Check out this wide-ranging list of useful entrepreneurship-related links.
Good read: College Crunch lists 25 Skills and Classes Necessary to Become a Great Entrepreneur.
Jerry Reinsdorf is Chairman of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox, United Center, and U.S. Cellular Field. He is also a partner in Bojer Financial Ltd., a real estate investment company. We spoke with Mr. Reinsdorf to explore his thoughts on sports, the business of sports, and success in life.
Kaizen: You grew up in Brooklyn when the Dodgers were there. Were you a fan as a youth?
Reinsdorf: I was an avid Dodgers fan. Everybody in Brooklyn lived and died with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Kaizen: You went to college at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and then earned a law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. Looking back, what was the most valuable business skill or knowledge you acquired while a student?
Reinsdorf: In college I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities—I was the business manager of the newspaper, business manager of the yearbook, and participated in many other activities. It gave me a start in trying to think like a businessman. I don’t think I learned anything in law school about business. I did learn one incredibly valuable thing in law school—I had a professor who taught us that if somebody asks you a question, your answer should be, “Why do you want to know?” Obviously that helps you frame the answer and puts everything in context.
The latest issue of Kaizen features our interview with Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, and many real estate ventures. Also featured in this issue of Kaizen are a mini-interview with Professor Shawn Klein on his sports ethics course, as well as reports on Professor Langston, who received a course grant, and the prize-winning essays of five students in the Business and Economic Ethics course—Naomi Byars, Jennifer LaSarre, Kathreen Atkerson, Seth Kryder, and Brittney Leach.
A PDF version of Kaizen is available here. We will soon post separately the interview with Mr. Reinsdorf.
If you would like to receive a complimentary issue of the print version of Kaizen, please email your name and postal address to CEE [at] Rockford.edu.
During the spring 2009 semester CEE sponsored a contest for the best essays in the Business and Economic Ethics course on the following topic: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”—True or False? The essays were judged on the basis of their thoroughness, cohesiveness, and originality.
The two first-prize winners were Naomi Byars and Jennifer LaSarre, who received $300 each.
Here are the essays of the two first-prize winners (both essays are in PDF format):
Naomi Byars – “The Corruption Triangle” [pdf]
Jennifer LaSarre – “Power, Privilege, and Political Entrepreneurs in America” [pdf]
Check out Pitchmen, a new show airing on the Discovery Channel. “Pitchmen follows the adventures of Billy Mays and Anthony ‘Sully’ Sullivan, two of the most famous and successful pitchmen in history, as they search the world for inventions they believe they can take all the way to the big time. In each episode, this odd couple of pitchmen partners become potential dream merchants for the inventors they discover.” You can catch excerpts of the show, such as the one below, on YouTube.
Kevin O’Connor is co-founder and former CEO of DoubleClick. DoubleClick is the world’s largest Internet advertising technology company and was recently acquired by Google. Prior to DoubleClick, Mr. O’Connor founded and developed several successful Internet businesses and is now the principal of O’Connor Ventures, a venture capital firm that provides funding for startups. For this interview we met with Mr. O’Connor in Santa Barbara, California to explore his thoughts on Internet entrepreneurship, venture capital, and success in life.
Kaizen: Before you went to college, you were a young man with an experimental turn of mind. Some of those experiments went well—and others didn’t?
O’Connor: Well, there was the one when I tried to build a hot air balloon and it was too windy, so I launched it in our garage and it caught on fire. It was about six o’clock on a Sunday morning, and all the hot ashes flew up in the rafters and almost burned the whole house down and killed the family. So I had to put everything out before anyone woke up.
Kaizen: What was your parents’ reaction to that?
O’Connor: My dad actually helped me build a new one, and we went out and launched it, but it was too windy and it burned up again. But it was outside. He was always very good on that. And the other time, I think I was building a rheostat and it was very, very hot and it caught the carpet on fire. I tried to hide it and somehow my dad always found everything I did. He was totally cool with it; he was fine. He liked the story and he was glad I didn’t kill anyone.
Kaizen: So rather than dampening your experimentalism, they took the risks and—maybe keeping an eye on things the way parents do—encouraged you down that road?
O’Connor: Yep. He never even kept an eye on me. I don’t know why. They were fairly conservative people, but I think my dad had a bit of a hidden wild streak in him.
Kaizen: So by the time you went to college you had years of fun experience with technology and great parental support?
O’Connor: Yep. My dad used to go out with me every garbage night. We’d go out and collect TVs and radios and anything with electronics. He used to help me do that.
Check out the addictive BBC show Dragons’ Den, in which entrepreneurs make a pitch for investment to five venture capitalists who decide whether to invest their own money in exchange for equity. Aside from the drama, you can learn a lot about presentation skills and what goes into judging whether a business idea will actually work. You can watch several full episodes, such as the one below, online.