As more people aspire to become entrepreneurs, it is important to dispel many of the misperceptions about this species. Here are six big ones that even some entrepreneurs believe:
1. They are the smartest and most high achieving people in the room: They certainly weren’t growing up. It is highly unlikely they were the valedictorians of their classes in college. As one successful entrepreneur recently said to me, “If I had a 4.0 at graduation, it stood for the number of parties I went to the night before rather than my GPA.” Entrepreneurs don’t typically try to please other people; rather, they find something that deeply fascinates them and then hyper-focus on that particular opportunity. Hence, the high dropout rates. Case study: Steve Jobs
In the wake of the economic crisis, many companies these days seem to be undervalued. The current earnings-to-price ratios are high and often market commentators argue that these ratios reflect good opportunities to invest. However, the emergence of undervalued stocks comes at a time of high market uncertainty so it’s more important than ever for investors to identify strong investment opportunities based on a company’s fundamentals. Read More »
When big investors want to execute trades but fear the size of the transaction could move the market, they often go to dark pools—alternative trading systems where orders are not publicly displayed. These opaque trading venues, now accounting for about 12 percent of equity trading volume in the United States, have sparked concern among regulators and in the financial press. With so many transactions occurring out of public view, critics warn that price discovery, the accurate determination of asset prices, will become more difficult. Read More »
There is a growing consensus that the “bench-to-bedside” process of translating biomedical research into effective therapeutics is broken. A confluence of factors explains such pessimism but among the most widespread is the sense that the current the drug development business model is flawed. The development of new therapeutics is an expensive, lengthy, and risky process that challenges traditional funding vehicles, which are limited in size, Read More »
Cleantech has seen its share of high profile failures over the past year. The bankruptcy of solar cell company Solyndra has been the most public, but there are many others. This has led many to say that the sector is immature, others to say it is doomed or plagued by fickle or unstable state subsidies. It is also true that quite often, Cleantech firms bank on (somebody) introducing changes in infrastructure that need significant momentum (and time) to take hold. But surely Cleantech CEOs are smart people, so the reason they fail must be slightly more complex, perhaps? And is it even so certain that the problem lies with the industry itself and not with other factors? Is failure, in fact, quite evenly distributed across sectors? You may have noticed that strategies sometimes fail. Some would say strategies mostly fail. I know from my own life that intent does not always translate to result. The question is why.Jim Collins, in his book Why The Mighty Fail (2009), believes failures have a 5 stage lifecycle: hubris of success, pursuit of more, denial of risk, grasping at straws, and capitulation. Does his framework apply equally well across all industries? Is it fully relevant to cleantech?