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Five Agile Innovation Tips for Startups

October 2, 2014 by Akira Hirai


Agile Innovation Book

As an adviser to countless startups, I’m very interested in learning all I can to help foster innovation in rapidly shifting markets. And so, I read everything I can get my hands on – about innovation, strategy, execution, what have you. There’s a new book just out, called Agile Innovation… and I think it’s a game changer. Simply put, it’s one of the best innovation books I’ve read in years and I think its approach can elevate the art and science of innovation at any organization. The authors – Langdon [Read More]

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How to Find and Recruit a Technical Cofounder for Your Startup

September 12, 2014 by Akira Hirai


How to Find and Recruit a Technical Cofounder for Your Startup

You have a great idea for a tech-oriented business and maybe an MBA to go along with it. But if you don’t have strong technical skills, then you’re going to need to fill that gap. That’s where a technical cofounder comes in. The fact is, no responsible investor will back a tech startup that lacks tech talent. It’s simply too risky. And even if you’re not looking for funding right now, you’re going to need in-house technical expertise sooner rather than later. No doubt about it: Having a CTO type [Read More]

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E-2 Business Plan Update

September 5, 2014 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


E2 Business Plan Update

Our clients come to us from all over the world. Many, it turns out, are entrepreneurs and investors who wish to acquire or establish businesses in the United States but are not citizens or legal residents of the U.S. In order to own and work in a business in the U.S., a foreign entrepreneur must apply for and receive an immigration visa from the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), an agency of the U.S. Government. One of the most important requirements of the immigration authorities is that the [Read More]

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Nice Guys Finish First, and Other Lessons from “Give and Take”

August 21, 2014 by Akira Hirai


give and take

David Hornik, a prosperous and respected venture capitalist, offers a term sheet to entrepreneur Danny Shader. After extensive due diligence, Shader decides to sign with another investor. The reason? Hornik came off as too affable, too generous with his time, too much of a giver. This anecdote leads off Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, the 2013 book by Wharton professor Adam Grant. As Grant sees it, there are three types of people: givers (“other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them”), takers (“they like [Read More]

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First Impressions

June 30, 2014 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


First Impressions

We recently came across a website called Visual-Signature. The founder, Zainab Gibrine, is an image consultant and corporate executive based in Dubai. The site is focused on how job seekers and others can use their image to “advance their professional and personal ambitions.” We thought there were some interesting lessons to be learned for our readers who are primarily entrepreneurs. Ms. Gibrine suggests that “appearance, nonverbal communication, and body language all play a role in your interactions with others.” Our frequent readers realize that we are not suggesting that you [Read More]

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It’s a Trap! Nine Legal Quagmires for Entrepreneurs to Avoid

June 12, 2014 by Akira Hirai


Legal Traps and Mistakes

When JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot recently confirmed that filming for Star Wars Episode VII is officially underway, it got me thinking about the similarities between the wars fought in a galaxy far, far away, and the battles fought every day by the entrepreneurs in this solar system. Entrepreneurship, with all its risks and unknowns, can often feel like Luke Skywalker’s treacherous mission to destroy the Death Star in Star Wars IV. Experts continue to debate whether entrepreneurship can be taught, or whether it’s something more like the Force: [Read More]

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How is that Strategic Alliance Working Out?

May 28, 2014 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


Strategic Alliance

If you answered that question, “not so great” you are not alone. Strategic alliances (often referred to as partnerships) can be very effective ways to achieve a goal or goals that you might not be able to achieve on your own, but they do not always work. Before we tell you why they are difficult to execute and how you can make them work better for you, let’s take a look at what a strategic alliance is and how you can use them. A strategic alliance happens when your company [Read More]

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Price Your Product to Capture the Value You Create

May 14, 2014 by Shyam Jha


value based pricing

Are you leaving money on the table by pricing products based on costs? According to Wharton marketing professors Jagmohan Raju and John Zhang, most companies either price their products and services based on their costs, or their competitors. They fail to capture the value they create for their customers. When asked how they set their prices, many executives throw their hands up the air and say, we don’t set the prices, markets do. They are wrong. Markets don’t set prices; marketers do. In their book titled Smart Pricing, Raju and [Read More]

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Licensing May be the Best Business Model for You

March 20, 2014 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


Intellectual Property Licensing Business Model

Let’s face it, not every inventor, scientist, or engineer is cut out to be a great businessperson. If that sounds like you, then you may be better off employing a licensing model rather than a traditional business model for commercializing your intellectual property. Licensing puts the burden of commercializing your IP on somebody else’s shoulders. You will recall that earlier this week, in The Operating Model Just Might be Best for You, we explained the advantages of the traditional (often referred to as ‘operating’) model and promised to follow up [Read More]

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The Operating Model Just Might be Best for You

March 18, 2014 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


The Operating Business Model

In our last post, Your IP Gives You Two Business Model Choices, we touched upon the differences between a traditional operating business model and a licensing business model. In that post, we said that in the traditional model, the owner of the intellectual property commercializes a product that is created out of their Intellectual Property. Alternatively, a licensing model is used when the owner of the IP licenses the innovation to another party in return for royalties. The other party then owns the rights to commercialize the IP by manufacturing [Read More]

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