Author Archives: Ricardo dos Santos

Yes you CAN sell ice to Eskimos – Part II: Our Primal Needs

In Part I of this blog, I introduced the age-old secret of entrepreneurship – understanding the essence of what you’re really selling, i.e. defining the intrinsic quality of your product or service that compels your customers to want it.   This is also referred to as the ‘value proposition’ or ‘deep meaning’ of any particular offering, elucidating the reason ‘why’ someone

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Yes you CAN sell ice to Eskimos – Part I

My first ever (ad)venture was selling books door-to-door.   Back during my college years at LSU, I badly needed to make money during the summer breaks to pay for the mounting costs of a higher education (and too much partying).   Little did I know that my summer job was to be the real education – my door-to-door sales experience is where

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Entrepreneur; or The Modern Prometheus

If there were ever a mythological role model of entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship, it would definitely be Prometheus.  Prometheus is the trickster Titan that created man and woman from clay.  He is best known for defiantly stealing fire from the Olympian God Zeus and gifting it to his beloved mankind, for which he was condemned to eternal suffering; The irate Zeus

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Innovation jargon for cocktail parties – time to sound smart

Back in 1999, minty-fresh from my Sloan MBA and stint at the Boston Consulting Group, I thought I knew all there was to know about ‘survival’ business jargon.  This namely consisted of what I called the ‘big eight’ buzzwords:  The first four related to top-line growth, namely:  Strategy, Competitive Advantage, M&A (when you have no competitive advantage but you have

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Startup Accelerators should offer Lean Startup training to their cohorts – but it starts with training the trainers

Seed accelerators or incubators like the Y-Combinator and TechStars have become increasingly popular mechanisms to support startups, offering funding, mentoring and sometimes office-space for founders and their teams.  There are hundreds of such programs in the United States and abroad and the number seems to be growing by the day. However, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, a recent

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Effectuation – The best theory of entrepreneurship you actually follow, whether you’ve heard of it or not

University of Virginia Darden professor Saras Sarasvathy’s groundbreaking 2001 paper “What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial” finally gained some widespread recognition when Vinod Khosla posted a copy on his website with some personal notes, one of which read: “First good paper I’ve seen”. Professor Sarasvathy developed the Effectuation theory of entrepreneurship after exhaustively interviewing 27 serial entrepreneurs.  Her research findings greatly advanced

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Inhibitors to Entrepreneurship behavior at large companies – Part II (Welcome to Battle School!)

In Part I of this blog, I covered five common inhibitors to corporate entrepreneurship, namely: Lack of time Lack of connections Lack of CE skills (& context to learn them) Lack of executive visibility & resources Flawed risk/reward ratio and or misconceptions In Part II I introduce a programmatic example on how to deal with the above challenges – An

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Inhibitors to Entrepreneurship behavior at large companies (Part I)

Companies realize that they don’t innovate – their employees innovate.  Companies are thus earnestly preaching: ‘Innovation is everyone’s job”!  While the employees themselves want to become more innovative and entrepreneurial, they face five major structural inhibitors in attempting to do so (that only the most gifted, networked and experienced corporate entrepreneurs can overcome – unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them

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A Winning Growth Strategy: Platform Thinking

The Platypus is one of the world’s most amazing creatures, with an almost impossible combination of  mammal, reptile and bird DNA and features – what other amphibious, furry animal is capable of electro-detection, poisonous stinging, laying eggs, and waddling like a duck? Platypus means “Flat Foot”.   The Platypus is nature’s Plug & Play, a prime example of Platform or “Flat

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Grow the Pie

The unofficial economy, aka the parallel economy, second economy, informal economy, shadow economy, side-walk economy, etc. often provides heart warming stories of survival at the BoP, but nothing to be proud of.   93% of India’s jobs!  40% of Mexico’s and Brazil’s GDP!  In extreme cases like Benin, 95% of jobs and 50-60% of GDP!  Europe is not immune – wondered

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