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Students Learn What it Takes to Start a Business in NUvention: Arts Entrepreneurship Class

By John Matthew Simon

“Perfection is pointless if you can’t share,” said Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter and founder of the Center for Lost Arts, as he spoke with our NUvention: Arts course earlier this spring.

The course, led by Gregg Latterman an alum of the Kellogg School of Management and veteran of the music industry, is a deep dive into entrepreneurship, specifically for those who have “passion, work ethic, talent, and (the) entrepreneurial drive” to forge start-ups in the creative arts.

Distinctively, the class consists of students from all of Northwestern’s schools including the Kellogg School of Management, School of Communication, and so forth, which offers students a unique opportunity to engage, befriend, and collaborate with individuals outside their disciplines.

Through a combination of case studies that analyze companies like Pandora to guest speakers such as Julian Posada of Wrapports and the SunTimes Media Group, the course delves into the world of management and the C-Suite to examine what it takes to be a leader in the creative sector.

However, the course isn’t simply bent on lectures, comparative analyses, and rote memorization of tactics, organizational structures, buttressed by Q&A’s with people of importance.

In fact, from the first day of class we were divided into groups with the intent of creating lean start-ups to be built over the 10-weeks of the course.

After conception, our start-ups were given opportunities to meet with an advisory board chalk full of individuals who have started creative organizations, invested in start-ups, and most importantly, been through the rigors of failure and pivots to success.

What did we create? From a creative consultancy firm applying design thinking to the music industry, specifically rewiring the artist/fan relationship dynamic, to an organization providing a recommender system platform that aggregates the opinions of friends, influencers, and loved ones to expeditiously and more precisely provide the best quality content across your streaming providers, our conceptions came to life.

The course taught us that perfection is an illusory concept that is otherworldly, as it takes blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless hours to bore out a value proposition and organization that can creatively effect change.

Nevertheless, it is possible, and requires devotion, staunch passion, relentless curiosity, and the tenacity to see through your idea from concept to a minimal viable product, which is exactly what this course taught us.

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