Why do big companies get stuck?

Everyone knows they need to engage with growth, but the resistance companies face in moving resources from areas that work into new areas is tremendous. This is why big companies are so slow to innovate, says Geoffrey Moore, author and venture partner at MDV. In this Entrepreneur Though Leader Lecture at Stanford University, he explains that while there are no shortage of great, groundbreaking ideas at big companies – including many that could threaten startups – the established culture at those companies prevents the ideas from maturing.

3 ways to become more likeable

No matter how good your product is, if you’re running a startup, you need to be likable. Entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki lays out three ways to become more enchanting to the people you meet – both investors and customers – in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University.

Innovation can’t be taken for granted

Innovation is a chief driver of the economy, but it doesn’t come easy. Jlabs CEO Judy Estrin, in this 2008 Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture at Stanford University, notes that real innovation often takes decades – and both society and the business world have become extremely short-sighted. As a result, they settle on incremental advances, rather than significant ones. In addition, as companies become more risk averse, support for real innovation has dwindled, which ultimately is hurting American companies.

Reid Hoffman’s entrepreneurial rules of thumb

As the co-founder of popular business social network LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman knows a thing or two about successfully launching a startup. In this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University, he details the rules he has historically used when creating a venture: Look for disruptive change, aim high, build a network around your company, plan for good and bad luck and maintain flexible persistence. Most importantly, he says, remember these rules are just rules of thumb by which you navigate – they’re not carved in stone.

What motivates serial entrepreneurs?

Serial entrepreneurs are the stuff of legend in the entrepreneurial world. Whereas launching a single startup drains most people, serial entrepreneurs thrive on the chaos. Wences Casares and Meyer Malka, serial entrepreneurs themselves, discuss what it is that has kept them going through the years in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University.

Education’s entrepreneurial opportunities

There’s a ton of research and development in the pharmaceutical sector – but in the education system, which is just as large, there’s virtually none. 17 percent of pharma’s revenues are reinvested in R&D – but with education, the figure is just 0.1 percent. Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, calls this a missed opportunity – and notes that Washington is trying to spur startups to focus on this – in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University.

Can you objectively compare ideas?

Ideas are easy to come up with – even off the wall ones. But figuring out whether there’s any demand for them isn’t. Idealab founder and CEO Bill Gross shares his thinking on how to objectively test – and compare – ideas in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University. Along the way, he tells the story of how testing for Carfinder.com was done – and the unusual way the company fulfilled initial orders.

Right idea, wrong time: Twitter in the pre-Twitter days

Twitter’s a ubiquitous service these days, but 11 years ago it was just the beginning of an idea rolling around in Jack Dorsey’s head. Dorsey, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University, tells of the days he first tested the idea – broadcasting his notes and thoughts to friends and family via an email list from his then-revolutionary Blackberry. Things didn’t go quite as smooth then as they did when he launched the service six years later.

The essential qualities of passion

Before he was CEO at OptiMedica, Mark Forchette was a sales representative for a consumer products firm. He knew nothing about sales at the time, but was a passionate user of their products – and won the company over with that enthusiasm, something he says is an essential quality for success in the startup world. Forchette relates the tale to students in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture, given at Stanford University.

How proximity affects workplace relationships

In an era where more and more workers are telecommuting for part of the week, if not entirely, the importance of physical proximity is often overlooked. In this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture, given at Stanford University, Ori Brafman, author of “Click: The Magic of Instant Connections,”  reveals how distance affects the building of relationships, both personal and professional. Besides data points from studies, he also hosts an interactive demonstration of the effects of proximity – and the benefits they can have.

Want to grow innovation? Fix immigration

As movements such the startup visa program continue to gain steam in Washington, the CTO of the United States is joining the call. Aneesh Chopra, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University, says the key to fixing the decreased flow of innovation in this country is to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Chopra offers his personal perspective on the issue, noting that his father was an engineer who immigrated to America for work.

Lean startups vs. fat startups

While the traditional definition of lean startup is one that moves fast, venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur Mark Suster says a better definition is one that’s tied to size and funding levels. There’s nothing wrong with being lean as you look for a strong product and market fit, he says in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University, but once you find one, it’s a smart idea to get fat with funding – fast.

Answers are easy. Finding problems is hard.

Most entrepreneurs think they know what problem they’re trying to solve when they decide to launch a company – but that certainty fades quickly as they begin digging into the situation. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University, says it’s not the answers that are hard, but finding the right problem to solve. Systrom tells how he and co-founder Mike Krieger went about the process and lessons they learned along the way.

Today's bad idea: Compensating solely on performance

In most companies, the better you perform, the more you earn. But Geoffrey Moore, author and venture partner at MDV, says focusing exclusively on that metric can hurt a company in the long run. Instead, he tells students in this Entrepreneur Though Leader Lecture, given at Stanford University, those who develop new initiatives or ideas deserve a second look, since they’re creating the power that fuels a company’s long-term growth.

The long, slow death of the IPO

IPOs traditionally have been the pinnacle of success for companies, but Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of SecondMarket argues that’s no longer true. The IPO market, he tells students in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture at Stanford University, is dying a painful death. Silbert cites several reasons for this, ranging from Sarbanes-Oxley to the shift to online brokerages, which cut into the research budgets of brokers, who shifted their focus to large cap companies and began paying less attention to smaller ones.

The pros and cons of dorm room startups

Aaron Levie co-founded Box.net from his dorm room, but he quickly learned that there were some strong advantages and disadvantages to that. While the company’s overhead was minimal, providing customer service from an accounting class is hardly ideal – and investors are instinctively more wary of entrepreneurs who don’t commit. Levie discusses how he weighed the pros and cons in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture, given at Stanford University.

The power of a great smile and good handshake

Business relationships are a lot like personal relationships: You’ll get a lot more done if the other party likes you. There is, of course, no way to train to be likeable, but entrepreneur and author Guy Kawaski notes that a person’s ‘likability’ is a key ingredient in business deals, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University. Kawaskai talks about ways to be more enchanting – including his mathematical formula for the perfect handshake.

Walking the fine line between goals and ROI

It’s certainly possible to set your goals too high when launching a start-up, but serial entrepreneur Brent Constantz, founder of Calera and other firms, says there needs to be a balance between ambition and the urge to see immediate returns on your investment in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University. Constantz shares a story from his days in the med-tech sector to illustrate this point.

Twitter co-founder Dorsey: Instrument everything

After Jack Dorsey co-founded Twitter, the company flew blind for its first two years. No one at the company knew how users were using the system, he tells students in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture at Stanford University. Instead, the company relied entirely on intuition. So when he founded Square, the first thing he built was an admin dashboard, which has given that company a much better insight into its customers. But too many companies haven’t followed this path.

Weekend warriors discover the pivot

Sometimes, you learn that your company needs to pivot not by looking at the books, but by listening to your customer. Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, tells in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture, given at Stanford University, how he learned this lesson.

Twitter co-founder tells how it all got started

Twitter is an omnipresent part of the technology landscape today, but not long ago it was just another startup. Co-founder Jack Dorsey tells the story of how the microblogging site came into existence while he was working at Odeo, a consumer podcasting company in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University.

Be your startup’s only board member

Life certainly seems easier for startups that have financial backing, but there’s a hidden downside: Board meetings. Serial entrepreneur Brent Constantz, founder of Calera and other firms, says the time management issues that come with having a board can debilitate a company in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University. That time can be better spent fulfilling the company’s vision, he says.

5 solid startup lessons

When Aaron Levie launched Box.net from his college dorm room, he was exploring a lot of new territory. Now, as CEO of a company that has raised nearly $30 million in venture capital since 2005, he has filtered what he has learned into five lessons, which he shares in this entrepreneur thought leader lecture, given at Stanford University:

How to drive a successful social media campaign

There are a lot of companies trying to get traction in the social arena these days – and most will fall short. Stanford GSB professor Jennifer Aaker, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture, given at Stanford University, discusses some ways you can stand above the crowd, using the methods of Team Sameer — a successful social media campaign to find a bone marrow donor for a man with leukemia – as an example.

Pruning rotten apples from your company

The Osmond Brothers got it wrong. One bad apple CAN spoil the whole darn bunch. And that’s especially true in the startup world. A negative and selfish employee can start a contagion throughout the company, causing other employees to act the same way and sucking up more of management’s time, says Stanford Professor and author Bob Sutton in this entrepreneur thought leader lecture given at Stanford University. Reforming those bad apples is possible, but there comes a point where you have to cut your losses.