Entrepreneurs in High Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond

By Edward B. Roberts | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Survival Versus Success

A Framework

The eventual goal of an entrepreneur, whether technology based or not, is success for his or her enterprise, at least in terms of the entrepreneur's own standards of success. Thus, the foremost consideration in my research program on technological entrepreneurship has been to determine the causes of the high-technology company's success and failure. The problem is that the performance of an enterprise is the culmination of intricate interaction of a large number of factors. Although each alone has its effect on company performance, the proper mix of those factors is no doubt of critical importance and perhaps cannot be discovered. Several different groups of factors, combined in different ways, may produce equally successful companies, each one successful for fundamentally different reasons.

The complexity inherent in the process leading to company performance precludes the possibility of an all-explaining or even all-encompassing "model" of successful technological entrepreneurship. Several prior empirical studies of success and failure tend to emphasize specific characteristics of the entrepreneur or the enterprise, such as motivation ( Smith and Miner, 1984), the "incubating" organization ( Feeser and Willard, 1989), prefunding factors ( Roure and Maidique, 1986), capitalization ( Bruno and Tyebjee, 1985), competitive tactics ( Slevin and Covin, 1987), strategy and industrial structure ( Tushman, Virany and Romanelli, 1985; Sandberg and Hofer, 1987; Dubini, 1989; Fombrun and Wally, 1989; McDougall, 1989; Feeser and Willard, 1990), with a few studies examining many different variables ( Cooper and Bruno, 1977; Van de Ven, Hudson and Schroeder, 1984; Bruno and Leidecker, 1988). References to these and other works are made as appropriate throughout this chapter. In the preceding chapters a number of the key factors that might be related to entrepreneurial performance have been analyzed in depth. Now their potential influences on the eventual success of the technological enterprise need to be evaluated.

A general model of enterprise performance that provides the framework for analysis in this chapter follows the flow of the earlier chapters of this book. One of the most important foundations of a new enterprise that

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Entrepreneurs in High Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter 1 High-Technology Entrepreneurs 3
  • References 30
  • Chapter 2 an Environment for Entrepreneurs 31
  • References 45
  • Chapter 3 the Makings of an Entrepreneur 47
  • Summary and Implications 94
  • Notes 96
  • References 97
  • Chapter 4 the Technological Base of the New Enterprise 100
  • Summary and Implications 121
  • References 123
  • Chapter 5 the Financial Base of the New Enterprise 124
  • Summary and Implications 156
  • Chapter 6 Evolving Toward Product and Market-Orientation 160
  • Notes 186
  • References 186
  • Chapter 7 Finding Additional Financing 188
  • References 215
  • Chapter 8 Going Public 217
  • Summary and Implications: Sizzle or Steak 242
  • References 244
  • Chapter 9 Survival Versus Success 245
  • Chapter 10 Product Strategy and Corporate Success 281
  • Notes 306
  • References 308
  • Chapter 11 Super-Success 309
  • Notes 336
  • References 338
  • Chapter 12 Technological Entrepreneurship: Birth, Growth, and Success 339
  • References 358
  • Appendix a Quarter Century of Research 359
  • References 375
  • Index of Founders and Firms 377
  • Subject Index 381
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