“Whether you’re in school or not, it’s your job to get an education” – Austin Kleon

There’s great debate now on the value of a “formal” education when it comes to startups and entrepreneurship.  There is a popular feeling that you’d be better off putting the money it takes to get an MBA into your first startup.  Win or loose, you’d get a better “real world” education.  That perspective has validity.

I live on both sides of the issue.  I have gotten tremendous benefit from my formal business education because of the way it taught me to see the world and think about things.  On the other hand, I didn’t leave the the perfect formula for success in business.  But that’s ok because there isn’t one.  If nothing else, I left business school at least knowing what I didn’t know.  I knew the right questions to ask.

And that’s the core issue.  Many first time entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know.  They are “Unconscious Incompetents” and therefore suffer through the school of hard knocks.  That’s in part why the failure rate of startups tops 90%.

Your job IS to get an education and today, there are more resources than ever before.  Many of them are free.  Steve Blank put his excellent Business Model Canvas course on udacity.com for free and it exceeds any MBA program you could find in entrepreneurship.  There are countless blogs and wonderful accelerator programs all over the country.  And there are evermore entrepreneurship programs in B schools across the country.

There is no terminal degree in startups.  You can’t know everything and if you could, it completely changes every 3 – 5 years.  This doesn’t mean you stop reading and learning.  It’s ongoing.

Make time in your impossible schedule to take a class or seminar.  Go through and accelerator program.  Read, read, read!

Start with Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson



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