For Budding Entrepreneurs

WiSeMANet Lab Current Projects Home Research Grants Prospective Students
News Teaching Publications Program Committees About Me


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.

Our Involvement:

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:

  1. Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor, "The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth," Harvard Business School Press, September 2003.
    1. 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%.
    2. 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.)
  2. Geoffrey A. Moore, "Crossing the Chasm," HarperBusiness, August 2002.
    1. 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.
    2. 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
  3. Jim Collins, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't," HarperBusiness, October 2001.
    1. 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.
  4. Randy Komisar, "The Monk and the Riddle," Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
    1. 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).
    2. 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.
  5. Jeffrey A. Timmons and Stephen Spinelli, "New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century," McGraw-Hill, 2004.
    1. This book will provide you with most of the knowledge you need to write a great business plan.
  6. Malcolm Gladwell, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference," Little, Brown, February 2000.
    1. 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: 
    2. 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.
    3. 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 epidemic.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
  7. Al Ries and Jack Trout, "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind," McGraw-Hill, December 2000.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Use memorable and meaningful names for your product.
  8. William Hazlett Upson, "The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor," Voyageur Press, July 2001.
    1. This book is a great classic teaching you why selling is fun and what it takes to become a great salesperson.
    2. 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.
  9. Michael E. Porter, "Michael E. Porter on Competition," Harvard Business School Press, October 1998.
  10. William H. Davidow, "Marketing High Technology:An Insider's View," The Free Press, 1986.
    1. 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:
  1. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  2. Harvard Business Review on Entrepreneurship (paperback series)
  3. Entrepreneurial Venture edited by William A. Sahlman and Howard H. Stevenson, Harvard Business School Publications, 1992.
  4. The Entrepreneur's Fastrack Handbook
  5. Burn Rate: How I survived The Gold Rush Years on the Internet. Michael Wolff
  6. Commercializing New Technologies: Getting from Mind to Market by Vijay K. Jolly
Books on Self-Development:
  1. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
  2. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  3. Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
  4. 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 L Lechter
  5. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  6. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingha
  7. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
  8. Winning by Jack Welch. (The four chapters about "Your Career" are very useful in defining a highly-rewarding career.)
Books on Leadership and People Management
  1. In Search for Excellence by Tom Peters
  2. Management Challenges for the 21st Century by Peter F Drucker
  3. John P Kotter on What Leaders Really Do? by John P Kotter
  4. Peopleware by T DeMarco and T Lister
  5. The One Minute Manager by Blachard and Johnson
  6. Harvard Business Review on Leadership
  7. Managers as Leaders (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
  8. The Agile Manager's Guide To Building And Leading Teams by Straub, Joseph T.
  9. The Agile Manager's Guide To Leadership by Walter J. Wadsworth
  10. Harvard Business Review onManaging People
  11. Harvard Business Review on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  12. Manage people, not personnel : motivation and performance appraisal / with a preface by Victor H. Vroom
  13. Will to Lead: Running a Business with a Network of Leaders by Marvin Bower
  14. Harvard Business Review on Managing High-Tech Industries
  15. First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
  16. Winning by Jack Welch.