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INNOVATE WITH INFLUENCE: Tales of a High-Tech Intrapreneur [Paperback]

Steve Todd
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 22, 2009 1601458533 978-1601458537
Innovate with Influence enters the mind of a high-tech inventor. Steve Todd epitomizes the word 'intrapreneur', and delivers his real-life experiences as a model for young innovators looking to thrive in a large corporation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

College graduates and young innovators have flocked to startups and new business ventures with dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

That's so 90s.

This decade has seen the rise of the intrapreneur, a new breed of innovator that leverages the massive resources found within large corporations and generates billions of dollars in new product revenues.

This book shatters the stereotypes of entrepreneurs by revealing the proven methodologies of successful intrapreneurs:

- Beating deadlines and building influence
- Leading the charge from the trenches (and staying there)
- Weaving adjacent technologies
- Shunning the limelight and leveraging anonymity
- Selling innovation to upper management
- Choosing the "right" corporation

Perhaps the most surprising habit of intrapreneurs is the one that brings them the most joy: leaving at 5PM every day.

This book describes the experiences of a young college graduate as he enters the high-tech workforce to begin his career as a software engineer. Within a few short months he begins to have his own ideas and searches for ways to work with and influence his peers to come together and ship innovative and creative new products.

Along the way he discovers that the secret to generating effective new ideas (and delivering them) is an undying thirst to learn new technologies that are adjacent to his own field of expertise. His search for adjacency is accompanied by a reputation for delivery and collaboration, which is otherwise known as influence.

Innovate with Influence is a top guidebook for budding innovators. The stories contained within describe simple and effective methods for continued and sustained innovative output. These methods, however, often go against the grain of conventional thinking.

Entrepreneurs often "burn the midnight oil" for months or even years at a time. This perhaps explains why the frequent results of startup ventures are tired, disgruntled, and unemployed inventors. Intrapreneurs are instead encouraged to maintain a healthy and strong work-life balance by leveraging the support systems and resources of large corporations.

This approach is proven to work. Several decades later, the young college graduate has worked with his teammates to deliver billions of dollars in new product revenue (and generate well over 140 patent applications along the way).

Innovate with Influence describes a new pathway for young innovators in search of that "perfect job".

From the Author

In nearly a quarter century of high-tech innovation I have yet to work for a small company, but I have continually thrived as an innovator. What is the reason for this?

I have found that large corporations, especially those that have a wide and broad spectrum of product portfolios, have the potential to offer the best opportunities for innovators to create and deliver. The permutations and combinations found within these corporations can be a playground for creativity, especially when they are backed by the massive resources often found in large companies.

But there is a definite trick to the trade: build influence first. This is the way of the intrapreneur, and this book describes the techniques that have worked for me.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher:, Inc. (June 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601458533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601458537
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,868,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Todd (1965- ) graduated from North Andover High School in Massachusetts before enrolling in the Computer Science program at the University of New Hampshire. Upon receiving his degree in 1987 he embarked upon a distinguished career as an inventor of information storage devices in the high-tech industry, filing over 160 patents and generating billions of dollars in product revenue along the way. Steve's first book, "Innovate With Influence", is a defining standard for intrapreneurs (employees that innovate effectively at large corporations). His second book, "Innovate with Global Influence", describes a corporate framework that unites intrapreneurs across countries and continents. His rich family and community life serve as the fuel to invent new technologies and drive them to completion. Steve's unique perspective and sense of humor can be found on his technology blog, the Information Playground. He meets regularly with college students to inspire and encourage a lifetime of creativity and innovation.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare first-person intrapreneur account February 3, 2011
"Innovate with Influence" is a short (134 pages), easy, and pleasant read - almost like sitting down with Steve over a cup of coffee. Given that most innovation books are written by innovation consultants, it is rare to get a a first-person account from the innovation trenches, direct from an actual intrapreneur.

As an intrapreneur, Steve (and the book) don't concern themselves with a lot of theory, but instead on how you go about getting innovation done. And if you harbor the illusion that you have to burn the midnight oil to innovate, Steve has generated over 140 patent applications and billions of dollars in revenue for EMC from the solutions he has worked on, and still managed to leave at 5 o'clock along the way.
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Todd's stated goal for the book is to create a story that helps new employees--those just starting out in *big* companies--understand how they can innovate within the organizations they join. As such he spends a lot of page real estate telling us about the details of his career. Far more practical and applicable to the rest of us, however, are some of the things he tells us along the way. For example:

- You don't have to work for a startup or Google to work on cutting-edge, cool stuff. In fact, in some cases, the big company can afford us with opportunities to innovate that we won't have elsewhere.

- Constantly be on the lookout for new and interesting products and technology within your company. If you hear about something new, set up a meeting with one of the leaders of that part of the organization. You may well find that you are the "glue" that brings together the technology you learned about last month with the technology you found out about today. Todd's 150+ patents tell us he knows what he's talking about here.

- Staying focused can be as simple as a sheet of paper or two. Todd keeps his lists of things due now, things due later, and things that might be interesting some day out on his desk. When he has a spare 5 minutes, he picks something off the list and continues working on it. This kind of focus lets him do the next item, which is:

- Go home at 5 every day. Although I didn't believe Todd actually goes home at 5 PM *every* day, the list of his considerable accomplishments outside of work back up his claim of protecting his work-life balance. When at work, Todd focuses on work.

A self-published volume, Todd would have done well to enlist an editor, but he writes in an easy style that feels light and genuine. A pleasant read well worth the price and time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Innovation in a big company made easy January 26, 2010
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I have read this relatively small but very helpful book in a few days. I must admit I did not read anything that fast except famous Joel Spolski book. Steve does great job by encouraging and motivating people in big companies to do something interesting, innovative and useful despite on the fact that most engineers think that not only innovation - even any good idea from them - will be sunken in a corporate cubical monster they work for.
Steve's genuine method to bring ideas to their live incarnation is easy to understand and to follow. Firstly you need to make a reputation as a good performer (getting things done in time or earlier), then become an expert and a technical leader in your area of work. The last one stands for influence - without it any good idea will mostly get "yes, it's interesting! But now let's proceed to our real life work". Influence is very important ingredient for innovation. Another easy formula for making great ideas, Venn diagram, also is a prove of concept that everything in our world is interconnected, that solutions can come from different areas (adjacent technologies).
Throughout the book a variety of technologies and products from EMC are presented and explained. I would recommend this as a reference to storage system customers or technologists and certainly to thousands of EMC employees.
The concept of intrapreneur is as innovative as the author himself and I believe it will help engineers around the globe to look at their jobs from different, brighter and more interesting side.

Many thanks for the book!

PS. My favorite idea from this book is about leaving job at 5PM and working to live, not vice-versa :)
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