Annus Horribilis or…. Annus Mirabilis?

Norris Krueger//April 1, 2020

Annus Horribilis or…. Annus Mirabilis?

Norris Krueger//April 1, 2020

Norris Krueger

“These are the times that try men’s souls…” What Tom Paine would say today? I’ve been reading the phrase Annus Horribilis again and again online. I get it, this is the Year From Hell.

In 2005, I was lucky to tour the Nobel Museum on the centenary of Albert Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis in 1905. That year, he wrote five papers, all Nobel Prize-worthy, while holding a day job.

Yes, this is the Year From Hell. It can also be an Annus Mirabilis. Our choice. COVID-19 is a nasty virus, but we will survive. When Tom Paine wrote those words, it was not at all clear that the American Revolution would go our way, eh? People stepped up. Many of you are already stepping up now. (Thank you!) COVID is going to get worse — all the more reason to step up. We’re all seeing ever-increasing cleverness among new and small businesses.

Do the politicians say they love us? Sure. But are they embracing all that newer, smaller firms bring to the table? Civic officials see entrepreneurs as cute and cuddly but don’t hear what we are saying. Some of that is our own lack of speaking up; some is that the voice they hear is those who want to speak for us. We can control the former. In so many cities and states, important institutions genuinely believe, “We got this” re entrepreneurship. In too many cities and states, they genuinely believe that this IS their turf. That is NOT how great ecosystems get built.

But enough complaining. My first draft of this was whining about disrespect and hostility. Instead, I decided to count my blessings. Not only did I see all the cool things I’ve been blessed to be part of… I started to see all the cool things that we all are seeing. We got this.

Annus Horribilis or Annus Mirabilis? It is OUR choice.

So what can I choose to do? My ConvertKit T-shirt states, “Teach Everything You Know.” OK, I’m in. I’m all in. I’ve already done three global webinars in March, presenting and coaching on how to do best-in-class entrepreneurship education and on growing and researching great entrepreneurial ecosystems. I agreed to do a few short lessons on entrepreneurial strategy for a global women’s entrepreneur organization. Can’t wait to share them here! And I’m finally launching my MOOC for growing great entrepreneurial ecosystems. Those “world’s best and brightest” entrepreneurship educators I mentioned in a prior IBR commentary? We are building an incredible education MOOC. If we can’t physically bring 10 of the world’s best to Idaho, why not bring them here virtually? Which means we can bring them everywhere. I asked before: Doesn’t Idaho deserve Grade A entrepreneurship/innovation education? It is so humbling to be part of these efforts. To my friends and gurus… thank you!

So…  What do YOU want to learn about? May I suggest “isn’t this exactly the time to re-think my business model?” How many critical assumptions are still valid? (For most of us, our supply chain is already borked.) We have the tools to help.

The great Steve Blank of lean startup fame says it better than I: https://bit.ly/SteveBlankReinvent. Steve inspired me to do my first lesson on how to get started at this process. I’ll share it here and via the great entrepreneurial champions like the Idaho Women’s Business Center that I chronicled last time (https://bit.ly/IBRfeb26 )

Now IS the perfect time to look at different facets of your business. Local expertise, global expertise is at your fingertips. We have identified Idaho’s very best at each of the vital strategic tools for new and small business (lean, design thinking, stakeholder mapping, MVPs, etc.) It is time to put them at your fingertips. We have some of the world’s best willing to take part in sharing their wizardry. Are you interested in learning from the best?

Equally exciting: the great champions around here also want to hear from you. Instead of hoping that those speaking for you** understand what you want, we need to hear from you. A marvelous national initiative has started helping city, state, and national leaders do more to help grow new and small business, The StartUsUpNow.org folks mapped out an evidence-based portfolio of powerful things that communities can do. Today. For cheap/free. At the heart of their plans is going to be virtual entrepreneur town halls. Yes, face to face is powerful but we’ve learned how meeting in cyberspace can be even more powerful. Boise has volunteered. Are you interested?

I’m spending my lockup at Stalag Krueger mapping out my own Annus Mirabilis (and starting to execute). If I can help you to plan your own Annus Mirabilis and execute it, holler. You got this. We got this.

** even me!

Norris Krueger is a Goal Champion for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s ESHIP initiative to grow ecosystem building. He is also a leading academic expert on growing entrepreneurial communities, active mentor for Venture Capital.Org and a much-decorated entrepreneurship educator and global consultant to OECD, EU and others. He can be reached at [email protected], on social media or at www.norriskrueger.com/my-last-12-months.