Commercialization ecosystem

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Conventional wisdom, common sense and that feeling in your gut

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked Nick Quain co-founder and CEO of CellWand, to share some of his insights as an entrepreneur who has successfully brought technology to market. This is the first of his commentaries and we welcome your feedback.

By Nick Quain

They are becoming the adages of management gurus and startup experts everywhere. So many popular catch phrases, they make your head spin.

Build a great team.

Know the right people.

Learn from the experts.

Manage your people.

All young business leaders need to learn how to do these things, right?

I say wrong.

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For the last time, they won’t come just because you’ve built it

This is the 11th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

“Companies that can’t clearly articulate their customer and market are not real serious companies, they are research projects … Engineering and marketing need to work together from the get go.”

We began this series a couple of months ago with this timeless quote from Band of Angels’ Ronald Weissman. It strikes to the heart of what all of us here take as gospel.

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We’re under NDA, right?

This is post is by Associate Phil Newman, a London-based marketing and commercialization strategist for technology companies. We welcome your comments.

By Phil Newman

“OK. Tuesday at 2:30. Great, see you then. We’ll get our NDA over to you guys … yeah, it’s mutual … we can talk more freely about how things could shape up between us. OK, Tuesday it is.”

Sounds fine, doesn’t it? Countersigned NDA filed in the company’s records, check. Possible collaboration with the guys at XYZ Corp., check. Mutual NDA that states what’s ours is ours, check.

But is the NDA, or Non-Disclosure Agreement, a simple business-process document that’s as everyday as a purchase order, or a legally binding document that opens up the potential of intellectual property (IP) issues later? And what about those IP clauses in your standard employment contract? French car-maker Renault recently suspended three senior execs in what was described as a sophisticated case of industrial espionage. The case revolved around electric vehicle programs and power train and battery technology. Chinese companies have been named, but involvement has been denied.

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Words of wisdom: Another look in the mirror

This is the 10th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

As we have said before, entrepreneurs must have a vision that will stretch the boundaries of what they know and challenge what they believe is attainable. They must be willing to seek the outside counsel and feedback that will reveal the weaknesses in themselves, their teams, their technology and their paths to market. It’s difficult to overcome a weakness if you haven’t recognized and acknowledged it.

We conclude our Words of Wisdom string today by looking once again at the human factor and the right stuff that individual entrepreneurs and management teams need to succeed. There is no denying that the greatness of an organization is defined by its people. But how do you ensure that you are making the right hires?

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A leader’s personality: The single most important factor in a company’s growth

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked Janice Calnan, an Ottawa-based leadership trainer and executive coach, to share her thoughts on how leadership impacts an organization’s performance and competitiveness. We welcome your comments.

By Janice Calnan

To grow and maintain market share, companies must constantly look for new ways to improve both their businesses and their people. If they fail, they may still make their numbers in the short term. But in the long term, they’ll lose their best people and their organizations will suffer accordingly. In the absence of a leader’s great interpersonal skills, even a growth period renders teams ineffective. People are your greatest resource. Nothing happens without them.

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