Innovation Fridays: Conversations on Entrepreneurship
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,
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 |
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
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
Listen to the first installment:
What does it take to
be an entrepreneur
About the 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, 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.