Author Archives: C. DAY

What Silicon Valley Won’t Admit About Technology and Progress

Circa 1871: Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931) American scientist, inventor. 

Last spring, I finally visited one of the United States’ industrial shrines: the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey. Before the rise of Silicon Valley, Thomas Edison was the country’s greatest technological celebrity and, even now, no Silicon Valley billionaire approaches Edison’s portfolio of 1,093 US patents. (For example, Amazon’s founder Jeffrey Bezos is on just 81, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is on 31, and Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin is on 20.)

After touring Edison’s laboratory, shops and a replica of his original Black Maria film studio, I reflected on what Edison might have thought of the iPhone SE and Waze software that had conquered my aversion to the chronic congestion and confused highway grid of northern New Jersey, testaments to the success of Edison’s friend Henry Ford. He would have admired the miniaturisation of today’s smartphones and the software that can give turn-by-turn instructions with no additional charge to the user. Waze is far from perfect; on my return trip, it originally pointed me in the wrong direction at the entrance to the Garden State Parkway. But Edison insisted on how much work was needed to overcome difficulties, so the glitch probably would not have dimmed his admiration for Waze’s parent company, Google (now formally Alphabet).

The main Edison building was a three-story encyclopaedia of all the tools available in his time for marshalling a staff of master tinkerers, including some with the university credentials that Edison himself never acquired. The machinery advanced in stages, from heavy equipment on the ground floor to the most delicate work on the third. It was a machine for designing, prototyping and developing other machines, and Edison’s magnificent office-library-trophy room included a cot for his schedule of frequent naps.

Edison might be the last great self-taught inventor who also brought technological research and design into the 20th century. By building a staff of researchers, some trained in the emerging US academic science programmes, Edison’s laboratory served as a model for the 20th century’s great industrial laboratories, including General Electric, Bell Labs and the chemical and pharmaceutical giants. Edison’s role in power generation, musical recording, motion pictures and other technology remained an inspiration for decades. Yet some influential economists insist that the age of rapid development of transformative inventions, pioneered by Edison, has reached an end.

The first prominent warning was sounded by the US economist Tyler Cowen in The Great Stagnation (2011). With this short book, Cowen proposed that the economic woes of the US reflected the exhaustion of centuries of comparatively easy innovation, which he compared to the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of a cherry orchard. Another US economist, Robert J Gordon, brought a historical perspective to Cowen’s argument that the low-hanging fruit of innovation had already been picked. In his book The Rise and Fall of American Growth (2016), Gordon described a golden age of rising living standards in the century from 1870 (the year after Edison’s first patent) to 1970. He questioned the impact of the web’s lower transaction costs on the quality of life.

Cowen and Gordon both acknowledged the power and market capitalisation of companies using cloud services to bring buyers, sellers and advertisers together — from Amazon and Google to ‘sharing economy’ newcomers such as Uber and Airbnb. Neither of them, however, considered the possibility that it is not exhaustion of limited technological options but these firms’ success in attracting capital that has held up productivity growth. Two other academics, Clayton M Christensen and Derek Van Bever of Harvard Business School, have made a distinction between ‘process innovations’ that speed manufacture of existing products and reduce transaction costs, and ‘market-creating innovations’ that give rise to new industries and employment. Surviving buildings of Edison’s vast factory complex in West Orange, now undergoing redevelopment as loft apartments, still testify to the jobs that Edison’s laboratories created.

Buildings such as Salesforce Tower and the new Apple headquarters in downtown San Francisco offer six-figure salaries for programming talent. They do not offer the kind of well-paid blue-collar jobs of the half-century from 1920–70 that Gordon studied. There is no proof, but it’s worth considering whether the skyrocketing market capitalisation of Silicon Valley’s so-called ‘unicorns’ — corporations that are worth a billion dollars or more but have not yet gone public — are growing at the expense of undercapitalised market-creating innovations. Consider two facts: first, every year magazines such as Scientific AmericanMIT Technology Review and New Scientist publish lists of ‘breakthrough’ technologies. Yet at the same time, as the historian of military technology David Edgerton has documented in The Shock of the Old(2006), the actual rate of technological change is surprisingly slow.

The stark fact of technological transformation from the late-18th century to the late-20th is that there was scant low-hanging fruit. Innovation, much less transformation, was arduous and slow. In a book that launched a genre, Self-Help (1859), the Scottish physician-journalist Samuel Smiles presented the leitmotif of success as almost superhuman perseverance under difficulties (quoting John Ruskin on patience as ‘the finest and worthiest part of fortitude’). In his bestseller, Smiles inspired readers with tale after tale of craft heroes such as the 16th-century French Protestant potter Bernard Palissy, who burned his household furniture to perfect his glazing technique.

It took decades for the efforts of dozens of inventors to be melded into industries

Like many later motivational works, Self-Help could not avoid survivorship bias; there must have been many equally resilient entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas who simply ran out of chairs — or money — to burn. But it is important to remember that the triumphs of physics, chemistry and engineering that Gordon and other economic and business historians highlight resulted from years of struggle. Most took decades to become consumer staples. They were slow to scale. Often, investors were patient, if only because, even after the rise of US science, there was no investment alternative.

Begin with Edison himself. His real genius was not so much the first commercially practical lightbulb filament but an entire system for the generation, transmission and sale of electrical power. Ultimately, the alternating-current technology developed by George Westinghouse proved more profitable and easier to expand than the direct current that Edison insisted was safer, and Edison’s financial backers merged his company into its rival. Mass electrification needed other inventors as well. While most households in Northeastern industrial states and California had electric power by 1921, every lightbulb took 30 seconds for a skilled glassblower to produce. The modern Corning ribbon machine, which could produce 300 lightbulbs per minute, was not developed until 1926. The electrification of most of the South and West, and the rural Midwest, did not start until the 1930s. Mass electrification outside the big cities took half a century.

Typically, entrepreneurship depended less on the ideas of a single experimenter than on the formation of patent consortia pooling multiple inventors’ ideas. It was the failed actor Isaac Merritt Singer with his legal ace Edward Clark, for example, who launched the sewing machine industry. The former mill mechanic Gordon McKay unleashed the giant United Shoe Machinery Corporation — a company as controversially dynamic in the 1890s as Microsoft would become a century later — by combining shoe-manufacturing patents. (McKay’s immense bequest to Harvard probably funded some of the computer science professors who taught Bill Gates and Zuckerberg.) It took decades for the efforts of dozens of inventors’ proposals to be melded into industries, and more than another 10 years for the ideas of Nikolaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, Carl Benz and Wilhelm Maybach to coalesce in the original Benz automobile in 1886. The first high-quality, popularly priced assembly-line automobile, Henry Ford’s Model T, did not appear until 1908.

Mass print media, too, demanded perseverance. At the beginning of the 19th century, paper was still made sheet by sheet. The first patent for the continuous production of paper with a system of moving screens and rollers was granted to Louis Robert in 1799. The English paper manufacturers Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier made technical improvements to this process, but not enough to make it practical, and they were forced to declare bankruptcy after spending £60,000. It was a third party, the engineer Bryan Donkin, who finally made usable continuous papermaking machines based on the first patent.

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The Agile Manager.

Agile development was defined by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup.  It is the breakthrough idea that software (a product) should be built iteratively with pieces customers value most created first.  Lean Startup allows companies to create order not chaos by providing tools to test a vision. as ideas are put through the build-measure-learn loop. But, who manages in an agile organization and what exactly do they do?  This article in the McKinsey Quarterly (July 2018) answers these questions.

The agile workplace is becoming increasingly common. In a McKinsey survey of more than 2,500 people across company sizes, functional specialties, industries, regions, and tenures, 37 percent of respondents said their organizations are carrying out company-wide agile transformations, and another 4 percent said their companies have fully implemented such transformations. The shift is driven by proof that small, multidisciplinary teams of agile organizations can respond swiftly and promptly to rapidly changing market opportunities and customer demands. Indeed, more than 80 percent of respondents in agile units report that overall performance increased moderately or significantly since their transformations began.

These small teams, often called “squads,” have a great deal of autonomy. Typically composed of eight to ten individuals, they have end-to-end accountability for specific outcomes and make their own decisions about how to achieve their goals. This raises an obvious and seemingly mystifying question for people who have worked in more traditional, hierarchical companies: Who manages in an agile organization? And what exactly does an agile manager do?

Lay of the land

The answers become clear once you understand that the typical agile company employs a dynamic matrix structure with two types of reporting lines: a capability line and a value-creation line. Nearly all employees have both a functional reporting line, which is their long-term home in the company, and a value-creation reporting line, which sets the objectives and business needs they take on in squads.

In agile parlance, the capability reporting lines are often called “chapters” and are similar in some ways to functions in traditional organizations (you might have a “web developers” chapter, say, or a “research” chapter). Each chapter is responsible for building a capability: hiring, firing, and developing talent; shepherding people along their career paths; evaluating and promoting people; and building standard tools, methods, and ways of working. The chapters also must deploy their talented people to the appropriate squads, based on their expertise and demonstrated competence. In essence, chapters are responsible for the “how” of a company’s work. However, once talent is deployed to an agile team, the chapters do not tell people what to work on, nor do they set priorities, assign work or tasks, or supervise the day-to-day.

The value-creation reporting lines are often called “tribes.” They focus on making money and delivering value to customers (you might have a “mortgage services” tribe or a “mobile products” tribe). Tribes are similar to business units or product lines in traditional organizations. Tribes essentially “rent” most of their resources from the chapters. If chapters are responsible for the “how,” tribes are responsible for the “what.” They set priorities and objectives and provide marching orders to the functional resources deployed to them.

Management roles

In this world, the work of a traditional midlevel manager is reallocated to three different roles: the chapter leader, the tribe leader, and the squad leader. Let’s examine the responsibilities of each and the challenges they pose for traditional managers looking to become agile managers.

The chapter leader

Every functional reporting line has a leader. This chapter leader must build up the right capabilities and people, equip them with the skills, tools, and standard approaches to deliver functional excellence, and ensure that they are deployed to value-creation opportunities—sometimes in long-term roles supporting the business, but more often to the small, independent squads. The chapter leader must evaluate, promote, coach, and develop his or her people, but without traditional direct oversight. Chapter leaders are not involved in the day-to-day work of squads; they don’t check on or approve the work of their chapter members, and they certainly don’t micromanage or provide daily oversight. Instead, regular feedback from tribe leaders, team members, and other colleagues inform their evaluations and the kind of coaching they provide. Since they’re not providing direct oversight, their span of control can expand greatly, a fact that can eliminate several layers of management. In fact, chapter leaders often free up enough time to tackle “real work” on business opportunities as well.

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“Find a Need and Fill It”.


These words were on the Henry J. Kaiser cement trucks when I was a kid in the SF Bay Area.  No entrepreneur lived the phrase more than Henry J., who at one time or another applied his business acumen from dams to dishwashers, but is best known for WWII Liberty ships, Kaiser Permanente Medical program (forerunner to modern HMO), and the Henry J. Kaiser automobile (produced as jeeps during the war).

Another equal compelling entrepreneurship story is that of Stitch Fix, which started as a clothing alterations service, now has 83 stores across Canada, and has gone viral.  Stitch It Clothing Alterations has been a choice for a trusted, convenient, and professional clothing alteration service since 1989, when it began as Stitch It Canada’s Tailor Inc. Their story starts at a first shop in Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. It was inspired to fill an evident market gap in having tailoring services available where clothes are purchased. While this had long been standard at menswear outlets, there were no similar options for the whole family to seek alterations for any type of clothing. After customers kept coming to Stitch It founder Alain Baird’s clothing store asking for custom stitching, he decided to do something about it.

Although mall developers were originally skeptical about the need for a tailoring service located within the mall, Stitch It’s tagline service, “Pant Hems Done While You Wait,” was immensely popular, and lines of customers formed out the door and into the mall. Stitch It then formed a partnership with a major retail conglomerate to meet demands and maintain such overwhelming success. Over the next decade, Stitch It expanded, acquiring one of its competitors, Needle N’ Thread, and branching into a budget alteration service, known as Sew Right, and a U.S.-based service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, under the name of Can Do Clothing Operations.

Now a popular internet site, it personalizes style to the individual family member, serving men, women, and kids.  Customers can fill-out a style and price preference and leave choices to a personal stylist.  Shipping is free both ways.

Stitch Fix makes shopping not just convenient, but effortless. Like other online retailers, Stitch Fix saves trips to the store by shipping items directly to you. Their  Personal Stylists also save you the time and trouble of selecting clothing and accessories. Many enjoy the ease and convenience of automatically scheduled shipments that arrive at a frequency of their choosing. The dressing room is your home.  Stitch Fix has a mobile app to make the ordering more convenient.

Stitch Fix found a niche, provided a needed service, iterated, and scaled their business.  Pure, true entrepreneurship at its best! 💡🎯

For more information on Stitch Fix differentiation, go to: https://support.stitchfix.com/hc/en-us/articles/203317264-The-Stitch-Fix-difference

35 Innovators Under 35, Go Bears!

A Berkeley professor, graduate student and recent alumnus — all affiliated with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences — have been named to MIT Technology Review’s 2018 list of “35 Innovators Under 35.”

Assistant professor Alessandro Chiesa, Ph.D. student Chelsea Finn and 2016 Ph.D. John Schulman were selected for the prestigious honor, which recognizes exceptional young innovators whose work will influence technological advancements for years to come.

Chiesa, 30, is the co-founder of Zcash, a cryptocurrency that ensures complete privacy in online transactions. Using zero-knowledge cryptography, Zcash guarantees the validity of transactions while enabling users to shield sensitive data and protect themselves from identity theft.

Finn, 25, is working out of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab, creating algorithms that enable robots to learn as children do — by building on previous play and observations. Robots in her lab are tackling such challenges as using a wooden shape-sorting toy, and Finn plans to introduce more advanced tasks such as setting a table, in hopes of having robots master tasks by exploring and trial-and-error instead of programming.

A research scientist at OpenAI, Schulman, 30, is developing novel algorithms for reinforcement learning applications, which reward machines for a correct response. Currently, he is using the 1991 video game Sonic the Hedgehog — which emphasizes speed and physics — as an accurate way to test an algorithm’s ability to apply learned skills to different scenarios. Schulman hopes these machine-learning algorithms can eventually be used in areas such as robot locomotion.

Chiesa, Finn and Schulman are featured online at the MIT Technology Review and in the July/August print magazines, which will be available July 3. All honorees will be recognized at the annual Emerging Technologies (Emtech) Conference, September 11–14.

 

Military Best Entrepreneurship Training Program in America

One organization has produced more business owners than any other single institution in the nation.

It has a proven track record of teaching leadership, strategic planning, creative problem-solving, task execution, and resiliency—all traits essential to business ownership. It is not a fancy MBA or university program.

The organization is the United States military.

For many years, military veterans have become entrepreneurs at a much higher rate than non-veterans. Indeed, a shocking 49% of World War II veterans went on to own or operate their own businesses, according to a study from Syracuse University.

In the modern era, an exciting veterans’ entrepreneurship movement is once again spreading across America. These so-called “vetrepreneurs” are thriving. They have their own accelerators and incubators, their own venture capitalists, their own support organizations and coaches, and even their own Shark Tank stars (shout out to Navy SEAL-led Bottle Breacher and Army Ranger-led Combat Flip Flops).

Vetrepreneurs do things differently. They apply lessons from military service to business. They unflinchingly handle risk. They rely on a tight-knit network of their fellow veterans for support and encouragement. And they understand perseverance like no other group of individuals in the country.

The habits and practices of veteran entrepreneurs hold lessons for every business owner in the United States.  I interact with these incredible entrepreneurs and business owners every day. My company, StreetShares, has funded more than 300 veteran-owned businesses since we launched two years ago.

Financing veteran-owned businesses has become my mission. I served as an officer in the Air Force for nine years and returned from Iraq in the summer of 2008—just as the financial crisis was beginning. My generation of veterans would transition out of military service in the wake of the financial crisis. Unlike prior generations, capital would not be available to us. I spent a couple years at a Wall Street law firm and gained a solid understanding of capital markets. Then, in 2013, I partnered with a very talented and experienced banking executive named Mickey Konson—also a fellow veteran—to form StreetShares.com.

We had a vision for an alternative small business funding platform that would make lending safer by harnessing the social trust that exists within groups of tight-knit individuals, such as veterans. We believed we could optimize the interaction between borrowers and investors in a social-lending model in order to achieve maximum risk reduction on a loan. Lower risk would mean a lower interest rates for borrowers and safer returns for investors. Using this method, veteran-owned small businesses obtain loans at 2-4% lower interest rates. We called our invention “affinity-based lending.”

We were a true startup. We spent the first nine months operating out of the basement in my house outside of Washington, D.C.. We had a skeleton crew of interns and paid all the start-up costs out of our own pockets.

To launch and grow StreetShares, we relied on four key lessons we learned in the military :

  1. Set a clear strategic mission and break that mission down into smaller tactical goals.
  2. Recruit talented people, build esprit de corps, and hold our team accountable for daily progress toward tactical aims.
  3. Keep mission focus at all times, but allow people to innovate in furtherance of the mission—“adapt and overcome” as the military saying goes.
  4. Lead from the front, and be prepared to get dirty.

We hired several military veterans, and we applied elements of military culture to our startup.           It worked.

We have empirical support now that our veterans-funding-veterans model reduces risks. We won a major award from Harvard Business School for the concept, won other awards for our team and culture and we have raised three rounds of equity capital and more than $200 million in lending capital. In short, we have a successful, growing startup built on lessons we learned in the military.

Most importantly, we relied on the military community to make it work. Just as military members on foreign battlefields rely on each other, so too do veteran entrepreneurs. We have partnered with more than 30 veterans organizations to help us reach our customers. These organizations encourage and train veterans in entrepreneurship and business ownership. In two short years, we have amassed a large network of over 16,000 military business owners, entrepreneurs, military spouses and investors in the rapidly-growing StreetShares community. As a result of these relationships, we have found ourselves in the center of the veterans’ entrepreneurship movement in the United States.

 

Mark L. Rockefeller is the CEO of StreetShares, America’s #1 funding source for veteran-owned companies.  Courtesy of Forbes 8/3/2106.

Innovation Works Even for Small Entrepreneurs.

This article titled Innovation Helps Small Independent Grocer Thrive appeared in Sun., July 15, 2018 Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  It is a wonderful example of how a third generation, rural grocery store can stay relevant, iterate services, and stay ahead of the competition.  Located in the Southwest portion of Georgia, West Foods is the sole grocery store in Edison, GA deep in the heart of Jimmy Carter peanut country.  Their success has been the ability to innovate, something any business can do.

First to sell cooked food, first to include off-site catering, serving hot breakfast and lunch each day, they will order and ship any grocery product (including ground cornmeal and cane patch syrup) anywhere in the world.  The newest line of retail are chocolate-covered, deep-fried peanut clusters, a confection that won the 2017 Flavor of Georgia competition.  Sold on Amazon and Etsy, your can order them in vanilla or chocolate online or buy them in one of more than 45 retail locations.  To say West Foods is a part of its community would be an understatement.

Whether an idea of a new startup or an improvement to an existing business, to innovate is to introduce as or as if new.  It is never a single event, but rather a combination that depends on asking the right questions using the Innovation Matrix.

Innovation Matrix w examples

The websites = http://gafriedpeanutco.com/  and   https://westfoodsinc.com/.

Amazon & Uber the Future of Entrepreneurship?

Amazon this week announced the next chapter in its bid to rule the commercial world. The company is looking to create a network of independent delivery fleets, and it wants “hundreds of entrepreneurs” to “start businesses” in support of this.

This represents a major move in the logistics realm, one that will see Amazon go up against long-established players — such as Fedex and UPS — and which has been rumored for a while.

But the language Amazon is using to attract prospective business owners is also notable. The company’s pitch appeals to America’s entrepreneurial spirit while obfuscating the reality of what signing up to the program really means.

It’s difficult to overstate Amazon’s commercial clout. The Seattle-based company claimed around 44 percent of online sales in the U.S. alone last year, according to reports. And with its Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon is making inroads into the brick-and-mortar world. In fact, it has done a stellar job of creating a gargantuan ecosystem of products and platforms to hook users and keep them coming back. And this growing demand is precisely why the company now wants to build out its own logistics network for “last mile” deliveries.

Amazon is underplaying its logistics expansion and largely positioning this as a complementary program intended to round out existing delivery services and help it keep up with demand. But then it has to do that because it still needs its logistics partners — for the time being, at least.

“We have great partners in our traditional carriers, and it’s exciting to continue to see the logistics industry grow,” explained Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. “Customer demand is higher than ever, and we have a need to build more capacity.”

Amazon is no stranger to running logistics services. It has been operating its Flexpeer-to-peer (P2P) delivery program for a while, effectively letting anyone who owns a car become a courier for a day, a week, or forever — a little like Uber.

As with many other gig-economy platforms, reports suggest that Flex is not all fun — in fact, it’s a lot of effort for not a huge return. Plus, it offers no perks, benefits, or job security. The rates of pay and working landscape vary depending on factors such as where you are based, but the core selling point is consistent: “Be your own boss” is Amazon’s persistent marketing mantra.

And this is a thread we see permeating the gig economy. Big companies need workers — but they want to avoid the commitment of maintaining a traditional workforce, such as offering salaries, medical insurance, paid time off, and so on. One key to sustaining this charade lies in calling their typically low-paid workers “entrepreneurs.”

Uber has referred to its drivers as entrepreneurs for years, despite reports that they earn very little after expenses. Alongside other carefully constructed terminology, such as “partner drivers,” casting freelance gigs as “entrepreneurship” is part of Uber’s plan to make its workforce feel empowered. But it doesn’t paint the whole picture — a New York Times report last yearreferenced an internal Uber slide deck on driver income levels that revealed the company considered its main rivals for attracting new drivers to be McDonald’s and Lyft.

Under the guidance of new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber is taking steps to improve a reputation that has been tarnished by a series of scandals and feuding at the highest levels. In Europe, where workers tend to expect benefits and job protections, Uber is now offering drivers free insurance for illness, jury service pay, paid maternity/paternity leave, and more. This positions Uber more as an employer, despite a great deal of legal wrangling over the term, and is surely a tacit acknowledgment that drivers have been struggling to make ends meet.

A Brown University case study from a few years ago delved into the “entrepreneurial aspects” of Uber’s driver model. Patrick McQuown, an adjunct lecturer at Brown’s School of Engineering, actually spent the summer driving for the company, logging 400 hours and 8,000 miles in the process. His conclusion? The Uber driver model is not particularly entrepreneurial, and top-rated drivers receive no meaningful recognition for their efforts.

“Entrepreneurship means that you create a product or service that’s unique in the marketplace, and you’re rewarded with more profit,” McQuown said. “You simply can’t do that as an Uber driver. There’s no real chance to differentiate yourself financially from other Uber drivers.”

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Babson Summer Venture Program

SVP Profile:  David Oksman, ’03

I recently had the chance to speak with David Oksman ’03, a Babson alum, marketing expert, and one of this year’s Summer Venture Program(SVP) advisors. In his interview, David spoke about his love of entrepreneurship, Babson, and helping these startups. Here is an overview of our talk.

What is your role in the Summer Venture Program and within the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Boston?
In the Summer Venture Program my role is to advise five amazing ventures on a day-to-day basis and support others as it relates to the marketing, branding, and e-commerce spaces. I approach the advisor role as a teacher, mentor, and supporter would. I want to be a resource for these rising entrepreneurs in a time where their businesses are just getting started.

In terms of the larger Boston ecosystem, I have worked in both the corporate and startup sector. Some of the big name brands I’ve worked for include Life is Good and Reebok.  Even in these corporate environments, I like to tackle problems with an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. I also advise a handful of startups and currently serve as interim CMO of Sidekick, a venture founded by a Babson alum.

What excites you about the Summer Venture Program? What made you want to serve as an advisor?
I love the Babson community, specifically what lies in the heart of it—the startup community. Within SVP lies so many brilliant startups that constantly excite me every day.  I wanted to give back to Babson as they gave so much to me during my time as an undergrad. Along with business, I have a passion for teaching. I wanted to help students craft and create their dreams, help them change the world, by sharing with them the things I’m good at. I am strong believer in the idea that nobody can do it alone – this ultimately lead me to serve as an advisor for these startups.

What advice could you give to teams participating this summer or any aspiring entrepreneur?
For the SVP startups, be true to your purpose. You got into this program because you cared about something deeply and wanted to solve a problem. You are going to be challenged and have to lay the basic foundations for your business. Although this many not always be exciting, have the conviction to see purpose in all that you do. For any aspiring entrepreneur, do not be afraid to ask for help. Be real and honest about what you know and don’t know, and most importantly, be open to finding people who can help you. Ultimately, it is about the journey, not the destination. Although cliché, the saying is true. Have fun along the way because one day you are going to get to the finish line and wonder where did the time go – make the journey as good as where you want to get to.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is about the creators, the builders. It is about those who see things differently and have a passion and focus to show others their point of view – whether that be through a new product or service or just a different way to approach a problem. You do not need a startup to be an entrepreneur.

What does the world need from entrepreneurs today?
The world needs to realize that for profit companies could be the biggest drivers of social change. Things are changing. Let’s lift up humanity together.

What do you do for fun?
I have a 13-year-old son who loves soccer. For fun, we watch and play soccer together. I also love to be outdoors, run with my wife, and spend time at the beach by my cottage in Maine. Most importantly, I am an avid Boston sports fan.

Describe yourself in four words.
Optimistic, passionate, creative, and grateful.

Anything else people should know?
It is a gift to be able to advise these kids. I learn a lot from being around them and seeing them approach challenges. I am so thankful to be a part of their journeys.

 Entrepreneurship empowers students, kids & adults.    See http://clintoneday.com