Tag Archives: entreprenuer

Entrepreneurs: Their Inspiration, Challenges and Opportunities

By: Michael Kaiser

Entrepreneurs face an arduous climb as they build their business but the view from the top is worth it!

Entrepreneurs face an arduous climb as they build their business but the view from the top is worth it!

From the point of view of our economy’s present and future direction, we can predict that management and executive jobs that lasted or last for more than five years will experience a sea-change in the financial history of our country, to be replaced by interim executives and entrepreneurs. For the purpose of this blog I will cite The Random House Dictionary of the English Language Definition of who is an entrepreneur: “A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

I will propose another definition of what an entrepreneur is: He/She are the creative parents of a startup company. In the case of high-technology products and services, those parents have become the innovation and R&D sources of the New Economy.

By the aforementioned dictionary definition, entrepreneurs are driven by deep personal convictions, the main one being the vision of a unique opportunity to be successful in their career choice, as well as financially so. They are also driven by the challenge of their essential need to work after the collapse of job opportunities stemming from an economic recession.

In the search for a better understanding of the entrepreneurial ethos, I came across many useful and diverse points of view, some of which are listed for further reading in the Other References section. Kelly Spors, a staff writer for the Wall Street, in a 2009 edition of the WSJ (notice the start of the Great Recession), asks prospective entrepreneurs ten interrogative and advisory key questions in “So, You Want to Be an Entrepreneur”:

1. Are you willing and able to bear great financial risk?

2. Are you willing to sacrifice your life style for potentially many years?

3. Is your significant other on board?

4. Do you like all aspects of running a business?

5. Are you comfortable making decisions on the fly with no playbook?

6. What’s your track record of executing your ideas?

7. How persuasive and well-spoken are you?

8. Do you have a concept you are passionate about?

9. Are you a self-starter?

10. Do you have a business partner?

For her full article and the content of those questions, click on:  So, You Want to Be an Entrepreneur

For those who took or are ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge, Mike Michalowicz in his American Express’ Open Forum article “The 7 Most Common Money Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make”, warns them in this order:

1. Overhead investments

2. Underestimating miscellaneous expenses

3. Not testing before investing

4. Purchasing extravagance

5. Tax avoidance

6. Spending on do-it-yourself projects

7. Hiring before you can afford it 

To read the full article, click on: The 7 Most Common Money Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Finally, the following is an abridged version of a recent article by Bill J. Bonnstetter, which addresses the skills and performance of entrepreneurs from a useful statistical point of view:

“After assessing the subjects on their personal skills and comparing their performance against a control group, we found a certain set of skills were the most predictive of an entrepreneurial mindset. In fact, by examining these five distinct personal skills alone, we were able to predict with over 90 percent accuracy people who would become serial entrepreneurs.  HBR ChartThe quality serial entrepreneurs displayed above others were persuasion, or the ability to convince others to change the way they think, believe or behave. Persuasion for this study was defined as the ability to persuade others to join the mission. In the study, this was uncovered by ranking on a scale of 1 to 6 prompts such as: “I have been recognized for my ability to get others to say yes,” or “I have a reputation for delivering powerful presentations.” Unquestionably entrepreneurs need to excel at persuasion, whether to recruit a team or get buy-in from investors and stakeholders.”

To read the full article, click on:  New Research: The Skills That Make an Entrepreneur

Further Reading:

Picture Credit:  © Rcaucino | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Accelerating Innovation through Convergence

By: Steven Munevar, Ph.D., MBA

red blood cells

Bringing together advances in computer science, engineering and biology is allowing scientists to create complex tissues using live cells with 3D printing.

As a researcher and an entrepreneur, the wonder of discovery and the frustration of practical application often go hand in hand.  Coming from a background in engineering and biomedical science, I have found that the answer to this conundrum can be found in one word…convergence. The advent of three dimensional printing or 3D printing captures how the process of convergence can truly accelerate innovation.

What it is
3D printing is the production of any solid object from a digital schematic or model. The process of 3D printing is rather straightforward (in theory anyways) as layers of material extruded from the 3D printer are iteratively laid down in varying shapes (and on varying substrates) until the final object has been “printed”. This process is a novel departure from the usual “subtractive process” of fabrication where material is removed from a starting substrate resulting in the final shape. As this technology has matured the cost of 3D printing has reached a point where it is now more accessible to a greater number of users. So the question now is what exactly do you want to 3D print, in a word – everything!

3D printing in the Life Sciences
Let me begin with an example where the convergence of regenerative medicine and 3D printing has led to a push in 3D printing of tissues and organs, yes that rights “printing” organs. Although still early in its application, examples are growing for the use of 3D printing in regenerative medicine in both academia and industry. One example is the San Diego based company Organovo, which is focused on utilizing 3D printing technology in the form of “bio-printers”. The company’s goal is to create new tissue that can be used for both research as well as therapeutic applications. In this example, the “bio-printers” utilize ink made up of living cells/solution mixtures which are then deposited onto a specialty scaffolding substrate to generate new tissues, layer by layer, yielding for example small blood vessels, among others.

Impact of 3D printing, rethinking manufacturing
Now let’s consider 3D printing technology in the broader context of industrial manufacturing. Manufacturing has been in decline in the US as other countries, with access to lower cost labor, have become favored locations for manufacturing. With the advent of 3D printing, President Obama announced, in his State of the Union Address, that he sought to reignite manufacturing in the US through the creation of 3D printing enabled manufacturing “hubs”. Spearheaded by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), the goal of this public-private partnership is to bring 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) technology to bear against the challenge of revitalizing the manufacturing industry in the US and regaining our competitive advantage worldwide. The applications for 3D printing enabled manufacturing have been touted to span everything from defense to aerospace as well as automotive parts manufacturing among others.

3D printing and the future
From novel technology to enabling regenerating medicine to revitalizing manufacturing in the US, 3D printing seems to be converging toward a radically disruptive tool. Still not convinced as to the power of technology convergence? Then let me conclude by highlighting a recent event hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, and organized by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), titled What If…We Could All Talk to Joi Ito?  Joichi “Joi” Ito is the current Director of the MIT Media Lab and a well known activist, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist. During this event, when asked to lend his thoughts on the future of technology and the internet, Joi shared a vision where consumers would play an increasingly active role in designing AND producing the retail products they wanted utilizing platform technologies based on 3D printing and enabling design tools. Joi mused on a retail industry completely re-envisioned through the advent of 3D printing technology, the amazing exchange of information through the internet, and our continuous desire as consumers for customization, diversity, and real time access to products.

From medicine, to industrial manufacturing, to customized consumer products, 3D printing continues to converge with enabling technologies, market opportunities, and consumer demands in ever growing and amazing ways. Looking ahead as this technology matures and further grows in accessibility we will likely be seeing more of 3D printing. The real question now is what will you be 3D printing first? Now just imagine if we could have done this for the Segway…

Picture Credit:  © Chrisharvey | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images