From Pirates to Basketball, Aulet’s Entrepreneurship Lessons for WI

4/18/14Follow @XconomyWI

[Updated 4/18/14, 12:01 p.m., to include a link to Aulet's PowerPoint presentation.] What do pirates, Navy SEALs, rabbits, and street basketball have in common? Entrepreneurship, it turns out.

Those were some of the analogies made by Boston-area entrepreneur Bill Aulet in speeches Thursday to groups of more than 50 people in Madison and Milwaukee. Aulet is managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and author of a top-selling book published last year called Disciplined Entrepreneurship. Xconomy brought Aulet to the Badger State for our first events here since launching a Wisconsin bureau in December.

Armed with pithy, often hilarious one-liners and 25-plus years of business experience, the New York native walked both audiences through his 24-step entrepreneurship process, all while dispelling startup myths and offering his tips for how Milwaukee and Madison can nurture their nascent but growing startup ecosystems. To view Aulet’s PowerPoint presentation, click here.

This was Aulet’s second trip to Wisconsin in his lifetime, so he wasn’t able to offer much advice that was really specific to growing the state’s entrepreneurial community. But the recipe isn’t more venture capital, institutes similar to MIT, and government support, Aulet said. The key is fostering a culture in which people want to be entrepreneurs and the community is willing to take risks and accept failure—with a caveat.

Bill Aulet in Madison“It’s learning from failure,” Aulet said, assuring that he didn’t want to glorify failure. “It’s experimentation.”

At the beginning of the Madison discussion at startup accelerator Gener8tor’s office, Aulet asked audience members to shout out questions they wanted answered by the end of the talk. He went through every one, including his belief that there’s a “dangerous obsession” with the minimum viable product, and what a person should ask himself or herself before deciding to become an entrepreneur.

In Milwaukee, Aulet kicked off the talk with … Next Page »

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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