Category: Education

“Fortune favors the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur

Another version of this quote is “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

One trait of any successful person is the fact they are life-long learners.  They constantly study their craft and they search for new things to learn.  They look at how others solve problems, understanding their frameworks and trying to determine if there is an application they can apply.  They read, they meet with others and they teach others.  If you really want to learn something, teach it to someone else.  Successful people constantly challenge themselves for what they think and they regularly reinvent their view of the world as they grow in learning and wisdom.

There are still places in the world where learning is reserved by those in power to control people and manage the populace.  In the free world, learning is no longer limited in any way.  World class universities are offering curricula online for free.  Successful people freely share their stories in books and blogs and for entrepreneurs, local, regional and state sponsored entrepreneurship support programs offer great training.

It’s out there.  It’s free.  It’s your responsibility.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“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 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


“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

I’m reading an interesting book by Chris Guillebeau called “The $100 Startup”.  Chris is encouraging all of us to consider starting a business around a hobby or passion that could help other people.  Among the points he makes are that it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to get started, nor does it require any highly specific skills.  Just the willingness to try and learn.

Our culture has less patience for people who do not adapt than ever in history.  This is no doubt fueled by technology’s rapid advancement and the globalization of our society.

The good news is that there is more information at hand… just a few milliseconds away…that can provide guidance and access to education through online training and mentoring through social networks; in many cases for absolutely free.  This will have profound consequences for our traditional forms of education.  The resume will be judged by how many startups you’ve done rather than the letters behind your name.

Meanwhile, there’s no reason for any of us to be hindered from pursuing a startup opportunity merely because of a lack of knowledge.  Your customers will tell what they want and that will lead you down the right path.  All the rest is a search engine or a phone call away.



Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes

In the debate over the role of formal education in entrepreneurship, here’s the thing:

Education can never promise success.  That’s the wrong argument.  Education can only provide different perspectives and frameworks for which to solve problems.  It’s the problem solvers that provide value to the culture.

There’s a case to be made for investing $100,000 in your first business rather than a private school education. Still, you will learn more through failure in the real world.  The MBA is worth it if you walk away with frameworks to guide your thinking and reduce the amount of failure you go through.  All the case studies and  best selling authors can do talk talk about their research/experience and their conclusions.  How you apply the wisdom is completely up to you.

Failure is likely anyway.  You can’t blame your education.  Your degree, at best, can help prepare you for dealing with the failure so you learn from it.

“I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

I enjoyed my MBA experience immensely.  On reflection of that experience two thoughts emerge.  The first… I’m glad I came in with many years experience in the ‘real world”.  I was able to draw from that knowledge and think critically about what I was being taught.  Second, the theories from the great thinkers tell you what but not how.  That’s up to you.  And the theories don’t always work they way they were portrayed in the book or lecture.  The biggest take away was that I learned new frameworks to guide my thinking. But it’s the thinking that reveals truth in business situations.

School may open doors and expose you to new ideas but school won’t make you successful.  You still have to do that for yourself.