Category Archives: entrepreneur research

10 year olds get it, so why not adults?

The latest Daily Stat from the Harvard Business Review reports that by age 10 children have developed the awareness of the tactics that advertisers use to capture their attention. This was a study, that though in its infancy (ha!) says a lot about advertisers! But what grabs my tickle bone is that by the time these kids are adults, “we” don’t get it!

Here’s the link to the study, and here is the Stat:

AUGUST 31, 2011
Ten-Year-Olds Can See Through Advertisers’ Tactics
By age 10, children are able to discern advertisers’ tactics for getting their attention and making them want to buy, according to research led by Esther Rozendaal of the Amsterdam School of Communications Research in the Netherlands. The study of 209 children also showed that when it comes to the tactic of celebrity endorsements, 10-year-olds are significantly better at grasping advertisers’ intentions than adults. At age 10, children tend to develop an ability to see others’ perspectives and reason abstractly, the researchers say.

What’s wrong with this picture, I mean Patent?

A recent Tech Crunch article, The Terrible Costs of Patents, created some conflict for me. The jest of the article references the high cost of patenting technology products. Companies like Google and Apple, and start-ups alike, spend exorbitant amount of money to use as or to protect from the weapon “against the rising tide of patent litigation”. But when you realize that technology products, or anything you can think of, comes from the ideas of others. (Read Where Good Ideas Come From, by Stephen Johnson, to help you see the picture.)

From the TechCrunch article:

Patents were originally conceived to protect inventors—people and companies who contribute to the advancement of society by creating new products. But in the past decade, something went horribly wrong. Patents have increasingly became nothing more than financial and legal weapons, to be amassed in portfolios by “non-practicing entities” (i.e. patent trolls) and used to extort protection money from economically productive companies.

And of course, patent trolls have a 55.6 percent success rate in cases in the Eastern District of Texas. Is this the way Texas has become an entrepreneurial state?

What do you think?

Be one of the statistics

More data coming across the table on entrepreneurship in Texas and the US.
The Kaufman Foundation gathers extensive data on entrepreneurship and is an excellent source of the happenings in business from the perspective of entrepreneurial activity in the United States.

FACTS of interest:

Texas is not number one, but not far behind in the index of entrepreneurial activity.

In 2010, 565,000 new businesses were started per month by new and repeat entrepreneurs, the same rate as in 2009.  340 out of 100,000 adults started businesses each month in 2010.

Ages 20-34 accounted for 26% of all businesses started in 2010, which by the way is the same as the age group 35-44.

The largest group of entrepreneurs in the education index who started businesses in 2010 were the college educated, followed closely by the high school only group. This indicates that more businesses were started out of necessity.

No surprise on the gender issue: 38% women and a whopping 62% men started businesses in 2010. Why? Another time, but suffice it to say, the gap is closing.

Serendipitity while reading “Where good ideas come from”

The book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation led me to music I had never heard before, a study on entrepreneurs from Stanford University, and another way of using Facebook. And that was just the beginning.

I’ll start with ideas.  Where do good ideas come from?  According to the author, they don’t materialize in a vacuum. Good ideas, he says, come from the social or informational interactions in diverse and unique settings.  He identifies seven “patterns” in which new ideas are formed and backs them up with examples. I haven’t finished, but the take aways so far are leading me on a new journey:

1. You don’t reach Serendip by plotting a course for it.  You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously. (A quote by J. Barth, a postmodernist writer)

2.Music. The author shares an example of how diversity in thinking led musicians Eno and Bryne to produce My Life in the Bush of Ghosts:

“Rather than featuring conventional pop or rock singing, most of the vocals are sampled from other sources, such as commercial recordings of Arabic singers, radio disc jockeys, and an exorcist. Musicians had previously used similar sampling techniques, but never before been used “to such cataclysmic effect” as on My Life.”

If you don’t buy the whole album on itunes, at least buy America is Waiting.

3. A study in the late 90s investigated the relationship between business innovation and diversity.  The results showed the most creative individuals consistently had broad social networks that extended outside their organization and involved people from diverse fields of expertise.

“Diverse, horizontal social netweorks were three times more innovative than uniform, vertical networks. Groups united by shared values and long-term familiarity, conformity and convention tended to dampen any potential creative sparks.”

4. Which leads me to Facebook, and any social networking site like LinkedIn. Not your friends, but acquaintances. Or people you hardly know because they are in another field or industry than yours.  As other studies have shown, building bridges outside your realm of existence, allows you access to new ideas that you can use in a new context. Looking at those “weak ties” of your social network allows information to travel back and forth throughout a network.  And it is not just the speed in which ideas and information travels across a network, it is the openness the information from one area triggers a connection that leads to a new breakthrough.

Obviously, I suggest your own journey of serendipity while reading this book.

Use your buying power to support small business

A recent document “New Firm Creation” substantiates yet again the importance of small business development in the United States. Small businesses currently represent 98 percent of all businesses in the United States and they generate nearly 64 percent of all net new jobs in this country. We’ve often heard the following facts over the past few years, but the recent data continues to emphasize that:

*Small businesses are generally considered to be the first line of employment and thus the initial training grounds for this nation’s workforce.
*There are twenty-nine million small businesses in the United States
*Small business employers provide approximately 44.5 percent of payroll in the private sector

And the most powerful statistic, however, is that 60 to 80 percent of all new jobs come from small businesses. This number fluctuates when some small businesses grow enough to become classified as large businesses, and when new small businesses are created. From 1999 to 2000, small businesses accounted for 75 percent of all new jobs created. By 2010, small businesses account for three quarters of net new jobs in the United States.

The white paper New Firm Creation is a call for improved policy to even the playing field between small and large business when it comes to economic resources. To me, it is also a reminder to help support small business through the resources I have access to, and equally important to use my personal buying power to support small business growth.

Your start-ups change the whole scene

We all get it that all companies, large and small, create new jobs, and take jobs away. But not all of us are on the same page regarding the importance of start-up companies. A study released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation shows that net job growth occurs in the U.S. economy only through start-up firms. The study, The Importance of Start-ups in Job Creation and Job Destruction, states:

on average and for all but seven years between 1977 and 2005, existing firms are net job destroyers, losing 1 million jobs net combined per year. By contrast, in their first year, new firms add an average of 3 million jobs.

The bottom line? We focus on helping in unemployment or layoffs but not in start-ups. But the data from this report suggest that growth would be best boosted by supporting start-up firms.

For more, check it out.

InCube Labs to Create San Antonio Innovation Center

Led by Mayor Julián Castro, the City of San Antonio was joined today by Governor Rick Perry’s Office, County Judge Nelson Wolff, City Manager Sheryl Sculley and InCube Labs Chairman and CEO Mir Imran to announce that InCube Labs plans to establish a branch of its operations in San Antonio. In addition, InCube Labs plans to launch five life science companies in San Antonio over the next five years.

InCube Labs is a Silicon Valley-based life sciences research laboratory focused on developing medical breakthroughs that dramatically improve patient outcomes. The organization is led by Imran who has founded more than 20 companies and holds more than 200 patents.

Imran has created many innovations that have resulted in new standards of care, including the first FDA-approved Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. Imran and his partners also manage a venture fund, InCube Ventures, which invests in life science companies.

As part of the agreement, the City expects that InCube will create at least 50 jobs within the business incubator with salaries ranging from $50,000 to over $200,000. Based on InCube’s track record, the City expects that over a ten-year period, InCube companies will create approximately 400 jobs and will collectively spend approximately $100 million. InCube also expects to partner with TRTF, UTSA and UTHSCSA to identify and facilitate local technology development opportunities, as well as mentor and foster potential entrepreneurs.

Alamo Inventors General Meeting

Everyone is welcome!!

Alamo Inventors General Meeting

Inventing… Achieving & Measuring Success

Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2010

San Antonio Technology Center 3463 Magic Dr., San Antonio TX 78229
5:30 PM FREE Network Hour
6:30 PM Featured Speaker
7:30 PM After Meeting Networking @ Black-Eyed Pea

Featured speaker:
Dr Larry Miller
Larry Miller M.D. founder and chief medical officer of Vidacare Corporation,, is our speaker for June and will speak on Inventing… Achieving & Measuring Success. Vidacare was established in 2001, and is committed to developing innovative new products for medical professionals facing the challenges of emergency vascular access.
Dr. Miller brings a rich experience of clinical medicine (30 years as an emergency medicine specialist), in-depth knowledge of intraosseous physiology (directing intraosseous research, human clinical trials and FDA device approval), and business management (20 years directing product development, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing, as well as President and CEO of three medical device companies). During the 30 years as an emergency medicine specialist, Dr Miller has treated more than 120,000 emergency room patients and realized that there was a need for a device to quickly deliver fluids to patients suffering from trauma such as stroke, heart attack, dehydration or blood loss. Dr. Miller will discuss the genesis of the patented product he created, manufactured, and marketed to solve the problem, the EZ-IO, and the company he founded, VidaCare Corporation.

Business Plan Competition May Affect Change

In 2006, about 12.6 million U.S. nascent entrepreneurs were involved in about 7.4 million nascent enterprises (SBA, 2008). Small firms according to the Small Business Administration employ about half of all private sector employees and pay nearly 45 percent of the total US private payroll. Though an estimated 637,100 new employer firms began operations in 2007, 560,300 firms closed that year. A better breakdown of the survival rate for new firms looks like this: two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years, 44 percent survive four years, and 31 percent survive seven years.

Why is there such a high failure rate of small businesses, a term designated by the US government of an independent business having fewer than 500 employees? Can entrepreneurship programs affect a positive change to these grim statistics?

Certainly there are many factors that contribute to the life and death of enterprise development in the United States. Entrepreneurship education has broadened significantly during the past thirty years, and has become one of the fastest growing subjects in the undergraduate curriculum. The considerable growth in entrepreneurship education across the US and the globe has resulted in over 500 university programs, which include majors, minors, and certificate programs in the US alone.

According to the Kaufman Foundation in their recent report “Entrepreneurship in American Higher Education” a number of conclusions were drawn regarding the status of entrepreneurship education, of which the most relevant is that a single approach to entrepreneurship education is both “unrealistic and inauthentic.” Entrepreneurship education should be specific to the culture and climate of the university and its local community.

In the field of entrepreneurship it is commonly mentioned that past experience plays a significant role in the decision making-process of entrepreneurs. If one considers the importance of past experience in the success of new business ventures, it is easy to understand why financiers typically look for an experienced (and previously successful) management team. From the academic perspective, researchers have suggested that the experiential learning aspect must be included in any successful entrepreneurial program ; specifically concrete experiences are necessary to create successful entrepreneurs. Reality-based experiential pedagogy is necessary for truly training entrepreneurs.

While traditional university models have pushed for the analytic, classroom type of entrepreneurship program, proponents of entrepreneurial activity complain that this former model does little to translate into the “street smarts” necessary to actually be successful entrepreneurs. The project based or more experiential learning has become widespread in entrepreneurship education and may take the form of business plan development.

And the $100K New Venture Start-Up Competition at The University of Texas at San Antonio was born. To tackle the issues of technology entrepreneurship, especially with women and minority-owned businesses, the university created the Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). The CITE mission is to create a focal point for university students, faculty, research and education that will open a pipeline of people developing new technology ventures. It will also serve as a mechanism for existing business ventures to supplement their capabilities by coordinating faculty teams to address specific technical and business needs associated with new ventures.

With this program what we are truly doing is unlocking the inner entrepreneur in a population of students and a community that has never had this opportunity in the past. As one of our competitors this year said, “This is the coolest thing I have done in four years of college. We are going to start this company.”

Research Commercialization Introductory Course

Research Commercialization Introductory Course
Starting March 16, 2010

Free Online Distance Learning
From The National Council
of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer

Learn what it takes to commercialize R&D in this unique introductory course.

4000 researchers took the course last year.

Please invite your faculty, grad students and post-docs

The Research Commercialization Introductory Course is recommended for all medical, science and engineering researchers in public or private research institutions (e.g., grad students, post-docs, professional staff and faculty) and in commercial enterprises (e.g., startups, SBIRs, research-based small businesses and Global 1000).

Areas covered in the free 9-lecture course include intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, licensing agreements, employment agreements, consulting agreements, creating and funding companies, marketing strategy, product development, tech transfer, early stage funding and SBIR programs.

Each lecture is a 90-minute online webinar. There will be expert guest speakers for each session.


Steve Ferguson
Deputy Director, Licensing & Entrepreneurship
Office of Technology Transfer
National Institutes of Health

Ali Andalibi
Program Director
National Cancer Institute
SBIR Development Center
National Institutes of Health

Juan E. Figueroa
Program Director SBIR
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnership
National Science Foundation

Clara Asmail
Technologies Liaison
SBIR Program Manager
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Frank Barros
SBIR Program Manager
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Dave Goodwin
SBIR Program Manager
Department of Energy

Allen Baker
Technologies Liaison
SBIR Program Office
Department of the Navy

Tony Stanco
Executive Director
National Council Of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer


This 9-lecture course is free, but registration is required.

Check it out, and register: