Today in New York City I finally had the feeling that the seasons have turned.…
This past week I reached out to my social network to inform everyone of my new roll as a partner at Wallhogs.com. Included in this list, naturally, are my previous college professors and MBA professors. Dr. Janice Sipior was my MBA 8551 System Analysis and Design professor, and she recieved my invitation to join the public wallhogs facebook group. After a few short inquisitive follow-up emails, she invited me back to give a guest lecture to Villanova’s MIS students. I am on the syllabus and on Friday, April 13th, 2006, I will travel back to my Alma Matter to share my take on the world, entrepreneurship, web2.0, and general overall advice that perhaps comes better from a former student who more recently warmed the seats in the lecture halls.
First, let me say how honored I am to have this opportunity. Second, in this time of Christmas Joy, I am reminded the value of giving back, and I can think of no better place to start my formal public lectures, than at Villanova. Most importantly, I am excited at the opportunity to learn. Villanova is at top 20 business school [business week] , and I can assure you that I will be surrounded by incredibly intelligent students, each of whom bring something valuable to the table. Each of whom, I hope, will teach me something new.
This brings me to another example of someone who I have a deep admiration for, Andy Grove. Grove, while running Intel Corp, was also willing to learn from students in a classroom. There is value from their ability to disconnect and give you an unbiased answer. If you have a minute, and I strongly encourage you take the time to do this, please go read the article The Education of Andy Grove.
Here is a quick excertp:
In 1991, an instructor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business presented his class with a case study. It went like this: A CEO was scheduled to address a major industry gathering, and he could give one of three speeches. The first would publicly commit his company to incorporating a sexy, sophisticated new technology in its products. The second speech would reaffirm the company’s commitment to developing its existing technology. The third speech would do neither, leaving the decision to “the market.” The stakes were enormous: A wrong decision could well ruin the business. What should the CEO do? The question was more than academic, because the CEO described in the case was also the man at the front of the classroom. Dr. Andrew S. Grove, like professor Indiana Jones, was better known for his exploits as “Andy,” the famous leader of Intel Corp. But unlike Indy, Grove wasn’t simply biding time here between adventures. His question was meant not just to challenge students’ thinking but to advance his own. That big speech was three weeks away, and Grove had yet to make up his mind. He didn’t know the answer.
I will use my opportunity at Villanova to review the marketing strategy of Wallhogs. How many students knew about us before my lecture? How many students understand who we are and where we’re going? More importantly, is it real? This will be as valuable for them, as it is for me. Needless to say, I am excited. I’ve always dreamed about becoming a professor, only after I was a very successful entrepreneur. Perhaps this is the first step.