Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Salient Virtues: I Gotta Have More Cowbell !

In my previous blog post, I discussed the common fatal flaws in business plan or startup competition pitches.  This essay focuses on the reverse concern – do you have any salient virtues? To illustrate the point, I encourage you to watch the SNL classic skit featuring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell “More Cowbell” – also see the Wikipedia entry.    The main

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Fatal Flaws: A Perro Flaco, Todo Son Pulgas!

For those of you competing in student, employee and or startup idea competitions, here’s what you can learn from your best friend…the Dog. The Spanish proverb in the subtitle above directly translates to “To a skinny dog, everything is a flea”, roughly meaning:  “To the weak, everything is a problem” or “When it rains, it pours”, etc. Speaking of dogs

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Yes you CAN sell ice to Eskimos – Part III: Our Advanced Needs

This three part blog series introduces a novel classification of innate user needs, aka ‘the basic ways we fight for happiness and progress (through consumption)’.  Part I of the blog recapped the well known concept that market segmentation is not about demographics, but about seizing an unoccupied space in the mind and heart of the consumer.   Part II of the

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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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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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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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Strategic Planning for New Ventures. Part III: The Strategic Choice Canvas

Based on your assessment of the current situation facing your startup or innovation project discussed in my last blog post, the Gut Check (including a good grasp of the past and changing conditions ahead), it is time to put your core idea and inertia through the strategy ringer, or a set of decision-making criteria that should improve your prospects for

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Strategic Planning for New Ventures. Part II: The Gut Check

In part I of this blog, I covered various views on strategy, namely the distinction between strategy as a theory for competition and strategy as the realization of goals by all means necessary.   We learned from the brilliant work of various though leaders including Porter, Christensen, Hamel, McGrath, Blank and Drucker that the formula for victory on the business battleground

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