Last month’s blog post entitled ‘Top 10 websites for entrepreneurs’ highlighted the most popular sites being recommended to people starting in business.
But when looking more deeply at the sites and social media sources that didn’t make top ten status, it became clear that something that lacks popularity may still have game-changing value. Much like the globally renowned Edinburgh Festival, you must visit its ‘Fringe event’ if you want to unmask the future diamonds of entertainment.
So intrigued was I by the ‘entrepreneurial fringe data’ (supplied to me by research respondents), that I found myself losing hours reviewing recommended social media sites, blogs, YouTube videos, books as well as web applications and tools. The content is spectacular. But the really interesting discovery is the thinking patterns and connections which reveal where the future of entrepreneurial learning and application is headed.
Top 10 fringe websites
So what are the wonderful other websites (‘WoWs’) deserving of your attention?
A popular choice centred around the research completed by Sara Sarasvathy. Her robust studies identified (and subsequently modelled) how entrepreneurial minds think and how and where fundamental differences exist compared to the mind of the corporate employee. Her research has serious implications for teachers and trainers.
Linked to, but independent of Sara’s research, is compelling work completed by key people including Alex Osterwalder, Eric Ries and Steve Blank. The traditional business plan may still have a place in teaching as well as supporting people into start-up but the thinking expressed by these experts exposes the flaws of how plans are developed and then used.
“A start-up is a temporary organisation designed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model” explains Steve Blank who is both a serial entrepreneur and academic. Several websites were recommended where Steve Blank shares his thinking and highlights fundamental implications for teachers, trainers and of course entrepreneurs themselves.
In his book ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric Ries emphasises the need for people to be able to build, share and test new ideas quickly and efficiently, rather than working slowly on concepts, plans and policies that date faster than the ink dries.
An excellent and practical web application that makes real sense of the Business Canvas and Eric Ries’ thinking is the ‘Lean Launch Lab’. For me, this site conveys a complex issue in a pragmatic manner. The visual nature of the Lean Launch Lab makes it a powerful resource to use.
Wow3. See the Lean Launch Lab in action
Steve Johnson is an author and speaker I’ve referred to in previous blog posts on this site. His book ‘Where good ideas come from’ is a highly recommended read for any entrepreneur seeking to make sense of their own innovative thoughts and direction. His 4 minute stop-animation film summarises some of his great thinking and backs up Sara Sarasvathy’s, Steve Blank’s and Alex Osterwalder’s research.
Wow4. Be reassured and inspired by Steve Johnson
Numerous web tools were also recommended within the research. Two that really stood out for me included ‘Quora’ and ‘Popcorn’. Quora is a database connecting tens of thousands of people who are seeking advice and supplying answers on a range of topics including business and entrepreneurship. Popcorn on the other hand is an on-line resource that makes it easy to enhance, remix and share web video. So if like the SimVenture Team you want to use eye-catching film to help promote your work, visit their site.
So many respondents fed back great YouTube sites that support entrepreneurial learning and teaching. YouTube has an unlimited supply of relevant and insightful films and you only have to type in the names of people mentioned in this post to start discovering treasures that will both accelerate and focus your own thinking.
Wow6. YouTube has it all and below are four of my favourites:
Another feature of the research was the list of people cited as highly inspirational and entrepreneurial. Neither Richard Branson nor Alan Sugar made the shortlist but one person who received multiple votes was Paul Graham. Programmer, writer, serial entrepreneur and investor, Paul’s published articles received 17 million views in 2011. His startup incubator has also funded over 450 startups, including Dropbox, Stripe & Reddit.
Wow7. Does Paul Graham run the best Startup Programme in the World?
If you’ve visited Paul Graham’s site you’ll have noticed his platform is based around a simple blog site. Blogs are so easy to create and as long as you have something valuable to say, people will visit and then help promote your work. A key blog site that was recommended to me several times concerns the work of best-selling author Seth Godin who is encouraging us all to make something happen with our lives.
Wow8. Seth Godin inspires the creative entrepreneur in all of us
Smack in the middle of this research project, I received an email from those clever people at the ‘big river’. Their subject headline: ‘View the top ten books about entrepreneurship’. How could I not pass on this simple and obvious website recommendation to you?
Wow9. Amazon does Entrepreneurship in books and Kindle
And finally, if you’re not already involved, join the on-line parties at LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. For me, the available information through these social media sites is invaluable and the work and referrals I’ve received through these sources continues unabated. Other people said exactly the same.
Well, that’s about it on the subject of researching & reviewing websites and social media for now. As ever, please feedback thoughts or leave a post below. A tonne of other ideas waiting to be transformed into the written word await me and I look forward to getting back into the creative hitchhiking groove very soon.
Before closing, I must thank again everyone who contributed to the research, and especially Matthew Draycott, Simon Brown and Nigel Adams who shared so much recommended material for this post. Cheers chaps.