For Budding Entrepreneurs
We strongly believe in technology commercialization because it is a
process for transforming research work into a tangible product that can
make a difference in people’s lives. The more successful a product
becomes, the more impact it has in the world. Consequently, we promote
our students to commercialize their research work if it has a potential
to turn into a successful product.
Dr. Santosh Kumar has been involved in entrepreneurial activities since
2001 when he led the OConnect team to win second prize in $100,000 OSU
Business Plan Competition. Since then he has advised several high tech
startups. Currently, his WiSe MANet lab has several active projects
that have potential to turn into successful products.
Top Ten Books:
- Clayton M. Christensen
and Michael E. Raynor, "The Innovator's Solution: Creating
and Sustaining Successful Growth," Harvard Business School Press, September
- You may have heard the
term "disruptive technology." Do you really know what it means? Do you know
how to cast your product as a disruptive product? This book will teach you
the theory of disruptive innovation. Casting your product as a disruptive
product you can increase your company's chances of success from 6% to 37%.
- Clayton M. Christensen,
"The Innovator's Dilemma," HarperBusiness,
January 2003. (A companion book. This is where an extensive evidence for the
validity of the theory of disruption is presented.)
- Geoffrey A. Moore, "Crossing
the Chasm," HarperBusiness, August 2002.
- Your company is a new
company. Nobody (your potential customers) knows you. Nobody is ready to
buy from you because you are not a market leader. So, how do you get you
choose your initial market so that you can get your company's sales off the
ground? This book shows you how.
- You are in the product
development phase and you need the involvement of a potential customer without
being bound to that customer's restrictive terms. Is there a customer in
this world who will not just be ready to work with you but will be excited
to work with you to refine and define your product features? A seminal paper
from Prof. Eric Von Hippel titled "Lead Users: An Important
Source of Novel Product Concepts," Management Science, July 1986. This
paper is available online from Prof. Hippel's homepage at http://web.mit.edu/evhippel/www/Publications.htm.
- Jim Collins, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others
Don't," HarperBusiness, October 2001.
- The greatest take from
this book: What kind of employees should you hire? Short answer: Hire those
people who share the same passion as you have for the company and for the
particular business that your company is in. And, hire the best people you
can find in that business. For detailed insights, read the book yourself.
- Randy Komisar, "The Monk
and the Riddle," Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
- Why do you want to start
a new venture? This is the most basic question every entrepreneur should
ask himself/herself before sweating out for a new venture. Randy suggests
you better be deeply passionate about your business. This passionis what
will help you sail through rough times (which almost always come).
- How do you find out if
you are really passionate about your new venture? Ask yourself this question:
How will you feel if after 3 years of hard work and sweat, your new venture
fails? Will you regret that you should have never wasted your time on it
or will you feel a sense of satisfaction that you at least tried your best
to bring to this world what you cared very deeply about? The answer better
be the latter one.
- Jeffrey A. Timmons and Stephen
Spinelli, "New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century,"
- This book will provide
you with most of the knowledge you need to write a great business plan.
- Malcolm Gladwell, "The
Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference," Little, Brown,
- This book takes you inside
the epidemic of word-of-mouth and provides some deep insight on how to make
word-of-mouth work for your product or service. The lessons are especially
useful if you happen to have a small marketing budget, which is the case with
most start-up companies. Four key lessons are the following:
- First, make you message
simple and engaging for the audience so that it becomes memorable. Controversial
messages (or new items or movies) become memorable because they engage a large
group of people.
- Second, pitch your message
to the Connectors in your market, i.e. those customers or people inside customer
enterprises who are connected to a vast number of other people. If they remember
your message and find it exciting, you have succeeded in starting a word-of-mouth
- Third, find Mavens for
your product. Mavens are the people who are hungry for information on new
products and who are altruistic by heart. In other words, Mavens take great
pleasure in learning about new products and they take even greater pleasure
in using that information to help their friends and acquaintances make right
decisions. Mavens play a key role in word-of-mouth epidemic because their
advice is respected by their listeners, given their altruistic intentions.
- Finally, a warning. When
your products starts to get mainstream, you may start ignoring the Mavens.
This can be very dangerous for your business and can cause you to fall back
in the chasm. If Mavens become upset or become dissatisfied with your product
or service, pretty soon you may find the demand and interest for your product/service
waning in the marketplace. So, always cater very well to the Mavens.
- Al Ries and Jack Trout,
"Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind," McGraw-Hill,
- How do you position
your product so that your investors as well as your customers understand
what is novel about your product? This is the central question addressed
in this book.
- One simple (but powerful)
answer is the following: Find a category where your product or service is
the first. Everyone remembers the first person to land on the moon, but hardly
anyone remembers the second. This is the key lesson.
- Use memorable and meaningful
names for your product.
- William Hazlett Upson,
"The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor,"
Voyageur Press, July 2001.
- This book is a great
classic teaching you why selling is fun and what it takes to become a great
- One key lesson is that
help your customer solve his problem even if it takes tremendous effort on
your part. Your product may solve only part of your customer's problem. Approach
a customer with a complete solution to his problems.
- Michael E. Porter,
"Michael E. Porter on Competition," Harvard Business
School Press, October 1998.
- William H. Davidow, "Marketing
High Technology:An Insider's View," The Free Press, 1986.
- This book provides with
some basic marketing concepts that are unique to the high-technology world.
For example, the mass advertising that is meant to create a market pull among
potential buyers may not work very well for high-tech products that do not
sell through retail channels.
I highly recommend reading Harvard
Business Review magazine. I have found several great artciles in here.
Other Interesting Books:
Books on Entrepreneurship:
Books on Self-Development:
- Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
- Harvard Business Review on Entrepreneurship (paperback
- Entrepreneurial Venture edited by William A. Sahlman and
Howard H. Stevenson, Harvard Business School Publications, 1992.
- The Entrepreneur's Fastrack Handbook
- Burn Rate: How I survived The Gold Rush Years on the Internet.
- Commercializing New Technologies: Getting from Mind to
Market by Vijay K. Jolly
Books on Leadership and
Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About
Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do not By Robert T Kiyosaki and Sharon
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
- Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingha
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
- Winning by Jack Welch. (The
four chapters about "Your Career" are very useful in defining a highly-rewarding
- In Search for Excellence by Tom Peters
- Management Challenges for the 21st Century by Peter F
- John P Kotter on What Leaders Really Do? by John P Kotter
- Peopleware by T DeMarco and T Lister
- The One Minute Manager by Blachard and Johnson
Business Review on Leadership
- Managers as Leaders (Harvard Business Review Paperback
- The Agile Manager's Guide To Building And Leading Teams
by Straub, Joseph T.
- The Agile Manager's Guide To Leadership by Walter J. Wadsworth
- Harvard Business Review onManaging People
- Harvard Business Review on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
- Manage people, not personnel : motivation and performance
appraisal / with a preface by Victor H. Vroom
- Will to Lead: Running a Business with a Network of Leaders
by Marvin Bower
- Harvard Business Review on Managing High-Tech Industries
- First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest
Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
- Winning by Jack Welch.