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Serial entrepreneur and Zynga founder Mark Pincus and Bing Gordon, longtime Electronic Arts creative mind and investor on behalf of KPCB, provide a very laid back and desultory conversation. Topics touched upon include successful CEOs, building sustainable companies, mentorship, and the consumer pay-driven Web 3.0.
Hip-hop artists Quincy Jones III and Chamillionaire discuss mastering the business side of the music industry. Keeping up with cutting-edge technologies, production logistics, and finding creative ways to gain direct audience contact are essential tactics for the self-produced artist in the digital age.<br />
Stanford instructor and seasoned serial entrepreneur Steve Blank looks back at the commonalities and quirks of the quarter's previous speakers. Blank outlines a thorough checklist of questions and analysis helpful to any new enterprise leader, and offers insight and case studies from industry giants and new technology plays alike.
Dr. John Adler, Jr. and John "Trip" Adler III discuss their entrepreneurial experience and evolution as a business leader: For Dr. Adler, he describes his bumpy course in developing his biotechnology company, Accuray Incorporated; for his son Trip, he emphasizes the persistence and luck in developing Scribd, a social publishing site. Despite building companies in different fields, the two offer the same central advice necessary in building a successful company: trust yourself, have common sense, and there are no rules.
David Heineimeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals in Chicago, says that planning is guessing, and for a start-up, the focus must be on today and not on tomorrow. He argues that constraints--fiscal, temporal, or otherwise--drive innovation and effective problem-solving. The most important thing, Hansson believes, is to make a dent in the universe with your company.
Don't set sail without thinking first: this sage advice sums up risk analysis for Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, department chair of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. She explains that risk assessment involves the study of scenarios, probabilities, and consequences. A risk analyst uses logic and statistics to makes sense of uncertainties and provides possible solutions to derail disaster. While some events force quick thinking, most can be avoided with a little forethought. After all, she simplifies: risk analysis isn't just nuclear reactors, it's also real life.
It's not just your strengths as a leader, it's your passion, says William Hagstrom, CEO of Crescendo Bioscence, in South San Francisco, CA. He strongly advises future entrepreneurs to think of your business as a worthy crusade. Giving example with his own career, he urges those starting a company to architect their venture deeply, form a culture of excellence, and think about risk early. The culmination of his experience has redefined the role of CEO for him as way to empower others.
Six young Stanford grads and entrepreneurs -- Steven Garrity, Clara Shih, Kimber Lockhart, Jeff Seibert, Josh Reeves, and Tristan Harris -- share their experiences starting companies and raising capital. While being in their 20s may seem to be an obstacle to outsiders, they said they "flipped" this liability into an asset -- focusing instead on their raw ability to bring innovative ideas to life. They advise all young entrepreneurs to be persistent, opportunistic, and scrappy.
Jonathan Boutelle and Rashmi Sinha, founders of the presentation-sharing site SlideShare, describe the entrepreneurial process as a series of pivots. Boutelle explains it's not just a jump, but an evolving growth of stages that leads to an idea that can start a business. From there, Sinha says that focused execution keeps the vision moving forward. By continually measuring the activity, they both believe that entrepreneurs can better recognize the growth stages of their company.
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.
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