Archive for the ‘MIT’ Category

Could grads from Northeastern be better entrepreneurs than grads from Harvard or MIT?

26 August 2010

Having just sat through the final presentations of ten entrepreneurial teams graduating from Dean Paul Zavracky’s yearlong I-Cubator program at Northeastern University’s School of Technological Entrepreneurship, I have to ask: Are these NU grads better suited to be entrepreneurs than the grads from Harvard’s HBS Business School or MIT’s Sloan Entrepreneurship Center?

I’ve seen the hard work – and focused energy — of prior grads from this NU program, such as Jason Evanish, who started Greenhorn Connect and who is an early team member of Laura Fitton’s Twitter startup, oneforty.  This year, I’ve met more folks from the program in my role as mentor to one of the NU teams, NueBuild, whose founding members Ben Youtz and Peter Wiederspahn developed a patented, energy efficient, modular, low cost, home construction system.  I am providing hands-on mentoring to the founding team, as well as helping their efforts to enter their first target market, China.

Seeing ten Northeastern teams up close this week, I am left with the view that they might just be more practical, more hands-on, and more interdisciplinary-aware than the typical grads from those other business schools.  What’s your view?

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The Economist: “Why Many USA Companies Now Hire Interim CEOs.”

30 December 2009

The Economist has a great article about the type of work I’ve been doing for ten years, Interim CEO. The piece addresses why many American companies are now adopting a practice that originated in Europe, and why so many top-notch execs are enjoying these temporary CEO jobs.

The Economist postulates that “interim executives may be the wave of the future in all rich countries, as these countries evolve from what Peter Drucker called a ‘society of organizations’ into a ‘society of networks.’”

Why Companies Do It

The article details three reasons why a company might choose to (more…)

My 1st Interim Assignment a Decade Ago, E Ink, Was Just Successfully Sold.

2 June 2009

Kindle2My very first interim assignment a decade ago was at E Ink, the maker of Amazon’s Kindle. I am pleased to see the company was successfully sold and will remain in Boston. Congratulations to Russ Wilcox and the great team at E Ink

Here’s what I say about E Ink in my resume:

“Reporting to the CEO, Jim Iuliano in an interim role as General Manager of a 22-person group within a 100-person Atlas Venture funded company that originated out of MIT.  Was charged with determining why divisional revenue targets had not been achieved.  Although I possessed no prior knowledge of the product space (electronic, centrally controlled signage) or the target markets (retailers and consumer package goods companies), within weeks determined that success could not be immediately achieved with the current product in the existing markets.  Created and managed four SWAT teams which rapidly conducted exhaustive research to find a new market opportunity for the Company’s technologies, the Ink-In-Motion line which is still in use today.  Currently, E Ink’s technology is the display in the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader wireless reading devices.  Eink was sold for over $215 million.”

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Great Polaris Venture / MIT “Triumph in Tech” Event

2 March 2008

180px-wfm_stata_center.jpgLast week’s “Triumph in Tech” event at the R&D Pub in MIT’s Stata Center was a success. Polaris Venture Partners and the MIT VCPE (Venture Capital and Private Equity) Club hosted the ‘round robin’ dinner – we changed tables after each course – with the purpose of bringing together three types of people: Venture Capitalists (looking to meet this year’s top graduates); MIT Sloan School MBA students, most from the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program (looking to find a start-up that’ll hire them); and seasoned CEOs – people like me who Polaris asked to speak directly to the subject of the evening, “How Great Teams Come Together and Break Through to Success.”

Though I enjoyed talking about the teams I’ve pulled together in early-stage start-ups, turn arounds, or ‘growth-phase’ companies both here and in Europe, I enjoyed even more learning new ‘tricks of the trade’ from my contemporaries. Unfortunately I suspect some of the students did not enjoy the advice given by many of the CEOs: since start-ups don’t have the luxury to groom, you’ll not likely find a start-up willing to hire a fresh MBA grad for their executive team. So land a position – preferably in Bus Dev and / or Product Management – at a large, well run company with a strong management training program. Then come back in ten years and seek out your start-up.

This event was one of those win / win situations where all in attendance – the Polaris VCs, the MIT MBA candidates, and the CEOs – benefited.

Despite MIT Dean’s Forced Resignation, Every Parent Should Still Read Marilee Jones’s Book on College Admissions

30 April 2007

less-stress-more-success-larger.jpgMIT Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones resigned after acknowledging fabricating her academic credentials when applying for an administrative assistant position in the seventies. Despite this, her advice on how the parents of high school juniors and seniors can reduce stress in the college admissions process is still spot on. Despite her resignation, every parent of a high school junior or senior should buy her book today.

I was lucky enough to receive Ms. Jones’s advice when she spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at our Boston area high school. For those not so lucky, you can obtain the advice in her book, Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond, coauthored with pediatrician Kenneth R. Ginsburg.

Parents – and their children – will benefit from Jones’s advice for two reasons: (more…)