I first launched this blog fifteen years ago. It started quite simply as an experiment with a new medium that I knew very little about. In 2003, you could probably fit all the bloggers in the entire state of Tennessee into one of my classrooms and still have room for a few more.
Over time, the number of people following The Entrepreneurial Mind grew. And so, too, did the number of people blogging. Today there are tens of millions of blogs published in the US and hundreds of millions of active blogs worldwide.
Up to this point, my blog has gone through three rather distinct incarnations.
The Entrepreneurial Mind 1.0
My first few years of blogging mirrored what I teach – the academic discipline of Entrepreneurship.
During the first few years of my blogging, I wrote about finding and assessing opportunities, bootstrapping startups, business planning, finding funding, and so forth. It was fun to write about all of this for a while, but eventually it started to feel rather stale and I felt like I was getting a bit redundant in my subject matter.
The Entrepreneurial Mind 2.0
The second incarnation of the blog evolved slowly, as I began to move away from its original focus on the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship. I started to find myself becoming more and more passionate about how public policy impacts entrepreneurs. Starting a business is hard enough without government policies putting speed bumps, obstacles, and road blocks in our path. My subject matter evolved from planning, starting, and growing a business, to the impact of tax policy, regulation, and property rights on entrepreneurs and small business owners. I tried to keep it out of politics and focus on the policies that have proven to help entrepreneurs.
I started to lose my inspiration for version 2.0 of the blog, just as I had with version 1.0. (Although, I did not lose my passion about the subject matter.) I just began to feel like I had said all I needed to say. The message is pretty simple. How do we foster entrepreneurship in an economy through sound public policy? Research from around the globe shows us that we need to lower and simplify taxation, reduce regulation on small business, and strengthen individual property rights.
The Entrepreneurial Mind 3.0
It was about this time that I began to experiment with video content. I had started to do an online interview show in which I had conversations with interesting entrepreneurs. Videos seemed to be just the ticket to perk up my blog and re-engage my followers.
I taped well over 200 interviews I conducted with entrepreneurs and short video segments in which my friend Kane Harrison would interview me about various topics related to running a small business.
This phase of my blogging led to some fascinating side projects. For example, Kane Harrison and I co-hosted a weekly online radio show about entrepreneurship based on our video work together. Also, my family and I started a small business focusing on developing video educational content about entrepreneurship. Our business has found some interesting niche markets, far outside of the kind of teaching I do at the university. Our content is being used by companies providing online continuing education for professionals (accountants, health care professional, and so forth), prison education, homeschooling, and so forth. Currently we are working with an agency to use our content to help certify people to teach entrepreneurship in developing economies.
As I got more and more involved in these extensions from my video blogging, I found I had less and less energy for the process of blogging itself. Maybe my blogging career was over.
The Entrepreneurial Mind 4.0
Over the past year, I have tried to decide what to do, if anything, with my blog. I had actually thought seriously about just shutting it down. Maybe I had said all I needed to say.
Then two events changed my thinking.
First, my blog got hacked – and I mean severely hacked! It was devastating. I seriously considered just walking away from it all. But then I thought about the more than 2,900 posts I had made on the blog over the past fifteen years. So much of me has been captured in my work on the blog. I realized that my blog still mattered too much to shut it down. So, we put in the time and money necessary to get it cleaned up and secured.
But, I still did not know what I wanted to do with it.
The second event that changed my thinking about this old blog actually happened just this morning. (I love the real-time nature of blogging!)
I was sitting on our back porch sipping my first cup of coffee. I came upon an article in my Flipboard feed written by John C. Cavanagh titled, “Higher Education in the Postdegree Era.” I have been thinking long and hard about the state of higher education. I love being a professor and am grateful to have such a wonderful place to practice my craft as I have with Belmont University. As an entrepreneur, I see that the macro environment in which higher education operates is undergoing fundamental transformations. Technology, culture and society, the economy, and even the political milieu are all radically changing, which challenges those of us who work in this industry to think like entrepreneurs. Cavanagh captured so much of what has been rattling around in my brain. His article gave me the nudge I needed to get back to blogging in an area of focus that I care enough about to write about on a regular basis.
So that is just what I am going to do in The Entrepreneurial Mind in this next incarnation. I will be looking at higher education through the lens of an entrepreneur.
I am, once again, excited to be a blogger. I hope you enjoy the latest version of what I have to say!