Chapter_2_Recog_Opportunity_Jan_17_2009

Chapter_2_Recog_Opportunity_Jan_17_2009 - CHAPTER 2...

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C HAPTER 2 R ECOGNIZING O PPORTUNITY Men who are resolved to find a way for themselves will always find opportunities enough; and if they do not find them, they will make them. Samuel Smiles (Scottish author 1812-1904) 2.0 E NTREPRENEUR ' S D IARY I think that I have developed a disruptive technology for producing fish in an indoor water recirculating system. My design dramatically reduces the costs and complexity associated with the water reconditioning equipment used in indoor fish systems. My design uses less space, is more environmentally compatible, more reliable, and uses much less energy than other systems that most people are using for this purpose. As far as I can tell, there is nothing that our system doesn’t do better than any other system anybody is already using. What I don’t have is a practical means of demonstrating this technology. It is tough to be the groundbreaker. How, then, can I proceed? The producers that are using the technology that I plan to replace aren’t willing to convert their system to my system, because it takes them out of production for a considerable period of time, and to them, my system is unproven and therefore introduces a risk that they don’t have now. So, how do I demonstrate my technology? I have to become my own customer. I am going to have to build a fish farm that features my technology and its benefits. Where do I begin? I have to design a large scale facility, capable of making a profit, and then build it, and then operate it. Now, I have to ask myself “What business am I in? The system technology business or the fish business?” Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. The truth is, I was about to be in both businesses. My immediate focus, though, was on the fish business. That is where the long term, continual profits lie and where I pitched my investment proposal to investors. Apparently, I had just recognized my opportunity. Recognizing opportunity is what Chapter 2 is all about, preferably centered around 1
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some type of disruptive technology. What’s that? I’ll try to answer that question for you in this chapter. 2.1 D ISRUPTIVE T ECHNOLOGY How do we recognize opportunity? How do we measure progress? How do we deal with change? Most of the answers can be distilled into a single thought: it depends on how it affects us personally. Technical advancement is inevitable and will continue to profoundly change our world. “Disruptive technologies” are those technologies that have dramatic impact on the way we function and how we conduct our ordinary daily affairs. Entrepreneurs should always be on the lookout for such opportunities because the upside economic returns can be very large. At the same time, missing an opportunity of which your competitors took advantage can marginalize your technology and eventually put you out of business. Successful entrepreneurship is about recognizing and acting upon these opportunities. Remember, investors are always looking for big win (opportunity) investments, too. One aspect of the degree to which a particular advancement changes
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Chapter_2_Recog_Opportunity_Jan_17_2009 - CHAPTER 2...

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