Harrison Metal invests in early stage technology.


Harrison Metal invests in early stage technology companies led by exceptional founders. We help founders build products that improve the daily lives of users, successfully take those products to market, and create a thriving business. If we do that right, we return many times our investors’ capital and help perpetuate the work of great institutions.

291 Alma Street
Palo Alto, California, 94301

Upcoming classes. All classes take place at 291 Alma Street in Palo Alto and have limited space. If you have any questions, you can email us at classes@harrisonmetal.com.

General Management Foundations

Three Saturdays: May 2, 9, and 16, 2015 from 10:00AM - 2:00PM (Palo Alto)

Many of you — the best and brightest of your generation — won’t go to business school. And you aren’t going to get long apprenticeships learning how to manage from a terrific boss. Many of you are being shoved into leadership and management roles because you are great at your jobs, because your company is growing rapidly, or both. You may or may not realize it, but the talents that make you a great individual contributor are not the same ones that will make you a great manager.

This six-session immersion in management thinking takes place over three weeks. Using simulations, case studies, and group exercises from the classrooms of Stanford University and Harvard Business School we will tackle:

— Setting goals for you and your team

— Performance management

— Managing engineers and artists

— Organization design

— Communication

— Tricky situations managing humans

This immersion comes with a big workload. In addition to twelve hours in-session, plan on about twenty hours of prep work during the three weeks. General Management 01 meets from 10AM to 2PM on three successive Saturdays at Harrison Metal’s classroom in Palo Alto (transportation from SF is offered at no charge). Each day is broken into two sessions with lunch served in between the sessions. Enrollment is limited so that we can all get to know each other.

Apply by emailing classes at harrisonmetal dot com with a short statement about why you want to attend and a link to your CV or your portfolio. If you have a recommendation from someone who has taken the class previously, please feel free to have her or him email too.

If you join the class, tuition is $1,500. The way you pay the tuition is to donate $1,500 to the Peninsula Humane Society. You can gift the money yourself, or you can raise it from your friends, family, or colleagues. You can pledge it over time. Your company can pay it on your behalf. The purpose of the tuition is to ensure that you are personally committed to the class and to provide much needed financial help to a terrific local organization.

Management 02 – Cirque du Soleil

April 4, 2015 4:15 - 5:45PM (Palo Alto)

For MGMT01 alums only.

Cirque du Soleil is in the unique position of being both an artistic powerhouse and a financial success story. This case traces the company from its founding days on the streets of Quebec through global expansion and success. In the discussion, we will consider how the company’s leaders knit performance art and business realities during the rapid growth of the company. The founder’s vision, talent recruitment, operations, marketing, and general management play large roles in this story.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to classes@harrisonmetal.com. Once you sign up, we will send you the case study so you can prepare.

Management 02 – Lulu Lemon Athletica

April 4, 2015 2:30 - 4:00 PM (Palo Alto)

Lulu Lemon Athletica gives us a chance to discuss the ups and downs of hypergrowth, scaling a general management team, and dealing with the unexpected in an operationally intensive business. The company also has a fantastically interesting brand challenge — how to be truly different in an enormous market dominated by established brand names and distribution channels.

The prep materials include an online case study (reading and some video snips). If you are interested in taking the class, please email classes@harrisonmetal.com and we can provide the login info for the online case study.

The class is open to MGMT01 alums.

Management 02 – Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper

April 25, 2015 10:00 - 11:30AM (Palo Alto)

Willie Wonka’s newest invention, the Everlasting Gobstopper, has the potential to upend the candy market. The product of insane amounts of research and development investment, the candy treat will either wreck the economics of the business or ensure Wonka’s leadership against his bitter rivals — Wonka’s not sure which.

The tricky debate inside Wonka’s general management team is this: how should we take the Everlasting Gobstopper to market? Emotion runs high on all sides. Production, Marketing, Engineering, Finance — they all have different positions on go-to-market. We’ll use this case study to reflect on positioning, pricing, and product marketing for new products.

If you’d like to take the class — it’s open only to MGMT01 alums — email classes@harrisonmetal.com to reserve a spot. Once you sign up, we will send you the case study so you can prepare for class.

Management 02 – Pandora

April 25, 2015 11:45AM - 1:15PM (Palo Alto)

Imagine you created an industry. Then imagine you had millions of users and lots of revenue and raving fans. How could that be bad? Let’s get together and discus Pandora — a story where innovation in product has a challenging relationship with economics. Using a short case study, we’ll explore the options — both strategic and tactical — that were open to the Pandora leadership team in the face of unsustainable growth in their music subscription business.

This class is open to alums of MGMT01. If you want to sign up, email classes@harrisonmetal.com and we will send you the case study for the session.

Michael Dearing


I think it’s weird when people write their own bios in the third person. So I am trying this instead. I founded Harrison Metal in 2006 (unofficially) and in 2008 (for real in the legal sense). I started the business because I love helping people productize new technology, take those products to market, and then make those products into businesses. I like to think of Harrison Metal as equal parts seed venture capital fund and management education lab. I don’t follow an organized religion but if I did it would be the Creative Destruction sect of Capitalism.

While building Harrison Metal, I was incredibly fortunate to work at Stanford University. From 2006 through 2014, I was a Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, teaching classes in Mechanical Engineering, Management Science & Engineering, and the d.school. With some out-of-this-world colleagues, I got to design and teach some of the most popular courses in entrepreneurship and management in the University — including Launchpad, Management in Complex Organizations, Creative Product Marketing, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Creating Infectious Action.

Prior to Stanford and Harrison Metal, I spent six-and-a-half years at eBay, where I had tours of duty in category management, corporate strategy, eBay Japan, U.S. marketing, and finally as Senior Vice President & General Merchandise Manager for eBay.com. Before eBay, I worked at Industrial Shoe Warehouse (COO then CEO when the business started to fail), The Walt Disney Company (corporate strategy), Filene’s Basement (operations at the Downtown Boston store), and Bain & Company (Associate Consultant). I earned an AB in Economics, with a focus in economic history, from Brown University, and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. My grades at Brown were not great so I worked extra hard in graduate school because I wanted to prove to myself that I could still do that if I wanted to.

I live alone in the woods. Except for four dogs, a cat, and four chickens. I am INTJ if you believe in that whole thing. I think David Sedaris is the funniest person in the world in terms of lifetime achievement. But A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole is the funniest single piece of writing I’ve read.

291 Alma Street
Palo Alto, California, 94301

Harrison Metal invests in early stage technology companies led by exceptional founders. We help founders build products that improve the daily lives of users, successfully take those products to market, and create a thriving business. If we do that right, we return many times our investors’ capital and help perpetuate the work of great institutions.