Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lean Startup Essentials: Harlan's new Class at University of Texas McCombs School of Business

Hello Friends and Followers!  My NEW UT McCombs Undergraduate Class on Entrepreneurship - Lean Startup Essentials, begins this Fall 2015!

* no pre-req.

This class is designed for any undergraduate student at UT Austin who wants to learn about Entrepreneurship.  You will learn all the basics (essentials), but in a way that also teaches the latest and greatest in startup trends: especially Lean Startup, the groundbreaking new trend in startup success.  A great thing about the class is that it will also teach practical skills to actually launch a startup.  In fact, YOU WILL LAUNCH A STARTUP as part of this class (albeit from a canned selection of products/services).

There are still open seats!

Simply search the catalogue for the course name:
Lean Startup Essentials:

Please add... or consider drop->add to get into my class!  It'll be really fun and send you on your way to a great career in a Startup (maybe your own!)!

Here is the course official description:

Course Unique ID: 04967   
T,TH 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
CBA 5.328
Prerequisite: None.

Topic description:  
This course uses the "Lean Startup" concept as a canvas to give students the essential knowledge needed to either start their own business or join a startup and be a major contributor. In addition to learning about entrepreneurship, the legal aspects of starting a business, and the life and experience of working at a startup, students will get hands-on skills they can use in any startup or to start their own business.

Textbook: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Patent Thoughts for Startups

Patents are an odd thing... if you might have one, it's valuable.  If you do have one, it's of little more value than maybe having one.  Writing one is hard.  Getting one is hard.  Using one is nearly useless.  So what should a startup do?

In my 15 years and 21 patents worth of experience, this is what has worked for me.  As with all such thoughts, this is not legal advice, simply my experience; I am not a lawyer.

First, it is cheap and easy to file a provisional patent.  Just got to and file it.   Utility Provisional is what you want, and startups can usually pay even less by selecting small business option.  Less than $200 is all you should need.   Write it in plain English, what it is and does, and include at least 1 figure.  Easy-peasy.  Suddenly you get the MOST value out of a patent you can get, but it expires in 1-year so be careful!   During that year, you can say "patent pending" and that's crucial for startups (sometimes).

Next, don't bother filing the real (non-provisional) patent unless a.) you have the money [around $10K, because a patent attorney is a must].   AND  b.) either the product is somewhat successful or the patent seems really good to you.  Remember, you have 1 year to file it, and must reference the provisional... or you lose the date of the provisional filing.

Last, why bother?

Because, saying patent pending is good marketing (usually).  Also because investors like it.   After you are funded, they will like it if you keep building up your actual patent portfolio (of real patents, not provisional patents).

Now, get out there and LAUNCH a real product, stop worrying about patents, just write your own provisional and move on!  It won't matter unless your product is a success anyway!

Blog Archive