Nik Borghi

Can You Learn How To Start a Company in University?

It was probably midnight and I was googling the name of a middle-age man I’ve never met.

No, I am not a stalker. But I was recently contacted by a few students who wanted to know more about Creonomy. Their “entrepreneurship” course assignment was to imagine “a start up for start ups”, so they were basically asked to come up with ideas of services and products to help other start ups and so we had a chat over Skype.

After answering their questions, at the end of  our call I asked them a few things about the course itself and their teacher. I went on online and look for the teacher’s background (I know, I have a pretty boring and empty life) and my immediately thought those students were probably busy learning notions they will never use.


Learning by doing vs. learning by studying

“The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein

The current start up frenzy seems to be everywhere and universities are not immune “Hey, let’s make a course on how to start a company”. The problem is most university professors are just well…professors without a previous start up experience. And for all the books you can read there’s nothing like practice and experience to learn something. Sure, I am an avid reader and I spend way too much on books but getting my hands dirty is always the best way to learn.

Another way to look at experience is like a big collection of mistakes. Think about it: you have experience when you have tried yourself what works and what doesn’t.

“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” – Randy Pausch

And this is exactly what you can’t learn when you “study” how to make a start up. When you read books, you don’t make mistakes. Ok, probably you can read about mistakes other people made before you but you are experiencing them first-hand and so you are not fully absorbing them.


My experience


And if experience is “the sum of all your mistakes” then I can safely say I have a lot of experience :)

I’ve previously used this blog to post quick interesting stuff I was finding on the web but I now chang…ehm, sorry, pivoting to a different style. Longer posts with real lessons. I am not going to tell what you should do. I am just going to write what worked or did not work for me now that I am working at Creonomy, and making Board, our first product,  during my previous experience co-founding and running The Hub in Milan, other little experiments and so on.

I will try and be the more specific I can. Again, you are not going to learn what to do just by reading my blog but hopefully you will find something useful. Some of my models include Joel and Leo from Buffer, James Altucher and Derek Sivers.


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Hi, I am Nik

I'm the co-founder of Creonomy. Our first product is Board, a better way for design agencies and creative professionals to save, organize and share their images.

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