JibJab: The Business Of Making Things That Make People Laugh

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Gregg (WG'99) and Evan Spiridellis on The Tonight Show.

Gregg (WG’99) and Evan Spiridellis on The Tonight Show.

“Wharton alumni status is gold,” enthused Gregg Spiridellis WG’99, co-founder of digital entertainment studio JibJab. The irreverent humor of JibJab’s celebrated political satire, their Year in Review shorts (featured on The Tonight Show), and “Starring You” ecards all came about because of Gregg’s Wharton experience. Gregg knew by his second year that he wanted to build a tech company, and shortly after graduation, he did so, co-founding JibJab with his brother Evan. Continue reading 

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Should YOU Go To Business School?

By Samir Malik C’08/W’08/WG’14, founder of 1DocWay

This is a question that haunts many entrepreneurs. Some scoff at the idea, claiming that an entrepreneur doesn’t need an MBA, while others see tremendous opportunity for learning business fundamentals, building networks, and starting a company in a supportive environment.

Samir w 1DocWay - FB Continue reading 

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Are Entrepreneurs the Most Ambitious Career-Builders of All?

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Wharton Magazine blog.

By Roslyn Courtney WG’76, CEO and President of LaserBeam Consulting

The Wall Street Journal’s “These Entrepreneurs Make Mark Zuckerberg Look Ancient” recounts the surging demand to develop entrepreneurial skills in the prepubescent set, an offshoot of the growing fever to make it big, younger and faster than ever. In this roaring app economy, startups have created the new must-have capabilities for big businesses, as entrepreneurs define the new fast track to success and wealth. Ambitious career-builders take notice.

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What I Learned From My Failed Startup

By Joe Spector WG’07

Editor’s note: A shorter version of this post was originally published on LinkedIn.

As a second year Wharton MBA, my friend and I entered the Wharton Business Plan Competition. We made it to the semi-finals and, with an abundant amount of optimism, we pushed forward with our venture. In short, it did not work out. Along the way, I learned a few lessons, and I offer them here. Failure, after all, is a great, if painful, teacher.

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Teaching Startups With A Game

By Ethan Mollick, Edward B. and Shirley R. Shils Assistant Professor of Management at The Wharton School

I think that games have tremendous power in the business world –both for teaching and for thinking about how to motivate people (I even wrote a book about this). As someone who studies and teaches about startups, I decided to put these beliefs into action and figure out how to use a game to teach entrepreneurship.

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An MBA Sent This Entrepreneur To The Dogs (Literally!)

By Natasha Ashton WG’03, co-founder of Petplan

There’s little debate that an MBA is a great foundation for building a business—but is it a magic bullet for budding entrepreneurs? For us, the answer was an unequivocal “yes!” While many MBA graduates go on to work in relatively narrow fields and only use a fraction of what they learned, entrepreneurs will—at some point—tap into nearly every aspect of the curriculum. In fact, taking an entrepreneurial leap is the ultimate way to put newly acquired business school skills into real-world action.

AJ Monty and bone cropped Continue reading 

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Lean Startup Advice from Steven Blank

By Munish Dayal WG’15

As an avid follower of Steve Blank’s lean startup methodology, I was thrilled to learn that he was going to do a fireside chat on customer discovery and validation, hosted by Professor Len Lodish, at the Wharton Entrepreneurship Annual Summer Reception at WhartonǀSan Francisco. I’ve read up on Blank’s methodologies in my own time and been exposed to them in Professor Ethan Mollick’s Entrepreneurship class, and I’m trying to incorporate his framework in developing my own venture. I’m currently in my second year of Wharton’s EMBA program and a member of Wharton’s Venture Initiation Program (VIP), Wharton’s incubator program for students pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.

Steve Blank chatting with Wharton Professor Len Lodish.

Steve Blank chatting with Wharton Professor Len Lodish.

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If You Weren’t An Entrepreneur, What Would You Be?

By Noah Ready-Campbell W’10, co-founder of Twice

I recently turned 26, and, to celebrate, I took a weekend trip to Sequoia National Park with my mom. We both work a lot—she as a doctor in rural Vermont, and I as the CEO of a startup—so it’d been a few years since we’d spent any time together one-­on-­one, and we were looking forward to the trip. Plus, as she only half-joked, if she was visiting she could make sure I took the weekend off.

Trees sm

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What Cooperative Robots Can Do For Us: Dick Zhang at TEDxPenn

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

TEDxPenn logo

Last fall, TEDxPenn: Creating the Sound took attendees, me among them, into a fascinating world of sound and technology. Among the speakers was Penn alumnus Dick Zhang, co-founder of Identified Technologies—a member of the Venture Initiation Program, finalist and winner of the Committee Award for Best Use of Technology in the 2014 Wharton Business Plan Competition, and winner of the 2012 Y-Prize. I blogged about my experience at TEDxPenn here; now you can see Dick’s talk yourself: Continue reading 

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Intern Fellows, By the Numbers

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Working at a startup isn’t like working at an established company. At Wharton Entrepreneurship, we know that one path into entrepreneurship is through spending time at a startup, and seeing what it’s really like at a new and growing company—from the inside. Interns at startups often have opportunities that they couldn’t dream of at an established company: there’s so much happening that a motivated intern can own a project and build it from scratch, all in a summer.

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