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A Silicon Valley Pioneer Molds the Next Wave of Innovators at Rice

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to the collaborative. But the model today is collaboration across science, engineering, medicine, and entrepreneurial business like models we have at Stanford or MIT. There’s an important cadre of hotshot new med center faculty-entrepreneur types, who are changing the model and the mantra.

X: What’s the best piece of advice you give to budding entrepreneurs?

G: [Pointing to a list of entrepreneurial traits on the back of his business card.] Number one: “Effective interpersonal skills.” Then, take all the entrepreneur courses you can. Don’t reinvent the wheel. See what successful others have done. There is a new groundswell of resources to help you do these things.

X: How did Goose—the Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs—come together?

G: Steve Currall (the founder of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship) said, Help me construct a strategy to make the Rice Business Plan competition number one in the world. When we were assessing [measures to judge different competitions], one of those was the prize. [The University of Texas at Austin’s] Moot Corp then had $100,000, but the prize had strings attached: You had to move your company to Austin to collect the prize. So I say, all we have to do is have a $100,000 or larger prize and no strings attached. He says, That may sound easy to you but I’m milking all my donors that I have already have for lots of programs. How do I just get $100,000 more?

I said, Why don’t we just find five more guys like me, and $100,000 divided by six of us is not a big number. We called Rod Canion, founder of Compaq Computers … and we put a group together of six originally—now up to 11 members. We’ve got to have a name for this group, so why don’t we call it the Goose Society, the Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs? We’re an organization of angel investors who want to practice, study, and celebrate entrepreneurship, while laughing all the way to the bank, right?

But we also have a do-good mission, which is support Rice biz plan competition. We started out with a $100,000 prize with six members. With 11 members, today the prize is $175,000 for the winning team.

Goose members are people who have achieved success in founding startups or venture capital firms. The aggregate wealth of 11 people is something over … Next Page »

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Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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