Tag: Austin Kleon

“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



Nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before” – Austin Kleon

There is no lack of great ideas in the world.  It’s amazing how a solution to one type of problem and be adapted to solve another.  The advantage of a first mover is obviously the brand recognition and the opportunity for quick market share but there is a risk.  Others can see where the first mover fell short, tweak their product to cover it and now you have competitors.  This is healthy and good.

This is also where niche markets are created.  There is always a set of potential customers who are not well served by the prevailing market leader.  Maybe it’s features or price.  Maybe it’s a completely different demographic altogether.

There are two principles to be gained here.  First look for problems that need a solution and look around you.  Someone may have figured out the solution for a different problem.  Second, look for those who didn’t buy into the prevailing product offering and understand why.  You may have discovered a profitable niche.

Austin Kleon has a new book – “Show Your Work”.  I am sure there are great quotes to follow.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“You’re only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with” – Austin Kleon

Jim Collins says to get the right people on the bus even before you decide where the bus is going to go.  This is bold advice, especially when you are trying to attract people to your vision – you should probably at least have the vision.  But I think it’s about tactics more than vision.  Of course you need to have an idea of the problem you are going to solve but you should get the team together before you start to figure out all the details.

This is for two reasons; you can’t know everything and you can’t do everything.

Success and sustainability depend on execution more so than planning.  And there’s always more to do in less available time.  Highly motivated people will naturally gravitate toward doing the things necessary to get the job done, even if those things are outside their experience or comfort zone.

Read “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

The Manifesto of making stuff: – Austin Kleon

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use— do the work you want to see done.”

What other reasons or permissions are you looking for?

Read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Do good work and share it with people” – Austin Kleon

Entrepreneurs and artists can learn a lot from from each other.  One lesson is the art of sharing.

Whether you write songs or write code, it’s only a hobby until you share it.  In that moment it becomes art because that’s when people interact with your innovation and get to decide if they like it, want it and are willing to exchange their resources (money, time) to acquire it.

In any event, they will let you know what they think.  What you do with that information is up to you.  You can only hope that they will love it or hate it.  Either way they will remember you.  If they are indifferent, you become beige wall paper, but even that is information you can use.

Create something every day.  Share it as soon as you can.

Read “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“[Advice] is me talking to a previous version of myself” – Austin Kleon

I had a conversation with a good friend a few days ago.  We have a mutual acquaintance who has been very successful in his business, his family and his spiritual life.  My friend told me how he meets with this guy once a year with a long list of life, business and personal questions.

We all need mentors.  They point out things we miss.  They share things about themselves they might have done differently.

Seek out someone who has been where you want to go.  Buy them dinner and go with a long list of questions.  Develop this relationship so you can go back in 6 months, or a year or a few weeks.  All you are asking for is their story and their life lessons.  If they choose to share their network or give you more time, that is up to them.  The advice is worth the price of dinner.

Read “Steal Like and Artist” by Austin Kleon


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson