A long time ago, I had to make a really tough choice: invest in an MBA from New York University, or make do with my bachelors. I was newly married, had a child on the way, and didn’t have much in savings. The degree would set me back tens of thousands of dollars and take years to complete—especially if I did it part time. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything but programming computers for a… → Read More
When I came to the U.S. in 1980, I was young and naïve. I used to think that corruption and ethical lapses were just a third-world ill. Eventually, I became a tech CEO and learned the harsh realities of American business. Yes, standards are much higher, and breaches are punished, but the temptations are just the same here as they are in any other country. Ethical lapses (which are a form of… → Read More
My last post triggered some interesting debates in the blogosphere about whether entrepreneurs were a product of nature or could be nurtured. It’s not black or white. People are a product of their upbringing and education. Average humans can achieve extraordinary feats when they really try. I’ll concede that, like some great athletes, some great entrepreneurs may have something different about… → Read More
Silicon Valley investors often have a picture in their heads of the type of person who is worthy of funding: young, brash, stubborn, and arrogant. They believe that successful entrepreneurs come from entrepreneurial families and that they start their entrepreneurial journey by selling lemonade while in grade school. Angel investor and entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis said as much in his recent talk… → Read More
“People in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness”, is what Professor Richard Florida concluded after studying the growth and success of 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. The most successful regions were those with the most gays, bohemians, and immigrants. These groups flourish in Silicon Valley, and its diversity has undoubtedly provided… → Read More
In the State of the Union Address last Wednesday, President Obama said “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy and America must be that nation.” At the same time, on the other coast, 75 clean energy investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers were debating whether the U.S. can gain this leadership position. They agreed that even though… → Read More
In my last post, I discussed how the gap between the web and enterprise-computing worlds has narrowed. Some of the Valley’s developers are now building web-based systems that make old-world transaction processing seem like child’s play. After all, Twitter processes more transactions per day (in the form of messages) than the systems of many large corporations process in a month. Applications… → Read More
Most people don’t realize this, but Northern California actually has two giant technology centers: Silicon Valley and Sacramento. Silicon Valley is the world’s entrepreneurship capital and Sacramento is California’s State capital. They are less than 100 miles away from each other. But technologically, they’re light years apart. While Silicon Valley’s workers conceive the next revolution… → Read More
When Preetam Mukherjee started Marcellus.tv in March 2007, his company was one of the very few players in the professional online video hosting space. He believed he was building a killer product that would become a blockbuster and would compete handily with the one established player in the space, Brightcove. To ensure that he wouldn’t tip off any potential competitors, he went into “stealth… → Read More
The one skill which entrepreneurs need is something they don’t teach in business school—selling. Yes, I know that “selling” conjures up negative images of used-car salesmen peddling clunkers. But the ability to persuade people to believe in you is a necessity. That’s because sales is not just about selling things for money. Selling is about life. Convincing the perfect soulmate to go out… → Read More
When pitching to VC’s, entrepreneurs hype the heck out of their ideas, years of experience and management teams. But I’ve never heard of anyone touting their luck or connection to God. After reading the posts on TechCrunch, one could easily get the impression that God doesn’t play much of role in Silicon Valley. But ask any successful entrepreneur in private what made them successful, and… → Read More
When Americans think of the Indian technology sector, they still perceive a nation of call center workers and low-level computer programmers administering databases and updating websites. But while the West was sleeping, Indian IT morphed into a giant R&D machine. Indian companies that started out doing call center and low-level IT work have climbed the value chain to become outsourced… → Read More
I’m in India this weekend with fellow TechCrunch/BusinessWeek writer Sarah Lacy. After we’re done with the elephant rides in Jaipur, we’re going to be meeting local tech startups. Then we head back to New Delhi to meet more aspiring entrepreneurs. Sarah is writing a book on how startup culture has gone global and I’m researching how R&D has globalized. It never ceases to amaze me how you… → Read More
No one disputes that Silicon Valley is the global capital of the tech world. But this wasn’t always so. It is the Valley’s dynamism and networks which have given it an unassailable advantage. Silicon Valley has simply left rivals like Boston’s Route 128 in the dust.
An Ivy League degree may get you a job as an investment banker or VC, but it won’t increase your odds of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
So you couldn’t get into Stanford, Berkeley or Harvard, huh? Don’t sweat it. You can still make it big. Some people might believe that an Ivy League education provides a huge advantage in entrepreneurship. But after researching this over and over… → Read More