Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Is Google on the decline already?

In this 8min INSEAD knowledge video,  Silicon Valley veteran, Adeo Ressi, argues that there are clear market indicators that Google is on the decline already and the trend is here to stay as companies like Facebook and Twitter continue to make their way in the new connected world…

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Effectuation Part 2 by IMD Professor Stuart Read

Interesting second video during which IMD Professor Stuart Read argues that managerial principles, models and theories learnt in business Schools may not enable entrepreneurship and support an entrepreneurial spirit but hinder it instead… Why? Because they overlook the personal dimension of most new ventures started off by a single individual as a personal project .

Here are some of the common questions an entrepreneur would go through when considering a new venture:

  • How much time and money am I ready to invest into it (no matter how compelling the business case may be)? If things do not play out as well as I anticipated, how much am I willing to lose personally?
  • How can I make the best use of what I already have and the people I already know?
  • Whom do I know in my surrounding that will want to put some skin in that venture with me?

Presented that way, it becomes a lot clearer why you do not need to hold a MBA to be a successful serial or expert entrepreneur. We often believe that successful entrepreneurs had a brilliant idea, which they were able to turn into a successful business. What we tend to forget is that very often the ultimately successful business had in reality very little to do with the original idea. What made the venture a success was actually less the original idea itself than the discovery and development process that the entrepreneur had to go through in order to do something with his idea.

That’s the fundamental principle embedded into “Effectuation”: Having an idea and doing something with it !

Effectuation Part 1 by IMD Professor Stuart Read

Gary Hamel is reinventing Management. Stuart Read, Professor @ IMD, is reinventing entrepreneurship with a lot of humour, energy and enthusiasm !

I’m not a marketing fan but I would not mind taking a marketing lesson if Stuart was the professor !

Enjoy !

What does it take to innovate?

This short video by IMD Professor of Marketing, Sutart Read is a good reminder that most innovations occured unexpectedly, as a surprise to some extent, while people were actually trying to find something else.  Examples of that abound in history and Professor Read shows several of them.

There is a beautiful English word to describe that, it is “serendipity”. Interestingly enough, this word has no equivalent in most foreign languages , French included. Serendipity is this whole notion that innovation cannot be ordered and commanded, it has its own ways and will very often appear where you expect it less…

As a result, we shall expect that very narrowly focused innovation programs will not yield in most cases the expected returns  because people are just too focused on a single goal. Reversely, you can embrace serendipity in the Google way by giving freedom to all employees to spend 20% of their time on whatever project they are interested in.

Gardeners and farmers got it a long time ago: there are things that can’t be forced, no matter how much fertilizer or whatever you put in the ground, it will take what it takes for the plant or the corn to germinate and grow. Innovation is not different from agriculture:  it can only emerge with care and time.

In our fast-paced world where business results must be immediate and focus is the key, maybe another way to innovation will be to relearn patience and curiosity?

Who’s the boss in an open world by Bob Sutton

Here is a refreshing excerpt from an interview of Bob Sutton, Professor of Management at Stanford University.

The part that I did enjoy most is the end of it where he shares with us the unique challenges that the CEO of Mozilla has to face by running a business, which only exists because there is an open community of Software developers that is committed to it. Interestingly enough, even though he is the CEO, he has no authority on the new features that will be added to its Firefox web browser. How does he live with it? Well.. actually very well, because he has understood and accepted that this software development effort is led by people, who are so much more knowledgeable than himself in that particular area that it is actually a safe bet to delegate the ultimate decision to them…

Wow, that’s a profound leadership lesson, the kind of we would like to see more often !

An internal market as a source of innovation

Here is an idea that I would like to see implemented more often in large corporations. A lot of start-ups exist because entrepreneurs get access to funds through venture capitalists. This relationship between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists works like a market. So what if we applied these principals to innovation and entrepreneurship within a large corporation?

In other words, innovators and entrepreneurs would present their ideas and projects to an internal market, that would be ready to place bets on some of them. Within a large corporation, who has the money? Business Unit General Managers so these guys are the ones, who would act as “internal venture capitalists”. Rather than  spending their R&D $ on projects coming from the labs, they would have access to a much broader scope of projects and ideas that they may be interested in pursuing further.

Remembering an article I came across some time ago that was showing that a large group of people is more likely to make more accurate future predictions than a panel of experts, we could even imagine that the project selection process is not the privilege of the GM’s and their direct staff any longer but is actually opened to all employees.

I’m wondering what kind of innovation and entrepreneurship would emerge within a large corporation if they implemented a model like this one…

Is Google still innovative?

It is interesting to see how everything is a matter of perspective. I received this RSS feed earlier today:

  • Google’s Schmidt hands top job to Page as company posts strong Q4. Google’s Eric Schmidt has announced his resignation, and will hand the CEO job to company co-founder (and original CEO) Larry Page. Schmidt, who will remain as executive chairman to advise Page, says the change “will result in faster decision making and better value for the shareholders.” Analysts say the move is aimed at helping the company regain an entrepreneurial stance, addressing claims that it has grown too large and bureaucratic. In Q4, Google’s earnings rose 29 percent to $2.54 billion, with revenue rising 26 percent to $8.44 billion. Research firm eMarketer notes that the company’s revenue, while still mainly driven by search ads, was boosted by a growing stake in the display ad market. New York Times; Wall Street Journal; USA TodayAssociated Press (also Bloomberg Businessweek)

So Eric Schmidt would be stepping down in order to reinvigorate Google’s entrepreneurial spirit ! Well… I can only speak for myself but Google was still in my eyes one of the iconic brand conveying an innovative and entrepreneurial image. So what a surprise !

That being said, it would be too early to cry for Eric Schmidt. He does not leave his CEO position uncovered for the future:

  • Google’s Schmidt gets $100m grant: Google’s Eric Schmidt, who recently announced his plans to move from CEO to executive chairman, has received an equity award of $100 million in stock and stock options. Experts say the award is unusual, as apart from the sheer size of the award, most such awards are granted to new CEOs. Outlets also note that Schmidt recently filed to sell $335 million in company shares.

Again a matter of perspective. Many people will find such a golden parachute  indecent in the current economic climate. However, I’m sure that if he were interviewed on the matter, he would say that this is a fair compensation for the business value he contributed to generate for Google.

One single reality, multiple possible interpretations of it… what’s the truth? Is there only one? Who holds it?… I’m puzzled