Launch Your Venture is a Capture Your Flag course focusing on the emotional journey of entrepreneurship. We have found that there are plenty of courses on the logistics of entrepreneurship, but very few about the personal challenges that the entrepreneur goes through. This course covers those challenges that are faced not only by not by entrepreneurs but also by innovators inside companies, individuals starting charities, or anyone about to embark on a new venture.
Through Capture Your Flag, Erik Michielsen has interviewed 75 near-peer exemplars over the course of the past five years. These exemplars have been experiencing the challenges of mid-career: starting ventures, having families, caring for parents, working for promotions, quitting jobs, impacting communities and realizing their potential.
The magic of the near-peer exemplar is that they have just been through the challenges that you are facing now. Their story is your story, but a few years ahead.
The power of longitudinal interviews filmed over a series of years is that you are able to follow their story rather than just getting a snapshot of their experience.
Through examining hundreds of hours of video, we have seen a common thread in the entrepreneur's journey. The Launch Your Venture course will take you through this journey by sharing the stories of some of our near-peer exemplars. It will inspire you to reflect on your experience, see where you are in your journey, and learn how to advance to the next steps.
Launch Your Venture Course Introduction Script:
Erik Michielsen: Hello. This is the Capture Your Flag “Launch Your Venture” course. When you start your own venture, whether you start a new company, go into a new company, create a non-profit, or innovate inside your existing organization, you need to launch.
After going through the hundreds of hours of video on Capture Your Flag, we found a pattern in common with entrepreneurs and innovators. The videos we use in this course will show you that pattern and give you the tools to use it in your own endeavor.
The launch pattern has five main events. The first is your why moment. This is your driving question.The second is your movement moment: when your questions inspire you to action.The next moment is your first failure. Which is quickly followed by a time of iterating on your idea.Finally, you need to develop a way to measure your success as you iterate: how do you know that you are succeeding?
Now, the big question and why it matters: who are we interviewing?
We call them exemplars.The Capture Your Flag exemplars are people like you.Or, more accurately, like you in the near future.They've just been through what you are about to start.Let’s meet a few of them so you can look for one whose experience launching a venture relates best to you.
Louise Langheier: I’m Louise Langheier and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Peer Health Exchange.
[Near Peer Exemplar video intros of Louise Langheier, Slava Rubin, Courtney Spence, Phil McKenzie, Hattie Elliot, Mike Germano]
Slava Rubin: Hi there! My name is Slava Rubin. I’m founder and CEO of Indiegogo.
Courtney Spence: My name is Courtney Spence and I’m founder and Executive Director of Students of the World.
Phil McKenzie: Hi. My name is Phil McKenzie. I’m the founder and Global Curator of Influencer Conference.
Hattie Elliot: My name is Hattie Grace Elliot and I’m the Founder of the Grace List.
Mike Germano: My name is Mike Germano. I’m the Chief Digital Officer at Vice Media.
Erik Michielsen: Now that you have seen a couple Near Peer Exemplar examples, I want to let you know another key part of this course: since our interviews have been filmed over five years, we can see their progression through the launch process stages.
What have the Near Peer Exemplars you will meet in this course launched?
Social Entrepreneur Louise Langheier launched a non-profit - Peer Health Exchange - that she has expanded across the United States.
Slava Rubin launched Indiegogo, a leading crowd funding platform used by millions of people to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for projects.
Courtney Spence launched Students of the World, a non-profit that helps college students produce media to create positive change.
Phil McKenzie is an MBA who left Goldman Sachs for publishing and launched Influencer Conference to unify change-makers around the world.
Small Business Owner Hattie Elliot launched a physical social networking company, The Grace List.
Author Simon Sinek launched not one but two bestselling books and has inspired the world with the #2 most popular TED Talk of All-Time
Marc Ferrentino left an executive level job at Salesforce.com to eventually launch a software startup company called Nomi.
Dan Street left a private equity job at KKR to bootstrap a startup called Loku he grew and sold to Groupon.
Award winning food entrepreneur Julie Hession has launched several food initiatives, including a specialty food store and multiple cookbooks.
Joe Stump, a serial entrepreneur, launched his startup SimpleGeo, sold it, and then launched a 2nd company, Sprint.ly.
Entrepreneur Audrey French launched ClearResult consulting and sold it to a private equity company.
New York City standup comedian Matt Ruby launched Vooza.com, a comedy web series that satires startup culture.
Jon Kolko launched the Austin Center for Design, a design school based in Austin, Texas.
Chicago-based entrepreneur J.T. Allen launched MyFootpath, an online career site that he has grown to #234 on the Inc 500 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States.
And finally, Brooklyn-based entrepreneur Mike Germano launched social media ad agency Carrot Creative and had it acquired by Vice Media in 2013.
As we learn from these Near Peer Exemplars in this course, we will go through key takeaways and you will do assignments to personalize your experience so you are better prepared to Launch Your Venture.
Before starting each section, please go to the Lecture Description tab to get your assignments for each section.You will see them at the bottom of that page.
Use the Discussion Board tab to ask your fellow learners questions, ask me questions, and share additional insights based on your own experiences. I’m here to support you on this journey so please, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Now, let’s join our Near Peer Exemplars and start learning.
Erik Michielsen: The first step in launching your venture is the why moment. The why moment is the realization that there is a challenge. An unmet need. There's a problem - something out there that you can fix. The Why Moment for some ventures is as simple as "business cards could be more creative" or as personal as "no one else should have my father’s experience with the health care system." The why moment is what drives us.
[Cut to Near Peer Exemplar Stories]
Erik Michielsen: After you have had an inspiring idea, you still need to be inspired to act on it. For some people, this movement moment happens right after the inspiration. A great idea occurs to them and they move immediately. For others, the movement moment happens later. Sometimes much later. Maybe it’s a matter of not knowing what the answer to your problem is. Maybe it’s a matter of needing a change in context to inspire your movement. Whatever it is, it’s important to know that inspiring ideas also need inspiration to action.
Here are multiple video perspectives of the Movement Moment from Capture Your Flag interviewees.
[Cut to Near Peer Exemplar Stories]
Erik Michielsen: If a new venture is a real thing, failure is a possibility. In fact, failure will come. The moment of the first failure is important and worth examining, because failure will be coming again, and the lessons of the first failure shape your organization moving forward.
First failure can come in different places: failure in the market; failure or the team to come together; failure to acquire the resources you need.
Let’s look at video examples of different types of failure.
[Cut to Near Peer Exemplar Stories]
Erik Michielsen: Once you have failed successfully, you are ready to do so again. And again. The next stage in launching your venture is iteration. The process of iteration involves being brave enough to experiment with your venture, fail or succeed, and learning from the results. It’s important to note that this process is not random. Iteration is a process of coming to understand your venture, your team, your product and your market better so that you can find long-term success.
Let’s learn from Capture Your Flag interviewees and how they experienced the iteration stage.
[Cut to Near Peer Exemplar Stories]
Erik Michielsen: You’ve failed. You’re iterating. You’re iterating some more. How do you stop from feeling like you are on a hamster wheel? The next step in the process is an ongoing step. You need to know when you are making it. As you iterate and iterate, you need to decide what success looks like. For some people, success is the liquidity event – selling a company or going public. For some, it’s changing how people are educated; getting cost of goods sold to a 20-year low; eradicating a disease. Whatever it is, you need a clear idea of when you have hit it. You need to define your success – measurably and clearly.
Your success will relate back to our "Why Moment." After so much time and so many iterations and failures, you may have lost sight of the why. Or it may have become so nebulous and far off that you it's hard to imagine achieving it. But knowing when you are making it is all about breaking that why into pieces so you can see your progress.
Capture Your Flag interviewees have covered this extensively in their interview series. Let’s look to their examples get a couple perspectives on success as it relates to the journey.
[Cut to Near Peer Exemplar Stories]
Erik Michielsen is the founder and CEO of Capture Your Flag, an educational media company creating video-based programs for career learning and professional development. His mission is to bring Near Peer Learning programs to the world, as he believes a gap exists in between peer learning and expert learning that Near Peer knowledge sharing programs can fill.
Since 2009, he has been producing the Capture Your Flag career documentary interview series with 75 rising leaders to build a Near Peer, Q&A knowledge repository to help aspiring individuals find Near Peer Exemplars who have been through what they are about to go through.
The work has taken Erik into television, casting and producing a 2013 Participant Media Pivot TV branded career advice series and career documentary, "Generation Job", with Monster.com on “Finding Better”. This edutainment programming built upon his Capture Your Flag digital work, serving as a resource for millennial professionals starting careers, changing jobs, or launching ventures.
A researcher, interviewer, and futurist at heart, Erik has spent 20 years helping others find the future. Until 2009, this meant digital media and technology research and development focused on the future of technology. Since 2009, with Capture Your Flag, it has been about creating Near Peer programming to help students and professionals find and fulfill their future.
Erik earned an MBA from Duke University and a BA from the University of Michigan. He loves to run the New York City marathon, host dinners with friends, and help you Capture Your Flag.
Joe Houde is an educator, designer and consultant specializing in innovative educational design and corporate education.He has over a decade of experience in corporate education and is currently founder and president of Brass Ring Training.
Joe's expertise lies in connecting content, design and participants. He applies this expertise primarily to programs focusing on strategy, organizational culture, and leadership development. Joe has lead the design of several Metaphoric Experiences for Duke Corporate Education which use novel contexts to teach business lessons.Joe has also designed and delivered traditional programs, simulation-based programs, experiential learning programs, action learning programs and online e-learning for both international and US based programs. His clients, among others, include: Deutsche Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, GlaxoSmithKlein, Microsoft, Eli Lilly, Duke University, Suncor and Siemens.
Prior to founding Brass Ring, Joe worked for Duke Corporate Education as a facilitator and facilitator relationship manager His role was to develop a network of practitioners and core educational methodologies for the company. Before 2000, Joe was a freelance facilitator designing experiential learning and working with action learning teams.He worked with the Executive Education department at the Fuqua School of Business, facilitating strategy simulations and 360 feedback sessions.He also taught the online section of the Corporate Strategy class for the Duke MBA-Global Executive program.Joe currently has a course in Game Design and Learning which he co-teaches at North Carolina State University. Beyond working with clients, Joe works to progress the field of corporate education and has made presentations on design, leadership and education at world-class institutions such as the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC and IMD, in Lausanne, Switzerland.For a brief time, Joe worked in the entertainment department on a cruise ship.
Joe has worked with clients from diverse industries including manufacturing, accounting, consulting, financial services, banking, energy, petroleum, transportation, automotive, consumer electronics, entertainment, software, medical, higher education, publishing, pharmaceuticals and not-for-profit. He has facilitated and taught in programs in a dozen countries around the world, including South America, Asia and extensive work in Europe.
Joe earned a Doctorate of Education in Adult Learning and a Masters in Training and Development from North Carolina State University. He was a Drew Scholar at Drew University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Asian Studies. Joe's research focuses on non-traditional education and learning methods: game-based learning, experiential learning, apprenticeship in professional services, informal learning networks, and online learning.His master’s thesis was published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal in 2007.