Category Archives: entrepreneurship

Customised Design event at the British Library

Many thanks to my colleague Fran Taylor for this story:

On 7 December we ran an event in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire on customised design, and how designers can create unique, tailored goods for their customers – either at the luxury or mass-produce ends of the market.

It’s a challenging area for businesses. On the one hand it is a way of finding your USP (unique selling point) and potentially being able to charge more for your products. On the other hand it also makes the manufacturing and ordering process much more complicated.

The first speaker was Shaun Borstrock, who has worked with Asprey, Thomas Pink, and the British Luxury Council and he spoke about the luxury end of customisation. He talked about how the luxury market is forecast to grow by 57% over the next five years to £9.4bn. He talked about how a lot of companies often create the impression of offering customised products, but in reality just offer small changes e.g. by adding initials to a designer hand-bag or offering different colour options. He also gave the example of the Prada Lace-up project.

In contrast, Sarah Maynard from SML offers an extremely high end, bespoke service in the luxury transportation market. She has a team of craftsmen who can provide anything from working with a team of chemists to choose a specific colour pigment to a gold-plated gear stick. For her business, customisation is achieved through one-to-one relationships with clients over a longer period of time. Customisation is her USP and her customers are willing to pay a lot of money for the craftsmanship involved.

Our last speaker was jewellery designer Mark Bloomfield from Electrobloom. He is a huge fan of 3D printing and explained how it opens up opportunities for customised design, low-cost manufacturing and experimentation.  Through 3D printing you can produce prototypes quickly and the creative process can be very iterative.  It also reduces the cost and energy required for shipping and manufacturing abroad.

He produces beautiful flower-inspired designs in around 20 different colour and shape combinations. They are made out of nylon (which incidentally is also dishwasher proof).

Electrobloom flower

Open Innovation: Working with others to make new ideas fly

My colleague Nigel Spencer, Research and Business Development Manager reports on our exciting workshop next Monday 29 November:

OIlogo_text

Do you have access to all the skills, knowledge, experience and perspectives needed to develop innovative products and services within your own organisation?

No matter how large that organisation is, it is highly unlikely that you do.  If you seek input from other businesses, often in different sectors, customers, and others you are much more likely to identify innovative ideas and solutions and to build the type of partnerships which will help you turn those ideas into sustainable products and services.  This simple premise is the basis of open innovation.

Stefan Lindegaard 15inno says that people should view  open innovation as ‘a philosophy or a mindset that they should embrace within their organization. This mindset should enable their organization to work with external input to the innovation process just as naturally as it does with internal input’.

So,you should not look at  open innovation as a rigid business or innovation model. It  is a shorthand that describes a diverse range of engagement and collabration activity with differing levels of formality and structure.  Examples of these include crowdsourcing, online competitions, online jams and more closely facilitated relationships. There are many examples of  global corporations that have applied open innovation methods. These include  ‘Orange’, Procter & Gamble, Boots, Lego and Virgin Atlantic but the growth in social media and online open innovation platforms like Innocentive, mean that anyone can find a way of applying open innovation principles.

However, if you are looking to embrace the world of open innovation, or even dip your toe in the water, a number of perceived and genuine barriers and challenges may make you hesitate. Some of these are:

  • How to make the contacts needed with external organisations and people and develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships. This a particular concern if the businesses are of differing sizes.
  • How to overcome the internal organisational cultures which may be uncomfortable with the kind of openness, transparency and perceived loss of direct control which are involved in applying these ideas.
  • How to protect ideas and creative outputs when these are being shared and an uncertainty as to how intellectual property fits into an open innovation environment.

On 29 November 2011 the BL is hosting a half-day conference which looks at these challenges head on.  It is called ‘Open Innovation: The Challenges & Solutions’.

We have brought together a great selection of experts and practitioners from organisations like 100% Open, Creative Barcode, Procter and Gamble and Quantum Innovation Centre to debate these issues.

More information and booking on the event.

The event is part of an EU-funded Interreg IVB NEW project called The Open Innovation Project.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – A monster of a book about a monster of a man

Steve_Jobs_by_Walter_IsaacsonMany thanks to Debbie Epstein for giving me this amazing book as a present.

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson is the only authorised story of the life and death of one of the most influential figures of the last 50 years, who died on 5 October this year, aged 56, from pancreatic cancer.

The book is something of a monster at 627 pages, and chronicles Steve Jobs‘ life from his childhood, through the creation and early days of Apple computers, his battles with Microsoft, his sacking and 12 year later return to the company he founded. Isaacson managed to interview Jobs himself over forty times, and tracked down more than a hundred friends, family, colleagues, competitors and adversaries.

I found it a compelling read, and managed to complete it in less than a week. It is perhaps the most honest and revealing authorised biography ever written of an industry leader. Isaacson uncovers both the amazing stories behind the revolutionary products Apple produced. However, he also reveals something of a monster of a man.

Jobs was a sensitive person, perhaps more so due to being adopted at birth, who spent several months wandering across India in his youth looking for spiritual enlightenment and followed Buddhism for the rest of his life. But he could also be the most manipulative and down-right nasty person it is possible to imagine. So much so, that his early colleagues referred to his ability to distort reality to his own ends (Reality distortion field even has its own Wikipedia entry).

Having been something of a computer nerd as a teenager in the mid-1970s I first came across his creations in the form of an Apple II computer. As you can see it was some way from the sleek and sexy design of the more recent iMacs. So reading the story of how Jobs and Steve Wozniak developed these machines made for riveting reading.

Apple II computer

Although he made many mistakes along the way, as well as many enemies, and a trail of broken colleagues, his vision and passion resulted in products which have truly revolutionised the computer industry, and made Apple the most valuable company in the world.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Steve Jobs was that he never felt the need to conduct market research (something we recommend all our clients in the Business & IP Centre should do). Instead he worked on creating ‘insanely great’ products people would discover they didn’t know they needed until they saw them.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time for Entrepreneurs 2011

GEW_logoTonight as night as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week we held another great Inspiring Entrepreneurs. This time the topic was Question Time for Entrepreneurs, and was a chance to grill our assembled panel of experts.

Emma Bridgewater, Chairman and Founder of Emma Bridgewater Ltd, Vernon W. Hill II, Co-founder and Vice Chairman of Metro Bank, Lara Morgan, Founder of Pacific Direct Group Ltd and Company Shortcuts Ltd and Tim Campbell, Founder of the Bright Ideas Trust.

Jonathan Moules, enterprise correspondent at The Financial Times, was in charge of moderating the team.

Emma BridgewaterEmma Bridgewater admitted her business was more home counties than ‘wild west’.

You will have to go through tough times. So even if you don’t feel strong enough, when it is your company, you feel differently about it.

You will surprised how creative you can be in business when you first start out and have no money.

Having to think about accounts was something unpleasant, but necessary.

Her value add, was to make modern dishwater friendly pottery.

‘We have spent ‘shed loads’ of money trying to protect our designs. I don’t think it is possible to protect them.’ The next new design is the key to success. And your brand.

Vernon W Hill IIVernon W. Hill II managed to extend his five minute introduction into an impassioned 15 minute talk about the amazing success of his banking ventures.

Be aware of the brand hierarchy: Basic brands,
Emotional Brands and Legendary Brands. When you reach the top stage you have fans not customers.

You need a clear business model that differentiates you from the competition. The culture of your company must be unique but matched to your business model. Your business execution must be fanatatical

In the US they gave away 28 million pens, and they were trying to get the number up. They let dogs in on the theory that if you love my dog, you must love me.

Metro Bank have 90 percent customer satisfaction rate, Barlcays has minus 35 percent.

Emotional brands create massive value. Look at the example of Apple who grew from a five percent market share less than 10 years ago.

Are you really emotionally and equipped to go down the entrepreneurial road? Ask yourselves does your product or service add value? What is different about you? Successful entrepreneurs start with the end result, not the process of getting there. In the UK we concentrate too much on the technicalities.

He went through 15 years of the press saying ‘this won’t work’, so having a thick skin is essential.

Ninety percent of people they see looking for investment don’t have a business plan, they just have hope. Not good enough! If you don’t have convincing numbers to raise money you will fail.

‘My problem is dealing with the government every day!’

In the US they were recruiting 6,000 jobs a year, most came from existing staff contacts. If they didn’t smile in the first interview then they were out.

Lara MorganLara Morgan.

The ability to just keep going is vitally important. Jack of all trades and a master of one, where you recruit others to fill in the other roles required.

She worked on her own for two years, morning, noon and night. Her first recruit was a ‘gobby’ hocky player who had the ability, and could be taught the skill required.

Be aware that you can recruit people if you are creative as employers, find out what will lure someone in other than money.

You can actually learn lots of good stuff from books. This is a solution Lara has applied on many occasions.

Understanding finance was a painful part of becoming a successful business. You don’t need to to do the numbers, you do need to understand them.

Finding the right staff, means being utterly rigorous in you recruitment process. Make sure you test skills, because there is a lot of flannel from candidates. Check with your receptionist for their behaviour. Maths, English and culture tests are key. Invest time in this and you will be rewarded.

It took several years to work out what our USP was. It became representing the best products to the best hotels. A key to this was understanding the market place and the competition better than anyone else.

There are very few new ideas, so you just need be aware of how you are different and better.

Tim CampbellTim Campbell

There is a huge value in mentors and advisors. Having a wise head behind you will help solve some of your issues. Having a loyal team with you on your journey will be a key to your success.

Entrepreneurs need to learn to rely on others to deliver the expertise required for the business.

You may need to extend your sales technique to family and friends in order to raise capital for your business. However, business angels are sitting there waiting to find ideas to invest in. There needs to be a better way to bring these two together.

You can’t expect people to invest in your idea if you aren’t prepared to stand by the loan, or put in your own money.

Employing people who don’t have the same passion as you do, is the biggest problem. Managing them out is incredibly difficult. You need to be incredibly clear about what you want from your recruits.

Don’t compete on price, there will always be someone cheaper.

Intellectual protection can be a very costly route to protect something that may not be unique enough. Speed to market is your best protection.

You can learn from other first mover’s mistakes.

The time to pull the plug on his business, was when he realised he could not get the 2,000 outlets needed to reach the minimum size. There is an inner voice you can hear when you go to sleep at night. Listen to it, and to advisers you trust.

There is nothing wrong with a lifestyle business (small scale).

 

Video now live here, Question Time for Entrepreneurs 2011 by BIPCTV’s channel

Question Time for Entrepreneurs 2011

by BIPCTV’s channe

Trends in the computer games industry

WiiAs part of the Library’s work to engage with the creative industries, my colleague Fran Taylor has been finding out some of the key facts and figures about the UK games sector.  We’d like to encourage games makers to use our collections for inspiration and contextual research and to use the Business & IP Centre to commercialise their ideas. Fran used the Business & IP Centre’s resources to gather it all together, including reports from Euromonitor, Datamonitor and online NESTA reports.

1.    In 2009, the global video gaming market was estimated to be worth approximately $72.2bn. It is expected to grow by 5.1% during the period 2009–14, to reach $92.5bn in 2014. Software revenues are worth 69.4% of total revenues.

2.    The UK video games industry was worth £2.8bn in 2010, which is bigger than its music or film industries.

3.    In the UK, the most popular brands are the Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Kinect and Call of Duty.

4.    Almost one third of all people older than 16 in the UK describe themselves as ‘gamers’ (with an equal breakdown between men and women).  The percentage goes up to 74% for people between the ages of 16 and 19.

5.    One in every two UK houses owns a video games console.

6.    The profile of the industry is changing, with a new breed of games developers working as sole-traders, freelancers and in small companies. Growth is expected at the lower end of the price range, i.e. online and mobile games.

7.    The online gaming segment is rapidly gaining traction and is gradually overtaking the PC and console gaming segments. Business Insights forecasts that online gaming revenues will increase from $13.2bn in 2009 to $25.3bn in 2014.

8.    The global PC gaming market was estimated at a value of $4.5bn in 2009, and is likely to erode to $4.3bn by 2014, posting a decline in of 0.9% CAGR during the period.

9.    Mobile games are the fastest growing segment of the video gaming market, with a forecast CAGR of 14.4% during the period 2009–14. Increasing mobile and 3G and 4G penetration are the key market drivers.

10.    Emerging technologies that are in a much more advanced stage of development include thought-based games, motion sensors, connected TV and HTML5.

 

Effective Writing And Communications with Kimberly Davies and Steve Trister

Kimberly_DavisYesterday I attended another of Kimberly DaviesMarketing Masters days. This time the topic was Effective Writing And Communications and featured guest speaker Steve Trister the creator of Performance Dynamite.

I not sure if Kimberly is a geographer at heart, but the four days I have attended have been located in south, east, north and now west London. I’m not sure where she will go next now we have covered all four compass points.

One of the consequences of moving to a new location each time, is that the rooms often have technical glitches with the sound or vision, or in yesterdays case, both.

Kimberly copes with these challenging starts to the day with an impressive level of  professionalism and humour.

steve_TristerKimberly spoke for most of the day and was excellent, however the highlight of the day for me was actor and business coach Steve Trister the from Performance Dynamite..

He walked to front of the room wearing a doctors mask and mumbled something to. That got our attention. He then asked us to name the number one disease in business. We came up with a range of suggestions, but failed to give the correct answer; Vomiticus Contentinaatum – otherwise known as puking content, or verbal diarrhoea.

I have to admit that working in one of the largest libraries in the world with over 150 million items in our collection, this is a disease I am all too well aware of falling prey to.

The cure to this disease is to make an emotional connection with your audience (of one or more). This of course is much easier to say than to do. So you need to prepare, by building the right mindset.

You need to tell yourself every day that you are already connected to your audience, then you need to mentally rehearse by visualising the event in advance (some of which will be scripted, and some not). This is similar to the way professional athletes prepare for a competition.

You need to be clear on the emotion you want to conjure up, be in state (or in the moment with no distractions), and to commit 100% to the performance.

Steve had investigated the famous research by Albert Mehrabian on non-verbal communication. He found the commonly quoted result, that clues from spoken words, from the voice tone, and from the facial expression, contribute 7 %, 38 %, and 55 % respectively to the total meaning, is wrong, as it it relates only to the communication of positive versus negative emotions.

Our voice is critical to how we communicate to our audience, changes in vocal emphasis (the stress we put on specific words) can completely change the meaning of what we saying. He asked how often do we take note of how we are actually speaking. He explained that our tongues are muscles, so we should exercise them using tongue twisters.

He also covered body language and the use of gestures, and how these can be used to reinforce or undermine our verbal messages. He said we should practice expressing our business activity in the form of charades. This made my mind boggle at how I could show the British Library through mime.

Steve illustrated each of these points with victims (sorry volunteers) from the audience, and guided them through. For the final example he had a professional photographer give an excellent and clear mime of his business.

Finally he said we should find an emotional story that will relate to your audience.

Needless to say Steve used all of these techniques during one of the most engaging and memorable presentations I have ever seen.

You can see a YouTube video of Steve in action, and an interview with Smarta.com.

Here are my notes from the rest of the excellent day:

Learn the 20 rules of communication that should never be broken

Kimberly’s no. 1 life lesson;
“You can reach anyone in the world with, seven phone calls or less, saying the right thing.”

Statistics show that 50% of marketing spend is wasted.

Led to the idea for Sarsaparilla – to detox your marketing – Marketing Purification

Definition of marketing
Anything that affects the perception of your company. From logos to staff behaviour.

You are exposed to 4,000 brands every day. So how does your business stand out?

Know your audience
-    Who is your target market?
-    Who is your idea client / decision maker?
-    What motivates them?
-    Profile (gender, age, health, wealth, culture, interests, position, salary, budget, etc)

Then put yourself into their shoes.
-    How can you make their life easier?
-    What is in it for them?

Then find your voice (written language).
-    Who would narrate your content?
-    Think of a character of personality best suited – perhaps Steven Fry for the British Library
-    Who would your audience relate to and want to hear? Admire? Look up to? Believe
-    Imagine their voice each time you create marketing content

Keywords
-    Ten words that best describe your business – For the Business & IP Centre: innovation, inventions, information, support, advice, help, entrepreneurs, business-startup,
-    One word that best describe your business – knowledge

Unique Selling Point
-    What truly makes your business unique – For the Business & IP Centre: The largest free collection of free market research and business information in the world, with expert guidance.

USP
-    You need to be the only…
-    Everyone says, great staff, customer service etc. That is not unique
-    Sarsaparilla – the only marketing purification agency
-    Try to be everything to everyone and you will be nothing to no one.

Misconceptions
-    Write down misconceptions about your company and industry
o    The British Library is a only accessible to senior academics and authors.
o    The British Library is a very big public library.
o    The British Library only has books.

Testimonials
-    Stronger to have others say it for you
-    One to address each misconception – a maximum of five
-    Keep them really short
-    Use white papers and case studies

Focus on the benefits for your customers
-    List them – information, advice, contacts, training
-    What problem can you solve?
-    How can you make their life easier? – a clearer view of what they need to do to start their business

Key Messages
-    What are the three key things you want people to remember about your business?
o    Business & IP Centre at the British Library at St Pancras central London
o    Free workshops and advice
o    Free access to market research and business information.

Branding
-    The trust people have in your company
-    Consistency – with the rest of your business
-    People will judge you from how you look

Professional photos
-    Stock photos are too common – better to use your own commissioned ones

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid
-    You have two seconds to make an impression
-    8 year old level reading age for printed materials
-    Get straight to the point
-    Bulleted lists are good, with verbs to start
-    Every word competes

Formula for success and to avoid writers block
-    I’ve got all this information, now how do I organise it?
-    Reverse pyramid order – most important to least important
-    Start with the ‘lead’ – who, what, where, when, how

Navigate
-    Map out where you want them to go
-    Tell them what you want them to do

Incentives
-    Free downloads
-    Upgrades
-    Gifts
-    Discounts
-    Occasion
-    Expiration date
-    First 10 receive
-    Etc

Call to Action
-    Create urgency
-    Why should I stop what I’m doing and buy NOW?
-    Now or lose your audience

Ask questions – keep the dialogue going
-    Show a sincere interest
-    Surveys, feedback, phone
-    What questions would you want to know for market research?

Relevance
-    How can you connect your business to current news?
-    Have an opinion
-    Share your views – become an expert

The Elevator Pitch
-    What is it?
-    The most important tool
-    People decide whether to file or forget you
-    Get everyone in the company to memorise
-    Use it everywhere – keep it consistent – brochures, home page, flyers etc

The who, what, where, when and how of your business

I still think Sarsaparilla’s elevator pitch is the best I have come across;

50% of marketing is wasted. Sarsaparilla is a marketing consulting and training agency that specialises in marketing purification – the process of detoxing your marketing, protecting you from The Flash, Fluff, and Fakers, and helping you make more money with less.

Brands and companies that last

KeiunkanI have recently been sent a link to a blog post about 10 Old Brands That Managed to Stay Modern. Although it is a list of US brands, it got me thinking about companies and brands that last. The average lifespan of a company is surprisingly low at just 25 years for listed US companies.

In most cases the key to really long-term survival is being flexible and changing to match or even lead, public taste and new markets.

For instance while on my recent trip to Tanzania I noticed that although local people still buy bottles of Coca-Cola, many more are drinking Kilimanjaro brand water. On examining the bottle closely I was surprised to see it was produced by the very same  Coca-Cola company. This is just one of the many hundreds of brands that they now own.

Another interesting discovery is the high proportion of long lasting companies that are Japanese or German. It may be something to do with how they get passed down through the family to the next generation. The oldest is the Keiunkan hotel, which has been going since 705.

Pole-pole to the roof of Africa

Kilimnanjaro 2011 - Uhuru PeakHaving tried all kinds of different training methods in preparation for my Kilimanjaro Climb, (Will falling forward get me to the top of Kilimanjaro?), the one technique I had not thought about, turned out to be the most important.

To get to the top of the highest free-standing mountain in the world you need to go really slowly, or ‘pole-pole’, to use the Swahili term.

Making forward progress at 19,341 feet or 5,895 metres above sea level, where the oxygen levels are fifty percent less than normal, requires minimum physical effort.

Our very conscientious mountain guide was always keeping an eye on our speed, our ability to cope with the conditions, and for onset of the feared acute mountain sickness or AMS.

Walking the fifty mile climb, at times as slowly as one mile an hour, gave plenty of thinking time. And my thoughts turned to the Aesop’s Fable of the Hare and the Tortoise. In the case of climbing Kilimanjaro, it is not that the tortoise arrives first, it more about arriving at all. According to one company, the success rate for those on the quick three days up climb is less than fifty percent.

In fact our five days of training to plod slowly up the mountain were so successful that one of our our party made it to the summit on automatic pilot, despite suffering from altitude hallucinations. She had to be shown a photo to prove she had actually been there, in body, if not in mind.

Knowing that generous supporters had already donated to my JustGiving page gave me the extra motivation to keep going when I felt like giving up. The page is going be up for a few more weeks if you want to make a contribution.

My reward for getting to the top was a nine day safari in northern Tanzania where I saw some wonderful sights.

Tanzania_2011_leapard

Tanzania_2011_lion

Tanzania_2011_hippo

Tanzania_2011_sunset

More photos on Flick.com and videos on YouTube.com.

50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner

Many thanks to Rose King from Bschool.com for pointing me to their list of 50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner.

I have copied their introduction and first five ‘lectures’ below:

bschool logoWhether you have an MBA or are starting your own business before finishing your undergraduate work, there’s more to learn about business than what you get out of classes and textbooks. Supplement your traditional coursework — and even your own experience — by listening to these innovative, insightful and gutsy business leaderswho’ve got a lot to teach you about venture capital, collaboration, the new culture of leadership, and more.

Entrepreneurship

These lectures tackle topics in entrepreneurship, from appealing to the consumer to making great pitches.

  1. Entrepreneurs: Four entrepreneurs share their journeys to open a new business, and the talks inspire passion and excitement.
  2. Entrepreneurship and Society: This talk from UCTV is led by Tom Kemp, President and CEO of Centrify Corporation. He talks about what new ventures need in order to effectively appeal to the modern-day consumer.
  3. Women Entrepreneurs: Consider the differences between men and women as business leaders and owners.
  4. Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship: President Obama gives a talk to an international audience on entrepreneurship and realizing the American dream.
  5. Entrepreneurs: Then and Now: Guy Kawasaki compares the foundation of entrepreneurial strategy during the late 1990s and what’s popular and effective now.

The Apprentice episode 7 – Can engineers be successful entrepreneurs?

Covered-MagLast night’s Apprentice show was as entertaining as ever, although it had extra appeal to the over 60’s and ‘lads’.

In my previous job I created and edited our staff newsletter, so this weeks project of producing a free magazine was of particular interest.

As is always the case with The Apprentice, the teams were given almost no time at all to come up with the concept, the title and some content, including a photo shoot. The next day they then had to sell their ‘finished’ product to three media buying agencies.

Team Venture sensibly went with the over 60’s market as this is now a fast growth area, thanks simply to demographics (see my blog on The growing grey market in the UK). The others more predictably went with the ‘lads mag’ target audience. Although they didn’t seem to be aware that this has been in decline for at least five years (see our YouTube video of Loaded founder James Brown).

Team Logic initially planned to go for something tasteful and business related, rather than the clichéd girls in their underwear approach. But, somehow they ended up with something quite tawdry. It may have had something to do with their project leader Natasha Scribbins‘ belief that ‘porn sells’, or perhaps the lure of a catchy headline, with ‘How do you blow your load’, being the most memorable.

The teams struggle to come up with decent names for their magazines, the 60+ one was called Hip Replacement (it was supposed to be ironic), reminded me of our struggles when creating our staff newsletter.

After a company wide competition, with some very poor entries, we ended up with the uninspiring name of ‘The Insider’. I also remember all too well the hours we spent toiling over our story headlines. If it hadn’t been for my colleague Christine, who it turned out was something of a natural sub-editor, our headlines would have been almost as cringe worthy as those on The Apprentice.

Once again the winning team were as surprised as the viewers at the outcome. In this case one of the media buyers decided to go for an exclusive with the tasteless ‘lads mag’, giving them a massive winning margin.

glenn-wardAnd on the losers team was Glenn Ward, whose misfortune was to be a software engineer. As Alan Sugar said ‘I have never yet come across an engineer that can turn his hand to business’ so Glenn was fired.

This seems a rather biased approach to the selection process, but as Nick Hewer explained on the follow up show You’re Fired, Sugar has twice given engineers companies to run in his business empire, and they both times they failed.

This seems a rather un-scientific sample to base his decision on. The names of Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Wozniak of Apple Computers, Bill Hewlett of Hewlett Packard, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google,  show that software  engineers can indeed be successful business leaders.