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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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Your IP Gives You Two Business Model Choices

March 14, 2014 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


Two Business Model Choices for Intellectual Property

You may recall a popular piece from September 2012, Licensing Your Intellectual Property for Fun and Profit. The point of the article was to describe the potentially lucrative, yet often overlooked business model of licensing technology to an independent company rather than building a company around the technology yourself. This post is the first of three that will cover the licensing vs. operating decision in greater depth. Here in part one we will give an overview of the two business models that owners of IP have to commercialize their technologies. [Read More]

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The Founder’s Dictionary 2014: Updated Startup Trends and Terminology

March 10, 2014 by Akira Hirai


Startup Terms

If you have spent any time reading sites like TechCrunch, Hacker News, or just about any startup blog or small business website, you’ve probably noticed that the tech startup field has more jargon and industry-specific terminology than most. At times it seems like its own separate language, and it can be tough for even an experienced entrepreneur to keep up. On top of all this, the startup landscape is shifting all the time, with new business models and funding opportunities emerging regularly. Sure, there is Urban Dictionary for slang, and [Read More]

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The Fallacy of First Mover Advantage

February 18, 2014 by Shyam Jha


The Fallacy of First Mover Advantage

“No one remembers the second man on the moon,” goes the marketing adage. “Or second to market.” Fans of Buzz Aldrin may disagree, but the fact remains that Neil Armstrong is the name that first comes to mind when thinking about the conquest of the moon. Being first to market is a much-hyped strategic advantage. Indeed, there are several cases of first mover advantage holders who created a new market space with a new product or service, and continued to dominate that segment. Think Ford in automobiles, Gillette in shaving, [Read More]

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