This course has prepared me to do the work of taking a business idea from concept to reality. I may have had some clue about how to do this work before taking the course, but I now have a systematic approach. This approach could not only help me identify and develop a good business idea but also could keep me from investing time and energy in an idea that doesn’t have great potential.
I don’t want to make it seem as though this class is perfect. It’s not. For one thing, it is a self-paced class. This may be a plus for some people, but I find it harder to stay motivated when there isn’t any imposed schedule to conform to. Even though there are places to post comments on the lessons, the course lacks the student energy of classes in which everyone is doing the same work at the same time. For another thing, the quizzes embedded in the lectures aren’t great–sometimes they cover material that hasn’t been discussed yet, and sometimes they’re too easy. The real assignments, the ones that require you to “get out of the building” (a phrase Steve Blank uses about a thousand times during the course), aren’t graded. In fact, the course as a whole is not graded and offers no certificate or verification option.
The bottom line
If you’re considering launching a startup–now or ever–and you only take one course, this should be it. In fact, you should probably take it twice–once before a big idea strikes and a second time when you’re ready to turn that idea into the next big thing.
Laurie Pickard blogs at the No-Pay MBA. She is putting together a complete MBA using free online resources. Pickard reviews her most recent courses on Poets&Quants.