About the Book by Chris Lopresti
Through INSIGHTS, Chris LoPresti has gathered 101 world-class mentors to share their invaluable experiences for the benefit of every entrepreneur.
INSIGHTS grants you access to some of Yale’s leading entrepreneurs and the key learnings they’ve collected on their own entrepreneurial journeys. From founders of Fortune 500 companies such as FedEx, to the next generation of entrepreneurs like Thiel Fellows, to early investors in Apple, Cisco, Facebook, and other billion dollar startups, INSIGHTS is a collection of the best advice offered by a diverse group of leaders and innovators.
The 101 featured contributors reveal lessons learned the hard way to help you avoid common pitfalls and allow you to lead your company toward more streamlined success. This unique library of knowledge is available to reference as often as you need.
Thinking about starting your own company? Trying to improve your organization? INSIGHTS provides a wealth of information to guide you along your entrepreneurial journey.
From the author: This book was created to bring together a community of people to share their knowledge and pay forward the help they’ve received throughout their individual careers. All 101 entrepreneurs volunteered their advice and experiences in this book, and at many other times in their lives, they have offered their insights for free. They all share a common desire to support entrepreneurs of every type.
The proceeds from INSIGHTS will go to ELIS Inc., a registered 501c3 organization created by some of the entrepreneurs in this book. The purpose of the nonprofit is to help future entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators gain access to resources–both mentors and money.
Your contribution, by either making a direct donation or by buying this book, will help foster the next great organizations and businesses.
The Value of Preparation
Roger McNamee, Co-Founder, Moonalice,
Co-Founder, Elevation Partners, Silver Lake Partners, Integral Capital Partners
Co-Founder, The MoonTunes Project, Reverb
Many entrepreneurs discount the value of preparation in disruptive technology startups on the theory that if you are inventing a new world, you are better off approaching it unfettered by preconceptions. Some investors have stopped backing companies with experienced teams, believing that disruptive change comes most often from first-time entrepreneurs. That was certainly true with Microsoft, Oracle, Google, and Facebook, but the other side of the ledger includes tens of thousands of companies that crashed and burned because of inexperience.
What is the best way to begin an entrepreneurial project? If you are not a domain expert, become one before you start. Domain expertise gives you an edge in identifying product or business model changes that customers will value. It also enables you to “make new mistakes,” rather than repeating ones that have been made by others. Once you identify your opportunity, then you have to figure out whether or not you are capable of executing the strategy. This requires self-awareness, which is not as widely distributed in the entrepreneurial population as one would hope. At this early stage, uncertainty has value, as it provides an incentive for greater preparation.
Then comes the moment of truth. You’ve got your idea; you have a plan for making it happen. Should you do it? My rule of thumb is to sleep on it for a few nights. When you awake, if you can’t imagine doing anything else, then you are good to go. If you can imagine anything at all that you would rather do, bail out from the start¬up. It’s not the right thing for you. Remember that startups are harder to unwind than a marriage. If you make the wrong choice, you will be stuck with it longer than you would like.
About the Author
Chris LoPresti is the Founder of TouchPoints, a consumer data technology company that helps brands connect with their community. LoPresti is also the founder and chairman of ELIS Inc., a nonprofit focused on promoting STEM education and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs. In addition to his work with next-gen doers at ELIS Inc., LoPresti is a member of the Thousand Network, a coach at The Future Project, a member of the NationSwell Council, and a proud Eagle Scout. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.