News at Smith

Innovation Fridays: Conversations on Entrepreneurship, Part 2

Feb 15, 2013
Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Welcome to Innovation Fridays

Adding Substance to Entrepreneurship

“We live in frothy times when it comes to entrepreneurship,” quipped Jason Shrensky, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, in a recent conversation on entrepreneurship. But Shrensky isn’t pessimistic; he’s just encouraging entrepreneurs to focus on solving problems. Entrepreneurs must be passionate and willing to evolve their ideas, too.

These were discussion highlights when Shrensky, Dingman Center Managing Director Elana Fine and fellow investor and entrepreneur-in-residence Ed Barrientos joined Dan Beyers, editor of the Washington Post’s Capital Business to talk entrepreneurship “shop.” They dissected the entrepreneurship scene in Washington, the reasons people do – or should -- get into the startup business in the first place, and why change in inevitable for entrepreneurs.

Listen to the full discussion now | DOWNLOAD MP3

The takeaways:

Be focused and passionate – even if you just want to work at a startup.
“If you want to work for a startup, which can be grueling at times, you need to be just as passionate about that startup as the founders are,” Fine says.

“You don’t start a business just to do it.” 
“I didn't look out to just be an entrepreneur, “ says Shrensky. “I saw a problem based on a place where I worked and then decided to solve that problem. And I think that’s where you see the best entrepreneurs come from.”

Investors invest in people, not ideas.
“Ideas stay for just a short amount of time; what does stay is the team, is the entrepreneur. … Knowing when to pivot away from your original vision or your original idea is critical,” says Barrientos.

Be flexible – your ideas will change.
“Version 1.0 will always be wrong. I’ve never seen it not be the case,” Shrensky says.

Barrientos currently manages an angel investment firm and heads Brazen Careerist, a career focused social networking site targeting Gen Y. Shrensky is an active angel investor and also splits his time between two startups he co-founded: ÜberOffices, a co-working office space in Arlington, Va., and enterprise software developer ComplexInterests. Before heading up the Dingman Center, Fine was a venture investor and advisor as vice president of Revolution Partner, an investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions and private capital advisory for the tech industry.

This is the second in a series of three podcast installments capturing the group’s full conversation.

Listen to the first installmentWhat does it take to be an entrepreneur

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.