The Technology Commercialization Race With Rob Adams

“It’s just a stomp-your-foot-on-the-gas-and-hang-on-for-the-ride kind of thing.”

Writer Tim Green recently assembled an interesting mix of UT Austin professors to lend perspective on extreme time scales–from the very long (think tectonic plate movement) to the ultra-short (laser pulses).

His article, It’s About Time, features new venture guru Rob Adams on the accelerated pace required when getting a new business off the ground, particularly in the technology industry.

“When you’re in a technology-oriented startup the world moves at a blinding pace because no one’s idea is truly unique,” says Adams, who works with startups and Master of Business Administration (MBA) students who might have a startup in their future.

When starting a company, he says, it’s better to get a product out to customers quickly rather than tweak it here and there to make it perfect. It’s been the norm in the technology industry to improve quality in subsequent releases.

“When it’s technology stuff, it’s just a stomp-your-foot-on-the-gas-and-hang-on-for-the-ride kind of thing,” he says. “And then you’re making mid-course corrections. So your biggest threat when doing this is a competitor catching up with you; and there’s a lot of competition out there.”

He says it’s better to consider the information you have and move quickly rather than wait for a more complete picture before taking a step.

“You’ve got to assemble what little data you have,” he says. “Sometimes you have to extrapolate from a few data points what you think the answer should be. Then you find out in the market whether you made it or not.”

Adams points out that it is easier to teach this principle to MBA students in the classroom than to entrepreneurs in their garages. Why? MBA students have more time to listen, of course!

Read the rest of the story, including comments from geologist Sharon Mosher, laser physicist Aaron Bernstein, population geneticist Mark Kirkpatrick, and astrophysicist Volker Bromm.

More of Tim Green’s research blogging at Further Findings.


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