Babson Entrepreneur Experience Lab

Elements of the Entrepreneur Experience

Stories

Entrepreneurship Inside

Voice of the Entrepreneur

Over 400 video, audio and narrative stories from new venture entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs inside. Use the controls in the right sidebar to sort by entrepreneur type or entrepreneur experience element; or, add demographic filters to refine your results.

Mark

Mark explains that because there aren't a lot of visible entrepreneurs, people don't understand it.

Mark

Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman, Hayneedle

Mark explains that because there aren't a lot of visible entrepreneurs, people don't understand it.

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Scott

Scott describes benefits of hierarchy within organizations.

Scott

VP, Prevention & Wellness, Health Insurance Company

Scott describes benefits of hierarchy within organizations.

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David

David describes how work environments are changing.

I think we are entering an era of increased participation, democratization if you will, in many realms including democratization of wealth and business. The role of intrapreneur as leader will be increasingly important in these participatory environments - taking responsibility for making things better will be the main way they become better.

David

Chief Conspirator, Sustainable Biz Network, Self-organizing

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Jeff

Jeff describes board or committee approval within his church.

Jeff

Reverend

Jeff describes board or committee approval within his church.

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Jonah

Jonah describes co-ops as a catalyst for creativity.

Jonah

Founder & Worker-Owner, Cooperative

Jonah describes co-ops as a catalyst for creativity.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about creating a culture of ownership.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about creating a culture of ownership.

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Laura

Laura describes the entrepreneurship culture in San Francisco.

Laura

Founder, OneForty

Laura describes the entrepreneurship culture in San Francisco, literally bumping into founders on the street and getting advice.

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Mary

Mary talks about how people were surprised at the opportunity to innovate.

Mary

Senior Manager of CTO, Innovation Network, Corporation

Mary talks about how people in the organization were surprised at the opportunity to innovate.

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Mark

Mark feels that there are not the right mentors or resources that other developed entrepreneurial areas have.

Mark

Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman, Hayneedle

Mark feels that there are not the right mentors or resources that other developed entrepreneurial areas have.

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Christine

Christine talks about hierarchy.

Overall I think the hierarchy hurts more than it helps, only because it slows us down. It's not so much about fiefdoms as it is about people being so busy and so focused on their own thing, that there's little time or attention left to help the innovators.

Christine

VP, Global Council Mgr., Corporation

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Mary

Mary talks about the idea contest winners and how their roles have shifted.

Mary

Senior Manager of CTO, Innovation Network, Corporation

Mary talks about the idea contest winners and how their roles have shifted.

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Dave

Dave talks about how social capital sidesteps the limitations of place.

Dave

Founder and CEO, TeachStreet

Dave talks about how social capital sidesteps the limitations of place, and how Seattle is a robust area to meet people who want to "start something".

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Adam

Adam talks about working inside a hierarchy.

Hierarchy is often about comfort for the few. Question why you have it and make sure its functional to achieve agreed upon goals. The more the spirit of being colleagues and less of being bosses and employees exists the better.

Adam

Exec. Dir., Self-organizing

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Jessica

Jess talks about how her work is ideal for her.

Jessica

Digital Storyteller, Nonprofit

Jess talks about how her work is ideal for her.

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Janice

Janice believes that there is a very collaborative environment for supporting small business in her area

Janice

Director, Jackson County Small Business Incubator

Janice believes that there is a very collaborative environment for supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in her area.

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Jonah

Jonah talks about using co-ops as a way to grow local economies.

Jonah

Founder & Worker-Owner, Cooperative

Jonah talks about using co-ops as a way to grow local economies.

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Mark

Mark talks about making changes in the organization's culture.

The idea of eliminating handoffs came out one of the organizational structure discussions. I tend to call it the silo mentality and I've always found it frustrating because it lends itself to this concept of separation from the customer once you have moved a product/goal/project/process/etc into another silo. I think instead, it really comes down to personal accountability. To me, that feels like something which can be targeted from the ground up and doesn't need as much buy-in from mgmt. Personal accountability is not something management can enforce but it is something that can happen with a cultural shift.

Mark

Advisory Software Engineer, Corporation

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Kevin

In his area, a lot of minority entrepreneurs are doing really well, and there is a supportive culture for minority entrepreneurs.

Kevin

President & CEO, Johnson Media

In his area, a lot of minority entrepreneurs are doing really well, and there is a supportive culture for minority entrepreneurs.

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Hall

Hall talks about drawing bigger circles around life sciences.

Hall

Founder, Austin Entrepreneur Network

Hall talks about drawing bigger circles around life sciences; state level rather than city level.

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Mark

As an investor, Mark wants to provide "smart" capital.

Mark

Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman, Hayneedle

As an investor, Mark wants to provide "smart" capital.

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Laura

Laura talks about gathering vs. building resources.

Laura

Founder, OneForty

Laura talks about gathering vs. building resources.

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Hannah

Hannah finds her way of working similar to entrepreneurs, but within an existing framework.

Hannah

Food Systems Activator, Nonprofit

Hannah finds her way of working similar to entrepreneurs, but within an existing framework.

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Janis

Janis compares entrepreneurial ecosystems from the west and east coasts.

Janis

Founder and Managing Partner, Paladin Partners

Janis compares entrepreneurial ecosystems from the west and east coasts.

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Scott

Scott on his purpose within the organization.

Scott

VP, Prevention & Wellness, Health Insurance Company

Scott on his purpose within the organization.

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Sabrina

Sabrina talks about the difficulty of being an outsider and being an African-American woman in business.

Sabrina

Grant Writer, 1221 Grant Services

Sabrina talks about the difficulty of being an outsider and being an African-American woman in business.

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Jamien

Jamien discusses community groups being entrepreneurial.

Jamien

Owner, Small Business Support, Corporation

Jamien discusses community groups being entrepreneurial.

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Bill

Bill talks about entrepreneurship as a means for success.

Bill

Executive Director, Hope CDA

Bill talks about entrepreneurship as a means for success.

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Lance

Lance talks about the hidden funding landscape in his area.

Lance

Startup Catalyst, Atlanta Tech Development Center (ATDC)

Lance talks about the hidden funding landscape in his area, and that you have to know the code words to get in.

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Jonah

Jonah talks about creating an engaged community.

Jonah

Founder & Worker-Owner, Cooperative

Jonah talks about creating an engaged community.

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Jessica

Jess talks about being aligned to the organization.

Jessica

Digital Storyteller, Nonprofit

Jess talks about being aligned to the organization.

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Janice

Janice talks about people starting ventures out of necessity.

Janice

Director, Jackson County Small Business Incubator

Janice talks about people starting ventures out of necessity after the stock market crash.

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Dave

Dave talks about the different generations of entrepreneurs reinvesting back into the local community.

Dave

Founder, TeachStreet

In this audio-only interview, Dave talks about the different generations of entrepreneurs reinvesting back into the local community.

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Danielle

Danielle says her entrepreneurial personality is a good fit for her organization.

Danielle

University President, Nonprofit

Danielle says her entrepreneurial personality is a good fit for her organization.

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Laura

Laura talks about cities not competing with each other.

Laura

Founder, OneForty

From Laura's perspective, Laura's shouldn't compete with each other. Instead they should be competing to have more startups overall.

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Jonah

Jonah talks about hierarchical organizational structure.

Jonah

Founder & Worker-Owner, Cooperative

Jonah talks about hierarchical organizational structure.

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Hannah

Hannah talks about differences in her role versus owning a company.

Hannah

Food Systems Activator, Nonprofit

Hannah talks about differences in her role versus owning a company.

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Jeff

Jeff talks about traditional mindsets versus new ways of thinking within the church.

Jeff

Reverend

Jeff talks about traditional mindsets versus new ways of thinking within the church.

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Rob

Rob talks about the benefits of working entrepreurially within an organization.

I’ve found that the intrapreneurs we’ve “uncovered” often get the best of both worlds by staying Intra – and they seem to know how good they have it. They get to experiment in a safe environment. They get praise and camaraderie; I find that most of [our company’s]Entres find it a fairly lonely world – usually being a startup of one. They don’t have to raise capital. Starvation or living on the street are not part of the risk of failure.

Rob

Founder/CEO, Bike manufacturing co.

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Hannah

Hannah speaks about the evolution of her organization.

Hannah

Food Systems Activator, Nonprofit

Hannah speaks about the evolution of her organization.

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Mary

Mary talks about their CEO as the catalyst for their innovative ideas contest.

Mary

Mary talks about their CEO as the catalyst for their innovative ideas contest.

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Jessica

Jessica describes her need to get in and get things done.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica describes her need to get in and get things done.

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Jonah

Jonah discusses a benefit of the co-op model.

Jonah

Founder & Worker-Owner, Cooperative

Jonah discusses a benefit of the co-op model.

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Laura

Laura compares the ecosystems between Austin and rural Texas.

Laura

Laura compares the ecosystems between Austin and rural Texas.

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Calvin

Calvin discusses how opposition comes when implementing an idea.

Calvin

Senior Program Manager of CTO, Innovation Network, Corporation

Calvin discusses how opposition comes when implementing an idea.

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Brian

According to Brian, entrepreneurship is just what people do in the Bay Area.

Brian

Co-founder, Gazehawk

According to Brian, entrepreneurship is just what people do in the Bay Area.

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Laura

Laura explains the lack of resources and capital available to underrepresented groups in areas of low socioeconomic status.

Laura

Venture Executive, EDCO Ventures

Laura explains the lack of resources and capital available to underrepresented groups in areas of low socioeconomic status.

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Calvin

Calvin talks about providing an outlet for people to contribute new thinking.

Calvin

Senior Program Manager of CTO, Innovation Network, Corporation

Calvin talks about providing an outlet for people to contribute new thinking.

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Alex

Alex differentiates between an intrapreneur and entrepreneur.

You have to love the highs enough to put up with the challenges and the failures. The nice thing about being an intrapreneur instead of an entrepreneur is that if your initiative fails, you are more likely to have a soft landing somewhere in the company - but not always.

Alex

Program Dir., Sr. Care Options, Non-profit

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Rob

Rob talks about creating a culture of intrapreneurship at his organization.

I have a very strong desire to help people fulfill their work dreams. This tends to cause trouble; some of my most intense disagreements with Seven’s board of advisors and with other founders of Seven have been regarding my interest in fostering entrepreneurship. It is certainly a double edged sword. On the negative side we are teaching and helping our future competitors. There is also an argument that fostering intrapreneurship requires a lot of resources that don’t have a good return on investment, particularly if the employee leaves to become an “entre” rather than an “intra”. Those are both reasonable concerns – and I believe those views are self fulfilling prophesies. And I don’t think those concerns outweigh the benefits of supporting intrapreneurship – benefits including the “intra” being more connecting to the business, truly appreciating the opportunity for experimentation, fostering a sense of trust, and counter-intuitively engendering a stronger loyalty to the existing business.

Rob

Founder/CEO, Bike manufacturing co.

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Mark

Mark doesn't believe that the support networks for entrepreneurship are developed in his area.

Mark

Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman, Hayneedle

Mark doesn't believe that the support networks for entrepreneurship are developed in his area.

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Owen

Owen talks about the importance of physical proximity in an entrepreneurial environment.

Owen

Co-Founder, Betaspring

Owen talks about the importance of physical proximity in an entrepreneurial environment.

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Jimmy

Jimmy talks about a single person as a key connector and builder of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem; it only takes 1 person.

Jimmy

Chief Architect, Rockdex

Jimmy talks about a single person as a key connector and builder of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem; it only takes 1 person.

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Lance

To get funding, Lance believes many people have to go to certain areas nationally to have a chance.

Lance

Startup Catalyst, Atlanta Tech Development Center (ATDC)

To get funding, Lance believes many people have to go to certain areas nationally to have a chance.

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Bijoy

Bijoy talks about places not copying each other.

Bijoy

Founder, Bootstrap Austin

Bijoy talks about places not copying each other.

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Bijoy

Bijoy talks about places finding their "core ethos."

Bijoy

Founder, Bootstrap Austin

Bijoy talks about places finding their "core ethos."

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Jimmy

Even though the Midwest doesn't have as strong an entrepreneurial climate as other areas, he doesn't see it as a hindrance in the internet age.

Jimmy

Chief Architect, Rockdex

Even though the Midwest doesn't have as strong an entrepreneurial climate as other areas, he doesn't see it as a hindrance in the internet age.

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Chris

Chris describes his experience from being an entrepreneur to an intrapreneur inside an organization filled with bad habits.

Step one was helping people learn that there weren't any more hand-offs. You could invite others to come collaborate with you, but once you picked up the ball, you held it until everything was done. You were the point, the communicator, the one who kept up the pressure to get all the info and answers needed, regardless of your position, role, or title. We'd talk about things being done when they weren't done. They were "done- except for the stuff that others have to do" or "done - but not this one last thing I'm waiting on feedback for" or "done - pretty much, other than this one thing". So they all had to learn "done done" which meant that there were no other phrases after the first "done". "Is it done, done?"

Chris

VP, Software Engineering, Corporation

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Adam

Adam lays out the different options for an intrapreneur.

“If the organization hasn't hired you to create change, and doesn't have an expressed culture of embracing change then I wouldn't recommend putting your energy into. If you are fulfilled by your work otherwise then I would suggest playing it stealth and looking for opportunities where the organization does express it wants to create something new or change and then get yourself in a position or committee to be part of that process. If the organization has hired you to create change but doesn't necessarily have an expressed culture that embraces change, then begin with some education, particularly if this is a place you want to be for more than 2 years. Convene workshops and break people up so that they are in multi-disciplined teams and work them through a design process using rather benign examples that are still exciting but not boring (e.g. you might not want to go right to a hot button issue that you see but no one is talking about). Once people are comfortable with the process of creating change, keep engaging them in it through whatever format is appropriate and build allies. What you want here is an alchemical process of transforming culture. Over time the hot button issue you thought needed to be addressed right off might just change itself. And if not, then once you have trust of the process you can go after it. If you are in the same situation but you are hired on a project basis and not planning to be there for more than two years then just go after your designated project as boldly as you want. Have conversations with people about your process and be as transparent as possible so that people can learn through osmosis. And if you are hired to create change by a company with an expressed culture that embraces it, then have fun!” —adam b.

Adam

Exec. Dir., Self-organizing

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Mike

Mike talks about his frustration with others' focus on the process, rather than the result.

Mike

Member of Media Working Group, Self-Organizing

Mike talks about his frustration with others' focus on the process, rather than the result.

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Patty

Patty describes her organization's shift in culture.

We've really shifted to people who are taking responsibility, who are taking ownership, who are figuring out better ways to do things, who are asking more challenging questions of each other.  So that's really where I see the difference - that level of responsibility that you take not just for executing what's in front of you, but for the entire enterprise.  The level of interest and connect that you feel to our overall mission and how you fit into that.

Patty

Comm. & Dev. Director, Nonprofit

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Kevin

Kevin believes the culture is really supportive of entrepreneurship.

Kevin

President & CEO, Johnson Media

Kevin believes the culture is really supportive of entrepreneurship.

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Jamien

Jamien talks about the various stakeholders within her organizational ecosystem.

Jamien

Owner, Small Business Support, Corporation

Jamien talks about the various stakeholders within her organizational ecosystem.

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Brian

Brian thinks Boston social networks keep to themselves, and it's harder to go out and meet startups.

Brian

Co-Founder, Gazehawk

Brian thinks Boston social networks keep to themselves, and it's harder to go out and meet startups.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about empowering people within the organization.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about empowering people within the organization.

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Steve

Steve talks about collaborating across business units.

Steve

Innovation Network Director, Corporation

Steve talks about collaborating across business units.

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Laura

Laura talks about rural areas having no role models to encourage new ventures.

Laura

Venture Executive, EDCO Ventures

Laura talks about rural areas having no role models to encourage new ventures.

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