1.0 Entrepreneurship Journal Individual Reflection
Peter H. Hackbert
Sierra Nevada College
As you move through the courses, we will provide you with the opportunity to "do" or
engage in many learning activities to advance your knowledge and entrepreneurship
understanding. You will be gathering information form a variety of sources, to test the
value and benefit of your observations.
Reflective Observation your discernment of the learning outcome
In analyzing the entrepreneurial activity:
What did you notice or learn that you want to remember?
In what way did this experience challenge my assumption(s) about
I identified correctly the following (entrepreneurial concept, problem, facts,
timeliness, issues, importance, causes). That was because of ?
My classmates helped to identify the following (entrepreneurial concept, problem,
facts, timeliness, issues, importance, causes). That was because of ?
Which of my values was affirmed by this experience?
What have I learned about myself in this experiential situation?
The most successful part of this entrepreneurship activity for me was? Why?
The new skill or "piece" of knowledge I can to see in this situation was?
I liked/disliked about this experience I contributed
If I could do any part of this experience over, it would be? Why?
What I learned in other experiential activities in this course that helps me better
understand this most recent experience is?
Abstract Generalization your conclusions from the outcome
In developing insightful instincts:
What hypothesis, conclusion, principles, or guidelines can I draw from this most
recent experience reflecting on the Entrepreneurship?
From this experience I developed the following hunch(es) about entrepreneurship
From this experience I learned the following principle(s) about entrepreneurship
From this experience I can see the value of the following guideline(s) for
From this experience what can I do to affect the greatest potential for
improvement in my understanding of entrepreneurship
Active Experimentation your decision of what to do next as a result/outcome
In assessing what to do next:
What do you need next in order to have confidence (the feeling that you will perform
well) in your own entrepreneurial abilities, in your won readiness to use what you have
learned in this course? What do you need to create an opportunity to test your hunches or
conclusions in another situation? Who or when can you gain an opportunity to practice
certain entrepreneurship skills?
Of the items that I noticed in the reflective process of the entrepreneurial activity,
I want to practice
The one or two new "pieces" of new knowledge" that I experienced and I want to
try out is
I can go to for an opportunity to practice and gain a new entrepreneurial skill?
In my current situation, the people who are in my expanded network practicing
these skills are
As I think about entrepreneurship and extra-curricular activities, I might select to
practice the skills or abilities (conduct a trial) and increase my competence are
Of the thing(s) I saw in this situation, I am eager and excited to attempt
The opportunity for learning that I want to pursue as a result of this experience
2.0 Two Cool Assignment
Rationale: To help "Introduction to Entrepreneurship" students to look for opportunity in what they read
and hear, and to help them to develop a creative approach to new business development.
Required Activity: To bring to class two of the coolest products, ideas, concepts, technologies,
information items or whatever grabs your interest/captures your imagination that you can find during the
Each week you are required to document "two cool" items and their sources (forms provided by instructor).
For each class, be prepared to present one of the two items when they are being shared. The class will
then select one item from those presented, and will brainstorm (either in teams or with the entire class we
may alternate) about different ways to commercialize the concept, and discuss some of the barriers and
opportunities inherent in the idea.
Possible Sources of Cool Items: World Wide Web, journals (trade, industry, scientific), magazines,
newspapers, other media, other entrepreneurs
Note: This is an activity that counts toward the student's class participation grade. The exercise will take
about 35-45 minutes, usually at the beginning of the class period, unless there is a guest speaker.
EEE 370-Spring 2002 Mondays 7:00-9:45 p.m.
Date of Class session): _____________________________________________
Cool Item # 1
Source of Information for Cool Item #1 ( e.g., journal and issue date, source and date of news broadcast,
Cool Item # 2
Source of Information for Cool Item #2 ( e.g., journal and issue date, source and date of news broadcast,
"TWO COOL" Instructions
1) To create awareness of innovation in our surroundings; to help EEE 370 students to look for opportunity
in what they read and hear, and to help them to develop a creative approach to new business
2) To give students practice scanning their environment for new ideas.
3) Used early in the semester to help students to get acquainted with each other as a group and in newly-
4) To introduce business concepts in short, experiential bursts.
5) To be a vehicle for discussion about whether the concepts are just cool ideas or real opportunities.
One week before the assignment is due, give the students the following instructions with the form on the
"Bring to class two of the coolest products, ideas, concepts, technologies, information items or whatever is
truly innovative and grabs your interest/captures your imagination that you can find during the week. This
should be a concept that is totally new to you.
Each week that I announce we will have "Two Cool" the following week, you are required to document two
"cool" items and their sources (forms provided by instructor). For each class, be prepared to present one of
the two items when they are being shared. (If someone else has an item similar to yours, you have the
second item as a back-up.)
Possible Sources of Cool Items: Internet (sites for patents, inventions, new products, MIT Media Lab,
etc.), journals (trade, industry, scientific), magazines, newspapers, other media, other entrepreneurs"
Class activity/Process: After generating a group list of Two Cool items with the entire class (recorded on
an overhead projector or someplace where all can see them), the class will then select one item from
those presented, and will brainstorm (either in teams with each team selecting a different concept, or with
the entire class on the same concept we may alternate) about different ways to commercialize the concept,
and discuss some of the barriers and opportunities inherent in the idea.
Student Presentation: Select a spokesperson (or two) to present the team findings. Professor either
comments after each team, or debriefs at the end of the discussion, summarizing the important points that
were made in the discussion.
Supplies: Markers and large pads of paper for teams to record their responses; tape to put up the large
sheets around the room so all can see them.
Alternative discussion topics:
1) Team: elevator speech You are the management team for this company. You are to prepare an elevator
speech which captures the interest of a potential investor in two or at the most, three sentences. Then
select a spokesperson to present the elevator speech. (One other team member may assist by holding the
paper for the class to read the important points which the spokesperson presents. I usually ask someone
from another team to role play the investor in the elevator.)
Preparation: Prior to this Two Cool discussion session, I spend about 5 minutes explaining what is an
elevator speech and asking the class what they think are some examples of important points.
2) Team: business model concepts "Think about your team's Two Cool concept and what it would take to
start a business around this concept. Provide five statements about what is needed. (Examples:What is
the size of the business? What specifically is your product, if not obvious? Who is your market? What
special expertise is needed to start this business?)"
After the team presents their item, as a group we discuss (in rapid-fire response from the tops of their
heads) how much (capital) might be needed to start this business. Some respond with very high amounts
and some with low amounts. I ask why it would cost so much or so little and by the end of the discussion,
we usually have a couple of alternative models that could be used to develop a business around the
concept. (Examples of alternatives: National versus regional market, bootstrapping versus investor capital,
borrowed resources and outsourcing versus buying everything and setting up own operations, etc.)
1) I generally take between 15 and 25 items depending on the number of students in the class and the
amount of time I have allocated to the discussion. Early in the semester I use this as a way to generate
discussion and get students comfortable speaking in the class group. I also get them used to my calling on
them randomly when no one volunteers. The risk is low in this exercise and they learn that I expect them to
be prepared to participate.)
2) This is an effective exercise if done twice in a semester, and early in the semester, using different
discussion topics. More than twice, it loses its impact and spontaneity.
3) I count this activity toward the student's class participation grade. The exercise takes about 5 minutes to
generate the list, 10 minutes for team discussion, 15-20 minutes for presentations with instructor
comments, and another 5 for the wrap-up (total 40-45 minutes).
Originator of exercise:
President of Innovation Management Consulting, Inc.
Adjunct, Syracuse University
School of Management
3.0 Mind Map
Objective of First Lesson Students will develop a Mind Map that will provide an insightful look
into their own personal strengths and weaknesses. In the second lesson students will create
another Mind Map looking at themselves as potential entrepreneurs.
A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique, which provides a universal key to unlock the
potential of the brain using both sides (leftlogic, analysis, sequence, etc. and rightimagination,
daydreaming, color, etc.) plus Gestalt (seeing the whole picture). It was created by Tony Buzan in
the late 1960's and is used in many businesses today.
Depending upon the level of the student, a Mind Map could be simply explained as a tool similar
to a road map that uses right brain logic and left brain creativity a fun and unique way to examine
themselves, a topic or a problem.
Resource materials attached Mind Maps.
Instructions or rules of Mind Mapping:
(Normally the person building the Mind Map creates the central idea and the key words. These
have been provided in the prepared Mind Map in order to have consistency in thinking in order to
make comparisons from the first lesson to the second. As much color should be used as possible.
A completed sample Mind Map is also included in order for the student to view the finished
1. The more branches created from the key words, the more effective the Mind Map.
2. Use images, words, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout.
3. Print in upper and lower case letters.
4. Use outlines to embrace all branches from each key word.
5. Look at the sample Mind Map for direction.
6. Work as fast as you can.
7. Let your thoughts go.
8. Do not dwell on any idea.
9. Write down each word on its own line and connect it to another.
Discussion: Describe the experience. Were you honest about yourself? How would you compare
to any successful entrepreneur you might know? Did you learn any new about yourself?
Lecture Points: What do you think are the characteristics that make for a successful
entrepreneur? Is there a "perfect background" to be an entrepreneur? What are the most
common problems areas? How can weaknesses be corrected? Can anyone be an entrepreneur?
(The first and second lessons go together. The students should leave with questions and ideas
that are answered in the next lesson.)
Make the Most of Your Mind, Tony Buzan
Use Both Sides of Your Brain, Tony Buzan
The Mind Map Book, Tony Buzan
Starting Your Own Business, Jan Norman
No B.S., No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners, and Make Tons of Money
Business Success Book, Dan Kennedy
Entrepreneurship, Hisrich and Peters
4.0 Bug Report
In the attempt to get students to stretch in terms of new idea generation, this assignment
asks them to take a week and identify a large number of things that bother or "bug" them
in their own lives. The actual student assignment is below. Once each student has
produced this list of seventy things in life that bug them, they can then be encouraged to
identify five of them that might represent an opportunity for a new product or service
around which a venture could be built.
The most successful products are responses to problems or needs that someone has. Many
entrepreneurs get ideas for new products from needs that they have themselves, or that
they identify when speaking with someone. This assignment asks you to list 70 or more
things that really bug you. You must reflect on your own life, your personal needs,
activities in which you are involved, things you like to do, relationships that you have,
things that you observe in your everyday world, and so forth. Then make a laundry list of
particular things that bug you. Be creative and innovative in presenting your report.
5.0 Idea Generation exercise Source Unknown
Generate a list of as many new venture ideas as possible. Think about any unmet
of poorly filled customer needs you know of that have resulted from regulatory changes,
technological changes, knowledge and information gaps, lags, asymmetries,
inconsistencies, and so forth will help you generate such a list. Also think about various
products and services (and their substitutes) and the providers of these products or
services. If you know of any weaknesses or vulnerabilities you may discover a new
Take the best of those ideas and expand upon them to develop a more fully
refined idea. Think about your personal lifestyle, your values, what you feel you are
likely to do very well and contributions you would like to make.
6.0 Business-concept questions. This exercise will help you write a business
concept for your venture. Source Unknown
Function of product or service
1. What is the important and distinct function of the product/service, such as cost, design,
quality, capabilities? Include any photographs or sketches.
2. What are the proprietary aspects of the product/service, such as patents, trademarks,
trade secrets, or copyrights?
3. What innovative technology is involved with the product/service?
Position in industry
4. What position does the concept play in the industry, such as manufacturer,
5. Who is the intended customer? Include demographic descriptions such as age,
gender, profession, income, and the like.
6. What benefits will be delivered to the customer? Explain what problems you are
solving for your customer.
7. How will the product/service be sold to the customer? Explain which distribution
channels will be used, such as sales reps, direct sales force, direct mail, telemarketing,
Who will make or supply the product/service?
8. Who will make the product or design the service? Will it be subcontracted to a
manufacturer, or will it be produced in-house?
Write your vision mission statement.
7.0 THE ALASKAN GOLD MINE
Authored and copyrighted by Jeffrey Barach, Graduate School of Business, Tulane,
University, New Orleans, LA. 1977.
You have taken a three-month option on a possible gold mine in Alaska. It took
you two months of dangerous journey to get there. In two weeks of exploration (and
recuperation) you have regained your health, except for your injured left hand, which
sometimes can become suddenly quite weak. In the last 24 hours, you have finally
discovered gold in what appears to be good quantity. You have exactly two weeks to get
to the claims office. If you arrive late, and attempt to secure the property (with the owners
knowing you have visited it), there will probably be an auction at which you could be
easily out-bid, given your limited resources. Here are your alternatives:
1. Wait 3-4 weeks until the weather warms up and enjoy a safe trip home.
2. Go over the mountains. This is dangerous. It is sometimes impassable. It is
quick, if you can make it without harm: 7-10 days. If you encounter storms or
injury, you will probably have to turn back or perish, as the longest part of the
journey is on the way over the top.
3. Go through the valley passes. This is less dangerous and is usually passable. It
is slow and tiring. You can probably make it in 2 to 3 weeks. The weather is
only moderately favorable, with what may be a mountain storm brewing. You
will know if it is a storm within 48 hours, and whether the mountain is
passable (if the storm comes) about one day later.
Wait 2-3 days, take #2 weather permitting; if not, take #3. (There is no advantage to
waiting if you prefer #3 anyway, and waiting to take #1 = #1.)
What do you do? (Circle your answer) #1 #2 #3 #4
THE ALASKAN GOLD MINE
Assume you chose the valley passes (#3). Five days later you are halfway there.
You have pushed too hard and sprained your ankle. Pat, an old friend on a trapping
expedition comes along and takes you to a cabin. Pat could get to the claims office town,
and offers to take you. Travelling together, it might take 10 to 14 more days to get there.
If you tell Pat and make a deal, Pat alone could get there in about 8 to 9 days. If
you were well, you could do it easily in 7 days, but you presently cannot make it without
a few days rest and then 10 days to 2 weeks of travel.
You are not sure whether Pat can exercise the option and file the claim correctly,
because Pat is not too bright, tends to drink to excess, and is not the single-minded hustler
that you are. Pat is a simple, decent old friend who likes trapping, but would, you suspect,
both need and desire financial independence. You think you can trust Pat if you offer to
split 50:50, since your expertise and help would be needed to capitalize on the discovery.
What is your decision? Go with Pat _______
Go it alone _______
Send Pat _______
Explain and detail your best strategy for success and how you plan to do it?
Alaska Gold Mine – Short Teaching Note
This case is great to kick of a course or particular session about entrepreneurial strategy. The
part A case showcases issues of strategy formulation, with the part B case shows how
formulation and implementation are linked.
Hand out the A case and give students 5 to 7 minutes to make a choice about options 1
through 4. Take a poll and write the results on the board – tell the class that, as a board of
directors you have chosen option X.
Next talk through each option, asking students to voice their opinions on why or why not
they chose a particular option. You want to be playful here so try to get students to disagree,
and state the basis for their disagreement.
To conclude this part you can link the exercise to strategy, where you must recognize a goal,
resources, and life issues. You must determine what constitutes external threats and
opportunities, and internal strengths and weaknesses. Your own values and attitudes toward
risk flavor your interpretation of the issues – there is not much data and this uncertainty and
ambiguity characterize strategic choices. You also had to assess strategic alternatives and the
fact that there were clusters of choices (usually more than one vote for each alternative),
suggests that you interpreted and responded to the data in patterned ways…somewhat
characteristic of strategic groups. Finally, even if you don’t think you had a strategy you
actually did…I usually contrast intended versus emergent strategies here. Its also fun to
point out how some groups explicitly target the gold as their goal, while others have longer
term interests like the preservation of their lives…like firms, some are betting the company
where others are taking a more patient, incremental approach.
Again, hand out the case and allow about 7 minutes to make a choice and think about the
agreement they would come to with Pat. About 5 minutes into this I interrupt and ask them
to also think of how much and what kind of information and communication they would
provide Pat. Take a poll and again post the numbers – stress that the second part of the case
demonstrates how the eventual strategy problem is getting something done through people.
The situation is now complicated by the need to work through people, and focus your
debrief of the alternatives on many of the people issues.
Do you trust Pat? Competence? Honesty?
What kind of deal do you strike? Case of booze, a new gun, and a truck or 50:50 split?
The point of the second part of the case is that the goal is lost unless you can work with and
depend on Pat. This means there must be some level of trust, you must make a fair deal that
incentivizes him but also allows some form of control, and give him a pep talk to avoid the
personal problems. Specifically, you need Pat to try harder, extend him or herself, and
believe in the partnership with you.
NB: The options are all risky no matter what you do.
8.0 Visit with an Entrepreneur Exercise
Based upon exercise found in Timmons, J.A., and Spinelli, S. (2007). New Venture
Creation: Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century. McGraw Hill Irwin, New York, New
York, 7th edition.
While there is no right way to structure an interview, the format below has
merit because it is chronological and has been used successfully in the past.
Select the entrepreneur about which you would like to learn the most. This could
be someone you see as an example or role model in a field to which you aspire, or which
you know the least but are anxious to learn. Do not interview relatives or close friends.
The deliverable for this assignment are as follows:
1) Typed two page paper that discusses the topics suggested in
Step 4 below.
Make contact, set up an appointment and be sure to explain why you want the
appointment and give a realistic estimate of how much time you will need.
Identify specific questions you would like to have answered and the general areas
about which you would like information. (See sample questions below)
Conduct the interview. Only record the interview with permission in advance
from the subject. Remember that you will likely learn the most if you are an interested
Questions for gathering information
1) Would you tell me about yourself before you started your first venture?
a. Who else did you know growing up that owned a business; did they
influence you, anyone currently?
b. Were your parents, relatives, close friends entrepreneurial?
c. Did you have role models?
d. At the time of your startup what was your education and job
experience? In hindsight was it helpful and, if so, in which ways?
e. In particular did you have any marketing or sales experience? How
important was that, or the lack thereof?
f. When, under what circumstances, and from whom did you become
interested in entrepreneurship and learn some of the critical lessons?
2) Describe how you decided to create a job instead of take a job by starting your
a. How did you spot the opportunity? How did it surface?
b. What were your goals? What were your lifestyle needs of other
personal requirements? How did you fit these together?
c. How did you evaluate the opportunity in terms of the critical elements
for success? The competition? The market? Did you have specific
criteria you wanted to meet?
d. Did you find or need partners? What kind of financing did you start
e. How much capital did it take? How long for you to reach a positive
cash flow and break even sales volume? If you did not have enough
money at the time how did you keep going, what type of bootstrapping
did you undertake?
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f. What outside help did you get? Did you have experienced advisors to
fall back on, lawyers, accountants, tax experts? How did you develop
these experts and how long did it take.
g. How did outside advisors make a difference in your business?
h. What did you perceive to be the weaknesses and strengths of your
i. Describe your most triumphant moment? Your worst moment?
j. Did you want to have partners or go it alone? Why?
3) Once you got going:
a. What were some of the most difficult gaps to fill and problems to
solve as the business began to grow?
b. When you looked for key personnel, either employees or partners,
were there any personal attributes or attitudes you desired because you
knew that criteria would fit with you and were important to the future
success of the firm? How did you find these individuals?
c. Are there any attributes or attitudes that you would avoid when
looking for new employees or partners?
d. Do you spend more, less, or about the same amount of time with your
business now than you did early on?
e. In terms of the future, do you plan to harvest, to maintain, to expand?
f. In your ideal world, how many days do you want to work? Explain.
g. What are some keys that you learned from both success and failure?
h. What were / are some of the most difficult tradeoffs you face (e.g.
tradeoffs between business, family, hobbies, community)
i. Describe a time when you ran out of cash, what pressures did this
create, how was the issue resolved and what lessons were learned?
j. Can you describe a venture that previously did not work out and how
that might have prepared you for this one?
4) Questions to conclude;
a. What do you consider your most valuable asset- the thing that enabled
you to make it?
b. If you had it to do over again, would you do it again, in the same way?
c. As you look back, what do you feel are the most critical concepts
skills, attitudes, and know-how you needed to get your company
started and grown to where it is today? What will be needed for the
next five years?
d. Some say there is a lot of stress in being an entrepreneur, what have
you experienced? How would you say it compares to other hot seat
jobs such as running a big company or partner in large law or
e. What have you found personally rewarding and satisfying as an
f. Who should attempt to enter entrepreneurship as a career and who
should not? Can you give me any ideas there?
g. Are there any other questions you wished I had asked, from which you
feel I could learn valuable lessons?
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Evaluate what you learned.
1) Summarize the most important observations and insights you have
gathered from these interviews. Contrast especially what patterns,
differences and similarities exist between lifestyle and high potential
entrepreneurs. Who can be an entrepreneur? What surprised you the most,
what was confirmed about entrepreneurship? What new insights emerged?
What might be the implications for you personally, your goals and / or
Write a thank you note. This is more than a courtesy; it will also help the
entrepreneur remember you favorably should you want to follow up with him or her at a
9.0 Tinkering in Class: Using the Tinker Toy Exercise to Teach First Mover
Advantage and the Resource-Based View. Coff, R.W. and Hatfield, D.E., 2003.
Journal of Strategic Management Education, 1(1).
This exercise is very well adapted to classes in which first mover advantage is taught or in
which the resource based view of the firm is offered as a way to secure competitive
advantage. The exercise requires the class to be broken into teams in which they will
compete with one another. The task is to build a tower out of tinker toys and the resulting
tallest free standing tower wins the contest. This is a timed event. The exercise provides an
excellent forum for the teacher to examine why one team won and others lost.
10.0 Forming Student Teams (source unknown)
Allocating people to groups or teams is a challenging and critically important
ingredient for student learning.
Participant self-selection into teams takes time. However, it has added benefits,
including participant input and control over the process, participant ownership of the
outcomes (ie, the resulting teams), and better understanding of criteria that might
be useful when forming a team. These benefits are lost if the selection process gets
reduced to “picking one's friends” or choosing only those who are most similar to
ourselves. A friend’s mother's uses a code term for identifying people with whom
she feels comfortable. Her mother once asked her, "Are they PLU's?" In reply, our
friend asked, "What are PLU's?" Her mother replied, “PLU’s are People Like Us." We
all feel a natural tendency to want to be with "people like us", but similarity and
familiarity have generally been proven not to be the best way to form high-
performing teams. I suggest you utilize the shortened version of a resume below to
identify potential matches. You should at a minimum consider team mates who can
meet when you can and whose expectations for class are similar to your own.
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Time Availability outside class
My expectations for the team, class, simulation
11.0 Team Agreement Form (source unknown)
1. Write a brief team agreement that included the following information. A team
agreement is a single document that should be arrived at jointly with all the
members of the team. In general, it must outline the expectations that team
members have of each other, and how those expectations are going to be realized
during the semester. In general, you are to complete and hand in the following:
Your team’s mission statement
Team expectations and goals
What decision-making process will your team strive for?
Who will facilitate/chair meetings? Will this role rotate?
How will your team manage time expectations? i.e., time allowed for
How will your team manage conflict?
What will you do to ensure members are meeting their personal objectives?
What will you do to ensure that the team agreement is met?
Printed name and signature of all team members must be included.
Print Name Signature
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