Now the Hard Part: Entrepreneurship 101

Over the last day and a half, I've received a lot of email and some phone calls responding to my P-G op-ed about Pittsburgh technology and economic development. Keep it coming -- I'm enjoying my 15 minutes!

Now the hard part begins. All of you responders share this moment. There's a bit of energy on the table right now. You / we can and should seize the moment and act on that energy. It's time to put your money where my mouth is.

How?

The first and best idea I've heard so far is setting up a mechanism to put management bodies together with companies that need them. The idea is this:

Collect a half-dozen or so people in the technology sector -- a couple of lawyers, a couple of investors, a couple of entrepreneurs. Put on a meeting once a month where startups can make their presentations and people looking for new management jobs can bring their resumes. Figure out the best location for this (Oakland? I'm open to suggestions) and keep it there. Could be early a.m., could be later in the day.

Make sure that Pitt's Office of Technology Management is in the loop, but isn't running the show. Same with CMU's Center for Technology Transfer, and Penn State's Research Commercialization Office.

Over time, we'll need funding (read: business model) to pay for someone to coordinate this. I'm no management expert, but if ever there was an opportunity for a Pittsburgh entrepreneur, this seems like one. So if someone wants to step forward and run with this ball, please let me know. Or just do it. This blog can't support this enterprise for long. Email me with suggestions. Thanks.

Comments

2 Responses to "Now the Hard Part: Entrepreneurship 101"

HELP said... 11/08/2005 10:49 AM

I like the general concept, but the specific approach won't work - too time consuming. Also, this isn't a separate business. This need would best be served as an adjunct to the entrepreneurs web portal that HELP (Helping Entrepreneurs Learn from Peers) is creating.

People with startup experience could post their profile along with the types of positions they are seeking. Their resumes would be available for download and the job seeker could get others to post references (hopefully people known in the entrepreneurial community).

Entrepreneurs would be able to search for people with the skills/experience they are seeking, check out their profile, resume and references, and then link with them via email or phone to arrange an interview.

This is a lot more convenient and effective than the hit-or-miss of meeting attendance. Also, from experience, I can say there would be a LOT of job seekers in attendance at these meetings without the appropriate backgrounds.

Mike Madison said... 11/08/2005 11:34 AM

There's a lot to talk about here, and there should be room for both models. Three points:
(i) You're right that it's time-consuming. That's a feature, not a bug. Give time to the process and get more in return.
(ii) F2F is far more effective than yet-another-web-portal. The process requires buy-in. Time is valuable. But F2F connections are more likely to be durable.
(iii) Properly organized, it's not just a jobs fair. This is for jobs for Directors and VP-level and above. A staff person could screen resumes. I'm not talking about posting ads in the Post-Gazette.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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