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In a matter of weeks colleges and universities across the country will be teeming with students. A new school year will bring the excitement of new discovery, opportunities to meet new people, and the anticipation of learning. On these campuses students will also find a vast array of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship.
"No business plan survives first contact with customers," Steve Blank says. What? Isn't the point of planning that you maximize the likelihood of success in the marketplace? Well yes, but perhaps not the kind of planning you might be thinking about. A business plan conceived on paper, powered by a great idea or invention, enhanced by research on the size of the market and a customer profile, has great potential. But it also has a crucial flaw.
Once you've heard the insight--that startups are different from big companies--it seems so obvious. Yet too often entrepreneurs, and those that teach them, approach the building of new companies with the same goals, staff structures and assumptions that motivate the management of large companies. Startup founders build teams to focus on engineering, and on the process of creating a product and bringing it to market.
Turner is a producer at Electronic Arts specializing in action-hero titles. She is working on her second James Bond game and recently completed production on the Gameboy Advance version for release this November. Turner
joined EA from another area of entertainment and technology: digital music. In 1999 she co-founded and led Gigabeat, a Kleiner Perkins company. Gigabeat provided music personalization and delivery technology and was acquired by Napster in
2001. Prior to Gigabeat, she worked on a series of projects in film and online music in Los Angeles. Turner holds a M.S. and B.A. from Stanford University.
Vic Verma joined Savi Technology in 1990. He previously held the positions of vice president of engineering and chief operating officer at Savi, before becoming president and chief executive officer in 1997. As VP of
Engineering, Vic helped design and develop Savi's product offerings, and as COO, he helped negotiate the acquisition of Savi by Texas Instruments in 1995. In 1997, the unit was sold to Raytheon. Vic led the management buyout of Savi from
Raytheon in May 1999. He earned a B.S. degree from the Florida Institute of Technology, an M.S.E. degree from the University of Michigan, and an Advanced Engineers degree from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering. He also
completed all the coursework and passed the qualifying exam for his Ph.D. candidacy in electrical engineering from Stanford University before leaving to join Savi. In addition, he attended the executive management program for CEOs at
Harvard Business School, the AEA Executive Institute at Stanford University, and the Financial Management Program at the University of California-Berkeley. Vic has been granted eight patents and has several other patents pending. In 1994,
his DF/Tag product was recognized as the "Most Innovative Technology Developed by a Small Business" by the White House Office of Science and Technology. In 1999, he was the recipient of Florida Institute of Technology's Distinguished
Innovations receiving funding at North Carolina State University include two projects with healthcare applications: work on a new Salmonella vaccine and wound-healing bandages.
The Six Sigma manufacturing process drives production to near-perfect levels, seeking less than 3.4 defects per million output units. Here, the basic purpose and process of the Six Sigma methodology, and its connection to "lean" manufacturing, are clearly explained for entrepreneurs. The article also provides tips on getting started and guidelines to successful implementation.
Steve Westly is the Founder and a Managing Partner of the Westly Group. He formerly served as the Controller and Chief Fiscal Officer of the state of California - the world's sixth largest economy. As Controller, he
chaired the State Lands Commission and served on 63 other boards and commissions, including CalPERS and CalSTRS, the nation's two largest public pension funds, which together invest more than $350 billion. During his four-year term, Westly
spearheaded innovative tax programs that helped close the State's budget deficit and also led an effort to commit more than $1 billion to clean technology investments. Before running for office, Westly helped guide the online auction
company eBay through its period of most rapid growth, serving as the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Business Development, M&A and International. Westly helped bring eBay to Europe and Asia and developed the marketing and
acquisition strategies that paved the path for the firm's exponential growth. He began his career in Washington, D.C., first working on Capitol Hill and later in the Office of Conservation and Solar at the U.S. Department of Energy. Westly
returned to California to become special assistant to the President of the California Public Utilities Commission. While there, he published two books on alternative energy and the utilities. He?s also held senior positions at Sprint
Communications, Netcom, and WhoWhere?. Westly holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, where he served on the faculty for five years. He and his wife, Anita, run the Westly
Foundation, which provides education and health care services for children and underserved communities throughout California.
Herb White's skill at evaluating new businesses and products has helped many companies. Most of his advice is donated, because he enjoys helping and hates seeing good ideas stuck on a shelf.
Ken Wilcox is president and CEO of SVB Financial Group. Since January 2000, when he took on the role, Wilcox has successfully pursued a strategy of expansion and diversification, while remaining focused on the company's
core niches of technology, life sciences, private equity and premium wineries. Wilcox joined Silicon Valley Bank in 1990 when he co-founded the company's East Coast Technology Division. In this role, Wilcox managed the first regional
office of Silicon Valley Bank and was responsible for all lending activity east of the Mississippi River. Upon promotion to chief banking officer in 1997, Wilcox moved from Massachusetts to California and became president and CEO within
four years. Prior to joining Silicon Valley Bank, Wilcox spent two years as a member of the Technology Lending Group with the Bank of New England and five years at Shawmut Bank in Boston. Prior to his banking career, Wilcox was a professor
of German at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wilcox received a bachelor's degree in German studies from Oakland University and a Ph.D. in German Studies from The Ohio State University. He also earned a master's of business
administration from Harvard Business School. Wilcox is a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
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