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Commentary & Insights on Entrepreneurship The Top of Mind blog brings an array of editorial views to current events shaping the world of entrepreneurship. Engage, exchange, and expand your own view of the world!

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State of Entrepreneurship Address: All of the Above

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about President Obama's State of the Union Speech. I observed that entrepreneurial vision was lacking and I wish he had used the occasion to revive bipartisan support for an entrepreneurial agenda that could have given both parties things to support.

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Thom Ruhe
on February 12, 2014
How Co-Working Spaces Lost Their Buzz

There's been a growing resurgence of working areas of long tables with copious amounts of white boards. They call them co-working spaces. Since the coining of the phrase in early 2000s, they've grown into warehouse size places with cubical conference rooms and modern furniture, becoming a hip thing for entrepreneurial ecosystems and startups across the globe. But recently, I've come to a realization: Co-working spaces are lame.

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Amanda Schnieders
on February 06, 2014
Casting A Wider Net With Community Colleges

Innovation Fund America (IFA), our program delivering high-impact education, coaching and pre-seed funding to scalable, technology-based startups via community colleges around the country, has quietly been having a big couple of months. It's a complicated and demanding program to launch and it's taken nearly a year and a half to get to this point, but we're excited that IFA is now open for business in two communities--and we're really just getting started.

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Jonathan Robinson
on January 30, 2014
Mr. President, A Little More 'E' Please

Tuning in for the state of the union (SOTU) address is somewhat of an annual ritual for me. For the past two decades, spanning several presidencies from both parties, I torture myself straining to hear that one word, however challenging it is to say (and spell)--entrepreneur. So I was encouraged when President Obama dropped the "E" bomb early in his 2014 SOTU address, made even more special by the fact that he referenced a woman entrepreneur. And I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm as the twittersphere erupted likewise.

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Thom Ruhe
on January 29, 2014
What Arbys Can Teach Startups About Digital Marketing

Last night, I sat down to watch the Grammys--remote in one hand, phone in the other. As is typical these days, a primetime award show, sporting event or political presser isn't quite complete without the added noise of what the rest of the world thinks about what's going on in front of us onscreen. But as luck would have it, this occasion provided me with an important and far-more-lasting lesson in the power of digital media than the reasoning behind Lorde's black fingertips. And it was all thanks to Pharrell Williams' hat.

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Amanda Schnieders
on January 27, 2014
Why A Startup Is Not A Big Company

Once you've heard the insight--that startups are different from big companies--it seems so obvious. Yet too often entrepreneurs, and those that teach them, approach the building of new companies with the same goals, staff structures and assumptions that motivate the management of large companies. Startup founders build teams to focus on engineering, and on the process of creating a product and bringing it to market.

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Wendy Torrance
on January 22, 2014
How Your Children's Summer Camps Are Affecting Their Career Opportunities

As a father of three, I vividly remember those chilly, early-summer mornings of packing bags, loading up the car, and waving a sad goodbye as my children began their latest adventure at the summer camp of choosing. And there were plenty of those mornings over the course of 18 years. There was volleyball camp, and Science Olympiad clinics, and lacrosse camp.

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Thom Ruhe
on January 17, 2014
The 5 Best Mistakes We Made in 2013 (and How We're Learning From Them)

With 1 Million Cups, as with any startup, our tendency is to put our best foot forward. We spend a lot of time talking about all of the great successes that we've had over the past year--and there have been many. But one of the things that makes our program special is that sense of having a safe space to share what you haven't done well and what you're struggling with on a day-to-day basis.

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Nate Olson
on January 15, 2014
How People-Problems Can Confound Early Stage Ventures

Some of the very first decisions founders must make early on in their ventures are crucially important to the future of the business. Many of these decisions concern the ubiquitous "people problems" that challenge even experienced entrepreneurs. When should I found? Should I co-found with someone? With whom? How should we split the equity? Bad or ill-informed choices at critical junctures could have significant consequences for startups. In fact, research has suggested that 65 percent of new firm failures were related to problems within the management team.

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Wendy Torrance
on December 13, 2013
A Lesson Learned in Travel

I spent much of Global Entrepreneurship Week traveling. It's one of the things I love most about my work at the Kauffman Foundation. And in that travel, I've learned that entrepreneurship transcends borders and languages-but it is deeply impacted by culture and policy.

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Thom Ruhe
on December 10, 2013

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