A LITTLE MORE
ABOUT ME

I’ve been an entrepreneur (5x) and intrapreneur (1x). Currently, I split my time between teaching, advising, and working on the Venture Design materials.

Teaching:
I’m helping MBA’s become digital innovators at UVA Darden where I teach two classes: Software Design & Software Development. Recently, I launched the Agile Development specialization on Coursera – a modern, innovation-friendly take on agile that anyone can use

Advising:
I’m a Managing Director at Synapse Partners where we’re reinventing corporate innovation by connecting Fortune 500 companies with the technologies, practices and startups that are shaping the future. I also do talks at various places- to see if I’ll be in your area, check out my speaking calendar.

The Venture Design Materials:
The Venture Design framework, available free online, offers a systematic approach to applying today’s best practices in design thinking, lean, agile, and UX toward the creation of new products and ventures.

Most of what I’ve learned I learned the hard way. This site’s about making things easier.

I hope you find the materials here useful and please get in touch to tell me what happens with your project.

alex_cowan
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GET IN TOUCH
For general inquiries, please fill out the form below or drop me a line at contact@alexandercowan.com

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presskitPRESSKIT

For press inquiries,
please drop me a line at outbound@
alexandercowan.com

get my bookMY BOOK

Are you a non-engineer working on a software-based business? You might like “Starting a Tech Business”!

learnLEARN

Take the Coursera course and modernize your practice of agile.

book meBOOK ME

Hire me to speak at your next event. Check out the available talks and workshops in my calendar or email to book me.

venture design

MY LIFE STORY IN A
TIMELINE

  • 1975

    MODEST BEGINNINGS

    Born a small child in rural Massachusetts

  • 1980

    ENTERING THE SYSTEM

    Held back in kindergarten, starting a patchy history with school

  • 1987

    First Job!

    First Job as cucumber picker; new interest in white collar employment

  • 1993

    First non-farm employment

    Gas station attendant in Tsuragashima, Japan

  • 1994

    1994

    Hello California!

    Hello California!

  • 1995

    1995

    College dropout, take I: first startup

    Dropped out of college to start “Compass Computers”, now “GovPlace”

  • 1996

    1996

    Back to college!

    Back to college at Stanford

  • 1997

    First time on enterprise software

    Intern junior grade at Trilogy

  • 1998

    In China at Nestle

    Great experience at Nestle, one of the world’s most durable companies. Interning in Beijing.

  • 1999

    College dropout, take II: second startup

    I dropped out of Stanford just in time for the dot.com boom. Employee #1 at Scout Electronics. Built wildly impractical things with a great team.

  • 2001

    Wireless?

    Ran sales engineering and pre-sales financial modeling at SOMA Networks.

  • 2005

    Back to software

    Back to software at comm’s app leader, BroadSoft (BSFT), where I ran professional services.

  • 2007

    More enterprise software

    Started Leonid Systems to pursue new ideas for the comm’s IT space.

  • 2012

    A book

    Wiley publishes “Starting a Tech Business“; more work online and in the classroom.

  • 2013

    Another startup project

    Started Brand Lattice to pursue new ideas for the brand strategy & design space.

  • 2015

    University of Virginia | Darden

    BroadSoft (NASDAQ: BSFT) buys Leonid, I start as faculty at UVA teaching Software Design and Software Development

  • 2016

    Coursera | Agile Development

    Created the Agile Development specialization on Coursera with an awesome team at Darden.

  • 2016

    SYNAPSE PARTNERS

    Started as Managing Director at Synapse Partners advising large corporations on innovation.

Education

Intrapreneurship

Writing

Entrepreneurship

Just plain working

speaking calendar