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How to Succeed Like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos! Meet Harvard's Dr. Tom Eisenmann author of "Why Startups Fail?"

By Angel Venture Fair (other events)

Friday, November 12 2021 12:00 PM 1:00 PM EST
 
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If you want your startup to succeed, you need to understand why startups fail.

“Whether you’re a first-time founder or looking to bring innovation into a corporate environment, Why Startups Fail is essential reading.”—Eric Ries, founder and CEO, LTSE, and New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way

Why do startups fail? That question caught Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann by surprise when he realized he couldn’t answer it.

So he launched a multiyear research project to find out. In Why Startups Fail, Eisenmann reveals his findings: six distinct patterns that account for the vast majority of startup failures.

  • Bad Bedfellows. Startup success is thought to rest largely on the founder’s talents and instincts. But the wrong team, investors, or partners can sink a venture just as quickly.
  • False Starts. In following the oft-cited advice to “fail fast” and to “launch before you’re ready,” founders risk wasting time and capital on the wrong solutions.
  • False Promises. Success with early adopters can be misleading and give founders unwarranted confidence to expand.
  • Speed Traps. Despite the pressure to “get big fast,” hypergrowth can spell disaster for even the most promising ventures.
  • Help Wanted. Rapidly scaling startups need lots of capital and talent, but they can make mistakes that leave them suddenly in short supply of both.
  • Cascading Miracles. Silicon Valley exhorts entrepreneurs to dream big. But the bigger the vision, the more things that can go wrong.


Drawing on fascinating stories of ventures that failed to fulfill their early promise—from a home-furnishings retailer to a concierge dog-walking service, from a dating app to the inventor of a sophisticated social robot, from a fashion brand to a startup deploying a vast network of charging stations for electric vehicles—Eisenmann offers frameworks for detecting when a venture is vulnerable to these patterns, along with a wealth of strategies and tactics for avoiding them.

A must-read for founders at any stage of their entrepreneurial journey, Why Startups Fail is not merely a guide to preventing failure but also a roadmap charting the path to startup success.

Author


Tom Eisenmann is the Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School; the Peter O. Crisp Chair, Harvard Innovation Labs; and Faculty Co-Chair of the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, the Harvard MS/MBA Program, and the Harvard College Tech Fellows Program. In recent years, he has served as Chair of Harvard's MBA Elective Curriculum--the 2nd year of the MBA Program--and as course head of The Entrepreneurial Manager, taught to all 900 1st-year MBAs. With colleagues, he has launched 14 MBA electives, including Entrepreneurial Failure, MBA Startup Bootcamp, Launching Tech Ventures, Scaling Tech Ventures, Entrepreneurial Sales & Marketing, and Product Management 101.

Professor Eisenmann received his Doctorate in Business Administration ('98), MBA ('83), and BA ('79) from Harvard University. Prior to entering the HBS Doctoral Program, Eisenmann spent eleven years at McKinsey & Company, where he was co-head of the Media and Entertainment Practice. He serves as a director on the board of Harvard Business Publishing.