By Michael Crowley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ATVentureCener
©Michael Crowley 2019 All Rights Reserved
Over 20 years ago, I was asked to create a new one hour lecture to be held in six cities and delivered as part a series of conferences on innovation and entrepreneurship sponsored by Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) and Venture Magazine. I gave my presentation for the conference in the tech strongholds of San Francisco and Boston. As I recall, the central focus of these lectures was to have actual serial technology entrepreneurs (versus academicians) give their own unique perspective on the the process each presenter used to commercialize high technology.
This was the first time I ever really stopped and gave serious thought about precisely how I went about the entire process of launching advanced technology into the marketplace.
Serial technology entrepreneurs are generally viewed as a much different “breed of cat” than traditional entrepreneurs because the typical serial entrepreneur has usually launched at least 7 or 8 new technologies into the highly uncertain start-up world with a significant level of consistent success by the time they are in their early 50’s. Another consistent factor in the serial technology entrepreneur world is that most of these men or women did not start their first venture until they were in their late 30’s or early 40’s. And, somewhat obviously, the serial technology entrepreneur typically had a very high rate of success since it would be difficult-to-impossible to raise the kind of capital required from accredited investors to launch a major advanced technology without a strong personal track-record.
After I completed my own lecture, I had a chance to hear all the other serial entrepreneurs give the audience their own “tricks of the trade”. As I listened to each presenter, I realized fairly quickly that there actually were a number of common themes running as a thread that connected all of these seemingly individual approaches to a set of somewhat standardized problems facing each presenter.
Each of the individual steps that the speakers described as their own recommended pathway to successful technology entrepreneurship and commercialization were largely the same; however, each lecturer had a very different spin on their own unique approach that emphasized how they tackled one specific area or another.
Just like there are many ways for a baker to make a great cake, there were many different variations to the recipes for technology entrepreneurial success. Each personalized chef's recipe was “baked-into the cake” as the result of the individual personality and experiences of each Master Baker.
Over the course of my technology entrepreneurial career that now spans over 20 years I have launched 14 new technology-based businesses into the national and international marketplace of new ideas and business ventures, During my career as an educator and lecturer, I have spent many years trying to distill the key lessons I have learned into my own recipe for successful technology entrepreneurship and commercialization. I have labeled my recipe Techtrepreneurship™... which now serves as my own personal brand of advanced technology venture creation.
My educational training that combined busines management, economics, commercial law and international law gave me the foundation that allowed me to build a career in technology entrepreneurship and commercialization. My work experience extended my "book knowledge" as I worked on a day-to-day basis with several of America's most successful serial entrepreneurs. My experience in banking and as a venture capitalist, M&A professional and investment banker added a great deal to my understanding of the underlying skill sets that are required to keep a constant focus on present and future cash requirements of growth. And my experiences as an actual technology entrepreneur and commercialization professional allowed me to speak about the trials and tribulations of the entire process - using first-hand, real world marketplace driven knowledge.
I believe that there are at least nine (9) distinct educational units that you will be required to study to really understand all of the phases of Techtrepreneurship. Each unit is equally important to learn and eventually master if you want to begin your own career in this field…either as a tech entrepreneur or to extend your own personal skill set within an existing corporation as you add a new advanced technology into your existing corporate product mix.
Can you take home an important piece of the pie by attending one or more of our lectures? Yes, of course. However, if you want to fully understand the entire pathway to success, I would strongly recommend that you attend the entire lecture series. Each unit of our courses and workshops will add to your knowledge base and give you the full vision of the hurdles and various tasks that lie ahead of you. However, we won’t simply describe the hurdles, we will help your create solutions to overcome these challenges as they arise during the process.
I have been giving day long lectures to senior management groups and international delegations seeking to understand the unique issues presented during the process of moving an advanced technology product or service out of the research lab and into our newly globalized world since January 2006. During this 13+ year span of time, I have given over a 1,000 lectures in many cities and universities throughout the nation and at each of my interactive lectures I have learned a great deal from my students too as we worked our way through the thickets of the Techtrepreneurship process.
When my daughter Erin and I decided to create a center dedicated to the commercialization of advanced technologies a couple years ago, our first objective was to create an army of well-trained Techtrepreneurs who would be able to move the best of our advanced tech out of the labs and into the real world where high tech creates great jobs and grows local, regional and national GDP. When we opened ATVentureCenter in March 2018, we knew that we had a world class training and conference room facility at Legacy Towers that would fit our objectives to move technology entrepreneurship into the mainstream of everyone’s thoughts as the issue of economic development arises. We want our attendees of our Techtrepreneurship to be fully armed with the skills and the facts about what technology entrepreneurship is all about and why it is so vitally important to renew and revitalize our lagging manufacturing sectors.
As you review the topic areas of our nine lectures, you will quickly observe that these topic area covers multiple educational fields. You obviously do not need to become an expert in each of these fields to be successful, however, you do need to understand and appreciate the knowledge-base contained in each sector to be a Techtrepreneur. We want you to be a part of our "army" leading others along the pathway to advanced technology commercialization success.
There is one simple very important lesson I have learned that I would like for you all to remember before you begin your own journey - Nothing Really Ever Happens Until Somebody Sells Something. Always keep you eye on the prize - sales and net profits.
I look forward to being with you throughout your entire journey at our venture center.