Sustainable Competitive Advantange

Recently, I was attending a session at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where I am a class mentor, and we were talking about new venture opportunities. Specially, after you have gone through the screening process of identifying your next venture, you have to identify your sustainable competitive advantage and how that will map to your grand strategy.

Unfortunately, what I find is that many (inexperienced) entrepreneurs’ don’t place enough emphasis on this – partially because they believe, given what they are doing, it may not be that important and, in many cases, don’t really comprehend what a competitive advantage really is and what it can do for a company.

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Why Do Good People Fire Good Companies?

This is a question that I have given thought to repeatedly over the years. You have good, hard working people who join a good company and, over time, the relationship between the two changes. That doesn’t necessarily imply things are bad, but just different. The result, unfortunately in many cases, is that the real loss is felt by the company losing the talent and not by the individual losing the company because that prominent individual is very capable to securing a new position elsewhere.

This is clearly evident by the lack of good talent available in the market today and why, in many cases, there are bidding wars on the limited talent pool. If you are in Silicon Valley – I’d like to see you find a great software programmer – go on… find one that is just sitting idle waiting for your call!

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I was here FIRST!

In business, never underestimate the value of true first mover advantage.  True first mover advantage reflects not the first actual mover, but the first mover to garner significant market share.  In fact, the gains can be tremendous – become recognized as the leader in the space (whereas everyone else becomes the “me too”), get customers (and revenue) before any competitor can arrive on the scene, and reap great profits and possibly gain monopoly-like status.  An entrepreneur’s (and the VC who backed the company) dream come true! Continue reading “I was here FIRST!”

So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 2)

So, you still want to be a VC, eh?  I don’t blame you… besides the challenges getting started, venture capital is exciting and provides a level of exposure, both technologically and business-wise, that is hard to match.  And look at some the new friends you get to make… Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Marc Pincus (Zynga), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Biz/Ev (Twitter)… you get the point. Continue reading “So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 2)”

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