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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Thoughts on Entrepreneurship & Innovation part 4



(cont) ... The end of the track sessions which coincides with the end of this reflection report couldn’t have had a better ending, except the one I experienced during the last mentoring lecture hosted by Sean Killeen[1]. Sean brought a magnificent and novel flavor in the class and I consider his contribution simply amazing. Honesty, sincerity, clear and focused ideas, sharing experience and not being afraid to admit having made mistakes during his entrepreneurial voyage, the role of his family and friends and the psychological crusade he went through before starting, delivered an emotional presentation for which I am thankful to him.  I was stunned by his way of wanting to move to something new, not following but creating rules and always being in pursuit for new challenges. Every single slide and word of Sean’s presentation has been a total apocalypses for me, but the ultimate thing that I will keep is the fact that entrepreneurship is a club of terror. It is a terrifying experience, with no - one to share your fears, consisting of high points and low points of entrepreneurial terror and basically it is like living with the monster which is fear. However, he acknowledged that this club is valid for both winners and losers. An entrepreneur is someone who has to carry the cross for the others, nonetheless, this club of Terror is exclusive and we are all welcomed!

Sean was kind enough to recommend some further reading but he sincerely said that “… books are only to augment your ideas. The need to become an entrepreneur and to take a step forward is inherent within you. You will never be fully prepared. In order to live your dream you must go out there and fight for it”


One of the books he recommends is “The Business Battlecard” by Paul O’Dea who uses five simple, but crucial questions, so as to help the reader craft a winning strategy to grow the company and rally the team. Another interesting book, co-authored by Paul, is “Select Selling”. The content is similar to the first, but with more focus on the sales activity. A classic for startups is Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start”. This is a book that I have started reading a while ago and it is definitely a must for any scholar of entrepreneurial studies. Kawasaki, former marketing maven of Apple Computer, delves into some issues everyone faces when starting or revitalizing any undertaking. Some fundamental questions include: 
  1. What does it take to turn ideas into action?
  2. What are the elements of a perfect pitch?
  3. How do you win the war for talent?
  4. How do you establish a brand without bucks?
The book gives the essential steps to launch great products, services, and companies. It also shows managers how to unleash entrepreneurial thinking at established companies, helping them foster the pluck and creativity that their businesses need to stay ahead of the pack. Kawasaki provides readers with Ideas for Starting Things including his field-tested insider's techniques for bootstrapping, branding, networking, recruiting, pitching, rainmaking, and, most important in this fickle consumer climate, building buzz. 

Another good reading is “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore which, based on worldwide reviews, is considered the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets. Last but not least another interesting reading is “The New Venture Adventure” by Ueli Looser and Bruno Schlapfer which aims at helping the reader through the first stage of starting up an innovative, high-growth company. 

Closing Remarks 

To look for something new is not easy. To feel the need to contribute to something different and make a change in life is not easy. However, it is better to try rather than regretting of not trying. The magic of being given the chance to do what you really want in your life is something that cannot be valued. All the people that I had the chance to meet share one common element: the inner feeling to change, to bestow, to share, to challenge, to shape their future and not compromise. People who are not attracted by certainty and easiness, but always pushing themselves to move forward, ask new questions and seek new answers. I believe that this is the club of people I want to be a part of in the future.  



[1] Friday March 2nd, Sean Killeen, CEO and founder of Xintec on “The challenges of being an entrepreneur in a highly competitive market dominated by some large players and what sales can mean in such a context”

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