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Module 1

Saturday, November 10th, 8:30–4:30




ll participants will have an opportunity to speak to the group and share their expectations for what they want to gain from the program and the specific challenges their businesses face. Companies introduce themselves:

  • Describe product they want to scale

  • Summarize progress to date

  • List biggest challenges

Teachers: Abeman and Schlake



What Makes Your Product Desirable?

Learning goal: Appreciate a business’ value proposition and its relationship to customer reaction and revenue growth.

Many entrepreneurs confuse creating a product with having a business strategy. Because growth comes from customer demand, developing an appreciation for why people purchase a product is more important than the what of the product. This class introduces the methodology for developing a growth strategy.

  • How does a successful business leader think about growth?

    • Where does growth come from?

  • What is a competitive advantage?

    • How to think about growth.

    • Where growth comes from. Is this intentional repetition of previous bullet

    • How to identify the competition.

  • What is the business’s core competency?

  • Who is its customer?

    • What is “customer validation?”

    • How to do customer validation.

  • The role of vision.

  • Strategy and differentiation (including Kano model).

Teacher: Schlake



Selling to the Masses

Learning goal: The initial sales of a business are exciting, but increasing sales requires creating a sales process and a sales team.

This class discusses the difference between what is necessary to get initial sales and what’s necessary for repeated sales. Accomplishing a repeatable sales process requires coordinating a team, common sales approaches, compensation that rewards the right behavior and a way to carry customer reactions back to product developers. This class will teach participants how to analyze and act on these issues.

  • How does a business cross the chasm from those first customers to broad adoption?

    • What a business needs to learn from your initial customers.

    • The difference between a beta customer and a real customer.

    • Tactics to get a toehold.

  • Going from a founder to a sales team.

    • Internal versus external resources.

    • Structuring the team.

    • Team compensation, care and feeding.

    • Building a pipeline.

  • Understanding sales cycles.

    • Consumer.

    • Enterprise.

    • Government.

  • Creating feedback.

    • Converting sales calls into product roadmaps.

    • When to change direction.

    • How and when to incorporate sales feedback into your growth strategy.

Teachers: Baumgartner



Lunch roundtable and discussion

Discussion of differences between service and product–focused companies.



Scale: Good Culture Doesn’t Happen by Accident

Leaning goal: A business’ culture is why a team comes to work. It provides implicit rules for how a business defines its success and the success of its team: a good culture requires intentionality and the use of specific tools. It also requires a founder with the right skills and temperament.  

This class provides insights into the tools needed to grow a healthy culture and explains the relationship between culture and achieving business goals and the role of the founder and leadership in creating that culture. It exposes participants to the role of organizational tools, such as compensation, training, hiring and internal communications. Founders will also be sensitized to the how much their own attitudes and personalities shape culture and will develop the skills they need to effectively communicate with their team.

  • The role of the founder in business culture

    • Imprinting and vision setting

  • Talent attraction and retention

    • Training

    • Compensation

    • Other support structures

  • The tradeoff of founder control versus growth

  • The role of outsiders in supporting and mentoring the founder and the business

    • Board of Directors

    • Board of Advisors

    • Professional advisors

  • Organizational self-assessment: when does a lack of clarity around culture become a problem?

Teachers: Aberman