to page content
to site navigation
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.
People, passion, perseverance. Former AOL CEO and Chairman Steve Case describes these words as the bedrock of successful entrepreneurship. Heading into what may be a "golden era of entrepreneurship," he says that he relies on the "three p's" as assessment tools to help guide his direction and goals. When all of the three parts are in balance, an entrepreneur can achieve success like that of AOL; when they aren't, you get the failure of the AOL-Time Warner merger.
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.
While Plan A may begin the backbone on which an entrepreneurial idea is hinged, succinct data gathering and constant market evaluation more often lead to profit with the next idea in line. The tech sector breeds innovation, says KPCB partner and frequent speaker Randy Komisar, and to do so it is required to accept the numerous fits and starts of the start-up.
What can extreme surfing and World of Warcraft teach the enterprise? Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge and former Xerox PARC Chief Scientist John Seely Brown holds them as examples of the power of frequent benchmarking and full industry info-share. He also uses them to show how the core ecosystem can be made stronger by sharing knowledge gathered from learning on the edge. In addition, Seely Brown touches upon his theory of a monumental economic shift from a push to a pull economy as outlaid in his 2010 book, The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion.
Twenty percent of the world's population do not have access to clean drinking water, says Miox CEO Carlos Perea. What's an entrepreneur to do? Ideally, find a way to clean and reuse the global water supply that's, "twice as good at half the cost" of conventional chlorine decontamination. In this lecture, Perea demonstrates his company's abilities and explains the benefits and challenges of being an entrepreneur in clean technology.
After nearly two decades in the trenches of Pets.com, Apple Computer, and the You Don't Know Jack game series at Berkeley Systems, Tom Conrad (Pandora CTO) shares his acquired wisdom on succeeding in the consumer internet space. He discusses agility, crisp decision making, and focus, and peppers his lessons with numerous entertaining anecdotes of dot-com days and corporate progress.
Want to get connected? Sign up to receive regular news, polls and updates from The Kauffman Foundation.