means we accept an invitation to follow Jesus, seek our purpose in life (vocation), and perform our day-to-day work (occupation), forever trying to integrate our occupation with our vocation, which is the key to spiritual growth and happiness.

So choosing to follow Jesus is a fundamental, critical decision. Following that, a fundamental critical decision is discovering our mission, purpose, vocation.

Vocation vs Occupation

These days, when we hear the word calling, we hear it in the context of our job. Or, it refers only to the ministry. Both interpretations are extreme. Our calling is not our occupation, and it is not narrowly limited to working for a church; our mission is bigger than any job. Our occupation may be only a means to an end; or, it may be more. But more than likely we have a greater purpose, a more holy purpose. Even though we can argue that work is part of God’s good creation (Adam and Eve worked in the Garden before the Fall), our work life, the economy, etc. are also part of the fallen world. Our calling may be more pure, yet never (in this life anyway) practiced with moral perfection and purity of heart.

An analogy may be helpful. In our job, we tend to seek upward mobility. That is the way of the world. But Jesus calls us to downward mobility — to be a servant of all, a Good Samaritan. To get a job and career, we tend to advertise our “resume virtues.” We emphasize what we did according to an economic model. Yet when we die, people remember us for our “eulogy virtues,” for who we were according to a moral model. To put it another way, Adam I is the Adam of occupation. Adam II is the Adam of calling. The culture of occupation tends to be one of scarcity and upward mobility; the culture of vocation tends to be one of abundance and downward mobility.

  • “Adam I — the creating, building, and discovering Adam — lives by a straightforward utilitarian logic. It’s the logic of economics. Input leads to output. Effort leads to reward. Practice makes perfect. Pursue self-interest. Maximize your utility. Impress the world….To nurture you Adam I career, it makes sense to cultivate your strengths.
  • Adam II lives by an inverse logic. It’s a moral logic, not an economic one. You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. …In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself….To nurture you Adam II moral core, it is necessary to confront your weaknesses” (David Brooks, The Road to Character, p. xii).

Other Myths About Vocation

In addition to equating our job to our occupation, we may have accepted other myths about calling.

  • Calling (vocation) is not something we find alone. God blesses us through other people. Calling requires accountability and feedback from our community. This reflects or primary, general calling; Elizabeth Newman writes that our primary calling “is to be a people who live in communion with our triune God” (“Called Through Relationship” in Kruschwitz, Vocation: Christian Reflection).
  • Calling (vocation) is not something we choose. What we choose is whether to accept it. Calling starts with listening, listening to what grieves us. To be called requires hearing. For example, “Moses did not invent or determine his vocation, he receives it from God….’Vocation’ differs from ‘career’ in this regard; while ‘career’ (related to a Medieval Latin word for ‘race track’) refers primarily to human effort (as in ‘What do you do for a living?’), vocation points in another direction. The initiative resides not with us, but with the One who calls and invites” (Newman, ibid).
  • Calling (vocation) is more than “finding our talents and figuring out what to do with them. Rather and more fully, it is discovering and living out of the infinite and gratuitous abundance of God” (Newman, ibid). Think of Moses: sometimes our calling may not match up with our talents.
  • Calling (vocation) is more than meeting market needs in a profitable way; calling pulls us into unprofitable situations. Vocations are revealed through grieving about the market’s shortcomings. Bill Hybels writes that calling begins with experiencing “holy discontent.” What in the world we grieve about is something God places on our heart.  For example, does economic injustice make you sad? Does racism? Segregation? Sexism? Poverty? Lack of childcare in your church or community? Lack of care or concern for the elderly? Lack of care and concern for the marginalized? The people in prison? Lack of good educational options? Food deserts? The inability to share information among friends and family? Cancer? Alcoholism?  The parts of the world’s brokenness that make you sad are those parts that are worth paying attention to.

Richard Goosen and R. Paul Stevens summarize nicely a positive perspective on calling in Entrepreneurial Leadership:

Dimensions of Vocation

  • God takes the initiative. “[Calling] is not generated from within a person but from the outside, and the outside comprises not merely our parents and our society, but God….All calling is based on the reality of a God who takes initiative, who seeks to include human beings in his grand project of transforming everything” (p. 111).
  • We are called to be others-focused. “We are called to a way of life…as other-oriented values and goals as the primary source of motivation. The calling is to life — relationships, civic responsibilities, church membership, family, neighboring and work — not just to work….we are called not only to invent, innovate and accomplish, but to do this in a particular way, the way of faith, hope and love, the way of justice, compassion and self-control” (pp. 111, 112).
  • We are called to be purpose-driven. “Calling…directs people to approach a particular life role (e.g. work) in a manner oriented toward demonstrating or deriving a sense of purpose or meaningfulness….The English Puritans brilliantly distinguished between the ‘general’ calling, by which people are summoned into a relationship with God to become children of God, and the ‘particular’ calling, by which people are guided into particular occupations, such as magistrate, homemaker, pastor or merchant” (p. 112).
  • We are called to a contribute to a Grand Purpose, to be part of the Grand Narrative. “Life and work are not merely for our own advancement, not even simply to provide for our families, but we are caught up in a grand purpose, in the grand story of God’s plan for creation and people. The entire notion of calling is rooted in the meta-narrative of the Christian faith and subsumed by it” (p. 113). Thus, “‘Calling is a transcendent summons, experienced as originating beyond the self, to approach a particular life role (e.g., work) in a manner oriented toward demonstrating or deriving a sense of purpose or meaningfulness, and that which holds other-oriented values and goals as primary sources of motivation'” (Philip Wu, as quoted in Entrepreneurial Leadership, pp. 109, 110). The Grand Narrative? Creation, Fall, Redemption.

A Process For Discerning Our Vocation

So if we believe God has given us a purpose for our lives as a way to bless us and call us to purity of heart, how do we discern that purpose? Goosen and Stephens give us some advice in the form of self-reflection questions.

  • What are our passions and motivations? What gets us our of bed in the morning? What makes us feel fully alive? “‘We ask to know the will of God without guessing that his will is written into our very beings'” (Elizabeth O’Connor, as quoted in Entrepreneurial Leadership, p. 120). “What do we daydream about? In what kind of activity do we lose all sense of time? When do [we] feel fully alive? What are the things [we] obsess about, wish [we] had more time to put energy into? What needs doing in the world that [we’d] like to put [our] talents to work on? What activities reflect deep and consistent interests? This is from God, built into us by the Creator” (p. 120). For Bill Hybels, this list should also include that part of the broken world that causes of grief. It will likely be something we experience personally. You might say, then, with Henri Nouwen, that we are called to be “Wounded Healers.”
  • What are our gifts and talents? What are we naturally good at doing? Where might there be an overlap between our skills and opportunities (to serve others and make a living) and our deepest motivations? “God calls us by equipping us to serve in a specific way” (p. 121). However, “God does not have a wonderful plan for our lives as is often proposed….God has something better than a wonderful plan: a wonderful purpose. A plan is terrifying, especially if we make a mistake in reading the directions. A purpose is evocative. A purpose is like a fast-moving stream that carries us along and allows for some mobility from side to side…” (p. 119).
  • What is our unique personality? There are many accessible tools to assess this and coaches to help us interpret the results. I have found Myers-Briggs and free on-line knockoffs (“16 Personalities”) to be helpful. Also, I have found Peter Drucker’s class article “Managing Oneself” to be valuable.
  • What values and virtues do we cherish? Values are “cherished ways of behaving.” E.g., living with integrity can be a value, as is living according to a vision and purpose. Virtues are ingrained personality traits, such as faith, hope, and love, that determine how we function. Virtues, in contrast to values, have opposites — vices.  Christian virtues include the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)” (p. 122). [Vices might result from our need to be needed, a need for status and approval, a need to be in control — called “blocks and dysfunctionalities” (p. 123).]
  • What providential circumstances have led us to this point? It turns out that where we were born and the family we were born into and the one we created are important, as are the messy things in life we experienced. Henri Nouwen wrote a great book, Wounded Healers, to make the point that Christ was wounded to heal us. We too have experienced wounds which help us understand the circumstances of others. Parker Palmer also speaks best to this point. He says, “Let your life speak.” We don’t make the call. We listen to what God is already doing in our lives. Calling is something we see by looking in the rear-view mirror.
  • What is God saying about our purpose? Some people hear from God directly. Most of us don’t. “Some locutions or words come from without; they are corporeal and are heard in the ear even if no one else is able to witness the sound. Some come from the inmost parts of the soul. They are imaginary, though not in the sense of fabricated. They are not heard in the ear but experienced as an impression received by an imaginary faculty. And some locutions are intellectual and spiritual as God imprints a message in the depth of the person’s spirit and understanding” (p. 124).

Where do those questions overlap for you?

Re-framing the Questions

As you can see, the questions are not:

  • What program do I major in?
  • What type of job do I pursue?
  • Am I in the right career?

The question is What am I called to do? Or, better, the question is will I accept God’s calling to believe and then choose serve God and love my neighbor? And then, How? That evolving how can be a guiding policy for your life. Your major, job, and career will then take care of themselves. The tension will then be in trying to integrate the your calling (vocation) and occupation together.

There will be tension between your vocation and occupation. Christians live in two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of humanity. God is forever sovereign but those kingdoms won’t perfectly overlap until Christ returns.

Vocation-Discovering Practices

Elizabeth Newman outlines some spiritual practices to facilitate the discovery of our calling (vocation).

  • Hospitality: “the practice of welcoming another person — even a stranger — into our lives, trains us to be open to surprise.”
  • Meditating on God’s Word: the practice of lectio divina, or “holy reading…enables us to grow in dependence not only on the Bible (and thus the earliest Christians) as a rich resource for forming us, but even more on God.”
  • Spiritual Direction: “the practice of meeting with a spiritual friend who listens to our stories and joins us in discerning how God is working in our lives….trains us, like lectio divina, to resist the idea that we must discern our vocation alone. Rightly understood, Christian vocation is about growing in our ability to be vulnerable, about listening to and with others for the guidance of God’s spirit.”
  • Fasting and Sabbath-keeping: the practice of sabbath-keeping “trains us to participate in the rhythm of work and rest, as we set aside time to rest in God.”
  • Prayer: “the practice of prayer helps us resist the idea, so common in our culture, that waiting is of little use….The rich kind of waiting we practice in prayer trains us to be patient with ourselves, others, and even God” (Newman, ibid).

Patience, prayer, and reflection, so counter-cultural to the culture of occupation, are a critical part of the discerning process.

A Prayer for Discernment

So what do I major in? What type of job do I want? “What am I called to do?”

The answer requires patience. Seeking to hear requires prayer. Goosen and Stevens suggest this prayer by Thomas Merton:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone” (Thomas Merton, as quoted in Entrepreneurial Leadership, p. 125).

Lord, help us listen and may our major, job/career, life, and calling/purpose significantly and holistically overlap so that we may experience the blessing of purity of heart.

 _____________________

Photo credit: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251628

This article first appear on LinkedIn.

A Seminal Lean Start-Up Process Book

Running Lean

By Ash Maurya

“What separates successful startups from unsuccessful ones is not necessarily the fact that successful startups began with a better initial plan (or Plan A), but rather that they find a plan that works before running out of resources.  Running Lean is a systematic process for iterating from Plan A to a plan that works, before running out of resources (p. xxi).

Why are startups hard?  [They are] built on several incremental innovations (and failures), “the classic product-centric approach front-loads some customer involvement during the requirements-gathering phase but leaves most of the customer validation until after the software is released,” and, “even though customers hold all the answers, you simply cannot ask them what they want….given the right context, customers can clearly articulate their problems, but it’s your job to come up with the solution” (p. xxii).

Customer Development is a term coined by Steve Blank and is used to describe the parallel process of building a continuous feedback loop with customer throughout the product development cycle….The key takeaway from Customer Development can be best summed up as Get out of the building” (p. xxiii).

“[Bootstrapping] is funding with customer resources” (p. xxiii)

Three core meta-principles: Document your Plan A [BUILD], Systematically Test your Plan [MEASURE] and Identify the Riskiest Parts of your Plan [LEARN] [NOTE change in sequence vs. book.]

Meta-Principles

Meta-Principle 1: Document Your Plan A

Reasonable smart people can rationalize anything, but entrepreneurs are especially gifted at this [Steve Job’s REALITY DISTORTION].Most entrepreneurs start with a strong initial vision and a Plan A for realizing that vision.  Unfortunately, most Plan A’s don’t work (p. 4).

“The first step is writing down your vision and then sharing it with at least one person” (p. 4).

  • Business Model Canvas

Your job isn’t just building the best solution, but owning the entire business model and making all the pieces fit (p. 7).

Lean Canvas helps deconstruct your business model into nine distinct subparts that are then systematically tested, in order of highest to lowest risk” (p. 7).

Meta-Principle 2: Systematically Test Your Plan  [Note change in sequence vs. book.]

“Startups are a risk business, and our real job as entrepreneurs is to systematically de-risk our startups over time” (p. 7).

The biggest risk for most startups is building something nobody wants” (p. 8).

  • Stage 1: Problem/Solution Fit: Do I have a problem worth solving?
    • [Do I understand the problem?  Is it severe enough to motivate action?]
    • Is the solution something customers want?  Will they pay for it [market desirability]
    • Can the problem be solved [technical feasibility]
    • [Can I make money? [business validity]
    • [Is this solution scalable?]
  • Stage 2: Product/Market Fit: [Have I built something that will work that people will  want badly enough they will pre-order at a price I can live with?]
  • Stage 3: Scale: How do I accelerate growth?

“Before product/market fit, the focus of the startup centers on learning and pivots.  After product/market fit, the focus shifts toward growth and optimizations….Pivots are about finding a plan that works, while optimizations are about accelerating that plan (p. 9).

“[The] ideal time to raise your big round of funding is after product/market fit, because at that time, both you and your investors have aligned goals: to scale the business” (p. 10).

“Selling to investors without any level of validation is a form of waste” (p. 11).

Meta-Principle 3: Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan

“With your Plan A documented and your starting risks prioritized, you are now ready to systematically test your plan” (p. 11).  Experiment: Build-Measure-Learn.

  • DOCUMENT YOUR PLAN A
    • Create Your Lean Canvas
    • Brainstorm possible customers
      • Distinguish between customers and users [customers pay]” (p. 24)
      • “Split broad customer segments into smaller ones…You can’t effectively build, design, and position a product for everyone” (p. 24).
      • Sketch a Lean Canvas for each customer segment…I recommend starting with the top two or three customer segments you feel you  understand the best or find most promising” (p. 25)
    • Problem and Customer Segments
      • List the top one to three problems…Another way to think about problems is in terms of the jobs customers need done” (p. 27).
      • List existing alternatives…how you think your early adopters address these problems today….Do nothing could also be a viable alternative” (p. 27).
      • Identify other user roles…[customer, user, decision-maker, influencer]
      • “Hone in on possible early adopters…. Your objective is to define an early adopter, not a mainstream customer (p. 28).
    • Unique Value Proposition
      • “Why you are worth buying and getting attention” (p. 29
      • “Be different, but make sure your difference matter” (p. 29).
      • “Target early adopters” and “focus on finished story benefits” (p. 30).
      • [Answer WHY, HOW, WHAT — the “Golden Circle”]
      • “Create a high concept pitch” [10-second pitch using “like”]
    • Solution
      • “[Don’t] fully define your solution yet” (p. 32)
    • Channels
      • “Failing to find a significant path to customers is among the top reasons why startups fail” (p. 33)
    • Revenue Streams and Cost Structure
      • “Your MVP should address not only the top problems customers have identified as being important to them, but also the problems that are worth solving” (p. 37)
      • “I believe that if you intend to charge for a product, you should charge from day one” (p. 37)
      • “It’s hard to accurately calculate [operational costs] too far into the future.  Instead focus on the  present:
        • What will it  cost you to interview 30 to 50 customers?
        • What will it cost you to build and  launch your MVP?
        • What will your ongoing burn rate look like in  terms of both fixed and variable costs?
    • Key Metrics
      • Acquisition: “Acquisition describes the point when you turn an unaware visitor  into  an interested prospect” (p.  40) {Leads}
      • Activation: “Activation describes the point when the interested [prospect] has his first gratifying user experience” (p. 40) {Prospects}.
      • Retention: “Retention measures ‘repeated use’ and/or engagement with your product” (p. 41) {Customers}
      • Revenue
      • Referral
    • Unfair Advantage
      • “A real unfair advantage is something that cannot be easily copied or bought” (p. 43).
  • SYSTEMATICALLY TEST YOUR PLAN
    • Get Ready to Interview Customers
      • “Build a frame around learning, not pitching….Before you can pitch the “right” solution, you have  to understand the “right” customer problem.  In the learning frame, the roles are reversed: you set the context, but then you let the customers do most of the talking” (p. 73).
      • ‘“Stick to a script” (p. 74).
      • Cast a wider net initially” (p. 74).
      • Prefer face-to-face interviews” (p. 74).
      • Start with people you know” (p. 74).
      • Take someone along with you” (p. 75).
      • “Pick a neutral location” (p. 75).
      • Document results immediately after the interview” (p. 75).
      • Prepare yourself to interview 30 to 60 people” (p. 76).
    • The Problem Interview: “Your first objective is measuring how customers react to your top problems” (p. 81)  [Can also supplement by using social media to post problems and gauge reaction.]
      • Welcome (Set the Stage)
      • Collect Demographics (Test Customer Segment)
      • Tell a Story (Set Problem Context)
      • Problem Ranking (Test Problem)
      • Explore Customer’s Worldview (Test Problem [and how customers address the problem today]
      • Wrap Up [Hook and Ask]
      • Document Results
    • Debrief of Problem Interview:  “You are done when you have interviewed at least 10 people and you…
      • Can identify the demographics of an early adopter
      • Have a must-have problem
      • Can describe how customers solve the problem today” (Running Lean, p. 91)
    • The Solution Interview: “The main objective here is to use a ‘demo’ to help customers visualize your solution and validate that it will solve their problem….You want to build enough of the solution (or a proxy, like screenshots, a prototype, etc) that you can put in front of customers for the purpose of measuring their reaction and further defining the requirements for  your minimum viable product (MVP) ” (pp. 95, 96).  “Use old prospects” and “Mix in some new prospects” (p. 103).
      • Welcome (Set the Stage)
      • Collect Demographics (Test Customer Segment)
      • Tell a Story (Set Problem Context)
      • Demo (Test Solution)
      • Test Pricing (Revenue Streams)
      • Wrap Up [Hook and Ask]
      • Document Results
    • Debrief the Solution Interview
      • Share results of solution interviews, treat feedback as data, and reflect on what you will do
      • “You are done when you are confident that you…
        • Can identify the demographics of an early adopter
        • Have a must-have problem
        • Can define the minimum features needed to solve this problem
        • Have a price the customer is willing to pay
        • Can build a business around it (using a back-of-the-envelope calculation)” (Running Lean, p. 108).
    • The MVP Interview: “Your objective is to sign them up to use your [product] and, in the process, test out your messaging, pricing, and activation flow” (p. 127).
      • Welcome (Set the Stage)
      • Show Landing Page [or Prototype] (Test MVP)
      • Show Pricing Page (Test Pricing)
      • Signup [Pre-order] and Activation (Test Solution)
      • Wrap Up (Keep Feedback Loop Open)
      • Document Results

What Leads to Well-Being?

Being Engaged in a Career

Research from Gallup indicates that people who work according to their strengths are 6.0x more likely to be engaged in a career; and people engaged in a career are 4.6x more likely to experience well-being.

Why Does Being Engaged In A Career Lead To Well-Being?

God created us to work and manage his creation.  Humans flourish when they have the opportunity to be engaged at work.  They are engaged at work when they are empowered to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and callings.

Our big “C” calling is be holy.   A contributor to becoming holy is using our gifts in ways that glorify God.   A lot can be said here.   But simply stated, we glorify God when we use our talents (Matthew 15:14-30) and walk humbly, love mercy, and seek justice (Micah 6:8).  Our little “c” calling is to do that.

What Leads To Being Engaged In A Career?

Here’s what we know: the odds of being engaged at work are…

  • 2.6x higher if college prepared students well for life outside of college
  • 2.2x higher if students had mentors who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams
  • 2.0x higher if at least one professor made them excited about learning
  • 1.9x higher if professors cared about students as people
  • 1.8x higher if students worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete  (Gallup)

In short, God created us to help others discern, develop, and deploy our gifts and calling.

We believe organizations have a responsibility to create those experiences.  This is what we seek to do at Trinity.

 

Want To Become A Millionaire?

Education of Millionaires

By Michael Ellsberg

What?

“[E]ven though you may learn wonderful things in college, your success and happiness in life will have little to do with what you study there or the letters behind your name once you graduate.  It has to do with:

  • your drive,
  • your initiative,
  • your persistence,
  • your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives,
  • your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them to others effectively,
  • your charisma,
  • your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (what some researchers call ‘practical intelligence’),
  • and a total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph, throughout all the ups and downs, no matter what the naysayers tell you” (p. 11).

Why does your success in life have little to do with what you study?

“[J]ob security is dead….You’re going to have many different jobs, employers, and even careers in your life.  So where you get your first, entry-level one–the single thing that a BA credential really helps with–becomes less and less relevant.  Building a portfolio of real-world results and impacts you’ve created, over time, becomes more and more relevant.

“[T]he internet, cell phones, and virtually free long-distance calling have created new opportunities for flexible, self-created, independent careers; this trend has been helped along by the gathering storms of millions of hungry, highly educated young men and women in India, China, Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and elsewhere, happy to do the work that entry-level Organizational Men would have done in years past, for a fraction of the cost” (p. 14).

“For knowledge workers in the developed world, the tools of the trade have become so ridiculously cheap that the ‘means of production’ have once again become affordable to individual workers” (p. 16).

“Education is still necessary to learn how to do the great work that gets you paid.  But these days, almost all of the education that ends up actually earning you money ends up being self-education in practical intelligence and skills, acquired outside of the bounds of traditional educational institutions” (p. 17).

Success Skills Needed

  • Putting meaning and work together.
  • Building networks and relationships, finding mentors and teachers.
  • Marketing
  • Selling
  • Investing (Bootstrapping)
  • Building your brand
  • Having an entrepreneurial mindset (pp. 19-20).

To elaborate…

Putting Meaning and Work Together

I don’t think Michael Ellsberg really answers the question here, although he does tell us how to begin to experiment and take risks.

Building Networks and Relationships, Finding Mentors and Teachers

The secret, believe or not, is giving (p. 73).

Marketing

“Good marketing…speaks to the prospect about their deepest emotional realities, their innermost desires, and about helping them achieve what they want in those realms” (p. 115).

Selling

“Sales is simply persuasive face-to-face communication.  It’s relevant anytime you are talking with someone and you want a specific outcome to arise out of the conversation” (p. 129).

“[E]ffective sales isn’t about spewing off a slick pitch.  It’s about asking a lot of questions.  The right questions.  And then listening” (p. 136).

Bootstrapping

“Bootstrapping is a concept central to the themes in this book.  In the world of business, it’s a strategy that involves getting to the point of profitability as quickly as possible–even if the profits are small–and then continually reinvesting profits to fuel growth” (p. 158).

“Make small, incremental investments in your human capital and earning power.  Buy some books….Take workshops and online training programs to learn different success skills.  Invest in your network of connections and mentors by going to high-quality conferences, workshops, expos, trade shows, meetups, and retreats related to your field….Find a high-quality business or career coach….a snowball effect” (pp. 160-161).

Branding

“Your brand is what people think of you when they hear your name” (p. 179).

Entrepreneurial Mind-Set

“We don’t get to choose what happens to us.  But we get to choose what it means.  And in that choice is a tremendous power….become the active ingredient in your own life” (p. 196).

“It all boils down to one thing.  [The self-educated millionaires featured in the book have] chosen to do whatever it takes teao create the lives they want, including exercising the effort and initiative to figure out what ‘whatever it takes’ is” (p. 200).

Ironically, “[Money is] like breathing; we don’t live to breath.”  (Max DePree, as quoted in On Moral Business, p. 912).   See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/bill-gates/9812672/Bill-Gates-interview-I-have-no-use-for-money.-This-is-Gods-work.html.

Life is about becoming holy — called to joy, even in business.

Believe it or not, this is what students learn in Trinity’s Business Department and Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

Want To Be A Good Leader? Let Your Life Speak

Let Your Life Speak

By Parker Palmer

Vocation

“Vocation does not come from willfulness.  It comes from listening….Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue.  It means a calling that I hear” (p. 4).

“[There] is a great gulf between the way my ego wants to identify me, with its protective masks and self-serving fictions, and my true self….The difficulty [of sensing the difference between the two” is compounded by the fact that from our first days of school, we are taught to listen to everything and everyone but ourselves, to take all our about living from the people and powers around us” (p. 5).

“Today I understand vocation quite differently — not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received.  Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess.  Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to become something I am not.  It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God” (p. 10).

“Biblical faith calls it the image of God in which we are all created.  Thomas Merton calls it true self.  Quakers call it the inner light, or ‘that of God’ in every person.  The humanist tradition calls it identity and integrity.  No matter what you call it, it is a pearl of great price” (p. 11).

True Vocation

“True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need’” (p. 16).

“The Quaker teacher Douglas Steere was fond of saying that the ancient human question ‘Who am I?’ leads inevitably to the equally important question ‘Whose am I?’ — for there is no selfhood outside of relationship” (p. 17).

“Most of us arrive at a sense of self and vocation only after a long journey through alien lands….It is more akin to the ancient tradition of pilgrimage — ‘a transformative journey to a sacred center’ full of hardships, darkness, and peril.  In the tradition of pilgrimage, those hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself.  Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost — challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control, can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge and make space for the true self to emerge” (pp. 17, 18).

“Vocation at its deepest level is not, ‘Oh, boy, do I want to go to this strange place where I have to learn a new way to live and where no one, including me, understands what I’m doing.’  Vocation at its deepest level is, ‘This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling” (p. 25).

Self-care vs. Projections

“Here, I think, is another clue to finding true self and vocation: we must withdraw the negative projections we make on people and situations — projections that serve mainly to mask our fears about ourselves — and acknowledge and embrace our own liabilities and limits” (p. 29).

“[Self-care] is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.  Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care if requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch” (pp. 30, 31).

“Where do people find the courage to live divided no more when they know they will be punished for it?  The answer I have seen in the lives of people like Rosa Parks is simple: these people have transformed the notion of punishment itself.  They have come to understand that no punishment anyone might inflict on them could possibly be worse than the punishment the inflict on themselves by conspiring in their own diminishment” (p. 34).

Implications of Our Nature

“Each of us arrives here with a nature, which means both limits and potentials.  We can learn as much about our nature by running into our limits as by experiencing our potentials” (pp. 41, 42).

“When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself — and me — even as I give it away” (p. 49).

“[If] it is true that we are made for community, then leadership is everyone’s vocation, and it can be an evasion to insist that it is not.  When we live in the close-knit ecosystem called community, everyone follows and everyone leads” (p. 74).

Authentic Leadership

“The power for authentic leadership…is found not in external arrangements but in the human heart.  Authentic leaders in every setting — from families to nation-states — aim at liberating the heart, their own and others’, so that its powers can liberate the world” (p. 76).

Good Leadership

“Good leadership comes from people who have penetrated their own inner darkness and arrived at the place where we are at one with one another, people who can lead the rest of us to a place of ‘hidden wholeness’ because they have been there and know the way” (pp. 80, 81).

“It is so much easier to deal with the external world, to spend our lives manipulating material and institutions and other people instead of dealing with our own souls” (p. 82).

Shadows of Our Souls

“The first shadow-casting monster is insecurity about identity and worth….The second shadow inside many of us is the belief that the universe is a battleground, hostile to human interests….A third shadow common among leaders is ‘functional atheism,’ the belief that ultimate responsibility for everything rests with us….A fourth shadow within and among us is fear, especially our fear of the natural chaos of life” (pp. 86-89).