Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Notes 2006-2007

Title: Stimulating Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace

Date: 2006-08-26

Speaker: Robert I. Sutton (Stanford)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Every creative act is doing new things with old things. Ideas don’t come out of thin air.

If you want to have fast creativity you treat creativity as an import/export business.

Encourage people to defy and ignore superiors and peers.

Bring in new people who aren’t biased about the industry.

In the history of famous inventors there is almost always somebody involved who can sell.

Making failure okay increases creativity.

Finding out which ideas are right and wrong is very tough.

If testing something new go to users rather than focus groups.

Don’t sell ideas to managers who manage work they don’t understand.

Most of the money spent on research at universities does not lead to commercially viable products. Enough projects succeed to keep it going.

Title: Research Lens on Understanding Entrepreneurial Firms

Date: 2006-10-04

Speaker: Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (STVP)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

A great team is three to five people.

Two engineers are a terrible team.

Good teams have people that have worked together before.

Combination of great team and great market can return 20x.

You want to go for (raising) money when you have substantial signals that you’re a good firm. You want to be able to show people you have accomplished something.

Build a relationship with someone before asking them for money.

There is nothing harder than closing the deal.

Pay attention to who might come into your market and how you can keep them out.

Great opportunities are shaped not discovered.

If you’re in an ambiguous new market you want it structured.

Risk for young companies is they don’t get structured enough.

Title: Vision, Values & Strategy

Date: 2006-10-18

Speaker: Rick Wallace (KLA-Tencor)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

KLA-Tencor makes equipment for semiconductor manufacturers.

They’re focused on inspection and measurement.

There isn’t silicon in Silicon Valley anymore.

Performance leadership leads to large market share.

Their firm enables Moore’s Law.

You can’t fix what you can’t find.

You can’t control what you can’t measure.

You need to know where you want to go. That needs to be understood throughout the enterprise.

Your sense of values are what guide you.

Investors are different than customers which are different than employees. They all matter.

The only long term advantage you have is your people.

You have to motivate your employees.

It is more important to be the best than the biggest.

If you want people to be honest and forthright with you you need to be that way with them.

The higher the differentiation the higher your gross margin and the larger your market share.

You want to grow faster than the industry.

You can’t fall in love with the deal (acquisition).

Title: Founding Prosper, a People-to-People Lending Marketplace

Date: 2006-10-25

Speaker: Chris Larsen, Jim Breyer (Prosper)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Distribution of money is becoming democratized.

When money is lent by your neighbor you feel a sense of shame that goes beyond your credit score.

Banking industry separates money from what people do with money.

It is an emotional roller coaster.

If you’re doing something that is good for consumers regulators will give you a lot more leeway.

Weed out the mercenaries and you’re left with the missionaries.

Expanding internationally too early can be fatal.

Cut the lifeboats.

Title: A Culture of Making a Difference

Date: 2006-11-01

Speaker: Joe McCracken (Genentech)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Genentech started out with $1,000 of funding by their two founders.

Genentech started out by cloning insulin.

Successful by hiring the best people and following the science.

All sales forces (with one exception) only talk about one product.

They focus on service and education.

Everybody at Genentech feels like they are making a difference in patients’ lives.

Focus on quality rather than cost.

Title: The New Frontier in Gaming

Date: 2006-11-08

Speaker: Nick Earl (EA)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Gaming has become pop culture.

Average age of a gamer in North America is 29.

Hard to grow enough to satisfy shareholders when you’re the largest in your industry.

Microtransactions are increasing.

Licensing player likenesses is absolutely worth it.

Creating your own IP, rather than licensing, leads to a happier workplace and is higher margin.

Think less about creating a property think more about creating a feature.

Creating one feature can have a profound effect on a franchise.

Title: Confessions of a Serial Silicon Valley CEO

Date: 2006-11-15

Speaker: Greg Ballard (Glu Mobile)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Started his career by writing speeches.

The most important thing is avoiding boredom as boredom is much more terrifying than poverty.

Law is boring.

It is all about the products that a company delivers into the marketplace.

Great products don’t always win.

Design is everything.

Don’t try to save money on customer service because it is going to cost you in the long run.

If you treat the consumer like a customer you’re going to get more business from them.

If people are enjoying themselves you can keep them with your company longer.

Communicate sincerely with your employees when things are going bad.

Doing the right thing is frequently the right thing to do.

Have a low-risk financial profile.

Have a solid family life.

Companies are not a democracy. They are totalitarianism with participation.

The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.

There are a lot of different ways to write the same code.

Creativity is almost everything in business.

There is no upside in letting someone know you don’t like them.

Title: Words of Wisdom from an Experienced CEO

Date: 2006-11-29

Speaker: Scott Kriens (Juniper Networks)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Most interesting part of a discussion is finding out what somebody listening wants to hear.

Routing was born out of the need for computers from different manufacturers to talk to each other.

Be global. Understand how to operate around the world.

On a competitive scale there is only one market and that is the planet.

The market changes.

You need to find a market. You can’t create one (unless you’re Steve Jobs).

Don’t get too caught up in anything. Be really focused on what you’re about and why you’re doing it in the first place.

Rely on your own common sense.

Don’t do anything that doesn’t make sense to you.

Common sense gets better over time.

Give people the opportunity to grow into jobs.

The user is the only check writer.

Title: The New Adventures of Old VC’s

Date: 2007-01-17

Speaker: Janice Roberts (Mayfield Fund)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Mayfield Fund has been around since 1969.

In order to be global you have to be local.

Consumers have higher and higher expectations for technology.

The mainstream consumer is participating in technology in a way they never have before.

Nobody likes to lose control.

Every business is advertising.

There is a huge difference between San Francisco and L.A.

There is a convergence of technology and entertainment.

Venture capitalists look at risk/reward.

Cash is still king.

Consumer demand has changed and behavior has shifted which has created new markets (cleantech).

Title: Changing the Game of Enterprise Software

Date: 2007-01-24

Speaker: Tien Tzuo (Salesforce.com)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Build a (two way) dialog with the marketplace.

Raise your level of awareness.

We’ve went from a world with closed access to information to a world with open access to information.

One of the biggest sources of information people can get is the product itself.

A great trial needs to have sample data.

People want high level functionality first.

Design your products in layers.

“Segment. Target. Position.” doesn’t always work out.

The best way to take advantage of the Internet is to let the marketplace tell you what to pursue.

There is still a human element involved in a lot of decision making.

Pursue all customers through strong segmentation.

Customization and installation are completely different mindsets even if technically they are the same thing.

Title: The Dynamic Relationship Between an Entrepreneur and VC

Date: 2007-01-31

Speaker: Ron Bloom, Ray Lane (PodShow)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

When you decide to raise money you either give up control of the process or you take control of the process.

The endgame of podcasting is entertainment.

Customer is the listener. Not the podcaster. Not the advertiser.

Investors are lower priority than entrepreneurs, partners, and families.

Watch how audience evolves and change with it.

Top 20% of network does 80% of downloads.

At any company leaders have an opportunity to highly influence the way the company is perceived.

Articulate vision.

Everything you do needs to be calculated.

Stay focused. Don’t do too many things at once.

Title: Choosing the Entrepreneurial Path

Date: 2007-02-07

Speaker: Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Consulting backgrounds and MBAs are negative predictors for successful entrepreneurship.

Pick something that not everybody else thinks.

Value comes from being contrarian.

Entrepreneurship is trying to find which way the surface is before running out of oxygen.

Raising money is not success. It just makes the hurdle at the end higher.

Most entrepreneurial ventures fail.

Success rate is between ten and thirty percent.

Work as if you’re going to succeed but plan on the fact you might actually fail.

You want to get to your failure points and measure them as early as you can.

Sometimes you’re going to be lucky and sometimes you’re not.

Anything that is new involves some amount of risk.

Business is about the simplest possible problem that you can solve and works and scales.

Financing strategy is essential.

In consumer Internet it is distribution, distribution, distribution.

Value of what you built without distribution is approximately zero.

Don’t try to solve all your problems at once.

Get to the biggest risks as soon as you can.

Banks by definition are slothful, very slow and terrible competitors.

What happens when everybody becomes a publisher (the Internet)?

Everybody who has assets to invest uses personal referrals.

Your manager will probably have more to do with your happiness than your spouse.

Entrepreneurship is very important because every modern career is heading towards entrepreneurship.

Working for one company for the rest of your life is gone.

The skills you learn for entrepreneurship are applicable to any career.

Beaten paths are much longer.

Title: 5 Must-Haves of an Entrepreneurial Career

Date: 2007-02-14

Speaker: Gregory Waldorf (eHarmony)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

You will probably not be very successful in finding the next Google.

Surround yourself with great people. The company part will most likely work itself out over the course of your career.

Be willing to take risks.

Don’t go the safe path.

Never pass up an opportunity because you are afraid of falling behind your peers.

Be willing to adapt.

If you have a photo posted on eHarmony you are eight times more likely to get a response.

It will take time to find yourself in the right career space.

Work on something you care deeply about.

Put your plan into action now.

Take charge of your career.

Really good jobs won’t come to you. You are going to have to go out and get them.

Find yourself in a customer facing job.

Now is the time. Don’t wait. It doesn’t get easier.

If you’re still in school work for someone great.

One of the best questions to ask is “what happened to the people who had this job before me?”

There is an enormous amount of good fortune you need to have in your entrepreneurial career.

Title: An Entrepreneurial Perspective on the Life Sciences Industry

Date: 2007-02-21

Speaker: G. Steven Burrill (Burrill & Co.)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

People need an accountant that can think in their language–that thinks in context of the business problems their company has.

Follow your passion.

Understand the industry you’re involved with.

Give it away for free in year one.

You have to free up time to create capacity to do what you want to do.

The customer will decide whether or not you will succeed.

Life sciences is an industry where you have to raise capital that will last a decade before you get your first customer.

Understand the capital markets. Understand the source of capital as an agenda.

A regulatory agency will be between you and a customer.

New products in health care increase the cost to the system. They treat something that was previously untreatable.

You can get science anywhere in the world.

Capital is global.

Differentiate information from insight.

Constantly challenge yourself to generate knowledge.

What are the markets of tomorrow?

Recognize opportunities.

You never know who may be important to you.

20% of GDP is spent on healthcare.

Healthcare market will be $4 trillion in 2015 in the U.S.

Short big pharma and buy biotech.

Understand the marketplace.

You’ll never succeed if you don’t dominate the marketplace.

Financing dictates strategy.

People fail in business because they fail tactically.

Title: The Role of Entrepreneurship in Solving World Problems

Date: 2007-02-28

Speaker: Tom Byers, Kavita Ramdas, Paul Yock, John Hennessy, Brook Byers, Jeff Koseff, Chip Blacker, KR Sridhar (eWeek Panel Discussion)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

There are no boundaries.

Half a million people die each year from regular flu.

A lot of technologies we need are already being developed.

Inequality, like disease, has no national boundaries.

Energy is a public policy issue.

There is one radio station in North Korea.

Teams work better than individuals.

Entrepreneurship is not uniquely American. Regulatory policy does reward it however.

Public service is part of our obligation.

Learn one language that is not English. Be fluent in it.

Interdisciplinary education. Understand more than one thing well.

Learn to deal with uncertainty.

There are reasons governments function the way they do.

Do lifecycle cost analysis of a project before beginning.

Title: It’s Your Ship: Lessons in Leadership

Date: 2007-04-11

Speaker: William Perry (Former Sec. of Defense)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

If you think of all decisions in the terms of “It’s your ship” then you’ll make the right decision.


Manage by walking around.

Treat employees as stakeholders.

Liability of leadership is when you are a leader in one field you can’t take advantage of a new field.

Take care of your troops and they will take care of you.

It is not only your ship. It is your planet.

Title: Phases of a Startup

Date: 2007-04-18

Speaker: Mark Jung (IGN)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Making mistakes is the most valuable part of the learning experience.

Entrepreneurship is a journey.

The first stop is not your last stop.

Don’t make the same mistake twice.

The biggest decision is who the team is you surround yourself with.

Knowledge is power.

Hiding vision from the employees is not a good strategy.

Be prepared for the dark phase. Every company goes through one.

Don’t follow the standard path.

Some individuals are great doers but not great managers.

Your audience will build the brand for you.

There has to be a vested interest for your audience.

When you have gravity you can define market and decide what happens.

Figure out how to leverage big partners but don’t mess up the calculation.

For everything you do to your partner the partner will do something to you.

Honesty is your only currency.

Pendulum swings define everything inside of corporations.

Title: The Physics of Startups

Date: 2007-04-25

Speaker: Shai Agassi (SAP AG)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Recruited dad four times and fired him twice.

Book: Five Frogs on a Log

The distance between success and failure is timing.

Money is like air.

You’ll sense money when you don’t have it.

The only person really happy that you make a lot of money is your private banker.

We are optimists by nature.

Don’t settle for a job. Find your passion.

Title: Leadership and Choice

Date: 2007-05-02

Speaker: Carly Fiorina (Former CEO, HP)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

There will come a time in everybody’s life where you need to distinguish between the truly important and the merely interesting.

Don’t think about the next job.

Put all your energies into what you’re doing right now.

Every situation has many limitations. Every situation has many possibilities. The people who focus on possibilities are the people who achieve more.

Everybody is afraid of something.

The natural momentum of any organization is to preserve the status quo.

This is the first century in the history of humankind where we can do anything that we choose.

Leadership is about capability, collaboration, and character.

Sometimes the most important capability you can have is the capability to ask a question and hear an answer.

Customers always know what is wrong.

Income statements and balance sheets are lagging indicators.

Take risks and celebrate new ideas.

People who keep learning are vibrant.

Good decisions are a result of diverse people coming together and examining every point of view in a deliberate, rigorous process and then making a decision.

Groupthink is human nature. We naturally surround ourselves with people like us.

Build a diverse group of people.

Character is about judgement, perspective, and ethics.

Values are what guide your behavior when no one is looking and you don’t think anyone is going to find out.

A leader’s most important job is making sure everybody understands that values matter.

No company can rest on its laurels.

The choice to lead is everything.

Because business can make a positive difference it should make a positive difference.

The CEO’s job is to balance the requirements of customers, employees, community, and investors.

Business is about profit and products.

It is in a business’ enlightened self interest to be a positive participant in society and in community.

Anytime progress occurs something is left behind.

You’ve got to walk the walk. Nobody cares about the talk.

Be upfront with people about what you expect.

Diversity is about winning.

The people who figure out how to unlock the most potential are the people that are going to win.

Title: Overcoming Adversity and Taking Risks

Date: 2007-05-09

Speaker: Jackie Speier, Deborah Stephens (Former St Senator)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Entrepreneurs take big risks and many times they lose.

Identify the one person in your life that believes in you no matter what.

We don’t need to network. We need to build relationships.

Like the dollars but love the cause.

If the cause isn’t there it is easy to give up.

Resilience is something you do. Get up and go forward every day with hope and optimism.

Be entrepreneurs not just of widgets but of people.

There is something for each of us to do. If we do not do it it will not get done.

Life should not be measured in milestones but in moments.

Success is never final and failure is never fatal.

Nobody has been truly successful without having failed.

Question the way things are as opposed to the way things should be.

Know when to walk away from the table when you’re negotiating.

Sometimes life gives you lemons and you’ve got to make lemonade.

You can choose to be a victim or a survivor.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

We are all afraid to fail.

LISDIN – Life is short. Do it now.

Polite women don’t make history.

Create workplaces where family is not just tolerated but embraced.

Always have a woman read your business plan.

If I had slain all my enemies today I would have no friends tomorrow.

Title: Adventures of a Startup CEO: No Guts No Glory

Date: 2007-05-16

Speaker: Andrew Frame, Warren Packard (Ooma)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

It is very, very difficult to start a company whether it is a large market or a small market. Why start in a small market?

Recruiting is the most important thing you can do as an entrepreneur.

Recruiting is a slow process.

Build for scalability.

Put together a leadership team that can scale.

If you have a leadership team that can scale you have a company that can scale.

You’re going to have bad times.

You need to have a process if you want to develop multiple products.

Marketing is an intellectual exercise.

Find a mentor.

Entrepreneurship can sprout up absolutely anywhere in the world.

Ideas evolve.

Put the time in and eventually good things will start to happen.

Think about all of the ways you can innovate (beyond technology).

Great teams make things happen.

Nobody is going to steal your idea.

There is an alignment between doing something great and sustainable and making money.

You need to have a venture that is changing the world for the good.

You can save a lot of time by talking to people that have been there and done that.

You don’t know where the best people are going to come from.

Title: Negotiations On and Off the Field

Date: 2007-05-22

Speaker: Steve Young, Stan Christensen (Former NFL Quarterback)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Negotiation is all about people.


You want people to do great work for you. Money isn’t always the best way to pay them.

Humans tend to do the most they can with the least amount of effort.

Never give an excuse.

People want accountability.

You will lose by not taking ultimate accountability.

People will not give in if you don’t give them a soft place to land.

Make it about them.

Negotiation is about managing relationships.

Hubris is very damaging.

Everybody has unique and individual needs.

Title: Community-Based Organizations

Date: 2007-05-23

Speaker: Mitchell Baker (Mozilla)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Their vision for the Internet encompasses economic value, social value, and civic value.

The browser is the way through which the capabilities of the Internet become apparent to a human being.

Big open source projects often have big contributors that have been around a long time.

Try to make a product for a user–not a developer.

User generated content can go a direction you don’t want.

People are everything.

The browser is the closest thing we have for a universal client for the Internet.

Do well and you can lead.

Title: The No Jerk Rule

Date: 2007-05-30

Speaker: Robert I. Sutton (Stanford)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

People tend to kiss up and kick down.

Document abuse.

We let winners get away with creating a climate of fear.

One or two assholes with lower status can be used to show everybody else how to behave.

Yelling at people in a staff meeting at a startup is not unusual behaviour.

If you are around a bunch of jerks the odds are you’re going to start acting like one.

Humans naturally dislike people who are different from them.

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