Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba Networks, reflects on what he wished he had known as a student. Orr argues that as a student, a great deal of emphasis was placed on individual accomplishment whereas in professional life the accomplishments of the team and the company are much more important than any individual contribution.
As a seasoned Silicon Valley CEO, Greg states that one of the most important aspects of business is customer service. While this is often the most neglected, and the first to be cut when money is sparse, Greg suggests that saving money on providing great customer service is not a smart move.
Former Lotus 1-2-3 founder Mitch Kapor has launched a number of new ventures, and he knows firsthand the difficulty of competing with the Valley's best-known brands for top engineering and executive talent. He shares his solutions to luring the best in human resources to his door, including distributed development and opening doors elsewhere in the Golden Gate.
Mandelbaum believes that one is born an entrepreneur. A person can learn the basics of entrepreneurship, but the willingness and eagerness to take risks should come naturally and cannot be taught. A great entrepreneur is someone who keeps the team going through the bad times when the future looks dim, she notes.
Tien Tzuo, Chief Strategy Officer for Salesforce.com, believes that investments are shifting from direct-marketing campaigns to online marketing. Customer awareness is created through buzz, PR and dialogues in the marketplace rather than spending a great deal on advertising.
The paradox in starting a company is trying to get funding without any team while trying to get a team without any funding, says Mandelbaum. She also emphasizes that the solution to the paradox is to find a way just get to that next step, where there will be different opportunities and different risks.
The most important piece of advice that Mandelbaum would give to an aspiring entrepreneur is to surround oneself with great people and ask these people lots of questions. Take the opportunity to meet with as many people as possible because they could potentially become a best friend, she suggests.
JetBlue's secrets for success: Hire and train great people, develop purpose, vision and values. Establish organizational culture, listen to customers and employees. Cultivate leadership. Provide incentives to employees.
Mandelbaum has been an entrepreneur her whole life, starting her first company at the age of 3. She spent her early career years working at companies she was not passionate about and these experiences taught her that she could sell anything to anyone. When she decided to work on something that really inspired her, she discovered that a great group of advisors was an indispensable resource.
Kelley believes that you need a language, a process and a framework in order to design. He stresses that experience is key success factor: learn from all the projects you've worked on, distil the knowledge and apply it to your future projects. He recommends reading The Art of Innovation for IDEO's concept of a great process.
A common problem Mandelbaum sees in new companies is an unwillingness of the founder to let go. The mark of a great entrepreneur is the ability to recognize what skills you have and what tasks would better be left up to someone else, she says. Choosing the best people and board members is essential to the future of the company.
Young talks about how it is important to step back and understand your own weaknesses. This allowed him to improve his ball throwing skills, even though he had a height disadvantage from other quarterbacks. According to Young, a great negotiator is able to understand his strengths and weaknesses through self-analysis.