Meet Derek Lidow

  • Global CEO, innvovator and entrepreneur
  • Professor, Princeton University
  • Startup teacher and mentor
  • Speaker
  • Author, Startup Leadership
Derek Lidow


Derek Lidow is a longtime global CEO, innovator and startup coach. He is widely-known as one of the world’s top experts on the electronics industry; his contributions include a number of value chain applications that have forever improved companies as diverse as Sony, Samsung, Philips, Goldman Sachs and IBM. Among his many accomplishments, Derek is a successful entrepreneur who built iSuppli, a leading market research firm. In 2010 he sold his company for $100 million to global information leader IHS.

Today, Derek is giving back by teaching; Entrepreneurial Leadership and Creativity, Innovation and Design at Princeton and by working with young companies and aspiring entrepreneurs.

He is a media commentator; Lidow’s coverage to date includes The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Economist, Nikkei, Reuters, and Taipei Times as well as many top bloggers.

Derek’s degrees come from Princeton and Stanford where he earned a PhD in applied physics as a Hertz Foundation Fellow. He is based in New York City and Princeton, NJ.

Follow Derek on Twitter @DerekLidow.


Who is Startup Leadership for?
Startup Leadership is for everyone who ever thinks they might want to start a business or non-profit and for all those people who have that want to know how to make the businesses they have started more successful.

What is the one thing you hope readers will get of out of reading Startup Leadership?
I want my readers to be more successful – faster. Anyone reading the book will understand how they can improve the performance of every team they work with, any company they run, or any company they want to start. Startup Leadership offers hands-on help for everyone, at any stage.

Why did you write Startup Leadership?
I teach a class at Princeton on how to grow ideas into self-sustaining enterprises and I could not find good materials to use for my class so I wrote this book. Much of the material in the book is not widely discussed, yet it is so basic to leadership and successful startups.

Can a person learn the skills to become an entrepreneurial leader?
Absolutely, there are 5 steps I walk through in the book. You can take your own personal assessment at

From your own experiences, why do so many startups and new businesses struggle?
Most startups and new business focus on delivering a product or finding a customer. They fail to realize the critical importance of forging a team of people that are willing to dedicate their lives to turning the founder’s vision into a truly self-sustaining enterprise.

You talk about entrepreneurial leaders, why are not all entrepreneurs considered leaders?
Entrepreneurs form companies. Entrepreneurial leaders lead enterprises all the way from their formation to the point where their enterprise successfully creates value and is self-sustainable.

Statistics show that less than 25% of all startups survive more than 4 years, how can leadership skills ensure the success of a new venture?
Entrepreneurs are naturally excited by their ideas and overlook the fact that they cannot succeed without scores of people that are willing to dedicate their lives to making the entrepreneur’s vision a self-sustaining reality. Entrepreneurs with leadership skills create companies with highly productive teams that are well aligned with turning the founder’s vision into reality. Enterprises led by entrepreneurial leaders have more strategic focus and can.

What do you mean by the opposing selfish and selfless natures of the entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs must have selfish motivations in order to change the world to conform to their vision, yet leaders need selfless motivations in order for the people around them to feel the leader is dedicated to making them personally successful. Understanding how to be selfishly selfless requires the skills of an entrepreneurial leader.

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"Derek Lidow helps de-risk virtually any enterprise. He expands your levels of innovation, profits, culture and success."

Bruce Hack, Angel Investor and Former CEO (Vivendi Games)