The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup
Live with Author Prof. Noam Wasserman
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:30AM - 10:30AM
Registration and Breakfast begins at 8:00AM
Location: The Westin Galleria
13340 Dallas Parkway
Dallas, Texas 75240
The morning of Tuesday, March 6, 2012, the Entrepreneurship Lecture Series is pleased to welcome to its stage Harvard Business School Professor Noam Wasserman, author of the 2008 Harvard Business Review article “The Founder’s Dilemma” and the upcoming book The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup.
Few people have studied and better understand challenges faced by entrepreneurs and their startup companies than Professor Noam Wasserman. Noam’s upcoming book capitalizes on his years of research into 10,000 founders and the founders’ early decisions that affected their long-run outcomes. In the book, he highlights the often-unexpected results of those early decisions – decisions like whether or not, and when, to bring on cofounders, hires or investors; how and when to give up equity; and ultimately if and when the founder should give up control of the company to help get it to exit or IPO. These issues are at the core of the course he developed and teaches at HBS, entitled “Founders’ Dilemmas,” for which he won the HBS Faculty Teaching Award and which Inc. magazine this year named one of the top courses in the country.
Prior to writing his book, Noam published a 2008 Harvard Business Review article of a similar title, “The Founder’s Dilemma.” This exciting paper quickly became a Harvard Business School best seller and gained cult-like status for entrepreneurs around the world as they struggled to identify with and answer the article’s core founder dilemma: Do you want to see your company grow and create a successful exit or IPO, or do you want to remain the king of the company you started? Noam discovered, in his study of 212 founder-led companies, that the same person who started the business was not always the right person to bring it to a successful exit or IPO, and documented the often-counterintuitive conditions under which the founders were replaced as CEOs.
Do not miss this very special opportunity to hear Professor Noam Wasserman present the results of his research live, to ask your questions, and to get a special first-peak into his exciting new book. Mark your calendars now so that you do not miss this very rare and special event.
About Noam Wasserman
Noam Wasserman is a professor at Harvard Business School. For more than a decade, his research has focused on founders’ early decisions that can make or break the startup and its team. At HBS, he developed, and teaches, an MBA elective, "Founders' Dilemmas," for which he was awarded the HBS Faculty Teaching Award and the Academy of Management's 2010 Innovation in Pedagogy Award. In 2011, the course was also named one of the top entrepreneurship courses in the country by Inc. magazine.
Both The Founder’s Dilemmas (the book) and "Founders' Dilemmas" (the course) provide a roadmap for founders about the most common pitfalls they will face. The book and course integrate Noam’s research results, quantitative data collected over the last decade from 10,000 founders, case studies, and conceptual frameworks. Since 2000, he has been the lead researcher on the annual CompStudy survey of technology and life-sciences startups, which has become the most comprehensive survey of compensation for top management at private companies in the U.S. (and is now expanding to include China, India, Israel, and England). Noam is one of three members of the core faculty of the Kauffman Foundation's Global Scholars' Program, and he has delivered numerous keynote addresses to meetings of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), venture capital retreats, and entrepreneurship conferences, among others.
Noam’s research has been published in Harvard Business Review (his 2008 article on "The Founder's Dilemma" became an HBS Publishing best seller), the Academy of Management Journal (2006), Organization Science (2003, 2008), and the Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management (2004, 2006), to name a few. He won Harvard’s George S. Dively Award for dissertation research, the Aage Sorensen Memorial Award for sociological research, and for four straight years won the Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Academy of Management (Business Policy and Strategy division). Noam received his PhD from Harvard University in 2002 and received an MBA (with High Distinction) from Harvard Business School in 1999, graduating as a Baker Scholar.
Despite being voted “Most Likely to Become a CEO” by his MBA section, Noam decided to pursue academia as a career and to enter the PhD program (thereby giving up on ever becoming a CEO). Before coming to Harvard, he was a Principal and Practice Manager at a management-consulting firm near Washington, D.C., where he founded and led the Groupware Practice. He also worked as a venture capitalist at a firm in Boston. He received a BSE (magna cum laude) in Computer Science and Engineering from Penn, and a BSEcon (magna cum laude) in Corporate Finance and Strategic Management from Wharton. He lives in Brookline, MA, with his wife and seven children.