Tag Archives: McCombs School

The One Millionth SXSW Guide for 2014

Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your Prii. 

UT Austin at SXSW

Gosh, is it even possible to get a blogger foot in the SXSW publicity door? The whole thing is like a giant ballroom full of chicken dancers–everyone is having fun but nobody is holding your hand. I honestly don’t know what that analogy means, but here is the One Millionth SXSW Guide for 2014, selfishly featuring friends and alumni of McCombs School of Business.

Friday, March 7

Ubuntu Leadership: Leaders for a Connected Africa

Africa is on the rise, with a projected GDP by 2050 bigger than the U.S. and China combined, and a population that is young and anxious to experience economic and cultural growth. As evidence of that, their cell phone network already kicks our butt, but that’s another story. Enter John Kidenda, who graduated from McCombs with support from the African Leadership Bridge, a program designed to train the next generation of African Leaders. Kidenda will be joined by presenters Frank Aswani, Rick Reeder, and current UT Austin student Takalani Malivha.

Sunday, March 9

Should You Drop Out of School to Start a Company?

Short answer, it worked great for a small handful of people. Good luck! But seriously, Andrew O’Hara dropped out of the Texas MBA program to found Chiron Health, and he wants to tell you about “multiple perspectives surrounding…the value of staying in school for starting a company to dropping out to accelerate a career in entrepreneurship,” along with Cam Houser and Michael Gibson. Does anyone edit these session descriptions?

Big Data & Web Communities: Connect with a Click

Tying online activism to community organizing in order to achieve a better world. Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your Prii. Luke Kyohere is a recent MSTC grad at McCombs and he just won the Austinpreneur of the Year for 2014, so listen up. He is founder of Beyonic Technologies, which helps businesses in Africa incorporate mobile-based bulk payments into their operations. He is joined by Asha Curran, Larry Irving, and Parker Harris.

Continue reading The One Millionth SXSW Guide for 2014


Texas Start Up Meet Up 2010

The Entrepreneur Society at the McCombs School of Business.

A great day of speakers and panel sessions, well-planned and executed by MBA students interested in entrepreneurship.

Speaker and panel videos.

Highlights of sessions I attended:

Robert Reeves, Chief Architect, Application Release Automation, Office of the CTO – BMC Software

Reeves serves as Chief Architect for BMC’s Application Release products. He was formerly the CTO and one of the original founders of Phurnace Software (acquired by BMC). Reeves was the Chief Architect of the Phurnace engine and the company’s first products. He has a B.A. in Economics with a mathematics minor from the University of Texas at Austin.


  • “I was asked early on in our market validation process, ‘If this idea is so great, why hasn’t IBM done it?'”
  • “Timing has a lot to do with this stuff, but you can do some things to increase your luck. Be ready to take advantage when that little blue bird lands on your window sill.”
  • “We talked to our prospects and asked them, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ We found out that they didn’t want exactly what we had in mind. That saved us a tremendous amount of time and money.”
  • “Rob Adams says to talk to 100 people about your idea as part of your market validation. He says, ‘If you can’t find 100 people now you’ll never be able to, and that is true.'”
  • “If you want to make a lot of money, don’t start a company. Get a finance degree and head to NYC. If you want to change the world, start a company.”
  • “If you want to make money in Q4, you’ve got to be selling to people in Q2. You’ve got to be flying around and meeting with customers, and where does the money come from for airline tickets?”
  • “In a technology startup the engineers get treated better than Japanese cattle.”
  • “When the economy went to crap we had to cut our workforce by 10%. We protested to the board, ‘But we’re only 10 people!’ But they insisted. So, it was last in first out, that was the only way to do it, because we only hired people we absolutely needed.”
  • “When we made sales calls, I only wanted to talk to people who were really going to use our software. We could talk to decision-makers later. First we had to convince the user.”

Continue reading Texas Start Up Meet Up 2010

Hoover on Forecasting Business Success by Observing Business Past

Entertaining video short features Hoover’s latest wisdom for entrepreneurs.

Gary HooverGary Hoover’s second-in-the-video-series on keys to successful enterprise is about the importance of Understanding Business History. His warning is that business people cannot react to the future while being oblivious to what has happened previously. “Almost everything has a pattern,” he asserts. “I’m not saying the answers are always going to be the same, but many of them are.”

Hoover believes that many entrepreneurs miss the huge trends because they don’t fit the daily news cycle. “Fortunes are lost, enterprises collapse and others are created, all because of these trends,” he says. Speaking of one trend, the aging of baby boomers, Hoover joked, “I see it in the mirror every morning. The clothing makers are all doing buttons, but hey, it’s going to be Velcro time pretty soon!”

Read more.

Austin’s Grease Monkey Wipes are Shark Tank Survivors on ABC

Erin Whalen

The duo walked on stage dressed in sharp, yellow bicycle jerseys emblazoned with their playful logo, which panelists loved.

Have you discovered ABC’s Shark Tank? Think of it as American Idol for entrepreneurs. All the basic elements are there, the emotion of a “once in a lifetime” performance, snarky bickering among the judges (who have real dollars to invest in winning companies), awkward meltdowns by ill-prepared participants, and finally the vicarious thrill of watching a talented contestant walk away with real dollars in hand. You needn’t be a new-business junkie to enjoy Shark Tank.

Last week Grease Monkey Wipes appeared on the show, and I was prepped in my recliner, with a bowl of popcorn at hand, ready to cheer on this Austin startup, founded by Tim Stansbury and Erin Whalen (a graduate of McCombs).

Continue reading Austin’s Grease Monkey Wipes are Shark Tank Survivors on ABC

The Entrepreneurial Grab Bag: Busy Week at UT Austin

I’ll bet you’re just the type who would want to know…

  • Gary Hoover continues to delight as entrepreneur-in-residence at the McCombs School, which is a role he so obviously relishes. He recently discussed his Eight Keys to Building a Successful Enterprise, the first installment of which is posted here: Curiosity. What Gary does so well is survey the landscape of business history and connect the dots to draw conclusions for today’s entrepreneur. Here, he talks about chicken feed, Toys R Us, and the serendipity of learning. An edu-taining 11-minutes. You’ll smile, you’ll learn something. (Another Hoover speech is recapped here by Neville Medhora who took this snapshot.)
  • Shawn Lesser of Sustainable World Capital recently ranked the best universities for promoting cleantech energy initiatives. UT Austin is number three on that list, and Franklin Fuchs (outgoing president of the McCombs CleanTech Group) sent a note to make sure we told the world. World, you are hereby told, and there is a bit more on this story here, with a video if you wish.
  • It’s too late to attend Jim Nolen’s webinar on venture capital and private equity (sorry) but there is blurb about it here and I hope more will come. Continue reading The Entrepreneurial Grab Bag: Busy Week at UT Austin