Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Notes 2009-2010

Title: Lessons From China: The Evolution of The Globe’s Largest Search Engine

Date: 2009-09-23

Speaker: Robin Li (Baidu)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Nobody needs to teach you to use a search engine.

China is a large, growing market.

Young companies do not plan for the long term. They are not patient enough.

Silicon Valley is the center of innovation.

Everyday you encounter new problems.

Title: Evangelizing for the Lean Startup

Date: 2009-09-30

Speaker: Eric Ries (Author)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

The majority of the companies that are ever started fail.

High-tech entrepreneurship is a risky business.

Fundamentally entrepreneurship is a management science.

Most founders have horrifically bad ideas at the start.

Within every bad idea is a kernel of a good idea waiting to come out.

In startups it is all about the team.

Discover what customers want before it is too late.

Build the product itself iteratively.

The biggest source of waste at a startup is building something that nobody wants.

What you think the minimum viable product is is too big. Likely by a factor of two orders of magnitude.

Customers do not know what they want. Act on their behalf, not at their request.

Behind every technical problem is a human problem that caused it.

If you can imagine it you can build it.

The only customers that will talk to you when you are a startup are early adopters by definition.

Great entrepreneurs don’t have better ideas, they have better processes.

Title: Innovation in a Disruptive Environment

Date: 2009-10-07

Speaker: Steve Jurvetson (DFJ)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Entrepreneurs are the main drivers of change.

A startup company has everything stacked against them.

If you don’t have something disrupting the marketplace it is just going to be the big guys getting bigger.

Every year technology advances continue and compound.

Allow a passionate minority to outweigh a blah majority.

No good idea that will change the world is universally regarded as one at its outset.

If everyone thinks your idea is good then it probably is not a big idea.

Title: Responsible Engineering in the Modern Age

Date: 2009-10-14

Speaker: Greg Papadopoulos (Sun)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Last century was the century of the scientist. This century is the century of the engineer.

An engineer’s central activity is optimization under constraint.

Engineering is a constructive art.

Design for disassembly.

Convert products into services.

Conventional wisdom isn’t.

If everybody believes in something then you’re probably too late to it.

If everybody believes it is true the value has (already) been extracted from it.

You want to make failure really cheap and allow people to do it.

Technology transfer is a contact sport.

Leave the lab with your idea and go into the product room.

It is all about the right people.

Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

Title: A Historical Perspective on Semiconductors and Moore’s Law

Date: 2009-10-21

Speaker: Craig Barrett ((Formerly) Intel)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Moore’s Law was from 1965 and is still going after more than forty years.

As you scale transistors down everything good happens.

There is no replacement for sophisticated problem solving methodology in life.

The most common background for Fortune 500 CEOs is engineering.

Change the rules. Don’t let the rules change you.

No matter how big your company is you don’t own all of the smart engineers in the world.

There is no underestimating the value of a single smart idea.

Start growing the thickness of your skin right now.

You’re never as good as the press says you are. You’re never as bad as the press says you are.

You can never save your way out of a recession. You can only invest your way out of a recession.

What makes companies and countries competitive are smart people, smart ideas, and the right environment to put together smart people and smart ideas.

If you’re running a company you don’t do things without measuring things.

Title: A Serious Take on Internet Game Play

Date: 2009-10-28

Speaker: Mark Pincus, Bing Gordon (Zynga)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

You want to be a slow build. You don’t want the world patting you on the back as a success when you’re not yet.

When you’ve been to the top of the mountain a few times you realize you want to create something that really matters.

The Internet treasure is something that you can’t remember life without.

You learn some of your best CEO lessons from your need to survive.

Create a company that you would like to work at.

Create a product that you would like to use.

Everybody needs to be CEO of something.

You want your employees to think you’re a little crazy. If you’re not giving them a scary amount of responsibility then you’re not doing your job.

Anybody who is good has to make a “bet your job” risk.

If you want to change the world through great consumer products learn to be a CEO. Want to be a CEO.

Your insurance policy is to keep control of your company.

If you don’t have control of your company you are an employee.

Don’t be in such a hurry that you slow down getting there.

A mentor is someone who is one generation ahead of you, does not have control over you, and whose only reward is joy.

Don’t give yourself permission to fail.

Play to win.

You don’t need to be a big company to test. You can test by Google Adwords.

Title: Successful Independent Promotion: From Artist to Entrepreneur

Date: 2009-11-04

Speaker: Quincy Jones III, Chamillionaire (QD3)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

If you have a personal connection to your audience, and speak directly to them, then that is better than buying a billboard. (Quincy Jones III)

Money makes the world go round. (Chamillionaire)

You gotta be creative. (Chamillionaire)

If you’re passionate about something you never know where it can take you. (Quincy Jones III)

A lot of people learn the hard way the first time around. (Quincy Jones III)

Technology has leveled the playing field in a lot of ways. (Quincy Jones III)

Content is king. (Chamillionaire)

I’m in the business of making money. (Chamillionaire)

Be authentic. (Chamillionaire)

You can’t buy your way into the markets as easy as you could before. (Quincy Jones III)

People trust their peers more than they trust an ad. (Quincy Jones III)

Hang around with people that are creating and are going to be leaders of our economy. (Chamillionaire)

Two fools arguing from a distance both look like fools. (Chamillionaire)

Whatever you’re doing take it real seriously. (Chamillionaire)

Title: Fall 2009 Quarter Roundup: What Did We Learn?

Date: 2009-11-11

Speaker: Steve Blank (Serial Entrepreneur)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Entrepreneurs have a checklist of things they do when starting a business.

The customers and payers may not be the same.

A complimenter is an adjacent market company that can add value to you.

You don’t typically want to be the first mover. You typically want to be the first fast follower.

Be the first best executor in the marketplace.

Only you can put yourself out of business in the first 18 months.

It is about execution. It is not about somebody coming out to crush you.

Business development is to build the WHOLE product which is built around the core product your startup is offering.

There are no average startups.

Startups differ, sometimes dramatically, by vertical market.

Ignore your friend’s advice. It might not be relevant advice for your particular situation.

Few models survive first contact with customers.

Startups need to be agile.

In the life of an average startup you typically do 2.3 iterations of business models.

Customer development is the activities you do outside of the building to reduce market risk.

Agile development are the things you do inside to allow engineering to constantly iterate.

Business models aren’t static.

Understanding who the user is and who the payer is is really important.

Understand who is the distribution channel.

Market risk is whether customers will adopt and buy within my lifetime or funding.

Is getting the product to market an engineering problem or a customer problem?

Web startups are more customer risk than technology risk.

A hits based business is something that has a cultural component and a timing component.

Entrepreneurs, as individuals, are the same across markets.

A great entrepreneur is focused on the goal. They make their companies successful by staying agile, passionate, driven, and tenacious.

For service providers the biggest problem is finding out whether or not your business can scale.

Title: Evolution of a CEO

Date: 2010-01-13

Speaker: John Adler, Trip Adler (Accuray & Scribd)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

In entrepreneurism there are no rules. You make up the rules. (John Adler)

Leadership in business is common sense. (John Adler)

As an entrepreneur you can’t just take direction from somebody. You have to pave your own path and make your own mistakes. (Trip Adler)

You have to learn from trial and error. (Trip Adler)

You have to work with someone to know how they are going to perform. (Trip Adler)

In hindsight you can connect the dots. (John Adler)

You’ll figure it out if you just keep trying. (Trip Adler)

If you make the product good everything else falls into place. (Trip Adler)

If you have a successful company you’re going to attract good people. (Trip Adler)

Culture stems from your belief in the product and core mission. (John Adler)

Just go for it. (Trip Adler)

You’re going to learn on the job. (Trip Adler)

Don’t be too afraid of failure. (Trip Adler)

The worst thing you can do is be intimidated. (John Adler)

Do not look back. Just keep going forward. (John Adler)

There are no rules. (John Adler)

Out of the fact there are no rules comes great opportunities. (John Adler)

The hardest challenge in a consumer web startup is getting users. (Trip Adler)

The successful entrepreneur is very focused. (John Adler)

As an entrepreneur you give up many dimensions of your life to go very deep in one area of your life. (John Adler)

As the company gets bigger it gets harder to keep everybody aligned. (Trip Adler)

Follow your own vision. (Trip Adler)

In the end you need to make your own decisions. (Trip Adler)

Make a product that your customers really want and you will be successful. (John Adler)

Trust your gut. (John Adler)

Trust your gut within your area of domain. (John Adler)

Have a vision of where you want to go and build it. (Trip Adler)

Your most vocal users are not your typical users. (Trip Adler)

Listen carefully to what the world has to say but in the end make decisions. (John Adler)

Do the core part of your business in-house. (Trip Adler)

You need to learn it does not pay to pay any attention to the competition. (Trip Adler)

The best companies are very internally focused. (Trip Adler)

If you make a niche market happy you can grow from there. (John Adler)

Title: Unlearn Your MBA

Date: 2010-01-20

Speaker: David Heinemeier Hansson (37 Signals)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

People come out of college with a warped sense of what matters.

Make a dent in the universe.

Readjust, recalibrate, when you come out of school.

All of the tools you learn (in school) are only for you. They won’t impress anybody else.

Good writing is a competitive advantage.

Nobody is going to be impressed by big words.

Planning is guessing.

The sooner you realize you have no clue the better.

You really need to be worrying about today, tomorrow, and next week.

Most decisions (for a small business) are temporary.

Venture capital is a time bomb.

When you spend other people’s money you care less about the money. When you’re spending your own money you care very deeply about it.

You need to have an actual product with an actual price so you can make actual profits.

Most big businesses start as small businesses.

Usually only five to ten percent of the effort you put in matters.

Being a workaholic is neither a guarantee for success or a requirement.

Great ideas and execution come from a well rested mind.

No matter what you do you’re not going to be an overnight success.

Nobody is an overnight success.

When you see an overnight success they have been working for ten years.

Making mistakes is the best way to learn.

Most companies start out with the right ideas, with the right philosophy, and then they lose their way.

There is no inherent correlation between revenues and employee count.

Build something scalable.

To run a successful business you need to have the mentality that every dollar is your own.

You can either outspend or you can out teach.

Try to build an audience.

All sustainable businesses are built by word-of-mouth in the end.

Every business is interesting.

You have to appeal to people’s own self-interest.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to learn.

Revenues don’t mean anything. Profits mean something.

You don’t always have to give up everything to start something.

There is no room in a new, small company for an idea guy. You have to do stuff.

Title: Risky Business: Analysis from an Engineering Perspective

Date: 2010-01-27

Speaker: Elisabeth Pate-Cornell (Stanford University)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

When you look at risks look at what is ahead of you.

In the world of uncertainties you seldom have statistics.

Risk is not an expected value.

All risks don’t need to be qualified but it helps.

Give the right incentives to the people that are the operators of your system.

No problem is too big or too small.

Getting the right data from the right people, and using probability, allows you to put resources where they are needed the most.

You’re never going to have something that is 100% safe.

You need a very good support system (at the beginning).

The first requirement of good entrepreneurs is to be good team builders.

When you realize you’re on the wrong track start from scratch.

Do not get stuck in a rut.

Title: Entrepreneurial Journeys in Healthcare

Date: 2010-02-03

Speaker: William Hagstrom (Crescendo Bioscience)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

If you’re going to invest your life and time it had better be a crusade and not just a job.

Sign onto something that has deep meaning and significance.

Learn how things really work. Map them, analyze them, develop the models.

There are so many ways to attack a problem.

Be known as somebody who is trying to pursue the best possible answer. Not looking at individual agendas.

The difference between success and failure is often in the last 10% of effort.

If you don’t have a vision you don’t have a future. If you don’t deliver in the near term you don’t get a chance to live out the vision.

Entrepreneurship is about how to minimize the risk.

Build time to think and reflect so that you’re not missing opportunities going forward.

It is important to know yourself.

Title: Panel of Young Entrepreneurs

Date: 2010-02-10

Speaker: Steve Garrity, Clara Shih, Kimber Lockhart, Jeff Seibert, Josh Reeves, Tristan Harris (Panel of Young Entrepreneurs)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

You have so many resources at your fingertips (when you are in school). At any time you can tap into that network.

The relationships you start early on will serve you well.

You have to be able to trust each other (cofounders) to get it done.

Make sure you choose a good cofounder.

Have complementary skillsets.

Everyone on your team you have to trust 100%.

Don’t get too wrapped up in what is a cofounder and what is not. What really matters is people’s contributions.

Only 2% of companies funded take venture capital money.

Go into the fundraising process knowing why you want to raise money and what you want to do with it.

You don’t need a lot of capital to prototype something (in the web space).

Fundraising takes time away from product development.

If you don’t take outside investment there is nobody who can kick you out of your company.

You need engineers on the core team or it will be hard to bring on more engineers.

You need somebody to specialize in non-engineering stuff.

Be scrappy. Be opportunistic.

Writing a book is a really great way to generate leads.

Title: Sharing a Measure of Success

Date: 2010-02-17

Speaker: Rashmi Sinha, Jonathan Boutelle (SlideShare)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

One of your first investors is going to be your lawyer.

Look to your first users as possible investors.

The first entrepreneurial experience lays the groundwork for the second one.

Getting into entrepreneurship isn’t just a jump. It is a pivot.

There are multiple pivots before you can get to your destination.

Title: People, Passion, Perseverance: You’ve Got Entrepreneurship

Date: 2010-02-24

Speaker: Steve Case (Revolution & AOL)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Success requires people, passion, and perseverance. If you get those together in the right balance then pretty much anything is possible. If you don’t then nothing is possible.

Vision without execution is hallucination.

It is hard to build a big audience.

The real battle is for attention.

Technology can be an important equalizer.

You can’t underestimate the importance of learning basic skills.

Don’t give up if you really believe in the idea.

The great entrepreneurs will figure out how to get around the wall, get over the wall, or knock the wall down. They don’t let anything get in their way.

Title: Success and Failure Drive Innovation

Date: 2010-03-03

Speaker: Polly Sumner, Liz Tinkham (Salesforce & Accenture)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Customers are going to shape the companies of the future. (Polly Sumner)

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid of failure. (Polly Sumner)

Your service has to be used otherwise people cancel. (Polly Sumner)

Focus on customer success. (Polly Sumner)

Inside big companies a lot of entrepreneurialism goes on. (Polly Sumner)

There is only one currency and that is the number of hours and minutes that end up in your life. (Polly Sumner)

No idea is a dumb idea. (Polly Sumner)

We don’t do work in a hierarchical manner anymore. (Polly Sumner)

All companies are made up of teams. (Polly Sumner)

The key to building great teams is transparency and communication, focusing on results, rewards, listening, and making it be a positive experience for all participants. (Polly Sumner)

It is still an important thing to look the other person in the eye. (Polly Sumner)

In the first ten years of your career you really need to understand Brazil, India, Russia or China. (Polly Sumner)

If you’re from a Western market you should figure out a way to go and live there. (Liz Tinkham)

There is magic in simplicity. (Polly Sumner)

If you make things simple people will use them. (Polly Sumner)

There is a relationship between innovation and simplicity. (Polly Sumner)

Title: Getting to Plan B

Date: 2010-04-07

Speaker: Randy Komisar (KPCB)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

(Business) language is really important to translate your idea into a business.

It is important to have a plan. It is important because it allows you to tell your story well and carve out your assumptions and your risk.

Just because somebody can make a dog jump they think people want a jumping dog.

You can learn a lot, without spending a nickel, by watching what others have done.

Analogs are things that are similar that have worked in the past.

Antilogs are things that have failed in the past.

It is key to learn as much as you can from others before spending your own time and effort starting down the path.

Without iTunes (for the iPod) Apple would have had the same fate as Napster. They would have been sued into oblivion by the record labels.

The key things about leaps of faith is to understand the priority of leaps of faith.

Draw upon the experience of others.

Find people who are flexible.

Often times you’ll find that if the path changes enough then the team is no longer suitable.

You can change teams around by moving just a couple of players.

You’ve got to build a team that can compliment each other.

Innovation is equally distributed where there are smart people.

Innovation is part of the creative element we find in the human condition everywhere.

Entrepreneurship is a profession.

Plan A’s are often flawed.

There is no way you can innovate if you’re not going to allow people to fail more often than they succeed.

Customers are not paid to be visionaries.

We are now a web that is driven by people.

Attention is the scarce resource.

Title: Collaborative Innovation and a Pull Economy

Date: 2010-04-14

Speaker: John Seely Brown (Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Returns on assets have plummeted 75% in the past 65 years.

The key to success is the notion of scalable efficiency (in a predictable world).

K-12 schools are built on scalable efficiency. A factory model. “We can predict for you what skills you will need five, ten, or fifteen years away.”

What matters today is how you engage in flows.

The purpose of 21st century firms is to build talent.

Most assets today are intangible.

If you let nothing leak out then nothing leaks in.

Ecosystems have balance.

Title: The Ebb and Flow of Clean Tech and Entrepreneurs

Date: 2010-04-21

Speaker: Carlos Perea (Miox)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Cleantech needs entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs need cleantech.

20% of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water.

It is not what you see in the water but what you don’t see in the water that is going to cause you to get sick.

The reason most people become entrepreneurs is because they want to have an impact.

Cleantech entrepreneurship is both a lot easier on the frontend and a lot harder on the backend than a lot of other forms of entrepreneurship.

Some people are willing to pay more to get less if it is the right thing to do but most people want the inverse–give me more but let me pay less.

The positives of cleantech far outweigh the negatives.

When you start an entrepreneurial endeavor it is going to be tough.

There are going to be days when you think the whole world has conspired against you.

Don’t be encumbered by history. Go out and create something wonderful.

It is not just about the profits and it is not just about the impact. You really need to have both pieces working together.

You have to give an incentive.

The longer and more entrenched an industry is the bigger the price incentive has to be.

Title: A Pandora’s Box of Start-up Expertise

Date: 2010-04-28

Speaker: Tom Conrad (Pandora)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

You don’t have to be the person who kicks something off to have a really exciting experience.

Be careful who you’re dismissive of.

Wear your passions on your sleeve.

It is really important to be great at something. To really know what that one thing is and to really invest in it.

Look for opportunities to go deep.

Focus on a small number of things and be really, really great at them.

Focus, in all you do in startups, is incredibly important.

You are going to be constantly accumulating new information about your business.

Large companies aren’t going to be able to react as quickly as your young company will.

Be decisive.

People recognize a human voice. Try to be human.

Be humble.

Understand that you are there to serve your customers.

Put the customer at the center of everything you do.

A great way to stay focused within a vision is to find metrics that make your successes seem small.

Title: Investing for Market Strategy and Capital

Date: 2010-05-05

Speaker: Lisa Lambert (Intel Capital)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Often the deals they do are larger to create a bigger impact.

A lot of VC’s these days are stage agnostic.

Consolidation (in venture capital) is actually good.

You have to negotiate each line item.

Failure is as much a part of success as success is.

Expect that you’re going to fail.

Don’t be pessimistic about failure.

There are so many things you have to say no to (due to time constraints and work-life balance).

Your universe is not unlimited. You don’t have unlimited time. You don’t have unlimited resources. You don’t have an unlimited budget.

You need to find a pace that works for you.

If you’re not doing what gets you excited to get up every day then just stop it.

You should love your job.

Don’t do anything you don’t love.

Intel is the eighth largest software developer in the world.

Right now there is too much money chasing too few deals.

Understand what you care about and what are your priorities.

Title: A Panorama of Venture Capital and Beyond

Date: 2010-05-12

Speaker: Marc Andreessen (Serial Entrepreneur)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Just because someone has been an entrepreneur does not mean they are going to be a good VC.

The worst thing you can do is go into a category and look for something to invest in because the good ones are already taken.

New companies generally shouldn’t exist. Existing companies are usually pretty good at what they do.

There are products that become companies and companies that come up with products.

If there is a set of disruptive changes coming it is incredibly important to go on offense.

The nature of a network is that it gets more and more valuable to the people that are on it as more people join.

The best companies tend to be polarizing.

To be in this business you have to ignore the opinion of broad base investors.

Title: The Perfect Storm in MedTech

Date: 2010-05-19

Speaker: Josh Makower (ExploraMed)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

It starts with what you’ve decided you want it to be before you’ve invented it.

As human beings we want to have certainty.

The model starts with a person. They are the fundamental basis around how you can start a company.

Transparency is a good thing to know what is going on.

We (the U.S.) are the only country that exports more medical devices out.

We need to reinforce as a society how important innovation is to all of us.

It is learning that allows us to make products better.

Innovators create jobs and technology that help people.

Title: The Diplomacy of Technology

Date: 2010-05-26

Speaker: Alec Ross (Advisor to US Secretary of State)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Manage time like you manage your money.

Hire true believers.

Stay connected.

Stay out of the grey twilight.

Just as important as managing your capital is managing your time.

Time is one of the most precious resources of an entrepreneur.

Focus on hiring people who would run through a brick wall.

It is the people that have the will and the hunger to succeed that are, more likely than not, going to be the ones who end up becoming the most successful.

Failure isn’t the end of the world. In fact it makes you a lot stronger.

Demographics are destiny.

The system is prejudiced against smaller and more innovative companies.

Innovation is about something that is much more than technology.

People are still used to hearing things from the top and integrating that into their life.

Innovation is at the core of our economic future.

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