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Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures Paperback – July 29, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0131423985 ISBN-10: 0131423983
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This book provides a strong foundation for impending entrepreneurs to aid in

determining the possible positive outcomes of the venture."

—Marcy Freed, President, VitalStim, Inc.

"This book deals very bravely with the opportunity of technology entrepreneurship. This is a great, courageous effort."

—Jerome S. Engel, Executive Director, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of California, Berkeley

"Finding Fertile Ground provides a terrifically engaging perspective on the mindset

of the successful entrepreneur. Scott Shane's well-structured analysis and thought-provoking conclusions give would-be entrepreneurs a great set of tools to use in assessing opportunities and risks. I highly recommend this as a 'must-read' for

anyone considering starting a new venture."

—David Courtney, Executive Vice President and Board Member of TiVo, Inc.

"Truly great technology startup opportunities are very rare and therefore very hard to identify. Scott Shane's new book is unique because it helps technology entrepreneurs systematically analyze their idea, step by step through ten major screens, much like the prospector screens away dirt to expose any nuggets of gold. It is a must read for entrepreneurs determined to build only great high tech businesses."

—Ian C. MacMillan, Academic Director: Snider Entrepreneurial

Research Center, Sullivan Professor of Management

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"If you don't have the money to pay for this book now, give the bookstore an IOU.

Your chances of being able to pay it back with high interest will rise with every chapter. The author and I share two core beliefs: the critical importance of selling, and the need for potential entrepreneurs to be tech savvy, even if they are not techie."

—Kenneth P. Morse, Managing Director, MIT Entrepreneurship Center

The author of over 50 scholarly articles on entrepreneurship and innovation management,

Dr. Shane's books include A General Theory of Entrepreneurship, Foundations of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship: A Process Perspective, and Academic Entrepreneurship. He edits the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Division of the leading scholarly journal, Management Science. Dr. Shane holds a Ph.D. from

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Most efforts at starting a new business fail. But yours can succeed if you find the right

business opportunity and understand the key success factors. This book shows how.

If you're starting a business, your best odds of success are in high technology industries: not just computing and telecom, but also biotech, aerospace, electronics, manufacturing and materials, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, robotics, and other knowledge-intensive fields. This book is the first complete framework for entrepreneurs who want to start high technology businesses.

The author identifies the key factors associated with long-term success. You'll discover how to identify market opportunities and competitor weaknesses, evaluate customer needs, manage risk and uncertainty, predict product adoption and diffusion, structure your organization, and protect intellectual property. Along the way, Shane shows how to account for crucial issues such as network externalities, and the emergence of dominant designs and technical standards.

Unlike other books on entrepreneurship, this one offers solutions specifically targeted at high tech startups. There's no better way to find your best opportunities.

Indispensable tools for every high-tech entrepreneur, manager, and investor

The right market and more: what it'll take to be "the next Google"

Assess the market potential for products nobody's even imagined before

Beat the biggest players—from the smallest garage Overcome your largest, most established competitors

Create powerful barriers to entry and imitation Keep your markets to yourself—no matter how big they grow

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Dr. Scott A. Shane is Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, where he teaches a course on high technology entrepreneurship. He has taught at MIT¿s Sloan School of Management, Georgia Tech¿s DuPree School of Management, and the University of Maryland¿s Robert H. Smith School of Business.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wharton School Publishing (July 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131423983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131423985
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,962,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on July 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Well if you have the guts to start a new business then this author makes the case that high tech is the field to be in. Forget fast food franchises, dry cleaners or video stores, the more knowledge intensive the better. To back this claim up the author gives you the highlights of the last 20 years in America and points to facts that would lead one to believe the economy is doing very well thank you. To put some reality into the conversation he does detail out the very difficult task it is to start a business and make it successful, as a matter of fact the odds are so long it would convince all but the most confident to stay put in the 9 to 5 grind.

So the author tries to identify the keys to what makes people successful entrepreneurs. He helps the reader determine the right business concept to exploit within the high tech arena. Even though he details out that it is a very tough road to make a successful business, he gives the reader enough sound advice and basic business strategy that it makes even a cautious fellow like myself believe I could do it. Overall I found the book interesting and easy to read. I am a bit too much of a doubting Thomas to try it myself, but if you are looking to venture out on your own I think this book would pay for itself many times over.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Scott A. Shane's excellent book focuses on technology entrepreneurs - no discussions of starting your own hair salon or sushi restaurant here. In fact, he notes that the original title specified "technology entrepreneurship" rather than entrepreneurship in general, though this is a valuable contribution to entrepreneurship literature. Most works on entrepreneurialism emphasize the personality characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, common wisdom says, are hard driving, charismatic and visionary. Shane turns sharply away from this "entrepreneurial cult of personality," and presents a strong case that what really counts is picking the right industry to enter in the first place, and then proceeding correctly. We strongly recommend this to entrepreneurs because it guides them to the industries, strategies and perspectives that are likeliest to work. It indeed plows fertile ground.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a book that all potential entrepreneurs should read. As a group, they have to be extremely optimistic people, with an overwhelming confidence in their ideas and beliefs. However, there is a downside to this, namely that it is so easy to fall into the trap of self-delusion. Lacking grounding in reality, most people who start new businesses fail, their optimism is simply not backed up by the facts on the ground.

Ten fundamental rules to creating and nurturing a new business are given. They are:

*) Select the right industry.

*) Identify valuable opportunities.

*) Manage technological transitions.

*) Identify and satisfy real market needs.

*) Understand customer adoption and market dynamics.

*) Exploit established company weaknesses.

*) Manage intellectual property effectively.

*) Create barriers to imitation.

*) Choose the right organizational form.

*) Manage risk and uncertainty effectively.

The value of this book is not based on the rules in this list, but in the explanations of why they are given and how one should implement them. One chapter is devoted to a thorough explanation of each of the rules and several examples are given. These examples clearly demonstrate circumstances where a new business can succeed, but even more importantly, situations where it is most unlikely that a new business could succeed.

There are several sidebar boxes scattered throughout the book. Some are titled "Stop! Don't Do It!", and contain a short list of actions that are almost certainly doomed to failure.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By D. Ivanov on June 26, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an entrepreneur with six years of experience, I found this book to be the most accurate writing on the subject. "Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures" is written in a concise manner that is simple to understand. This book is loaded with priceless nuggets of practical tools and it is impossible to due it justice in a one paragraph review here. Scott Shane has achieved the complex objective of combining thorough academic research with practical applications to the real problems of an entrepreneur and finally presenting the whole package in a highly entertaining book. This is a must read guide for every business person not just entrepreneurs since it shows how to leverage the growth opportunities that exist in the corporate world.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
At the outset, please bear with me as I defer to Shane to explain why Finding Fertile Ground may be of interest and value: "This book is different from most books on entrepreneurship in three important ways: First, the book focuses on what matters the most for successful entrepreneurship -- picking a good opportunity for starting a new business -- rather than what most people write about -- the attributes of successful entrepreneurs....This book is also different from most books on entrepreneurship, which focus on [begin italics] how [end italics] to get a new company started rather than on what kind of business is a good one to start....Moreover, this book takes the idea of explaining how to pick the right business seriously by developing a framework of rules for success that are based on academic research which shows the things that makes companies successful....[and also] focuses on how to identify a business concept that can support the development of a successful technology-based company."

Throughout the narrative, Shane focuses his reader's attention on "the key actions that you should take to come up with an opportunity that will support, and even foster, the creation of a new high technology company [which achieves and then sustains profitability]." He identifies ten "Key Lessons" and devotes a separate chapter to each. The "lessons" are arranged in a sequence of "key actions" which begin with selecting the right industry (Chapter 1) and conclude with managing risk and uncertainty (Chapter 10). It is noteworthy that, unlike so most other business books, this one does not provide a series of "To Do" lists; rather, a series of "Stop! Don't Do It!" lists.
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