Josh Hartung: Tech Ventures: Fall 2012

posted in: Assignments | 8


Learning involves sharing ideas and learning ideas with people. Learning is hugely social. Learning is about relationships and about community. To this end, I have asked Josh Hartung (a member of the community) to share what he has learning with you.

Learning itself is enhanced when we write about what we are seeking to learn because writing promotes thinking and thinking itself leads to the growth and connection of brain cells because of  neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that the brain cells change in response to experiences. It is the biological basis of learning. 

Thus the purpose of this activity is build knowledge and share this knowledge


Listen to Josh Hartung’s talk and then do the following.

Step 1. Think back on the talk

Step 2. Identify the 3 ideas that are most useful to you right now.

Step 3. Write about each idea. For each idea, strive to explain:

  • Meaning of this idea to you.
  • Why the idea is useful to you
  • How you can apply the idea in ways that benefit you.

Step 4. Post your three ideas to

  1. MyProfessionalPortfolio (so you get points)
  2. The comment box below (so you can share with the community)

8 Responses

  1. Leland Johnson

    The talk by Josh Hartung had a lot of very interesting information. One point he mentioned was to be careful who you team with. What I gleamed from this is that there are people that may not have your best interests in mind and will try to take advantage of naivety for their own gain. This is helpful to know that I need to be more careful in who I deal with. What I need to do is work through known channels that I have built good relationships with. Even though I’m not ready to for this stage, I need to start learning what I need, and who can help.
    I was not surprised by the comment that Josh made on the decline of the US. What was interesting were a couple of the growing markets. I knew about Hong Kong and Dubai, but not Chili and Mongolia. What this tells me is to look for the less obvious. By understanding were the new markets are at, products can be catered to take advantage of their culture and needs. Short term benefit from this revelation is not likely, but when I’m ready, I know I need to take a survey of where the markets are growing and what they need.
    Coming out of school, you are NOT unique. School also does not prepare you to be marketable. To stand out, you must teach yourself a skill that sets you apart. I’ve already set myself up within the job market, but my kids are graduating college. Realizing that they must learn marketable skills will help me guide them in the right direction. I can start now pushing them to be the best in school, but to also look at areas that will help them stand out. In addition, as I look forward at what I want to do when I grow up, I can look for skills that will help me develop in the direction that will best benefit me.

  2. Chris Roberson

    Chris Roberson
    Reflective Thinking – Josh Hartung
    Main Ideas

    1.) Be mindful of who you invest with. It happens time and time again, people invest and someone gets “burned”. It is very important who you give your money too and it is more important to have a safety net when you do.

    2.) You are no more special then the guy next to you. We all take the same classes, do the same things. We all think that getting a job will be easier if you have better grades, but that’s not true at all. Getting a job will be easier when you can separate yourself from the engineer next to you.

    3.) Get out of the United States. What josh meant by this was not to leave the country, although that might be a good plan right now, but to look beyond the borders of this country to take your ideas. One thing here in the States may be stale, but in another country it could be your fortune.

    Thanks Josh again for the great lecture, was fun to listen to and would listen again.

  3. After listening to the presentation from Josh Hartung, there were a myriad of important and applicable concepts for us to consider. The following three aspects of his discussion are what resonated the most with my current place in life.
    First and foremost, I truly appreciated the fact that Josh took the time to address the financial troubles of the nation, taking special care to highlight the severity of tough times that lie ahead. The concepts of monetary manipulation, quantitative easing, and unsustainable business practices are things that we as engineering students are not taught and must find out on our own. Personally, I have always been intrigued by these ideas and have studied them for some time and to have someone from a different lifestyle and perspective show similar data to what I have found and studied is very reassuring. From Josh’s reiteration of my previous research, I have a new sense of drive and purpose to continue studying and applying the concepts of smart business and investment practices so that regardless of the environment to come, I can provide for and take care of my family.
    Additionally, the simplification of how to be successful in life was a component that was straight forward yet something fewer and fewer people recognize. The only way to be truly secure in life, regardless of socioeconomic conditions, is to provide something of true value to people. So many individuals proceed to enter the workplace with the thought that they won’t have to do anything and be able to collect a check. And while monotonous activities such as pumping gas do bring home the bacon, they are not career paths that will lead to financial freedom and security. Whether one is an entrepreneur or working for a corporate entity, a high level of value must be put forth in order to reduce economic and social turmoil. For me, this serves and a catalyst to hone my efforts and continue producing top quality work that will benefit myself and others in the future. By continuing on the path I have been working, while improving and reflecting along the way, personal security and stability stand a much higher chance.
    The final piece of the discussion Wednesday was the notion of being careful in whom one places their trust. This is an important concept in all aspects of life, especially when considering business partnerships that could lead to an individual’s downfall. Improperly placing one’s confidence in someone who would abuse it is the most assured way to lose everything that the person has been striving towards. Now that’s not to say never trust anyone, but just be sure when one opens themselves up to someone, whether it be with intellectual property or financial control, that they are the kind of person who will give one’s trust its due diligence. This is an imperative reminder for myself as I move into the professional sector. While it already takes me a long time to place full trust in the ability and words of others, it prompts me to give extra consideration now that more than just a class grade is on the line.

  4. Neal Joslyn

    One of the big points I took out of Josh’s “lecture” was that no matter what, you are going to fail a majority of the time in entrepreneurship. This is useful information because it helps eliminate getting discouraged at failure (for example, a failed prototype). I have already started to learn this through the design and prototyping process of my own project.

    Another important point was that in order to survive as a business, you have to provide value. This may seem obvious, but there are far too many “middle-man” operations, or scams, or re-sellers who try and make money without providing any value. The key is to provide value and sell it for more than it costs you to make. This is useful because it is the only way to create a successful business venture.

    I also learned a bit more about patents and intellectual property. One of Josh’s coolest ideas was unsuccessful because someone was “squatting” on a patent, preventing further development. This is useful to me, because I now know to search existing patents before moving forward with an idea, as well as being very cautious with my intellectual property.

  5. Create Value:
    Josh stressed that the greatest key to success is “creating value.” He called value the energy of economics and said it was similar to energy in that it was easy to destroy but hard to create. He illustrated this point by referencing the long days he works that have only a few real successes to show for them. Yet he stressed the importance of getting out and trying stuff, noting even “failures” teach him far more than he learned in school. He recommended that we build relationships with people who could mentor our development of our skills to create value. Finally he pointed out that our business will only succeed if we are able to successfully market and sell our value for more than we put into it, which is 95% of the battle for succeeding in business.

    Go Outside the US:
    Josh gave us two convincing reasons for looking outside of the United States for growing or even creating our business. The first dealt the fact that the US is in a state of decline that is even now beginning to produce turmoil that makes running a successful business more difficult. His second reason was based on his experience that entrepreneurs are treated as valuable commodities in countries such as Hong Kong and Chile, reducing the opportunity cost of entrepreneurship. While the decline of the US had been on my radar for a while now, the openness of other countries to entrepreneurs with programs such as StartUp Chile was a revelation to me.

    Injection Molding:
    I asked Josh about injection molding since my product will likely be manufactured with this process. He directed me to due to their helpful set up for people who want to learn how to design for injection molding including sending free samples and having free design resources. He added though that they are not the best for actual production due to the materials they use for their molds.

  6. The first thing that caught my attention was Josh’s thought about the concept of the world declining and the entrapreneuralism as the individual’s safe haven from the effects of the decline. To me this made sence in that if there is not standard jobs available, the only way of gaining a living is by creating something of value that others are willing to pay you for. This applies to me because currently my main source of income is from my job. It is motivation to seek other income generating assets other than my day job.

    The other thing I thought was insightful was the concept of learning marketable skills (not the stuff learned at college). I think the normal thought process for most of the US is that you go to school to learn a trade to be marketable in getting a job. It seems that Josh’s observation is that you go to school to learn tools as a stepping stone to finding the real marketable skill, which is not the education. The real marketable skill is the stuff you learn through experience of applying that education. It is useful to me in that I need to value my experience even more that the education. I can apply this by jumping in and trying new things.

    The third concept that I’m focusing on is that of learning the fundamentals of business. This is something that is being emphasized in the class and other classes that I’ve had, and is useful becuase to be an successful entrapreneur, it is clear that you have to have this concept down or it will fail. I think many either learn this lesson in the school of hard knocks or maybe never learn the fundamentals and continue to fail. I’d rather succeed the first time, or at least have this not be the reason for a failure. I can apply it by utilizing these fundamentals in every aspect of my financial life.

  7. The first idea that resonated with me is to put out work. This admonition comes in two forms—first, put out innovative technology ideas. Get out and make stuff. Secondly, this also means putting out effort in terms of learning value-added skills that are marketable. This has applicability in the context of creating value. As Josh mentioned, the need to create value in a non-linear “hours in, salary out’ paradigm may be insufficient when economic turmoil could be in store. For me, this means getting out and getting more expertise at modeling as well as learning more well-rounded skills in such areas as business sense or manufacturing that will complement my current skillset and make me a more viable entrepreneur.

    The second idea that struck a cord with me was it’s important who you partner with. This has two dimensions; the first is that your partner in making innovative tech products should bring value to the project. The second is that you must be able to trust anybody you go into business with to keep good faith with your agenda. This is useful for me since it helps me be aware of issues that may hamper efforts to transition innovative technology, either in term of team efficiency and of avoiding patent and business issues that could otherwise destroy the plan. I can apply this by teaming with those I trust and who have useful skills to contribute to a project.

    The third idea was attention to the non-technical side of tech innovation is critical. In particular, he mentioned marketing and sales is 90% of the battle; you may have a great product but if somebody else does a better job of marketing then you’re not going to succeed. Also, many engineers may fail to appreciate the nuances of patent laws and comit errors that would either result in expending a lot of effort for nothing thorugh not having sufficiently researching existing patents, or wasting time and possibly losing opportunities by filing a poorly done provisional patent. Understanding of these issues is critical to be able to successfully transition technology ideas. I can benefit from this by having a marketing/sales mechanism/avenue worked out diligently researching patents and patent law, and hiring a patent attorney if required and the idea seems likely to come to fruition.

  8. Hey guys,

    Thanks again for having me into your class. It was really fun for me to get some of these ideas out there and in front of people who can really make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. That’s what creating value does: it makes available things that we want… that is the DEFINITION of building a better world. A better world has more of what we want in it.

    Please, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions or thoughts. If you have a sec and are really interested in the Age of Turmoil that I mentioned, I recommend you subscribe to this guy’s daily email: Sometimes kind of alarmist but often very practical.


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