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April 25, 2006


I liked your story about the coyote. Right to the point.

It's actually pretty much in line with all those recommendations do not take venture capital if you can when starting your own business.

BTW I enjoy reading your blog. Very interesting and educational. Thanks!

Holding out per the concept that another country won't duplicate our creativity is a fool's hope. Acquiring the raw “capital” (educated people) and attaining manufacturing prowess lay the groundwork for one day overtaking competing companies/countries.

I can remember as a kid in the 60's how people said the same about Japanese consumer electronics. Not today. At first, their motorcycles and cars were derided as being low-cost copies as well. The list goes on and on.

Yes, we need more engineers as a percentage, and also a better grounding in science for all college grads. As an aside, there is nothing wrong with also having more arts/language/etc courses in an engineer’s curriculum. They may appreciate and use that diverse background down the road (I certainly did).


Great point about the inverse relationship between raising large amounts of money and running a business hungry. Often you hear entrepreneurs saying that all they need is $2m and they will ramp their business. There are many resilient companies that got that way through running a lean business and waiting as long as possible before bringing in the institutional money. There are also a lot that got hooked on using an unending series of raises to cover up sins of the past.

To Vic's point, most engineers would benefit from a healthy dose of liberal arts classes in their curriculum. It leads to much more well rounded individual...

At the undergraduate engineering curriculum I graduated from (Texas A&M University), we had to take 5 courses outside of the engineering school to better round out ourselves as individuals. I've spoken to friends who went to undergraduate engineering school here that said the same thing about their schools. I think the perception that engineers aren't well rounded comes from those that only deal with engineers that went to graduate engineering school here while attending undergraduate school in their native countries (i.e. India or China). In my opinion, there are plenty of well rounded engineers here but we have been drowned out by the masses of engineers from China or India who have been used by corporations and others as a cheaper labor source to meet their short term needs.

Ditto. I did computer engineering for an undergraduate degree, I don't know who thought that we dont take LAS/humanities courses. I had to take 9 courses total that encompassed this area (30 credit hours!). I took economics, history, and psychology classes. Not to mention the general science classes such as physics and chemistry. Along so, math classes such as numerical analysis and calculus. I would argue engineers get the MOST rounded curriculum here, more then others since they encompass a multitude of disciplines.

People from China/India are more into pure engineering, and not rounding out. The perspective of non-engineers here needs to change , thinking that engineers only are heads-down and cannot do anything else. I've done everything from management to consulting to product implementation, and I have to use all facets of my mind to make sure execution occurs and technical aspects are right.

The general rule is that engineers should become managers in tech organizations. Unfortunately, Chicago does not follow this rule. This is partially the reason we are in a rut! The valley sticks with this rule, along with most east coast companies. There's a reason why this rule exists and east coast and west coast is beating us. In Chicago, the wrong people are managing technology based organizations! Non-engineers cannot think creatively enough to create and be innovative.

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  • For many entrepreneurs, the venture world is needlessly opaque and confusing. Venture capital is both art and science with karma mixed in. With a synchronistic twist, this blog will try to shed light on the world "behind the curtain" as well as how key entrepreneurial lessons are mirrored in everyday life.


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