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The Startup of You: Executive Summary
Instructor Guide

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Chapter 1: All Humans Are Entrepreneurs

How to live in Permanent Beta and apply entrepreneurship to your career.

Chapter Summary

To adapt to the challenges of professional life today, we need to rediscover our entrepreneurial instincts and use them to forge new sorts of careers. Whether you’re a lawyer or doctor or teacher or engineer or even a business owner, today you need to also think of yourself as an entrepreneur at the helm of at least one living, growing start-up venture: your career.
Why? The old career escalator is jammed. Age-old assumptions about work have come undone. There are new rules, and you need to know them—or else you may be on track to irrelevance.
The solution has two parts. First, a mindset of Permanent Beta: you must think of yourself as a work-in-progress and, therefore, you must invest in yourself every single day. Second, an entrepreneurial, adaptive skill set taken from the very best of Silicon Valley. It’s these skills that we explain in the chapters ahead.

Key Concepts

Understand that the rules of today’s world of work have changed.
Discover the mistakes that declining companies and industries have made.
Learn the Start-Up of You mindset: “Permanent Beta.”

Discussion Questions

Add topic questions to discuss during class and take notes in the Notes column.
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Some argue that you’re either born an entrepreneur or you’re not. Who agrees? Why?
What were the old career rules? Why do they no longer work?
What are potential warning indicators that signal that an individual or company is heading down the path of Detroit?
Is there an alternative to Permanent Beta?
How can individuals develop the habit of thinking of their lives and careers as being in Permanent Beta?
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In-Class Activities

Baseline Career Plan. Ask your students to write an essay explaining their current thoughts and plans for their career. This exercise will illustrate how far they have come at the end of the course, providing them with a clear sense of their progress.
Permanent Beta Consultants. Students will work in small groups. In each group, one student will be selected, and the group will have a discussion to determine whether he or she is in Permanent Beta. If they aren’t, how would Permanent Beta improve their life? Afterward, students will agree on a list of “Rules for Permanent Beta Thinking.”
Dr. Know-It-All. An improv game in which three students sit in front of the class and answer questions by taking turns answering a word at a time. The students must mirror each other's actions completely. This game will demonstrate the surprising and creative outcomes of always starting.

Take-Home Assignments

Student Blog. Invite students to create a public blog in which they will regularly write at least 750 words, reflecting on the ideas introduced in class. This exercise will improve their recall of concepts and help them get in the habit of learning by doing.
Business Analysis. An individual or group project, students will research a stagnant or failed company to uncover the strategic mistakes made. You can prepare a list of companies to choose from, perhaps having the students bid for their first choice. The students then prepare a paper or presentation of their takeaways and how they can apply those lessons to their career.
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