Why Young People Don’t Start their Own Business

Dave Pollard outlines 10 reasons. Among them:

# Don’t Have the Skills: “I wouldn’t know where to start. I took entrepreneurship in college, but it was all about understanding financial statements and types of loans. I’ve never even spoken to a successful entrepreneur.” As the chart at right shows, their are eight capacities that at least one person on the team starting a new business needs to have, and sixteen learnings, most of which are best acquired by visiting with and speaking with entrepreneurs who are putting these skills into practice. This is not rocket science, and it’s a tragedy we aren’t teaching it.

# Don’t Have the Self-Confidence: “I’d get discouraged too early in the process. It all sounds so intimidating. You have to have nerves of steel and incredible courage to take this on. I know some entrepreneurs, and I don’t envy them.” It needn’t be intimidating. This is mostly fear of the unknown, and the lingering mythology of entrepreneurship that is perpetuated, alas, because so many entrepreneurs keep making the same avoidable mistakes over and over.

API Importance

Martin Geddes writes:

Marc Canter has an unmissable statistic: Did you know that 45% of all of eBays listings come in through their APIs?

As you might remember, at Sprint we were trying to open up the wireless side into an open technology and business platform. It failed, mostly for lack of a cultural imperative to drive in that direction.

Ebays business comprises two stages: someone lists an item (eBay gets paid for this), and someone buys the item (eBay gets paid for this too). Theyve taken all the friction out of the first half of their business. No human necessary! Only the actual purchase still requires a human click, and it cant be too long until the shop-bots start to change that too. (Although were part-way there already.)

Now think about the traditional telephony business. I have to dial, you may have to answer. Voicemail part-automates the answering, generating more metered minutes. But you have to ask yourself: is it really the best you can do? Is it impossible to broaden the business model temporary buddies, address book access, directory, etc.? Cant you deepen it too, and automate previously manual business transactions via APIs?

Municipal Wi-Fi

The Economist writes:

Small municipal wireless networks, typically built for local-government use, have been up and running in some parts of America for some time. The far bolder idea of building citywide networks available to all took flight in August 2004, when plans for such a network were announced by John Street, the mayor of Philadelphia. Stringing transmitters across the entire city would create the world’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot, providing access both indoors and out.

This would extend low-cost broadband access to existing users frustrated by the slow speed and high cost of dial-up internet connections.

Microsoft Origami

WSJ writes:

After months of cryptic Web marketing and word-of-mouth hype over Microsoft Corp.’s project code-named Origami, the company finally showed off the product Thursday: an ultracompact computer running Windows XP with a touchscreen and wireless connectivity.

The device, about the size of a large paperback book, weighs less than 2 pounds and is about one inch thick. It doesn’t have a keyboard, but includes a seven-inch screen that responds to a stylus or the tap of a finger. The device, manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co. and others, is expected to be in stores next month for between $600 and $1,000.

The screen is wide, bright and easy to see, even in low light. Mr. Mitchell showed a music video on one model and a film on the other. It doesn’t have its own keyboard, but since the units are designed with USB 2 ports, one could be plugged in as needed, the Associated Press reported. Other units shown to the AP had SecureDigital Card and CompactFlash memory-card slots, along with jacks for connecting digital cameras, headphones and speakers.

Forrester’s Social Computing Report

Charlene Li provides a summary: “Easy connections brought about by cheap devices, modular content, and shared computing resources are having a profound impact on our global economy and social structure. Individuals increasingly take cues from one another rather than from institutional sources like corporations, media outlets, religions, and political bodies. To thrive in an era of Social Computing, companies must abandon top-down management and communication tactics, weave communities into their products and services, use employees and partners as marketers, and become part of a living fabric of brand loyalists.”

TECH TALK: Extreme Competition: The Book

Peter Fingar, Executive Partner in the business strategy firm, Greystone Group, is one of the industrys noted experts on business process management, and a practitioner with over thirty years of hands-on experience at the intersection of business and technology. This is what he has to say in the preface to his book Extreme Competition:

It wasnt the invention of the computer that triggered a great 21st century transformation, it was Sputnik in 1957, and the beginning of global telecommunications. Now all the worlds computers are linked by the Net, shrinking the planet to the size of the screen on your cell phone. The last 40 years have been a kind of warm up to the real thing. The great dot-com crash of 2000 wasnt the signal for the beginning of the end, it was a signal that we had reached the end of the beginning. The tinkering phase of the Internet was complete, and now its time to get on with the real transformation of business and society.

Clyde Prestowitz, author and former counselor to the Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan Administration, shocks us with his revelations that three billion new capitalists have entered the work force, triggering the great shift of wealth and power to the Eastwhich means all is changed, utterly.

To distill this great 21st century business transformation and what it portends for businesses and individuals, I decided to open up the screen on my desktop and reached out to experts from India, China, Europe, Japan, Australia, Korea, Singapore and the Mid-East to bring up-to-the minute research to these pages. Those experts brought fresh information youd only hear around the water cooler in high-tech organizations in Shanghai, London, Bangalore, Taipei, Tokyo, Hyderabad, Sydney, Riyadh, Manama, Seoul and Singaporestepping up to the plate (their computer screens) to make this synthesis and distillation reflect a global snapshot of the new world of extreme competition. Although we were continents apart during the development of this book, we were virtual office mates through our many collaborations using the Net and Skype Internet telephone, messaging and file sharing (total cost of collaborating this way? $Zero). Such intimate interaction with individual knowledge workers, scattered around the globe, wasnt possible before the world was wired, and gives you a hint of what this book is aboutextreme collaboration without borders.

Peter adds:

The days of market stability and competitive advantage from a single innovation are over. Today, companies must respond to new entrants in their industries that come from nowhere. And they must not just innovate, they must set the pace of innovation, gaining temporary advantage, one innovation at a time, and then move on to the next.

These new realities call for a new approach to management, and new capabilities to execute on innovation in an increasingly wired and global marketplace. The ability not only to sense and respond to market change, but to also anticipate customer needs, and shape markets, will become the core competencies for successful companies, large and small.

This is a world of extreme competitors.

Tomorrow: The New Competitors

Continue reading