This May I’m representing the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship (UMCFE) faculty on the 20th Michigan Road Scholar Tour. Road Scholar Tour is a week-long road trip across the state of Michigan. It’s packed with back-to-back meetings, meals, and visits with a diverse group of local leaders. It’s what I imagine running for Governor might be like.
Why spend a week of our lives together on this bus? The people. It’s always the people.
Thirty faculty were selected to participate from a pool of nearly a hundred applicants. The faculty represents most departments on the Ann Arbor campus – everything from rocket science to nursing – plus several representatives from the Flint and Dearborn campuses. It’s a talented and delightful group from all over the world. Spending hours on the bus together is a welcome excuse to engage outside of my tech startup bubble. An opportunity to learn what other smart people are thinking about.
As the unofficial Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the trip, I will spend the week cheerleading people into starting new companies. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I’ll keep a journal of the problems and solutions we uncover on the trip and happily share this list if you reach out and ask for it. My contact info is below.
Road Scholar Tour and UMCFE share a critical core belief: success is impossible without a deep understanding of your customer. To learn what’s happening in the world you must leave the building and talk to real people. This is an essential habit when starting a company or running an elite institution of higher education.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Road Scholar Tour, UMCFE, the course I teach, or entrepreneurship generally, please reach out via LinkedIn. In life, as on a bus, the value is always the people.
Brian Hayden has been an instructor with the CFE for the past five years. Check back for more updates about Bryan’s journey around Michigan this summer.