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AoM Wrap Up

AoM got busy. These write ups will be even shorter than the previous ones.

Saturday

Crowdfunding PDW

Interesting group, interesting discussion. No one (still) likes my relationship of Kickstarter to offline pre-sales, such as concerts. That’s ok. No one likes it when I point out that a mortgage is a bundled loan (it is really the deposits in the bank (well, 9 times the deposits of the bank) being lent, not the bank’s own money, so a mortgage in some sense is a crowd funded loan. Think Jimmy Stuart in It’s a Wonderful Life) either. I’ll get over it. Here are some bullets I got from this.

  • why people buy and donate on Kickstarter is under researched
  • the crowdfunding research is taking off, but it needs to be careful to not fall into Stuart’s Trap (which is apparently, not connecting to other areas of research…–so I know what that is now too….)
  • (of course) there is a file drawer problem
  • Demographics don’t seem to matter (to success) once you get the funding to start your project. This is probably the most significant non significant finding I’ve ever heard.
  • There’s something called ScholarFlock.com that I need to check out someday.
  • Paper Idea — Crowdfunding as cultural and/or social investment
  • Paper Idea — Types of pitches that perform better (this wasn’t covered in the PDW, I just came up with it while in the session. I think if I could get a sample of pitches that failed, then later succeeded by redoing their pitches (along with some that failed twice) I could learn something interesting)
  • Locally, the Crescent Theater might make a good crowdfunding case study. What would you use a crowdfunding case study for? Piola Shoes (from Cincinnati) has an interesting story as well, but I’m not sure I’d be able to get permission to tell it. I might be able to sanitize it though.
  • Corporate KickStarter is a thing. (interesting paper idea–how do people relate to corporate campaigns?
  • Is there some way to get to lying in campaigns and how that affects stuff? I’m thinking about the changing story of iCPooch here.
  • Stretch goals are an interesting area of study.
  • How is feedback incorporated into the product.

Digital Technologies: A Game Changer for Entrepreneurship?

This was Per Davidsson’s session. Great job, like every thing he does.

Some interesting ideas. Most agree that entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship and technology is a tool. The PDW recommended thinking about digital technologies as (digital) artifacts, platforms, and infrastructure.  Everyone seemed to agree. I may be a bit behind the curve here, but I’m not sure I could articulate the difference between each of the three. I do think that digital technologies move us towards more forgiving business models. That is, they make it easier to try and fail, and eventually succeed because the cost of failure is so low, and the level of success can be so high. When initial capital outlays are tiny and there is a zero marginal cost for additional units shipped, profit potential is pretty great.

Then came Susan Marlow, questioning that technology is a great leveler, that entrepreneurship is easy, and an idea plus a laptop can equal success. First, no one really claims this. Thinking people realize that technology levels the playing field, but no playing field is perfectly level, some are just more level. Second, no one thinks it’s easy, they just think it’s less costly to fail, making eventual success possible. Finally, an idea plus a laptop plus A TON OF WORK can, but may not necessarily equal success. It works. Not every time, nothing works every time. But it does work. And then we brought intersectionality into the conversation. I am so tired of people thinking that the reason some people are more successful than others is that they’re being kept down. Maybe that’s true. But plenty of people have refused to be kept down, and all this focus on these problems will not make them go away. It will institutionalize the very problems it highlights. Sigh. Enough soapbox. If you think the internet is not good for your particular special group try to get them to give it up.

Digital Footprints: We all have digital footprints. This blog is one of them. I’m sure that there are things in here that will keep me from getting hired, getting tenure, or getting promotions at certain jobs. I’m sure there are things in there that will keep me from being on certain boards, and so on. I’m sure there are things that might even keep me from starting some businesses. I’m too old to care. I should care, but I can’t make myself care. What use are digital footprints for entrepreneurs? That is an interesting question.

Howard Aldrich closed out this session by positing that digital entrepreneurship is third industrial revolution. Howard is a genius, so I felt pretty good because I’ve been saying words to that effect in class for several years now.

How Can We Make Entrepreneurship Research Relevant?

This PDW was run by Norris Krueger. That is enough by itself to justify attendance. Bullet points again.

  • What would happen if I would disappear? Does the e’ship paper I’m working on matter enough that its absence would be noted? What happens if I don’t publish this?
  • Look more into Kauffman’s Reports on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.
  • Look at Kauffman’s Mayors Conference. Recommend to Mayor if appropriate.
  • Remember, policy makers do not read academic articles. Hit them where they are.They look for knowledge that leads to action. They DO NOT CARE about your lit review. (That’s cool. I don’t either really.)
  • One good suggestion was tiered writing. Start with a readable working paper. Make a 2 page executive summary. Maybe make it into a blog post. They didn’t say this, but maybe a series of tweets….
  • Paper launch events for things you want to be noticed.
  • Most of this is to do boundary spanning. You translate your papers to the appropriate audience.
  • Know if your study seeks to understand or explain. To this I’d add predict.

Lean Startups and Innovation Strategy: Towards a New Paradigm? — This contained a lot of stuff I’d heard before. One very interesting point that was made was that on the Business Model Canvas the only parts that matter are Customer Segments, Value Proposition, and Channels. I get what they were saying, but I’d want to see the research before I discarded 2/3 of the entire canvas.

I was scheduled to attend Leading Entrepreneurial Ventures: Individual and Team-Based Perspectives, but I was conferenced out for the day. I went back to the room, did some back exercises, and got ready for the Entrepreneurship Social that evening.

Sunday

Team-Based Learning for Entrepreneurship Educators & Getting Student Buy In With Team Based Learning.

These were both run by Peter Balan, from the University of South Australia. They were both part of a sub conference of the AoM, which I’m not sure why exists, other than to take an extra $130 of my University’s money. Both seminars were very valuable to me. I believe I’m sold on team based learning. Next summer I would like to develop a suite of TBL exercises and fully implement it. If implementation is easier than I think it will be I may fully commit in the spring. I’m going to adopt some of the exercises teaching techniques I learned this semester, but doing a complete change over on such a short time will shortchange the students I think. And even if I were able to pull it off, it would leave no time for other duties.

While the sub-conference took a break I squeezed in a lunch session on Entrepreneurs and Individual Differences. I found the entire stream of research as presented uninspiring. We are all different, no matter how much some people want that to not be true. We have differences in intelligence, drive, access to capital, access to markets and opportunities, and so on. Some differences are hard-coded (genetic) into us, some are situational, and some we create ourselves. I’m comfortable with that, because there is nothing I or any entrepreneur can do to address some differences, and everything we can do to address others. Focusing on why certain cultures start certain types of businesses, certain genders have different opportunities, or particular ‘races’ (I so hate that word, it’s incorrect, and politically charged) have differing success rates is boring to me.

The FLIPPED Workshop

This was a hands on practice session with various online tools. I was familiar with many of them, and have been using them in my classes for a long time. But there were a few new ones, and I’m looking forward to receiving the email packet from the instructors so that I can weave in a few more online exercises.

After this session I retired to my room in order to work on a business plan for a Mobile area client.

Monday

Family Business Exit and Survivability — Mixed bag of papers

ENT Plenary Session — Managing an Entrepreneurship Center: A Director’s Perspective

David Deeds and Michael Morris anchored a very competent panel focused on running an entrepreneurship center in an academic setting. I was surprised by how much we’re already doing right at South.  The Center Directors on the panel have huge budgets and we’re doing almost all of what they’re doing. I did get some good takeaways from this, but I had Dr. Mosley there with me, and they’ll probably be his initiatives. I have enough to do with what I’m already doing.

Crowdfunding: Signalling Knowledge and Trust — This was supposed to be run by my friend John Mueller, but he was unable to attend for whatever reason. Still an interesting paper session. The research on crowdfunding is advancing fast. Several good papers investigating signaling, trust and syndication.

The remainder of the day was entrepreneurship business meetings and social, which I did not attend.

Last Day

A Multi-Level Perspective on the Processes of Learning, Knowledge Creation and Sharing — This paper session was on topics I know a relatively small amount about. That being said, the entire thing was very frustrating. I went to this to see Cai Unger’s presentation. He’s a doc student at South. Nice guy, and smart. At the conclusion of his presentation, he took questions from the audience, only they weren’t questions. They were the ramblings of people who had something to say, who may have been very knowledgeable, but seemed to be grandstanding for some reason I don’t even understand. If someone had tried that with me I believe I would have said ‘I’m sorry, what was the question?’ But I guess we don’t do that in academia.  At any rate Cai did a great job and several from South were there to support him.

After that I hit the road. There were more sessions I wanted to go to, but there was also a whisky run to make, and my own bed to get to.


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