Stuff we think is useful

What's going on in Austin

A network map of social entrepreneurship in Austin bit.ly/austinsocent

Brain Trust questions, courtesy of Founder Centric: 

A useful format to get help from and work with your cohort over the next twelve months. Each entrepreneur should take 10 minutes to give an update and gather feedback, after which you'll return to your team to share any learnings and plan next steps.

The update

  1. What you're building and how far along you are (a description, not a pitch)

  2. What you did and learned since last session

  3. The next big question about your business you want to find an answer to

  4. What you're going to do to get that answer

Feedback

  1. Have they chosen the right learning goal or are they overlooking a big, critical risk?
  2. Is there an easier or cheaper way of learning it?
  3. Do you know any good resources (books, blogs, case studies, tools, competitors, etc) that they should check out?
  4. Can you make introductions that would help with their learning goal? 

Pitching

Working on your pitch? Here's a link to the UnLtd USA Pitch Deck Template with all of our tips. Want something shorter? Just remember to:

  1. Start with stories and images, and avoid text wherever possible
  2. Make broad use of narrative arcs throughout (about who you're impacting, about your startup, about what will happen to your investor's money)
  3. End positively*

*See what we did there?

Effectuation, from the Society for Effectual Action

Effectual logic is a problem-solving approach used by the most effective entrepreneurs around the world (more info here). Chances are you already do some of this naturally; we want you to start thinking like this all of the time. Here are the five principles of effectuation and guiding questions to ask yourself along the way:

  1. Means - When entrepreneurs set out to build a new venture, they start with their means. Then, entrepreneurs imagine possibilities that originate from their means. 
    • Who am I? What do I know? Who do I know?
  2. Affordable loss - Expert entrepreneurs limit risk by understanding what they can afford to lose at each step, instead of seeking large all-or-nothing opportunities. They choose goals and actions where there is upside even if the downside ends up happening.
    • What do I need to learn next? What can I afford to lose to learn?
  3. Patchwork quilt - Expert entrepreneurs build partnerships with self-selecting stakeholders. By obtaining pre-commitments from these key partners early on in the venture, experts reduce uncertainty and co-create the new market with its interested participants.
    • Who else can I be working with on this? What do I need from them? What can I give them?
  4. Leveraging contingencies - Expert entrepreneurs invite the surprise factor. Instead of making "what-if?" scenarios to deal with worst-case scenarios, experts interpret "bad" news and surprises as potential clues to create new markets.
    • What can I learn from this problem? What opportunities are implied by this surprise?
  5. Control > Predict - By focusing on activities within their control, expert entrepreneurs know their actions will result in desired outcomes. An effectual worldview is neither found nor predicted, but rather made.
    • Who do I need to meet now? What do I need to learn now to prepare for the unknown?