Talks from Top Business Degree Courses
Running an established business is hard, but starting a new one is even trickier. Entrepreneurs face an army of unfamiliar dilemmas, and there’s just as much bad advice as there are challenges.
The following 80+ fundamental lectures from top business degree programs are going to be helpful for first year MBA students all the way to college students starting their bachelor level business degree. The lectures are delivered by powerful thinkers with proven track records, and you can watch most of them for free on your phone between meetings or classes.
Below you will find lectures from many well known and established institutions (such as Stanford and Harvard Business Schools), and top-notch business moguls and speakers, such as John Maxwelll and Richard Branson. To help you navigate the various business courses, we have divided our list into a number of categories. These include:
1.Courses on Business Models
2.Courses on Essential Character Traits
3.Courses on Business Communication
4.Courses on Business Competition
5.Courses on Business Culture
6.Courses on Startup Fundraising
7.General Courses on Business and Entrepreneurship
8.Courses on Growth/Scaling
9.Courses on HR
10.Courses on Business Ideas
11.Courses on Legal Knowledge
12.Courses on Business Management and Operations
13.Courses on Marketing
14.Courses on Product Development
15.General Startup Courses
16.General Startup Rules and Tips
17.Courses on Teamwork
Course Talks on Business Models
Business Model Innovation (Beating Yourself at Your Own Game) – Stefan Gross-Selbeck
Uber, says Stefan Gross-Selbeck, has discovered a revolutionary new business model that helped it not only survive in the taxi industry, but upend it around the world. In this talk, business transformation expert Stefan Gross-Selbeck distills the unique qualities of today’s most successful start-ups and shares strategies for replicating this spirit of hyper-innovation and disruption in any business.
Stefan recently joined BCG as the Managing Director of BCG Digital Ventures. He has 20 years of experience as an operator and a consultant in the digital industry. Stefan Gross-Selbeck: Business model innovation – beating yourself at your own game
Building for the Enterprise – Aaron Levie
Aaron Levie is the co-founder of Box, and in this talk, he discusses the differences between building a company for consumers and serving the needs of enterprises. By demonstrating how different industries seek to connect to consumers and adapt to market changes, he underlines the need for startups that cater to a broader range of market verticals.
Throughout the course of his lecture, Levie discusses how to build a stronger base by targeting early adopters and responding to their needs in order to tailor consumer strategies. With an estimated net worth of $100 million, his ideas on the merits of intentionally starting small are worth hearing. Building for the Enterprise (Aaron Levie)
Business Model – Michael Skok
This lecture is Part 3 of Michael Skok’s Harvard i-lab lecture series, “Startup Secrets: An insider’s guide to unfair competitive advantage”. In this talk, Skok helps students to think through the three aspects of business model creation — identifying your C.O.R.E. value, finding Multipliers for growth, and Levers for cost economies. By doing this, Skok asserts, you to have much better odds of building a company with a greater ROI.
Michael’s passion for innovation & entrepreneurship is what fuels his mentoring & development of future leaders. He is an EIR at Harvard Business School and teaches the “Startup Secrets” via Harvard iLab. Business Model – Michael Skok
How to Build a Great Company, Step by Step – Steve Blank
https://www.youtube.com/embed/1RTcXwJuCaU In this lecture, Steve Blank shares his vast knowledge and sage wisdom for entrepreneurs, especially in regard to product development, listening to customers and critical steps to starting and growing a business. Blank introduces best practices and lessons and tips that have swept the startup world, offering a wealth of proven advice and information for entrepreneurs of all stripes.
Steve Blank is a Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur and academician who is recognized for developing the Customer Development methodology, which launched the Lean Startup movement.
Designing Business Models – Alexander Osterwalder
https://www.youtube.com/embed/fEnDHgTR3bg?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Alex Osterwalder, developer of the Business Model Canvas lean startup template, discusses some of his ideas about designing business models. His speech to innovators and entrepreneurs focuses on how the process of building a business is changing with time and the fact that most of today’s business plans ultimately fail.
Instead of trying to eliminate risk, Osterwalter claims, it’s better to treat your endeavors as real-life crash tests. He says it’s important to apply a systematic approach when developing your business models if you want to create companies that succeed. If you still believe your first business idea was your best, this lecture might convince you otherwise. A New Approach to Designing Business Models – Alex Osterwalder
Courses on Essential Character Traits
How to Be a Great Founder – Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder, ex-PayPal COO and venture capitalist, delves into the differences between the concept of a startup founder as some kind of mythical super-person and the reality of the overworked entrepreneur. He discusses how great founders consistently navigate new problems even as they must walk a fine line between flexibility and persistence.
Hoffman, who was valued at $4.2 billion in 2015, answers interesting quandaries from the class. Topics addressed include how he judges worthy entrepreneurs using their references and how he decides whether it’s better to develop existing markets or create completely new ones. How to be a Great Founder (Reid Hoffman)
Trial, Error and the God Complex – Tim Harford
In an ideal TED Talk for perfectionists, economist Tim Harford reveals the value of making mistakes. Entrepreneurs who have difficulty relinquishing control over decisions and business processes should listen up here; the Financial Times author presents a number of benefits of trial and error approaches. Instead of devising solutions that rely on God-like expertise, he says, companies must employ gradual evolutionary processes that continually refine deficiencies. The critical takeaway here is the fact that some mistakes are good ones, but because these errors are so rare, you have to be ready to risk failure to attain their benefits. Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex
How to Find a Mentor in Business – Edward Druce
In this talk, Edward Druce discusses the importance of aligning yourself with people who do great work. You will learn to soak up the work ethic and character traits of leading entrepreneurs, and get hands-on, real-world experience that will set you on a career path you love. It also includes tips and advice on how to ensure success with anything in life, maximizing your success in business, and how to speed up your learning process.
Druce is a New York Times best selling author and works alongside world-renowned life coach Matthew Hussey. He has spoken at multiple TED talks around the world. How to Find a Mentor in Business | Edward Druce
The Key to Success? Grit – Angela Lee Duckworth
Angela Lee Duckworth realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. This presentation expounds on how perseverance and achievement of goals may or may not bring happiness, but it’s grit that gets you through challenging failures and allows you to achieve goals despite obstacles. She emphasizes that grit is passion and perseverance for long term goals.
Duckworth is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Before this, she worked at the consulting firm McKinsey and was a public school teacher. Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell
This visual story illustrates the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. It discusses the importance of building characteristics to enhance leadership skills. To bring his principals to life, Maxwell uses many real business stories and leadership anecdotes.
John C. Maxwell is a well known, best-selling author and international speaker. He has thirty-plus years of leadership successes – and mistakes – that he pulls from to help teach, equip and encourage others in leadership roles. He regularly uses observations from the realms of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
Courses on Business Communication
The Importance of Authentic Communication – Sheryl Sandberg
Here, Sheryl Sandberg discusses critical aspects of communication. She offers suggestions and advice on how to speak and interact with others in a manner that both encourages reciprocation and retains authenticity. Leaders who want to promote healthy professional relationships might find these morsels useful.
Sandberg, whose net worth topped $1.3 billion in January 2014, is Facebook’s COO. Taking tips from MIT accounting professors and her own observance of behavioural communication, she notes that effective interaction relies on openness and honesty. Sandberg also gives good examples of how these principles might apply to common startup situations. Sheryl Sandberg: The Importance of Authentic Communication
Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques – Matt Abrahams
In this Stanford Graduate School of Business Video, Stanford lecturer Matt Abrahams delivers a riveting talk on communication techniques. Communication is critical to success in business and life. Concerned about an upcoming interview? Anxious about being asked to give your thoughts during a meeting? Fearful about needing to provide critical feedback in the moment?
This lecture will help you learn and practice techniques that will help you speak spontaneously with greater confidence and clarity, regardless of content and context. The lecture is 60 minutes in length and has well over 2 million views on YouTube.
Matt Abrahams teaches strategic communication and public speaking in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. He is a published author on public speaking, has held leadership positions in several software companies, and also given numerous Ted talks around the nation. You are not alone! Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques
Business Plan and Other Communication Tools – Jane Kearns
In this lecture, Jane Kearns emphasizes the need to take a customer centric approach to telling your story. She encourages the listener to think about the customer, their needs, and paying points. In addition, you’ll learn why business plans are a useful process for planning and analysis, as well as for approaching investors, and what key elements make up an effective business plan. This lecture presents tips and tools for building the five essential communication documents for entrepreneurs, which includes the Elevator Pitch, Executive Summary, Company Presentation, Technical White Paper, and Business Plan.
Jane Kearns is a senior advisor for Cleantech Venture Services at MaRS. She’s a recognized leader in sustainable innovation, and has extensive experience growing companies at the intersection of business and sustainability. Kearns explains why business plans are a useful process for planning and analysis, as well as for approaching investors, and what key elements make up an effective business plan. Business plan and other communication tools – Entrepreneurship 101
The ABC of Communication – Paul Hughes
https://www.youtube.com/embed/V00n4QEPP4g This Ten Meters of Thinking presentation deals with the essential elements of communication. Paul Hugh’s calls these elements “The ABC’s of Communication”, and reminds the audience about the impact and reach of communication. He also points out what it means to align our communication with our actions and vice versa. In addition, he asserts that all of us have a responsibility in how we communicate with others. Based on this, Hughes offers a practical model that shows how the essence of successful communication can be as simple as A,B,C. He emphasizes that a company’s action should be just and their communication needs to be truthful in order to form trust with the customers.
Paul Hughes is an internationally renowned speaker specialized in the creation of knowledge. He draws live as he tell stories along ten meters of paper exploring leadership, innovation, and transformation.
Courses on Business Competition
Competition Is for Losers – Peter Thiel
https://www.youtube.com/embed/5_0dVHMpJlo?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Peter Thiel, whose net worth shot up to over $2 billion following his role as a co-founder of PayPal and other firms, takes time to address some of the disadvantages of competition. In the process, he compares the worth of having a large market share to the value of high profit margins.
Thiel discourages entrepreneurs from attempting to move into fields that are already popular, advising instead that they seek underserved markets where they can offer complete services and create monopolies by default. He points to examples like Google and Amazon, which expanded massively after conquering their own markets, and he also answers questions about the benefits of monopolistic strategies.
Why Do Competitors Open Their Stores Next To One Another? – Jac de Haan
https://www.youtube.com/embed/jILgxeNBK_8 Discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium explains why competitors open their stores next to one another – and how these theories help describe the rivalry among sellers trying to achieve such goals as increasing profits, market share, and sales volume. This TED-Ed Original lesson features the words and ideas of Jac de Haan brought to life by professional animators.
The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy – Michael E. Porter
https://www.youtube.com/embed/mYF2_FBCvXw In this talk, Harvard Professor Michael E. Porter explains how five competitive forces form the basis for much of modern business strategy. These 5 forces are: bargaining power of customers, bargaining power of suppliers, threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes, and rivalry among competitors. This video will help you understand Porter’s framework and how to put it into practice.
Porter is an economist, researcher, author, and professor. He has authored over 19 books and 125 articles, and is well known in the business and educational worlds.
How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Competition – Michael E. Porter
https://www.youtube.com/embed/ldYP9XBXBYs This video introduces Michael E. Porter and Jim Heppelmann’s Harvard Business Review article on Smart, Connected Products and the Internet of Things on strategy and competition. It gives an overview on the impact of smart connected products on the value chain within the manufacturing industry.
Porter is an economist, researcher, author, and professor. He has authored over 19 books and 125 articles, and is well known in the business and educational worlds. Heppelmann is the president and CEO of PTC, a global provider of technology platforms, based out of Massachusetts.
Big Business and Start-up: Competition or Competitive Advantage?- Tim Kay
https://www.youtube.com/embed/NAmze9Xxw7M Big business is struggling to keep up with changes in technology, customer preferences and employee demands. Start-ups are seen as innovative with an ear to the ground that quickly allows them to define and disrupt a market.In this Imperial College London Business School lecture, Tim Kay outlines what is currently happening – as well as benefits and challenges.
Kay is a Technology Start-up Evangelist for the KPMG High Growth Technology Group.
Courses on Workplace Culture
Culture – Brian Chesky and Alfred Lin
https://www.youtube.com/embed/RfWgVWGEuGE?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Airbnb founder Brian Chesky, whose net worth surpassed $1.5 billion in 2014, discusses how he built Airbnb’s culture by using the service himself and why he developed a system of core values to promote the company’s philosophy. Chesky is joined by Alfred Lin, who formerly served as the COO, CFO and Chairman of Zappos.
Lin highlights examples of how corporate cultures have driven the successes of real-world companies and talks about best practices when defining a mission for your startup. This lecture contains helpful lessons for expanding companies with passionate founders who want to spread their drive and forge healthier business relationships.
Hiring and Culture, Part 2 – Collison, Silberman
https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8Dl8rZ6qwE?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 This lesson in Stanford University’s 2014 “How to Start a Startup” series covers how corporate cultures and hiring practices relate to each other. The Q&A discusses the ways cultures might transition as firms grow, and it’s headed up by brothers Patrick and John Collison, the teenage millionaire founders of payment processor Stripe. Ben Silberman, a founding member of Pinterest, joins in to help them field questions about what differentiates startups from larger companies. The three focus heavily on transparency and why sharing your personal vision with potential hires could inspire them to become better partners or team members.
Making it Work: Executives, Board, and Partners – Harrison Miller and Nick Mehta
https://www.youtube.com/embed/epwmaMeHLpg Harrison Miller is a Managing Director for the Summit Partners growth equity firm. He kicks off this lecture by sharing examples of how to create more effective business cultures around core executive teams.
LiveOffice CEO Nick Mehta, who sold his firm to Symantec for $115 million, follows Miller by engaging the audience about the definition of company culture. He talks about growing a lasting culture while acquiring candidates who might not fit and how to determine who could potentially be a good match. This organic discussion might help entrepreneurs who find themselves balanced between the early startup stages and workforce expansion.
Taking It to the Next Level – Mark Leslie
https://www.youtube.com/embed/cUmafE1lZgQ Leslie Ventures partner and former Veritas Software CEO Mark Leslie explains the idea of the virtuous cycle, or how good events foster more of the same. He discusses how to choose and manage your organizational goals and business benchmarks to create a culture of success.
Leslie gives future leaders suggestions on ways to engender trust and run a company openly. His straightforward, real examples of how he communicated with his corporate team members to build a more honest institutional culture might just help you make your management practices more effective.
Startup Culture – Various Founders Remark on Startup Culture
https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ln-B_fs9QMY In this video, the founders and CEOs of Eventbrite, Github, Mozilla, and ALOM provide insights on building great startup cultures.This topic is often neglected, but the fact is it is incredibly important. To build a successful business, you are going to build a team. This video discusses the type of culture you should build, and the kind of organization that ultimately grows from your original vision.
It is a fantastic video that offers insights from various leaders in today’s business world. Business culture is important, and there is no better time to begin building great culture than in the startup phase. Watch and learn to find out more!
Courses on Startup Fundraising
How to Raise Money – Conway, Conrad, Andreessen
https://www.youtube.com/embed/uFX95HahaUs?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 This Stanford Q&A panel on fundraising is critical for anyone trying to make sense of venture capital, angel investing and crowdfunding. Ron Conway, SV Angel founder, Parker Conrad, Zenefit founder, and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen talk about some of the factors they consider when deciding whether or not to fund a startup. One important takeaway is that entrepreneurs who have personal weaknesses aren’t necessarily doomed to obscurity. The three address how team building and the quality of your startup plan are essential to raising capital, offer alternatives to venture funding and discuss what differentiates a good investor from a bad one.
Pitching to VCs – David S. Rose
https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/david_s_rose_on_pitching_to_vcs.html Angel investor David S. Rose talks about the steps you need to take to differentiate your pitch from the hundreds a venture capitalist might sit through after you’re done talking. Rose’s TED U talk on the process of pitching notes that entrepreneurs aren’t just selling products or ideas; they’re selling themselves.
Rose identifies a few key characteristics he’s observed in entrepreneurs he’s worked with in the past. These include integrity, passion and skill, but he also notes the importance of having a realistic worldview. This interesting talk from the perspective of an experienced entrepreneur is candid about the fact that your ability to convey emotion is critical to your success.
Funding Your Startup – Howard Hartenbaum
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/ih7FXVFvlRM Howard Hartenbaum is a founding investor in Skype, a backer of Photobucket and a two-time Forbes Midas list honoree. The August Capital VC offers a number of tips on how to get money for your startup and tries to portray venture capital accurately from both perspectives.
In addition to discussing what kinds of investors there are and how entrepreneurs should approach them, Hartenbaum shares what investors look for in new companies. His analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of working with big VCs instead of smaller angel investors may give you some insight into what kind of funding your firm should ultimately pursue.
Doubling Down on Success: Go International or Get Acquired? – Bill Draper
https://www.youtube.com/embed/1CeBW1pFDns In the last video on our essential list, Bill Draper, who got his start at the first West Coast VC firm, offers some valuable advice for entrepreneurs who have experienced initial successes. He talks about the ways Silicon Valley is transforming with time and gives some tips on the kinds of things he might look for in a modern startup.
Draper highlights the reality that although factors like team members, products, marketing and infrastructure are all important, most VCs invest in well-rounded ventures that have a broad balance of strengths. The Q&A session also reveals some of the cutthroat behaviours you might encounter in the fundraising world.
Foundations of Financings and Capital Raising for Startups – Harvard i-Lab
https://www.youtube.com/embed/qhRD64AlBrU This Harvard i-Lab discussion provides insight on how to raise capital from third parties, including selecting the right investors to help you achieve your goals. In a financing environment, raising capital is a challenge, which makes it important for you to understand your business, your market, and the financing ecosystem. This presentation includes key issues for startup companies like preparing for fundraising process, understanding different potential sources of capital and understanding the legal and regulatory implications of fundraising.
Through its i-Lab Series (Innovation Lab), Harvard offers tools and resources to help foster and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The Harvard i-Lab Youtube channel offers over 190+ videos similar to this one. Be sure to take a look.
General Courses on Business and Entrepreneurship
Life at 30,000 Feet – Richard Branson
https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/richard_branson_s_life_at_30_000_feet.html Billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame shares some of the positive and negative experiences he went through in the process of starting hundreds of companies. He notes that personal skills may win out over having experience in a particular field, but he does admit to making some judgment errors with a few of his ventures. One interesting tidbit he lets slip is that financial backing is commonly the deciding factor in whether a business survives its initial days profitably. This should be an inspiring clip for those who never did well in school as Branson readily admits is true of him.
Sweat the Small Stuff – Rory Sutherland
https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_sweat_the_small_stuff.html The Chairman of Oglivy Group, Rory Sutherland, was on the front lines as advertising transitioned from print to digital media; he even created marketing material for Microsoft in its early days. His 2010 TED Talk addresses organizational tendencies to solve problems by applying large-scale solutions instead of simpler, more efficient fixes.
Sutherland gives examples of low-cost marketing investments that were ultimately more memorable than multimillion-dollar campaigns. He applies behavioral economic principles to demonstrate why important problems don’t necessarily require expensive solutions. This talk offers cool examples of how you might leverage resources to deal with major challenges and avoid the common pitfall of overlooking small factors, like user interfaces.
Are We in Control of Our Own Decisions? – Dan Ariely
https://www.youtube.com/embed/9X68dm92HVI?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist, discusses how factors like your current emotional state affect your decision-making whether you like it or not. Ariely uses his own MIT research to demonstrate that changing the options you present consumers with can actually change what they claim to prefer.
Do irrational behaviour trends make it impossible to anticipate consumer demand? Ariely claims that people’s irrationality is actually predictable. Entrepreneurs who want to master their markets can probably apply many of the experimental lessons he offers in their own attempts to learn about their fans and build connections.
Courses on Growth/Scaling
Growth – Alex Shultz
https://www.youtube.com/embed/n_yHZ_vKjno?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Alex Schultz, who works as VP of Growth for Facebook, tells us what growth means for entrepreneurs and the startups that they found. He shares his personal experiences growing a private website in the 1990s and discusses how the nature of Internet marketing has evolved since the early days.
Key points you’ll take away from this lecture include the value of internationalization and knowing your users. Schultz focuses on how to target marginal users and engage in viral marketing in terms of factors like payload, conversion rates and frequency. He also provides real world examples of how these considerations helped spread hugely successful products, like Facebook and Hotmail.
How to Get Started, Doing Things that Don’t Scale – Tang, Williams, and Kang
https://www.youtube.com/embed/oQOC-qy-GDY?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 This lecture is delivered by three speakers, Stanley Tang, Walker Williams and Justin Kang. Tang, the founder of Doordash, raised $17 million for his company and highlights some of the ups and downs of experimental scaling. Williams, founder at Teespring, discusses the importance of founders doing anything personally necessary to attract an initial consumer base. Finally, Kang ties everything up by sharing how his experiences founding TwichTV and other startups were defined by his interactions with the media. This lecture drives home the value of forging ahead, so it’s a great resource for those facing initial setbacks right out of the gate.
Later-Stage Advice – Sam Altman
https://www.youtube.com/embed/59ZQ-rf6iIc?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Sam Altman, Y Combinator President and investor in Reddit, Pinterest, Change.org and other companies, completes his widely viewed Stanford lecture series on starting a company by addressing later-stage decision-making. Although he admits these considerations usually aren’t relevant until months after market fit, they’re critical for entrepreneurs who want to keep their startups alive beyond the exciting initial stages. This talk is full of handy advice on the problems you might encounter after you’ve gotten your company running and think you’re past all the hardships.
Paying Attention to Details: It’s All in the Details – Gilman Louie
https://www.youtube.com/embed/vHM9uYjUCzc Tech VC Gilman Louie shares some of the techniques that entrepreneurs commonly employ to determine which business details are the most important to the growth of their ventures. This far-ranging talk also links the metrics you use to judge your business’s performance with the types of data you might want to share with VCs and other investors.
Louie gives some great tips about choosing your battles and deciding how to compete as a struggling startup. He also shares some examples of details that matter, including product design, service offerings and simplicity of use.
From Startup To Scale Up – Marvin Liao
https://www.youtube.com/embed/AiI6peY2YZg In this video, Marvin Liao explains the concept of scaling growth, and how to measure the performance of your startup and conversion rate of your customers. He states that without the right metrics, extraordinary success can’t be obtained. Metrics are essential to determining which activities have a positive (and negative) impact on scaling growth.
Marvin Liao is a partner at 500 startups, running the San Francisco based accelerator program as well as investing in seed stage startups. He guides startup companies with business development, marketing, operations, and sales expertise.
Courses on HR
How to Run a User Interview – Emmett Shear
https://www.youtube.com/embed/qAws7eXItMk?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Emmett Shear, who co-founded TwitchTV and Justin.tv before going on to partner at Y Combinator, discusses his earliest experiences with startups and the mistakes he made by not talking to consumers. Using an audience member and a hypothetical application, Shear demonstrates the process of interviewing a consumer and the importance of talking to many different kinds of people while your startup is still young. Even though this is just a mock interview, it provides some good insight into the types of questions entrepreneurs should ask their users and the kinds of data you can’t get without personal interaction.
Recruitment and Selection Strategies: 5 Hot Tips – Margo Crawford
https://www.youtube.com/embed/hS4OtKM0PZU In this lecture, Margo Crawford gives five essential tips for entrepreneurs recruiting candidates for strategic start-up growth. Through her work, Crawford has come to see various ways in which entrepreneurs can not only plan for their first key hires, but also plan ahead to formulate HR policies for future hires. These include great planning, searching creatively and choosing wisely.
Margo Crawford, Founder and CEO of Business Sherpa, has spent years coaching entrepreneurs on how to recruit quality candidates.
The Best Recruiter at Google – Laszlo Bock
https://www.youtube.com/embed/hvebAGerh88 In this talk, Laszlo Bock reveals the secrets and pitfalls of Google’s “self-replicating talent machine,” and how any organization can become a great place to work. Laszlo suggests that recruiters should never compromise on quality, to use science such as structured interviews, and to give candidates a bigger reason to join the company.
Laszlo Bock is the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, which has become the most sought-after workplace in the world.
Startup Secrets: Hiring and Team Building – Harvard i-Lab
https://www.youtube.com/embed/vts7vU0rOvQ We all know a company is only as good as its team, which is why the hiring process is so critical as you build out your venture. This presentation focuses on different considerations an entrepreneur should make with regards to hiring. It features insights from Russ Campanello, iRobot’s senior VP of HR, and Eric Gaffen, Acquia’s global manager of talent acquisition. To help you in your hiring efforts, the presenters also provide recommendations on specific questions to ask when trying to find your ideal candidate.
Human Resource Issues in a Startup – Robert Siegel
https://www.youtube.com/embed/8UHasSjbCeg In this lecture, Robert Siegel provides insight into one of the biggest challenges new startups face: Human Resources. Human resources issues are often ignored as first time managers concentrate on the immediate needs of developing a new product or service. But Siegel says building good HR practices into your company should be part of your strategy from day one. In this video, Siegel explains how taking HR seriously is critical if you want to create a company culture that will go the distance and give you the ability to scale when opportunity knocks.
Siegel is a lecturer in management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He researches strategy and innovation in technology based companies. He has led research and written cases for numerous well known Fortune 500 companies, including PayPal, Google, and General Electric.
Courses on Business Ideas
How to Get Your Ideas to Spread – Seth Godin
https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_sliced_bread.html Seth Godin demonstrates the detail of grabbing attention by presenting examples of companies whose great ideas fell short of their potential. He discusses the concept of idea diffusion, noting that concepts spread rapidly via media like the Internet and suggesting that entrepreneurs leverage such phenomena.
Godin makes a great point about the value of marketing dollars spent wisely, establishing the fact that today’s consumers have more choices and less time to make them. Instead of wasting money marketing to everyone blindly, the Squidoo founder and long-time entrepreneur suggests simply targeting those you know are passionate and focusing on serving them well.
Where Good Ideas Come From – Steven Johnson
https://www.youtube.com/embed/NugRZGDbPFU?rel=0&controls=1&showinfo=1 Multidisciplinary author and TV host Steven Johnson goes all the way back to the days of Charles Darwin as he discusses the role of coffeehouse culture in the development of modern thought. He refers to studies where scientists were recorded performing their daily tasks and notes that the boardroom turned out to be just as much of an idea incubator as the lab. The material Johnson presents in this TED Talk is of great practical value because it’s applicable to entrepreneurs who want to create environments that foster the growth of new ideas.
Made to Stick – Dan Heath
https://www.youtube.com/embed/uPJP_76q38k Duke professor and top-selling writer Dan Heath offers some of his ideas on why certain concepts seem to have more sticking power than others. He distinguishes between the types of inspirations that might make effective business ventures and looks at some of the traits that good ideas have in common. He notes that unexpectedness, emotionality, credibility and similar factors are typically found in ideas that last regardless of domain.
Heath also posits that the kinds of characteristics and left-field origins that make some ideas good could be quashed by modern business customs, like boardroom conferences. You might want to watch this before calling your next big startup meeting.
Ignite Your Idea – Why You Are Ready to Launch a Startup – Jen Storey
https://www.youtube.com/embed/TmQD0jkYXMA Jen Storey breaks the process down of having a great business idea. This includes how to asses the viability of your idea, and the first steps to take. If you are looking for motivation and practical tools to help you assess your idea, this is it!
Storey has created startups within enterprises like ACP, McKinsey & Co and Suncorp, and was a founding team member of AOL in Australia. Before entering the world of banking, Storey sat on the VC side of the fence.
One Simple Idea for Startups – Stephen Key
In this Google talk, Stephen Key offers practical wisdom to inventors or entrepreneurs who wants to make money without risking hundreds of thousands in design, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. He discusses how simple it is to make a fortune by selling or “renting” your great ideas.
Key is an award winning entrepreneur and inventor with more than 20 licensed products under his name. He is the founder of InventRight LLC., and writes regularly for Entrepreneur.com. One Simple Idea for Startups – Stephen Key
Courses on Legal Issues
Legal and Accounting 101 for Startups – Kristy Nathoo, Carolynn Levy
This lesson offers important advice about the financial and legal aspects of running a startup. Kirsty Nathoo, Y Combinator CFO, and Carolynn Levy, Y Combinator General Council, discuss some of the nuances of dealing with the IRS and potential investors. They present valuable tips on how to help your firm attain legitimacy by having an understanding of your most important metrics and maintaining records of balance sheets, income statements and tax documents. While the lecture falls short of being a complete guide to startup finance, it should point you in the right direction. Legal and Accounting 101 for Startups – Kristy Nathoo, Carolynn Levy
Tech Start-Up Legal Issues 1: Forming Your Company – Edward Zimmerman
In this Bloomberg video, Edward Zimmerman, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler PC, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Spencer Mazyck about choosing a business entity, structuring capital and hiring employees for technology start-ups.
Zimmerman is the Chair of Lowenstein Sandler’s Tech Group, and has published more than 70 articles on the Wall Street Journal. He is also an adjunct professor of venture capital at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. Tech Start-Up Legal Issues 1: Forming Your Company – Edward Zimmerman
Legal Matters: Starting and Growing Your Business – Ian Sigalow
In this continuation of Bloomberg’s Tech Startup Series, Ian Sigalow, a partner at Greycroft Partners LLC, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Spencer Mazyck about legal challenges confronting technology start-ups and model venture capital financing documents.
Sigalow is a founder and partner at Geycroft Partners LLC, based in New York. Before founding Greycroft, Sigalow pioneered technology in the digital encryption industry. He also spent several years as a VC with a primary focus on internet and software companies. Legal Matters: Starting and Growing Your Business – Ian Sigalow
5 Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make – Scott Edward Walker
In this video, Scott Edward Walker discusses some of the significant problems/mistakes he has seen in startup companies. These 5 mistakes include forming the wrong entity, not buttoning-down IP ownership issues, not setting-up vesting schedules, not complying with applicable securities laws, and not doing due diligence on potential investors. He stresses the importance for founders to form a C corporation (as opposed to an S corporation or an LLC).
Walker is the founder and CEO of Walker Corporate Law. He has more than 19 years of experience in corporate and securities law. He has represented major companies such as Sony and Daimler. 5 Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make – Scott Edward Walker
Courses on Business Management and Operations
Team and Execution – Sam Altman
Building a team and executing on decisions are important skills to master as an entrepreneur. In this video, Sam Altman reveals personal experiences in closing deals and offers retrospectives on having had to compromise when sourcing talent. For those looking to grow, this talk has some great insights on how word of mouth can benefit human resource acquisition as well as brand exposure.
Altman is an entrepreneur, programmer, VC, and even a blogger. He is the President of Y Combinator, a seed accelerator based in New York City. Forbes has labelled Y Combinator as the most commercially successful seed accelerator in the world. Team and Execution – Sam Altman
How to Operate – Keith Rabois
Keith Rabois points out the differences between forging a product and forging a company. He employs the apt analogy of a company as an engine to discuss the need for startup teams whose individual workforce components work well together.
Rabois, a former executive at Square, Slide, LinkedIn and PayPal, delivers a number of actionable takeaways for how entrepreneurs should ideally delegate tasks, and he points out the importance of explaining the reasoning behind your decisions to partners and subordinates as necessary. Notably, he discusses the benefits of grooming and promoting managers from within a technical workforce instead of externally sourcing them based on their generic management skills. How to Operate – Keith Rabois
How to Manage – Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz boils management philosophy down to a single concept that stresses the importance of thoughtful decision-making. He stresses the idea that any business decision you enact will be interpreted differently by each of your subordinates and will ultimately impact the culture your organization tries to promote. One big takeaway here is that you should view your decisions through the eyes of your company as a whole instead of simply making the immediate best choice for yourself.
Horowitz discusses how these ideas can be applied in practice when demoting and promoting team members. He also draws on his personal experiences as an executive at Netscape and the $4 billion VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, which he co-founded. How to Manage – Ben Horowitz
Managing a Startup Team on a Mission – Michael Tringe
Michael Tringe of CreatorUp! talks about managing a startup team on a mission using available tools and a practical approach to powerful operations. Managing a startup is one of the most overlooked skill sets that prevents a startup from growing. Michael shares valuable information on what has worked (and hasn’t worked) for them including: managing yourself as the leader of the team, working with the core team of key partners, building an effective advisory board, courting the right investors, and managing other key stakeholders, customer relationships, and client partnerships. Managing a Startup Team on a Mission – Michael Tringe
Tips for Developing Good Management Skills – Julian Birkinshaw
In this short talk, Julian Birkinshaw says that although we already know what good management skills are, we don’t do what we know we should. That’s the challenge, and its in the face of this challenge that Birkinshaw encourages listeners to begin building solid, robust leadership skills.
Birkinshaw is the Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. Tips for Developing Good Management Skills – Julian Birkinshaw
Courses on Marketing
Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce – Malcolm Gladwell
New Yorker staff writer and The Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell takes time to discuss the impact of giving consumers choices. Using examples of the Campbell’s Soup and Vlassic Pickle companies, he shows why your goal shouldn’t be to create the ultimate perfect product. Instead, Gladwell posits, the companies that succeed do so by giving consumers multiple choices and options.
This lecture introduces the concept of horizontal segmentation as a method of satisfying more people and serving otherwise uniform markets with increased efficacy. If you’re not convinced of the value of variability and the pitfalls of blanket marketing approaches, Gladwell’s examples drive these points home in clear terms. Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce – Malcolm Gladwell
Sales and Marketing; How to Talk to Investors – Bosmeny, Sebel, Younis
Here, Tyler Bosmeny tries to demystify the sales process. He points out that founders have unique advantages that make them surprisingly good at sales and marketing, and he discusses some of his experiences at his company, Clever. He also addresses the importance of follow-ups and common traps firms fall into in their attempts to close, such as offering free trials.
Later in the lesson, Y Combinator Partners Michael Sebel, Dalton Caldwell and Qasar Younis discuss the kinds of jargon you should know when talking to investors. The YC Partners also perform a mock meeting that might give you some insights into the process of pitching an idea. Sales and Marketing; How to Talk to Investors – Bosmeny, Sebel, Younis
How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Manufacturing – James E. Heppelmann
PTC President and CEO James E. Heppelmann presents his vision on why manufacturers must understand the impact of these strategic changes and master how to address them in their business in order to remain competitive in this new era. He explains that smart, connected products offer exponentially expanding opportunities for new functionality, far greater reliability, much higher product utilization, and capabilities that cut across and transcend traditional product boundaries. The changing nature of products is also disrupting value chains, forcing companies to rethink and retool nearly everything they do internally. How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Manufacturing – James E. Heppelmann
How to Plan and Execute Great Startup Marketing Programs – April Dunford
This session, led by April Dunford, is aimed at entrepreneurs who want to create more effective marketing programs to grow their business. It describes how to build a marketing plan that takes into account your prospects, their buying process and the market space you play in. It offers examples of how to execute, measure and improve those programs to maximize revenue and profit.
April Dunford is the founder of Rocket Launch Marketing and an industry expert who is interested in how startups can be more successful in their marketing efforts through the use of planning, testing, and metrics. How to Plan and Execute Great Startup Marketing Programs – April Dunford
Startup Secrets Part 4: Going To Market – Michael J. Skok
The strategy of building a Go To Market (GTM) is critical to building a successful business. In this talk, Michael Skok discusses the tools needed to think through the various elements of your GTM effort. He also covers a range of topics including an overall framework for thinking about GTM, branding, segmentation, marketing tactics, and channel strategies.
Michael is an EIR at Harvard Business School and teaches Harvard i-Lab’s “Startup Secrets” series. Startup Secrets Part 4: Going To Market – Michael J. Skok
Courses on Product Development
Building Products, Talking to Users, and Growing – Adora Cheung
Adora Cheung discusses how startups can grow their user bases. She lists some important prerequisites for success and shares some of her own experiences and failures with her own company Homejoy, which ultimately raised around $40 million in three rounds of fundraising.
This talk begins by covering some of the sins entrepreneurs commonly commit when they’re trying to reach out to users. Cheung makes a good point about how your awesome idea might not be a practical business if it doesn’t solve an existing problem, and she gives some helpful suggestions on how to evaluate and add value to your endeavor. Building Products, Talking to Users, and Growing – Adora Cheung
How to Build Products Users Love – Kevin Hale
If you’ve been wondering how to make your users feel passionate about your brand, look no further. Kevin Hale, Y Combinator Partner and co-founder of software company Wufoo, discusses how your product offerings and attitudes can get the public emotionally invested in your startup.
Hale’s talk covers how to oversee new hires and remote workforces so that they perform better customer service without requiring close management. He focuses on screening engineering employees on their communication skills and distinguishes the business tasks that make products popular from the technical work that entrepreneurs are personally passionate about. How to Build Products Users Love – Kevin Hale
How to Design Hardware Products – Hosain Rahman
If you’re creating new consumer devices you want people to love, this talk is for you. In it, Hosain Rahman, CEO and founder of wearable tech firm Jawbone, shares some of the secrets that go into designing hardware that actually satisfies market need and betters people’s lives.
Rahman discusses the diverse consumer problems that drive hardware design as well as the ways unique startups approach problem solving in accordance with their corporate cultures. Then, he discusses how specific solutions are derived and how their requirements are identified for inclusion in market-ready products. How to Design Hardware Products – Hosain Rahman
Iterating Your Product and Market Strategy – Greg Ennis and Sanjay Dholakia
Greg Ennis of Peninsula Ventures and Sanjay Dholakia of Marketo discuss some of the considerations you’ll need to think about to create a viable market strategy. They stress an iterative approach where business owners develop their products and marketing plans step by step instead of trying to succeed immediately.
Ennis and Dholakia also open up about the kinds of marketing techniques their firms have employed to engage customers. This talk could clue you in on the challenges you might face as a startup and how to get more value from consumer interaction. Iterating Your Product and Market Strategy – Greg Ennis and Sanjay Dholakia
Turning Products into Companies – Michael Skok
Figuring out a value prop and beginning product development is one thing. Moving forward from this and building a company is another. In this talk, Harvard EIR Michael Skok presents a road map that can help you do just that. He encourages listeners to think on a broader scale, beyond UX and Architecture to strategic partnerships to and the product as a whole.
Michael’s passion for innovation & entrepreneurship is what fuels his mentoring & development of future leaders. He is an EIR at Harvard Business School and teaches the “Startup Secrets” via Harvard iLab. Turning Products into Companies – Michael Skok
General Startup Courses
How to Start a Startup – Sam Altman
This 2014 Stanford University business course was given by Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, and Dustin Moskovitz, a cofounder for Asana, Good Ventures and Facebook. In it, the two deliver a basic primer on some of the essential factors that might go into starting a new company.
Altman, whose Y Combinator companies were valued at $30 billion, addressed four key concepts, including Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution. While he focuses heavily on the first two, Moskovitz discussed reasons why someone might start a company and potential challenges they could face. This course also includes slides and supplementary material. How to Start a Startup – Sam Altman
Before the Startup – Paul Graham
Here, programmer Paul Graham discusses some of the less obvious aspects of starting companies, discussing considerations that entrepreneurs need to take into account before actually founding their firms. Graham, co-founder of the $30 billion seed accelerator Y Combinator and author of numerous programming texts, gives a lot of solid practical advice about transforming your passion into a viable business.
Graham also divulges some of the factors entrepreneurs should use to judge their own business ability and ideas impartially. He wraps up by answering audience questions about the value of incubators, business school and diverse talent pools. This lesson is perfect for those with big ideas who aren’t sure whether to make the jump into entrepreneurship. Before the Startup – Paul Graham
The Future Has Already Arrived – Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey, Twitter cofounder and CEO at Square, talks to Stanford graduate students about many topics, including the nature of entrepreneurship. He notes that no matter what size a business venture is, it must obtain data for its leaders to make effective decisions. He also shares the fact that entrepreneurs aren’t defined as people who start companies; instead, this $2.5 billion businessman claims, entrepreneurs are risk-takers. Dorsey provides some inspiring examples of how such risk-takers have succeeded in the past by applying their passion to their work and discusses the cultural impacts of their actions. The Future Has Already Arrived – Jack Dorsey
How to Keep Getting Lucky – Brian Wong
Brian Wong breaks down what happens when a startup gets lucky and discusses how to breed conditions that might result in continued good fortune. The Kiip founder, who Forbes says is the youngest entrepreneur to get VC funding, suggests surrounding yourself with other lucky individuals and choosing a broad market with a limited number of competitors.
Wong also stresses the importance of dominating a field by capitalizing on people’s fear of missing out on something good. He notes that luck is partially a matter of perspective; this is a great takeaway for any entrepreneur attempting to capitalize on rare opportunities. How to Keep Getting Lucky – Brian Wong
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
Eric Ries, one of the main proponents of the Lean Startup Movement and IMVU founder, presents a number of key ideas he feels entrepreneurs should comprehend. Noting that startups are constantly confronted by failures and setbacks, he states that these occurrences can become valuable learning experiences. The Lean Startup methodology he presents relies on actionable metrics to help entrepreneurs determine what information needs to be tracked and how to maintain accountability.
Ries also notes that the definition of a good product depends on what consumers want. Without good data, he says, it’s hard to tell what attracts them in the first place. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
Courses That Touch On Important Startup Rules and Advice
The Art of the Start – Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki, Ex-Chief Evangelist at Apple and adviser to Google’s Motorola division, shares 10 tips for entrepreneurs who are just starting their firms. He’s not shy about admitting his own mistakes, and he delves into the differences between companies that create fluff mission statements and those that actually employ publicized goals to promote viable corporate cultures.
Kawasaki also gives some examples of how successful startups might use mantras and simple marketing slogans to create stronger brands. Using basic graphs to represent a broad spectrum of potential success, he arranges and evaluates companies based on the value they provide for customers and their ability to offer unique products and services. The Art of the Start – Guy Kawasaki
Entrepreneurship Rules of Thumb – Reid Hoffman
In this talk, Reid Hoffman, the $4.2 billion venture capitalist and LinkedIn cofounder, gives a few basic rules for entrepreneurs. He begins by covering the value of seeking disruptive change and aiming high in order to make the greatest possible impact. Then, he discusses how to build a network around your company to extend your reach. Hoffman continues by promoting approaches that incorporate flexible persistence and planning that accounts for good and bad potential outcomes. As the famous VC admits, these rules of thumb are just guideposts, but they’re nonetheless useful for structuring your initial startup plan. Entrepreneurship Rules of Thumb – Reid Hoffman
50 Entrepreneurs Share Priceless Advice
This video offers good business advice from many successful business people, including Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Fadell, Seth Godin, Peter Thiel, and more. It is a compilation of lectures and talks given by a variety of successful business leaders.
If you are looking for real-world advice form top-notch leaders, you don’t want to miss this video. It’s jam packed with tips, ideas, and lessons gleaned from the ventures of successful entrepreneurs. 50 Entrepreneurs Share Priceless Advice
Startup Tips You Will Not Find in a Textbook – Greg Kiessling
In this video, Greg Kiessling, Co-Founder of Bullfrog Power, shares insights and advice based on his own startup experience.He digs into various tips and advice that typically are not found within traditional textbooks. It’s worth a listen! Startup Tips You Will Not Find in a Textbook – Greg Kiessling
Company Challenges, Dynamics and Best Practices – Tomasz Tunguz
Tomasz Tunguz is a partner at Redpoint Ventures and the author of one of the most active and insightful blogs about startups on the internet today. In this lecture, Tomasz discusses some of the more salient issues that he has written about startups. These include trends in the early-stage financial markets; best practices when building a startup including marketing tactics, sales team construction, and unit economics; and more. Company Challenges, Dynamics and Best Practices – Tomasz Tunguz
Courses on Teamwork
Teamwork and Collaboration – John Chambers
Cisco CEO John Chambers explains how abandoning command-and-control leadership has enabled the company to innovate more quickly, using collaboration and teamwork. This dialogue emphasizes how teamwork equates to growth and effectiveness.Cisco now operates as a set of cross-functional “business networks” in which teams think through business problems and make decisions on their own in a fully-considered, yet rapid manner. Teamwork and Collaboration – John Chambers
The Importance of Teams – Steve Blank
Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur and Stanford consulting associate professor, wholeheartedly believes that team building is an important skill of entrepreneurs. He explains that startups are team-based efforts and the best teams are complementary. These types of teams know how to work together, fight together, collaborate together.
Blank is serial entrepreneur based out of Silicon Valley. He is recognized as influencing the launch of the Lean Startup Movement. Blank is aa published author, and lectures at a number well-known business schools, including Stanford, University of California Berkley, and Columbia University. The Importance of Teams – Steve Blank
Teamwork on the Fly – Amy Edmondson
In this lecture, Amy Edmondson describes how to manage intellectually diverse and geographically dispersed groups. Behaviors of how teaming works includes speaking up, listening intensely, integrate different facts and point of views, experiment iteratively, and reflect on your ideas and actions.
Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School. She has been published on Forbes and on the HBR blog. Teamwork on the Fly – Amy Edmondson
Be Strategic With Your Workforce – Dick Beatty
This dialogue looks into the core concepts of a differentiated workforce and helps you understand how to manage talent as you would your portfolio. Dick Beatty explains how to identify your most important positions — and get your best people into them.
Richard W. (Dick) Beatty Professor of Human Resource Management at Rutgers University. His research interests focus on performance appraisal, selection, compensation, human resource planning, and the use of incentives in organizations, as well as human resource development. Be Strategic With Your Workforce – Dick Beatty
Build a Tower, Build a Team – Tom Wujec
Tom Wujec from Autodesk presents some surprisingly deep research into the “marshmallow problem” — a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. He discussed who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients and why does a surprising group always beat the average. The fundamental lesson is that design is a contact sport which demands that we bring all our senses to the task, apply the best of our thinking, feeling and doing the challenge at hand.
Wujec is an adjunect professor at Singularity University, Fellow at Autodesk, and a published author. He has also spoken at multiple TED conferences on creativity, team building, and problem solving. Build a Tower, Build a Team – Tom Wujec
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