Cargo Cult Startup Incubators

The continued creation of me-too startup incubators reminds me of the (South Seas’) cargo cult. Richard Feynman tells the story this way: The cargo cult people were natives of the South Seas who, during the world war, benefited from Western civilizations bringing cargo to their land. After the war ended, and the cargo stopped coming, the natives built wooden artifacts that looked like planes in an attempt to bring back the good old days of free supplies. Obviously, it didn’t work.

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Student Startup Passion vs. Market Potential

As part of my Startupinformatik initiative (in German), I’m trying to motivate student startups. Here, I want to talk about student startups coming out of a Master’s program. These are different from startups coming out of my research lab, which are based on work with my Ph.D. students. Master student startups are typically smaller, not based on significant intellectual property, and my working relationship with the team has been much shorter than with my Ph.D. students.

What are the three most important factors that make a startup successful? As the old saying goes: Team, team, and team. There is plenty of advice on the web on finding and building teams. I have a bit to add to this as well, but will do so in a different post. Here, I would like to focus on the next two most important success factors, which are product and passion. Without a good product there is no money to be made, and without passion, the startup will fall apart too quickly.

Sadly, being a student, having a good product idea, and having passion for it are factors that are hard to align. The following figure helps illustrate the problem.

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Das AMOS Projektkonzept (2011)

NACHHALTIGE PROJEKTE ZUM LERNEN UND AUSGRÜNDEN

Dieser Artikel stellt das AMOS Projektkonzept vor, welches ich in der Informatik-Lehre an der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg einsetze. Ziel des AMOS Projekts ist es, Studierenden professionelle Softwareentwicklung in einem konkreten Projekt zu vermitteln, welches idealerweise zu einer Startup durch die am Ende ihres Studiums befindlichen Studierenden führt.

Das AMOS Projekt ist für mich eine neue Erfindung: Ich habe es das erste Mal 2010 so abgehalten. Deswegen dient dieser Artikel nicht nur der Schilderung des Projektkonzepts, sondern sollte auch als Aufforderung zum Kommentieren gelesen werden. Ich vermute, dass es anderswo in ähnlicher Form betrieben wird und würde gern von den dortigen Erfahrungen lernen.

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