Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Culture of Making a Difference

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.

Founding Prosper, a People-to-People Lending Marketplace

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.

Vision, Values & Strategy

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).

Research Lens on Understanding Entrepreneurial Firms

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.

Stimulating Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace

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.

What Is the Best Place in Southeast Asia for Internet Entrepreneurs?

TMBA20: What Is the Best Place in Southeast Asia for Internet Entrepreneurs?
Link: Tropical Talk Radio
Ho Chi Minh City has a great cafe culture. It also has a world class food culture.
Bangkok is expense for SE Asia.
Thailand has great, healthy food for cheap.
Philippines is very expensive for SE Asia.
Philippines is best place to hire.
Vietnam is more touristy than the Philippines.
Bali is Hindu.
Bali has a city range of offerings in a town-like environment.
Bali has bad Internet.
Bali is more of a 30s and 40s demographic.

The 2% Fallacy and 10 Business Red Flags

TMBA19: The 2% Fallacy and 10 Business Red Flags
Link: Tropical Talk Radio
In a bootstrapped business a marketplace is a demonstrated cash flow.
Focus on cash flow not market penetration.
Don’t throw traffic at a problem.
Make your business profitable out of the gate.
The best users are the ones you already have.
Small businesses go to war.
Don’t confuse goals with strategy.
Strategies address problems with explicit plans of action.
Presale your product by putting a buy now button on your site.

5 Media Created Distortions About Successful Internet Ventures

TMBA18: 5 Media Created Distortions About Successful Internet Ventures
Link: Tropical Talk Radio
Does the task make more money than it costs me to pay somebody else to do it?
Hire somebody that is better than yourself.
The bigger your business gets the simpler it gets. Be more deliberate and simplify things.
Solve a specific problem.
Being a minority shareholder in a small business usually doesn’t work out.
It doesn’t make sense to invest in lifestyle businesses.
What matters is showing up everyday and hustling your ass off.
You have to be friends with your partners.

How We Increased Email Subscribers 257% By Making it Harder to Opt-in

TMBA17: How We Increased Email Subscribers 257% By Making it Harder to Opt-in
Link: Tropical Talk Radio
Don’t ask for the opt-in.
Most people landing on your page aren’t ready to sign up yet.
Have opt-in form at bottom of page.
Repackage old material and give it to people who sign-up for your list.
Include your voice.
Give your subscribers an experience rather than just content.
Add value before selling.
Keep the list warm.
Send an email every week or every two weeks just to keep in touch.

The Contrasts of a Big Company and a Small Start-Up

Title: The Contrasts of a Big Company and a Small Start-Up
Date: 2006-06-07
Speaker: Gil Penchina (Wikia)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Beanie Babies was number one item at eBay.
eBay originally didn’t want to be in the payments business.
Sometimes new people change what the business is.
A marketplace needs to have both large numbers of buyers and sellers. That is the network effect.
Go to school abroad if you can (for a semester or year).
Trading is universal.
Big company skills don’t necessarily translate to small companies. You have to unlearn some skills.
Find areas outside of what you’re doing where you can learn skills that will take you where you want to go.
There are always ways to learn the skills you want if people don’t give it to you at your day job.
In startups there is a lot of stuff that doesn’t get done because nobody gets to it.
Be able to push things forward by force of will.
Failures are more helpful going forward than successes.
It is a really small world. You’ll run into the same people over and over again.
It is better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly.
Never cross your legs in an interview. You don’t want your leg to fall asleep.
Everyone wants to be an expert about something.
The more time you spend doing something the better you get at it, the bigger your network gets, and the more skills you gain.
Luck is a combination of good timing and some preparation.
Have a 10-year plan.
Pay it forward.