Secrets of celebrity companies — Daena Giardella

Daena Giardella, MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer

Daena Giardella, MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer

From Forbes México

Companies helmed by or fronted by celebrities can have meteoric rises, but can also face dramatic and public setbacks.  Recent news stories, for example, have highlighted both the stratospheric success of some celebrity companies and also a set of well-documented problems with some celebrity companies.

Celebrity companies are unique in many ways, but studying them can yield important insights into where everyday entrepreneurs should put their energy and emphasis. Read More »

Starting up innovation: How your company can empower intrapreneurs — Elaine Chen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Elaine Chen

From TechBeacon

When you think of Michelin, you probably think of tires. In particular, the tires you’re about to replace on your car. The 126-year-old French company evokes images of reliable, durable rubber tires for all kinds of vehicles. “Pushing the envelope” or “cutting-edge innovation” probably aren’t the first phrases that come to mind. Yet pushing the envelope is precisely what the company’s Michelin Incubators is designed to help a corporate entrepreneur, or intrapreneur, do.

Led by SVP and Director Ralph Dimenna, Global Incubators was created to accelerate innovation outside Michelin’s core rubber tire business. The program works like a startup incubator, but it recruits teams from within Michelin. Corporate entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to executives to win a round of funding. Once they close on the funding, they put together a team and form a startup that works on the idea full time. The team tests its hypotheses in the market until they either find the product/market fit or pivot to something else.

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Not all entrepreneurs are young — Jim Dougherty

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Jim Dougherty

From Xconomy

Most of the famous entrepreneurs we hear about are fairly young. We tend to read in the popular press about the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world and assume that all successful entrepreneurs launch businesses in their 20s. However, this couldn’t be further from reality.

Recent studies show that older entrepreneurs are increasing while the number of younger entrepreneurs is decreasing. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, the share of entrepreneurs in the 55-64 age group jumped from 14.3 percent in 1996 to 23.4 percent in 2012. In contrast, the share of entrepreneurs in the youngest age group of 20-34-year-olds decreased from 34.8 percent in 1996 to 26.2 percent in 2012.

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Keeping creative employees inside the firm — Aleksandra Kacperczyk

MIT Sloan Professor Aleksandra Kacperczyk

MIT Sloan Professor Aleksandra Kacperczyk

From the Chicago Tribune

At a large, established company, several employees get together and hatch a plan for a new business. Eventually, they make the leap, exiting their old firm and launching a venture that takes off and achieves great heights.

This oft-repeated tale is usually considered a business success story. Spin-offs have the potential to generate great value. New companies create jobs and spawn new products and services. When the process starts happening at a number of firms in the same place at the same time, business clusters form, spreading prosperity across an entire region.

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What entrepreneurs should learn from John Lackey’s incredible turn around — Bill Aulet

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Bill Aulet

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Bill Aulet

From Xconomy

Success in business is out of reach to those who aren’t already blessed with plentiful advantage, so goes the conventional wisdom. A similar stereotype in sports is that you either have talent or you don’t. But the story of a once-maligned pitcher’s World Series victory upends both of these stereotypes, and has great lessons for entrepreneurs.

A year ago, the Boston Red Sox would have gladly traded John “Popeye’s Chicken and Beer” Lackey for a bucket of dirty baseballs. Certainly, the fans would have. The pitcher delivered a horrific 6.41 earned run average in 2011, missed the entire 2012 season due to injury, and his clubhouse antics suggested a lack of discipline and focus that would hamper him even when he was healthy. Read More »