Entrepreneurial

Q&A with Silicon Valley “Godfather” Steve Blank

For those who don’t have a Silicon Valley area code, Steve Blank likely doesn’t have much name recognition. But amongst the Apples, Googles and Facebooks of the world, Blank enjoys iconic status. Blank says he gets asked for autographs just walking down the street in Palo Alto, where he teaches entrepreneurship at Stanford. Some young entrepreneurs reverentially refer to the 59-year-old as: “The Godfather.”

How did Blank earn his celebrity status? First, he is a successful serial entrepreneur, having started eight venture-backed Silicon Valley companies, including software company E.piphany, which raised $66 million prior to going public in 1999. Second, Blank’s first book, “Four Steps to the Epiphany”, became a handbook for every budding tech entrepreneur and spawned the term “customer development” that sparked the “lean startup” movement.

Blank’s blog has become a must-read among entrepreneurs and is widely syndicated, regularly appearing on The Huffington Post. Recently, Blank launched an online version of his customer development course, called “The Lean LaunchPad”, which he says has more than 50,000 registered users.

The following is an abridged transcript of a recent interview Reuters did with Blank that covered everything from the definition of an “entrepreneur” to how people should use his latest book: “The Startup Owner’s Manual”.

In terms of a neophyte that is maybe a Stanford student or someone who is not even in an entrepreneurship course but just wants to start their own business, can they pick “The Startup Owner’s Manual” up and use it as a blueprint?

from MediaFile:

Inkling launches digital textbooks 2.0 for iPads

Apple dominates the tablet market -- its iOS tablet software accounted for more than 60 percent of the tablet market in the second quarter, while Google's Android made up about 30 percent, according to Strategy Analytics. So it's no surprise that more than 40 educational institutions  in the United States either require or recommend in-coming freshman or first-years come equipped with an iPad.

For example, that list includes  the medical schools at Brown, UC Irvine, Cornell and UCF; undergrads at Boston University, Abilene Christian University and Georgia Perimeter College; business students at Hult Business School, Lamar Business School and Seton Hill. Even prep schools are in on the act including South Kent, Princeton Day School and Madison Academy.

Certainly it's appealing to slip an iPad into a backpack rather than massive tomes that students need to lug around campus.

How much money do I need for my startup?

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories”. The views expressed are his own. –

It’s an obvious question. And if you’re looking for startup investors you’d better be able to answer it well, and quickly too. No wandering eyes. No doubt. If you’re doing a pitch, have a slide for it. And be specific.

I liked this from Ben Yoskovitz’s Instigator Blog on Use of Funds:

… most descriptions of “use of funds” are incredibly generic and standard, typically involving the following: hire key personnel, product development, sales & marketing. Hhhm…the phrase, “No s!@# Sherlock…” comes to mind.

from Environment Forum:

Is Bloom Energy the next GE?

sridhar

Updated on Feb 24.

The blogosphere is rumbling with anticipation of the  "Bloom Box", a pint-sized "power plant" that could change the way we power our homes and offices forever.

The buzz began Sunday when 60 minutes aired an exclusive profile of the alternative energy fuel cell developed by startup Bloom Energy and its CEO K.R. Sridhar (a former rocket scientist) in Silicon Valley. After eight years in the making, the power plant in a box is set to be released Wednesday with California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Colin Powell on hand.

"You'll generate your own electricity with the box and it'll be wireless. The idea is to one day replace the big power plants and transmission line grid, the way the laptop moved in on the desktop and cell phones supplanted landlines," reports CNet News.

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