Learning the Business Lessons of Hip Hop

CityLab from The Atlantic, February 17, 2017

Learning the Business Lessons of Hip HopOn a Sunday afternoon in January, a sleek co-working space overlooking Philadelphia’s City Hall is abuzz with mostly twenty-something students building models of their business concepts with paper and string.

“Prototypes are bullshit meters,” says their instructor Natalie Nixon. “If you’re not able to physically and visually show your idea, you really don’t understand it.” Earlier in the day, Nixon gave the students 90 seconds to come up with a list of unique uses for a paper clip. “Aim for 20,” she challenged them.

This is the third weekend session of the Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship, a new nine-month, tuition-free program that seeks to equip young people with the tools to succeed in business. The lessons are not based on a modified MBA curriculum, but rather are informed by best practices from the genre that produced artists-turned-industry-titans such as Dr. Dre, Sean Combs, and Jay Z…

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