Category: News

January 22, 2018

Weathering Crises in a Young Company

If you’re the chief executive of a young company, you will at some point almost certainly face an existential crisis that threatens to take your business under. I know I did during my time as the CEO of iSuppli, an electronics market information company I founded in 1999. Over the ensuing four years, a series of crises brought the company to the brink of extinction—crises that typify the threats young companies often face. How our company weathered those storms provide some useful lessons in company preservation, including these three.

August 14, 2017

Princeton Kauffman Conference 2017

The Princeton Kauffman Conference 2017, created by Derek Lidow, recently concluded. This event brought together anthropologists, sociologists, and entrepreneurship researchers with funding agencies to discuss how best to stimulate and support new research to collect and analyze detailed observations and information on how start-up teams react to and implement new firms in real time.

February 14, 2017

A Better Way to Set Strategic Priorities

Smart leaders understand that their job requires them to identify trade-offs, choosing what not to do as much as what to do. Grading the importance of various initiatives in an environment of finite resources is a primary test of leadership.

January 11, 2017

Designing for an Infinitely Complex World

Design is one of our very oldest disciplines, the method for applying knowledge and skills to make or do something deliberately different. Today design takes many forms, from the creation of new exotic materials and structures, to the laws and policies that define our societies.

October 19, 2016

Ideas with Adam Smith | Podcast Interview

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:

August 12, 2016

The One Thing You Need to Remember When Assigning Tasks to Your Team

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.

May 1, 2016

Leading a Startup in Stage 4: Self-Sustainability

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.

May 1, 2016

Leading a Startup in Stage 3: Growing Strong

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.