- Visit to Stanford University
Tom Byers, responsible for entrepreneurship at Stanford presented an introduction to Silicon Valley and the ecosystem that thrives.
Quoting Howard Stevenson from Harvard Business School clarified that “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regards to resources controlled”.
Furthermore, Tom emphasized the need to align closely the academic world and the entrepreneurial world. Stanford promotes this through Roundtables on Entrepreneurship Education and having available 24 X 7 the Entrepreneurship Corner.
Burton Lee, was undoubtedly a highlight of the day, if not the entire trip.
“Focus on product and service design and then build your entrepreneurial venture around that”.What’s hot in Silicon Valley today:
- Big Data
- Social Networks
- Cloud Computing
- Product Design
There are key differences between the US and Europe in their ability to promote such ecosystems. These differences appear in the cultural settings, the networks that exist and are created, the decision process speed and efficiency and the role of government. Thought leadership is significantly different ant Burton explained how characteristics such as leading by example, challenging “business as usual” and “processes as usual” are key to promote these fertile environments.
Of very practical relevance, here are the top 10 mistakes entrepreneurs make in Silicon Valley that Burton Lee shared with us:
- Poor management of professional relationships
- Showing up wearing a tie
- Not taking Social Media seriously
- Wasting people’s time
- Not being prepared and “doing your homework”
- Do not secure a good law firm, or work through their law firm for introductions
- Poor professional and social networking strategies
- Spend too much time with the wrong people
- Spend too much time with fellow countrymen, instead of broadening and deepening network
- Language (poor English language skills)
- Lack of curiosity and interest in exploring new ideas / people
- Age-related bias and assumptions
In a world of digital relations, physical proximity still plays a critical role.
A visit to Stanford would not be complete without an appreciation for its D-School (for Design). Professor Banny Banerjee took us through Stanford Design Thinking. It is a means of tapping into sources of organic growth within an organization. The perspective on value is taken from the end-user’s viewpoint. Solving real end-user needs will yield the highest value to all stakeholders.
D-School’s approach to Design Thinking problem resolution rely on experiential research of end-user needs. A cycle of idea modelling and iteration allows for rapid learning and improvement.
And so Stanford invites students to join them… in failure!