My articles and research on ‘Wall Street Journal’

How the Nature of Competition Has Changed

 Not long ago, you could see your competition coming. What you had to worry about most was a new entrant within your industry that had a simpler, lower-priced product. To stay ahead, you could either improve your product’s functionality or build new products that extended the range and value of your offerings. Management guru Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive innovation” to describe how...

Wall Street Journal: Location No Longer Determines Success

Oculus, the latest technology startup to be acquired for billions of dollars, was based not in Silicon Valley but in Irvine, Calif. Snapchat, which is rumored to be worth billions, is based in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles area is a good place to live and has great weather, but it has no real advantage as a technology center. These companies could have been based anywhere with equal success. You can’t predict...

Wall Street Journal: Keeping Women in the Tech Workforce

Once women are hired, the challenge for businesses becomes retaining them. A problem women commonly face when they join an industry is feeling marginalized and discriminated against. They leave the workforce midcareer. A report by the Anita Borg Institute noted that women leave technology companies at twice the rate at which men do. The key reasons are poor working conditions for women, lack of work–life...

Wall Street Journal: Steps to Increasing the Number of Women In Tech

Tech-industry executives say they have an extremely difficult time finding technical talent and that this shortage  hurts their company’s performance. They claim to look far and wide, including abroad, yet they overlook the lowest-hanging fruit: women and minorities. The percentage of women in engineering jobs is so embarrassingly low—in the single digits or low teens—that many tech companies refuse to...

Wall Street Journal: Crowdsourcing is Overtaking Outsourcing

Outsourcing was the Bogeyman of the 90s. Protectionists portrayed it as an evil that would take American jobs away. Yes, some jobs did go offshore as people feared, but it made the global economic pie grow bigger. Whether you agree or disagree, and regardless of whether you love outsourcing or hate it, much more lies ahead. The nature of work is itself changing—it is democratizing.  Outsourcing is being superseded...

Wall Street Journal: Come Clean When Things Go Wrong

The best way of dealing with the press, customers, and critics is to come clean when things go wrong and admit when you make a mistake. We are humans, and no one expects us to be perfect. Even though you may get some negative press, it won’t be anything like the alternative. As well, you will build a level of trust that pays long-term dividends. I learned this the hard way when I was an entrepreneur. In my...

Wall Street Journal: There’s No Age Requirement for Innovation

 A common belief in the Silicon Valley VC community is that if you are over 35 years old, you are too old to innovate. The stereotypical successful entrepreneur is Mark Zuckerberg—the young college dropout who dreamed up a crazy idea while in his dorm room. As I have explained in previous articles, this stereotype is deeply flawed. The fact is that you are never too old to innovate.  As well, the wunderkinder...

Wall Street Journal: Silicon Valley Has a Code Name for Sexism & Racism

On the surface, Silicon Valley looks like the perfect meritocracy. Half its startups are founded by immigrants. You see people from all over the world collaborating and competing. And race and religion are no barriers to success. But when you look closer, you begin to notice something strange: that, with a couple of notable exceptions, women are rarely found in the executive ranks of tech companies. The...

Wall Street Journal: A Lesson From Chile

Alfredo Zolezzi, of Advanced Innovation Center in Chile, had spent the early part of his career creating products for the oil industry. He had achieved great success as an entrepreneur by developing technology that enhanced the recovery of oil from abandoned oil wells using high-frequency, high-powered ultrasound waves. He had ideas for new technologies that could reduce the cost of refining heavy oil as well...

Wall Street Journal: If You Want to Be an Entrepreneur, Don’t Go to Harvard

My greatest disappointment after joining academia was to see my most promising students accept jobs at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. Engineering students with ambitions to save the world would instead become financial analysts—who used their skills to “engineer” our financial system. Or they would take grunt jobs in management consulting—another waste of valuable talent. Why would they sell their souls?...

Wall Street Journal: You Need a Team to Help Climb The Mountain

Building a company isn’t that differe­­­nt from climbing a big mountain. You need people helping you traverse treacherous paths and to lift you up when you fall. That is why most startups need to enlist co-founders and build a strong management team from the outset. Research that my team conducted on the backgrounds and success factors of entrepreneurs in high-growth industries revealed that management...

Wall Street Journal: Business is Not Like Field Of Dreams

“Our corporate motto should be ‘We’ve never heard of you either’”—that is how we joked at my first startup, Seer Technologies, which was founded in 1990. We had broken records by growing a nascent software company into a $118 million-per-year revenue machine. And we had pulled off a successful IPO in just five years. Not even the legends of that time—Microsoft and Oracle—had achieved such a feat. Yet...