I’m fascinated by things that are unorthodox. If you just go replicate what everyone else has done, it will not be exciting. I’ve been able to find purpose from building organizations that are different.
“Business dishes up some of the most interesting problems humanity has to face. So, good management needs to be evidence-based, theory-informed, and insight-driven. How can theory inform the puzzle? What in the way of frameworks will help us understand the complex reality of everyday business? To have impact, you have to have a good nose for important and fundamental problems. You’ve got to go after something that is big and important and is beyond yourself; and just go do it.”
Today’s managers have a lot more choice variables to worry about in designing a business. That’s great in many ways because it’s not just a matter of producing a widget. You can choose whether to innovate and license your technology or produce a product that embodies the technology. Perhaps you give the product away and sell a service associated with it. Business models of the past had a structured format that is now up for grabs. A lot more cognitive skill has to go into designing a business, which shows there is a creative element right from the get-go.
The new word in Silicon Valley is pivot. You’ll never have it right out of the gate, and you’re going to have to change. Being flexible and adaptable are more important than ever.
Experience gives me a great filter. Being active in the world of advisory services and expert consulting gives you a keen sense of the issues that are real and those that are phony. I know when I see a great paper that relies on some amount of theory but is written by someone who also knows what’s going on in the world. Knowing what good research is, knowing some of the fundamental ideas from the academic world, and knowing what has been tried and tested, helps me a great deal in business.
If you’ve done important research, there is an obligation to have impact if it can benefit society. It’s good to have exposure to great academic minds, but if you’re interested in business you’ve got to have deep exposure to the potential users, and those making decisions on their behalf. There are a whole litany of theories in business, but they aren’t useful if they are not consistent with marketplace realities.
I get up every day thinking about intangible assets and intellectual property. I’m concerned and want to see the United States continue its leadership role and sustain a vibrant economy, and an innovative and entrepreneurial society.