News & Views
Derek Lidow is a longtime global CEO, innovator, and startup coach. He is one of the world’s top experts on the electronics industry. And he also built iSuppli, a leading market research firm. Today, he teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership and Creativity, Innovation and Design at Princeton, and has a new book out, entitled, “Startup Leadership.” I loved his new book, because it is a step-by-step guide that every entrepreneur should read. Listen to our conversation below and hear his unique perspective on entrepreneurship:Link
Keep this key distinction in mind. There are only two ways to create value: through projects and processes. Leaders need to understand the difference and make sure they put “project people” in charge of projects and “process people” in charge of processes. Get it backwards and you’re in for trouble.Link
Many entrepreneurs and stage-three top executives feel no pressure to move on to stage four of enterprise maturity -- self-sustainability through innovation. They are enjoying great success; the existing business is thriving, and most stakeholders are content. Over time, however, customer preferences change, the terms of competition shift, and today’s leading businesses become tomorrow’s also-rans. Unless the enterprise can renew itself through innovation, it too will eventually wither and die.Link
You have come through stage two successfully. You’ve confirmed the value proposition of your product. You have put in place basic processes to reliably deliver it, capture and satisfy customers, and run the company. Now you must make the enterprise financially secure by making sure it can consistently produce value under changing market and competitive conditions. That means that what you did to deliver your product crudely but reliably to your first wave of customers must be rethought, redesigned, and rebuilt in order to meet the demands of new customers with higher expectations.Link
By the end of stage one of enterprise maturity, you have refined your original idea, prototyped your product or service, and found real customers for that initial offering. You’ve accomplished the principal task of the first stage -- customer validation.
This week's post on the Entrepreneur website takes the reader in stage two, your principal task is operational validation -- getting up and running as a rudimentary business.
An important part of the first stage of organizational maturity is finding your company's target audience (discussed in detail in Startup Leadership). In this week's post on the Entrepreneur website, I explore how to find your audience.Link
In Startup Leadership, I discuss the core concept of the four stages of enterprise maturity. Every enterprise must pass through each stage in order to pass to the next. Attempting to skip a stage invites financial and managerial disaster. This week's post on the Entrepreneur website takes the reader through the four stages in detail.Link
Most entrepreneurs fail after having successfully launched their companies. I recently had the opportunity to speak at South by Southwest Interactive with my former students Annie Cardinal and Guillaume Delepine. We discussed why so many entrepreneurs fail and how to…Read More
In Startup Leadership, I interviewed Wendy Kopp about her experiences founding and growing Teach for America (TFA), a non-profit which trains and places the nation’s brightest college graduates in public school teaching positions in underprivileged communities to help expand students’…Read More