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« Into the Valley of Death | Main | Business Development Certificate Program for Scientists and Engineers »

April 08, 2010


Mike Provance

Great thoughts and comments! Clearly, identifying and developing ties with people like Conway is crucial to success.

The observation you made is a much more powerful one fto explain (and to advise entrepreneurs on how to deal with) the 'valley of death' phenomenon. Even in times like these, cash may be hard to find, but it would be a stretch to call it scarce for the right opportunity/entrepreneur/idea combination. Having a network that works, on the other hand, may be easier to consider a scarce resource, particularly for those newer to being entrepreneurs. You said as much in your op-ed in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (2010).

A lot of research has come out recently looking at this very issue, including some simulation work I am involved with in these area. The findings from this work, taken collectively, are interesting. Size doesn't matter, and can even be a hindrance to survival and growth. Rather, the advantage comes from finding and developing the 'right' networks -- presumably that's where Conway's connections help entrepreneurs succeed. It also depends on the type of environment the entrepreneur is operating in. The same network (and type of network) in Silicon Valley may not work as well in Research Triangle Park, or one built from a US base should not look or work the same as one in Japan or China.

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