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What Rod Canion Mastered About Entrepreneurship But Did Not Stress at UT eWeek

by Larry Chiang on March 5, 2014

By Larry Chiang
I’m sitting first chair entrepreneurship here at Gates. At University of Texas during Entrepreneur Week, Mr Rod Canion spoke about co-founding Compaq.
Mr Canion didn’t stress things that come to many engineering founders as second-nature. These things were critical

Larry Chiang @ SXSW (@LarryChiang)
Rod Canion at #UTeWeek. It’s a pre #SXSW party. So, so smart!!!

/1/ Pre-Existing Teams

Compaq’s core co-founders came from Texas Instruments. VCs love teams. Bringing the old band back together, increases likelihood of execution.
Stressing pre-existing teams seems obvi. So, perhaps Rod Canion assumed the audience was all engineers…
/2/ Planning and Plotting.
Engineers focus on details. Entrepreneurship falls apart in the details.
/3/ Sandbag the business situation.
When Rod Canion pitched VCs, he under forecasted his numbers. This is known as engineering parlance as “sandbagging”.
/4/ Walk away from VCs
VCs are like popular high school people… They like to be walked away from. VCs pushed to break up one member of their Texas Instruments team.
Rod Canion exercised his walkway negotiating power.
More engineering entrepreneurship is here in #ENGR145
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