Saturday, September 18, 2010

Aaron Lyons of McCombs School of Business Talks about Texas Startup Meetup

Where are you from originally?

I’ve lived all over the country, but have called Austin home for the last 15 years.

What university did you go to?

I received my undergraduate degree from UT in 2005, and am currently in my second year of the full time MBA program at UT focusing on entrepreneurship.

What brought you to Austin?

I grew up in Austin but moved to Dallas to work after school. I moved back to Austin for school and to get back into the entrepreneurship scene.

What is your passion and strength?

Other than family and UT football, my biggest passion is entrepreneurship and taking things from an idea to reality. I think this passion, along with my creativity and the ability to understand and relate to the consumer, are the biggest strengths I bring to the table.

What need does it fulfill?

Anytime you’re starting a company or working for a start-up, you better have passion. Lack of resources forces you to be creative, and if you don’t understand the consumer there’s no way you’ll succeed.

What exactly do you bring to startups?

Because of my diverse experience and background, I have the ability to adapt, learn quickly, and wear multiple hats. In a startup environment you play different roles every day, so it’s important to be able to step outside of your comfort zone and take on whatever challenge may present itself.

What type of startup would benefit from your strengths?

Any company that is truly customer centric. It’s easy to say you’re customer centric, but I mean companies that revolve around and engage the customer in every aspect of the business.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up a business?

Well since I’m going through the process now, I can tell you that investing the time and resources up front to validate the market opportunity is difficult and exhausting, but it’s something that must be done and is often overlooked.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, don’t be afraid to share your ideas and goals, spend as much time as you can up front validating your market

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

There is no shortage of them, that’s for sure. AEN, ABJ, AAS are all fantastic at reporting the latest happenings in the Austin entrepreneurial community. Paying attention to the calendars and going to networking events like Start Up Meet Up (SUMU) is ultimately the most valuable thing you can do as an entrepreneur in Austin.

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