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"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.
Accenture's Liz Tinkham interviews salesforce.com's Polly Sumner about entrepreneurship that occurs in both large and small companies. They both agree that innovation and risk-taking occur in any-sized company where the culture emphasizes "no idea is a dumb idea." Sumner advises young entrepreneurs to not fear risk: every failure teaches you a valuable lesson, and once learned, success is that much sweeter.
Stephanie Tilenius is vice president and general manager for merchant services at PayPal, an eBay company. PayPal enables any individual or business with an email address to securely, easily and quickly send and receive
payments online. An eBay employee since early 2001, she is responsible for the strategy, growth, and financial performance of PayPal's merchant services group, the business unit providing payment solutions to small and large e-commerce
merchants. Before eBay, Tilenius was senior vice president of sales and marketing for PlanetRx.com, a company she co-founded and took public on the NASDAQ in 1999. Previously, she was vice president of business and product development for
Firefly, a software start-up that was sold to Microsoft Corp. in 1997. Early in her career, Tilenius spent several years as an investment banker at Deutche Bank Alex Brown, primarily focusing on software and telecom. In this capacity, she
worked on the Initial Public Offering for America Online in 1992, and she subsequently decided to join its corporate development group where she managed mergers, venture investments and strategic partnerships. Tilenius graduated with high
honors from Brandeis University where she earned both her bachelor's degree in economics and her master's degree in international finance. She also received her master's in business administration from Harvard Business School. Tilenius
also spent time as a presidential management intern through a two-year fellowship with the U.S. government where she worked for Treasury Secretary Brady and Carla Hills on Japan-U.S. trade negotiations.
Several studies has shown that a women entrepreneurs are better skilled than men. Skilled in the way that they have more factual knowledge about their product or service than men normally have.
John W. Thompson is chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Symantec Corporation. Since joining Symantec in April 1999, Thompson has led the transformation of the company from a consumer
software publisher to the global leader in information security solutions for individuals and enterprises. With global operations in more than 35 countries, Symantec offers a broad range of software, appliances and services designed to
help customers secure and manage their IT infrastructure. Under Thompson's leadership, the company has defined a new category of information security software for consumers and has made a number of strategic acquisitions to enhance its
ability to serve the rapidly changing security and management needs of large global enterprises. In September 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Thompson to the National Infrastructure Advisory Committee (NIAC), to make
recommendations regarding the security of the critical infrastructure of the United States. In addition, Thompson has served as the chair of the Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security and Technology to identify and
evaluate technology-driven solutions to improve the security and efficiency of national and local aviation. Prior to joining Symantec, Thompson had a distinguished career with the IBM Corporation where he held senior executive positions in
sales, marketing and software development. In his last assignment, he was general manager of IBM Americas and a member of the company's Worldwide Management Council. Thompson is a member of the board of directors of UPS, NiSource, Inc.,
and Seagate. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida A&M University and holds a master's degree in management science from MIT's Sloan School of Management.
A profile and a video tell the story of how entrepreneurship mentoring organizations have been a large factor in Peter Thomas' success, and how he in turn generously gives back his time and financial support.
Peter Thiel is an American businessman and entrepreneur widely known as co-founder (with Max Levchin) and former CEO of PayPal. From San Mateo, California, Thiel is an avowed Libertarian. He studied 20th-century
philosophy at Stanford University and continued at the law school. Interestingly, he once proposed that PayPal could be a catalyst for change in world politics. In 2002, Thiel sold PayPal to eBay for US$1.5 billion. Currently he is the
Founder and Managing Member of Clarium Capital Management, LLC, a hedge fund managing over $250 million.
Candace Fleming’s résumé boasts a double major in industrial engineering and English from Stanford, an M.B.A. from Harvard, a management position at Hewlett-Packard and experience as president of a small software company.
But when she was raising money for Crimson Hexagon, a start-up company she co-founded in 2007, she recalls one venture capitalist telling her that it didn’t matter that she didn’t have business cards, because all they would say was “Mom.”
Another potential backer, reports Claire Cain Miller in The New York Times, invited her for a weekend yachting excursion by showing her a picture of himself on the boat — without clothes. When a third financier discovered that her husband was also a biking enthusiast, she says, he spent more time asking if riding affected her husband’s reproductive capabilities than he did focusing on her business plan. Ultimately, none of the 30 venture firms she pitched financed her company. She finally raised $1.8 million in March 2008 from angel investors including Golden Seeds, a fund that emphasizes investing in start-ups led by women.
While every state continues to experience the impacts of the economic downturn and resulting recession, it will be many years before we understand the full nature and causes of the financial crisis. But it appears that one of the contributing factors to both the crisis and the anemic nature of the recovery has been the weakened position of the U.S. economy in global markets. This relatively untold story of the recession and recovery is, in fact, perhaps one of the major developments in the U.S. economy, one that will have significant impacts on state economies for decades into the future—particularly if the nation continues to ignore the issue.
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