Archive for September, 2008

Early African-American entrepreneurship

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Frances Smith Foster’s Love and Marriage in Early African America contains some intriguing findings about the entrepreneurial spirit of African-Americans during the period of slavery and Jim Crow. At Knowledge@Emory, the author gives several examples of black entrepreneurship during the 18th and 19th century, including that of the emergence of a black press.

Why be an entrepreneur?

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Matt Bandyk postulates three reasons why people choose to become entrepreneurs: money, passion, and independence. Of those three, he argues that not money but “the attraction of the entrepreneurial lifestyle or the opportunity to sell your passion for a living is why most entrepreneurs do what they do.”

2008 Presidential Debates on MySpace

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Check out MyDebates, created by MySpace in partnership with the Commission on Presidential Debates. The site gives visitors the opportunity to watch a live stream of each debate and track how the candidates stand on certain issues. It will also allow users to access a video archive of the debates, the responses of the candidates, and to participate in polls.

Guy Kawasaki’s entrepreneurial lessons

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Venture capitalist and founder of Garage Technology Ventures Guy Kawasaki shares the five most important lessons he has learned as an entrepreneur. His regular web log is also worth checking out.

Start-ups: Who really creates value?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Scott Shane provides an interesting analysis at Small Business Trends that only a handful of start-ups create a lot of financial value. He looked at 1996 U.S. Census data and found that “83 percent of companies that have less than $500,000 in sales at age six account for only 4 percent of the value of the cohort of companies. By contrast, the 1.6 percent of the companies that had sales of $5,000,000 or more accounted for 54.2 percent of the value of the cohort. In fact, just the 175 companies that had reached $100,000,000 in sales or more in year six accounted for 14.5 percent of the value of the 1996 cohort of start-ups.”

What are the worst economic fallacies?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

At The Austrian Economists web log, Steve Horwitz has generated a lively discussion about what the most damaging economic fallacies of fact and of theory are.

Fixing healthcare through entrepreneurship

Monday, September 15th, 2008

At City Journal, Paul Howard has this excellent overview of new market-driven developments in healthcare: “[E]ntrepreneurs are finding ways to bring innovative, consumer-oriented health care to market—simplifying medical decisions, reinvigorating primary care, and lowering health-care costs. From health insurance to DNA-driven medicine, American health care is experiencing a revolution from below that promises to improve quality, lower costs, and empower people to control their own health care. … There isn’t one store for electronics, and there’s no reason that there should be one venue, or just a few, for health care.”

Young innovators and ethnic patenting

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Technology Review published its annual “Young Innovators under 35” list. JB Straubel, who designs electric cars for Tesla Motors, ranks at the top, while Aimée Rose was named “Humanitarian of the Year” for her work on developing and commercializing explosives detection devices. Also on the list: Andrew Ng who develops household robots, Hossam Haick who created an electric nose that “sniffs out” cancer, and Michelle Chang who genetically engineers microbes to produce fuel and medical drugs.

Of related interest: Two studies on immigrant patenting. Harvard Business School’s William Kerr study “The Agglomeration of US Ethnic Inventors” (PDF) found a substantial increase in Indian and Chinese inventors. Between 1975 and 2004, the share of Chinese inventors rose from 2% to 8%, and the share of Indian inventors increased from 2% to 4%. The study also revealed that ethnic patenting is concentrated in major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Between 1995 and 2004 the share of patents by ethnic inventors in these cities was 19%, 10% and 8%, respectively.

And, “How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?” by Jennifer Hunt and Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle shows “that immigrants patent at double the native rate, and that this is entirely accounted for by their disproportionately holding degrees in science and engineering. These data imply that a one percentage point rise in the share of immigrant college graduates in the population increases patents per capita by 6%.”

Creative branding and culture

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

A fascinating collection of posts on how companies such as Nike, Kleenex, and BMW look to cultural trends, or sometimes fail to do so, when developing branding stategies.

The accidental entrepreneur

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Steve Miller, managing director of Standard & Poor’s LCD, a division which provides information to the leveraged finance industry, recalls how a pink slip led him to start his own business. He also gives some practical advice on how to succeed as an entrepreneur.