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Name Gavin Finn
Faculty Position Professor of the Practice
Title & Company President & CEO, Kaon Interactive, Inc.
Areas of Expertise High-tech Marketing & Sales; Product Development
Education Ph.D. and Master of Science, Computer-Aided Engineering, MIT; Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, Oklahoma State University

How do you leverage your real-world experience in the classroom?
The curriculum in the ELS105 class is based on my experience in business. I try to create a framework for understanding the core principles of entrepreneurial marketing and sales, and then bring that framework to life using real-world examples from entrepreneurial enterprises in general and my personal anecdotes, stories, and experience as well.

What are your teaching goals; what are the learning outcomes students gain from your course?
My objective is to illuminate the breadth of marketing and sales issues facing entrepreneurial organizations. It is often the case that people working in entrepreneurial organizations encounter these challenges for the first time when they are addressing them in their work and, if students can bring a foundation of knowledge to their work as a result of these classes, then they will be that much more effective earlier on in their work. Students learn how to differentiate between an elevator pitch and a value proposition, for example, and how to build a sales process.

How would you describe your teaching style?
After I raise a topic for each class, we spend most of the class period in discussion and debate. The opportunity to explore in a collaborative way, rather than passively listening to a lecture, engages everyone in the classroom in a much more direct way. Entrepreneurship is not an exact science and this style of discussion and debate is an important aspect of discovery and problem-solving that is integral for professionals working in entrepreneurial organizations.

How does your class prepare students to succeed after graduating?
Students spend more time doing in this class, and less time theorizing. We work on real-world projects for actual companies or non-profit organizations and the experience of working in teams, creating marketing plans from scratch, and dealing with actual company problems helps prepare students for the practical realities of entrepreneurial life.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
To me, entrepreneurship is the culture of applying innovative solutions to creatively solve problems in a high-risk environment.