This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Derek Lidow. Derek has had a unique entrepreneurial journey in that he was CEO of a large publicly traded semiconductor company, a founder and CEO of an innovative and valuable startup, and now as a teacher and scholar of entrepreneurship and innovation. Derek is a professor of the practice at the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education at Princeton University. He’s literally lived 3 very different entrepreneurial lives.
On top of all that he is the author multiple best-sellers including Startup Leadership: How Savvy Entrepreneurs Turn Their Ideas Into Successful Enterprises, Building on Bedrock: What Sam Walton, Walt Disney, and Other Great Self-Made Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Building Valuable Companies, and THE ENTREPRENEURS: The Relentless Quest for Value.
Derek is one of those guys, I could talk about every side of entrepreneurship with and we do just that.
Derek thought he was going to be a scientist. During graduate school he found that it wasn’t for him. He finished his PhD, but then shocked everyone and went into the business world. He found success as a semi-conductor executive during the golden age of the industry. He contributed a lot to the industry and ultimately proved how to create great solutions saving the world billions in gigawatts in the power space. He was ultimately made CEO of a large global company and led it to be the leader in it’s vertical. After 5 years, he got the itch to start his own company. He retired from the corporate world and started a company from scratch. He built a data aggregation and visualization solution for the supply chain and with his previous experience was able to create a massive enterprise. The company kept finding success until a another company came along and had to buy them paying top dollar. Two weeks later he later he was recruited by Princeton to help create their entrepreneurial curriculum and teach.
For the last 10 years he has taught and immersed himself into studying entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is more of innate state for human beings, but so many stray from embracing it – why do you think that is?
At the 14 min mark, Derek and I have a good discussion of whether everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur or not.
We further discuss how everyone is selling something, but don’t see it like selling unless it is in a business context. But, everyone is in sales of some kind.
We also discuss the real challenge for people tapping into the entrepreneurial gene is the willingness to take risk.
You’ve said that we are focused on the wrong aspect of helping and regulating entrepreneurs. What does that mean?
At the 24 min mark, we talk about the FTX scandal and how entrepreneurs would be better to manage it than Govt.
Derek uses an example of Vanderbilt to illustrate how entrepreneurs are better at keeping things in check with each other.
From your study or entrepreneurs and the history of entrepreneurship, what are some of the lessons you’ve taken that people should know and understand?
What is your most important message from your latest book, the Relentless Quest for Value?
You dedicated the book to Arel and Tiel. Who are they?
2-3 of the best lessons you personally learned on your own entrepreneur journey?
Best Quote: Know yourself so you can understand what you are capable of and where to ask for help.
Derek's Misfit 3:
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