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Why some startups win

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 15, 2017

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? I was having a second coffee with an ex-student, now the head of a marketing inside a rapidly growing startup. His company had marched through customer discovery, learning about the customer problem, validated solutions and was now scaling sales and … Continue reading »

The no excuses culture

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 8, 2017

Getting ready for our next semester’s class, I asked my teaching assistant why I hadn’t seen the posters for our new class around campus. Hearing the litany of excuses that followed  – “It was raining.” (The posters go inside the building.) “We still have time.” (We had agreed they were to go up a week … Continue reading »

Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 28, 2017

When you’re up to your neck in alligators, don’t forget the goal was to drain the swamp. I love teaching because I learn something new every class. This time it was, “Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy.” The latest “aha” moment for me when I was at Columbia University teaching an intensive … Continue reading »

Accelerating momentum for women and girls in science

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | February 11, 2017

Participation by women in scientific research is rising — women now outnumber men majoring in biological sciences and the percentage of women awarded doctoral degrees in life sciences grew from 15 percent in 1969 to 52 percent in 2009. Yet women’s participation in other STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) still lags; fewer than … Continue reading »

Innovation – something both parties can agree on

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 16, 2017

On the last day Congress was in session in 2016, Democrats and Republicans agreed on a bill that increased innovation and research for the country. For me, seeing Congress pass this bill, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, was personally satisfying. It made the program I helped start, the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) … Continue reading »

How the tech industry can lead in the Trump era

Sonia Katyal, Chancellor's Professor of Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology codirector | November 30, 2016

Co-authored by Simone C. Ross, co-founder and chief program officer at Techonomy. This presidential election has kicked off tempestuous debates and much soul searching about the role of technology, especially social media, in the democratic process. These questions are vital, but now it is time to look forward. The core issue is the question of … Continue reading »

What the Harvard Business Review and the People’s Daily think about leadership succession

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 29, 2016

I had to laugh when my post about what happens when innovative CEOs retire or die appeared in both the bastion of capitalism – the Harvard Business Review — and in the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party – The People’s Daily. Then I didn’t. A Story is just a story Why the Harvard … Continue reading »

Machine learning meets the lean startup

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 18, 2016

We just finished our Lean LaunchPad class at UC Berkeley’s engineering school, where many of the teams embedded machine learning technology into their products. What struck me, as I watched the teams try to find how their technology would solve real customer problems, is that machine learning is following a similar pattern of previous technical … Continue reading »

Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and why he still has his job at Apple

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | October 24, 2016

What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why. Microsoft entered the 21st century as the dominant software provider for anyone who interacted with a computing device. Sixteen years … Continue reading »

Women in technology: meeting the challenge for the next generation

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | October 5, 2016

With the fall semester well underway, many students are assessing their academic strengths and interests, measuring them against possible majors and long-term plans. Unfortunately, most young women will rule out paths leading to careers in technology and computer science, areas where jobs will be plentiful and creativity in demand for the foreseeable future. Gender diversity … Continue reading »

Working hard is not the same as working smart

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | September 7, 2016

Measuring how hard your team is working by counting the number of hours they work or what time they get in and leave is how amateurs run companies. The number of hours worked is not the same as how effective they (and you) are. I had been invited by Rahul, one of my students from … Continue reading »

What environmentalists get wrong about e-waste in West Africa

Jenna Burrell, associate professor, School of Information | September 1, 2016

Beginning in 2009, Ghana’s computer import industry went almost instantly from totally invisible, to worldwide infamy. The work of two photojournalists — Pieter Hugo and Kevin McElvaney — played a key role in this newfound visibility. Their imagery of e-waste and its young victims such as cable burners covered in dirt and soot in an area of Ghana’s capital … Continue reading »

Despite surprising Apple vulnerability, journalists should stick with iPhones

Geoffrey King, gking | August 29, 2016

(The following post is reprinted from a post by Geoffrey King for a blog for the Committee to Protect Journalists, covered by Creative Commons.) A rare and serious vulnerability in Apple’s iOS operating system has been discovered by researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which just published a report detailing its findings. It … Continue reading »

Clusters, class, culture and unfair advantages

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | August 19, 2016

I just finished reading J.D. Vance’s excellent book Hillbilly Elegy, and had that funny feeling when you find the story arc of someone else’s life eerily paralleling yours. Vance’s book and the story of my own life suggest that there is an archetypal journey (a pattern of human nature) that describes the flight from a … Continue reading »

DCPP goes but spent fuel remains

Gene Rochlin, professor emeritus, Energy & Resources Group | July 1, 2016

Ever since PG&E formally announced its intention to close down the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) in 2025, two general threads of public response have been manifested. One thread, characterized, inter alia, by a recent Michael Schellenberger OpEd in The New York Times argues that solar and wind power will not suffice to fill the … Continue reading »

Periscope, Congress and the aliveness of video

Nancy Van House, professor emerita in the School of Information | June 29, 2016

A group of people sitting on the floor, many holding signs. One after another making speeches. People milling about. Some looking at their phones. On and off, chanting, call and response. But this time the men are in suits the women mostly in skirts and heels. (No doubt some wishing they had worn pants that … Continue reading »

Motherhood and raspberry Pi: Challenges for mothers in technology

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | May 5, 2016

The lack of gender diversity in technology fields has become a hot topic of late, for good reason. Women and girls are under-represented in computer science degree programs, even in comparison to other STEM fields. The number dips slightly as they enter professional careers, and drops more dramatically over the next 10 to 15 years, … Continue reading »

Humanitarian innovation: Surprising news, cautionary tales, promising directions

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | March 16, 2016

For those fleeing active conflict zones, natural disasters, or the gradual devastation of climate change, a host of humanitarian relief agencies is standing by. A symposium of leaders from the United Nations, nonprofit organizations, academia, and industry gathered last month at CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) and the Banatao … Continue reading »

The best Greater Good articles of 2015

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | January 4, 2016

For UC Berkeley’s Greater Good, nuance and controversy defined 2015. Over the course of the year, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center grappled with big public issues like terrorism, racism, and what schools should teach. We tackled “inside baseball” questions about the validity of psychological research and the best ways to measure … Continue reading »