I was recently reading some old posts on Venture Blog and couldn't believe how short they were. One might call them pithy. Or one might also call them lazy. Either way, they were short. I should really try that again.
I have been teaching a class at Harvard Law School this winter semester called Venture Capital and the Technology Start-up with John Palfrey, the Executive Director of the Berkman Center. It is really fun to be back at the law school and working with John. I have been blown away by the energy that the law students are bringing to the topic of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Sadly, I never had a VC or Entrepreneurship class in law school. Lets see, I had torts, contracts, criminal law, federal courts, administrative law, property, intellectual property, corporations, securities regulation, constitutional law . . . but no entrepreneurship. Then again, I don't know that I would have had the sense to actually take a VC or Entrepreneurship class back then. So its presence would have been wasted on me.
Today my students had to actually pitch business ideas to real live VCs from the Boston area. And they did a great job. As I was discussing with them how to think about company building and pitching, it struck me that much like the law, building great companies is all about applying precedent. Only, instead of the applicable precedent being case law in this instance, the applicable precedent is a business case. Pitching your business is all about finding the right business analogs and describing how they apply to the company you're building (e.g., "we're the Amazon.com of funeral supplies."). That isn't so different from finding the right case analogs and describing how they apply to the lawsuit you're defending. So there may be hope that we lawyers are able to figure out this entrepreneurship stuff yet.