Tag: innovation

Entrepreneurial Insights from Dr. T of National Instruments

Photo courtesy of 1 Semester Startup

James Truchard couldn’t find a job that he liked so he created one.
That’s what the co-founder, known as Dr. T, president and CEO of National Instruments, said last week during an interview with Bob Metcalfe, University of Texas professor of innovation and coinventor of Ethernet and cofounder of 3Com.
Unlike some of today’s technology billionaires by the name of Bill, Michael and Mark, both Truchard and Metcalfe finished college and obtained PhDs before becoming entrepreneurs.
Metcalfe interviewed Truchard at 1 Semester Startup Demo Day last Thursday evening in the Lady Bird Johnson auditorium at the LBJ Library and Museum. Metcalfe said Truchard played a huge role in convincing him to move to Austin from Boston more than a year ago.
Metcalfe quizzed Truchard on his background. He was born and raised in Austin County. Neither of his parents had a college degree. He received his bachelors and masters degrees in physics and a PhD in electrical engineering from UT. And in 1976, he cofounded National Instruments, in his garage in Austin with Bill Nowlin and Jeff Kodosky. The company makes test equipment and software including LabVIEW, a graphical development program. The company just reported revenue of $262 million for the first quarter of 2012, up 10 percent from a year ago and a profit of $18.6 million. It had revenue of more than $1 billion in 2011.
“I was always determined to be successful, I never thought of any other option,” Truchard said.
Truchard didn’t have a business plan when he started National Instruments.
“We just started working,” he said.
They also never sought out venture capital. Instead, they secured a $10,000 bank loan and they ran the company by bootstrapping operations.
Truchard also read hundreds of books on entrepreneurs including Crossing the Chasm and Thriving on Chaos. He also consulted with the IC2 Institute at UT.
“Keep as much of your capital to yourself as possible.” Truchard advised the crowd of student entrepreneurs. He also told them to make sure they have a good idea and to find as many mentors as possible. And great technology is at the base of innovation.
And nothing beats dumb luck, he said. “Don’t exclude it.”
Truchard took National Instruments public in 1995 to offer liquidity to its employees, not because they needed to raise money.
The company culture was born when National Instruments started, Truchard said. He tries to make the company a fun place to work and focuses on cultivating a leadership culture as the company grows. The company regularly makes it on Forbes’ best places to work lists.
In response to a question from a student about how he communicates the company vision to 6,200 employees.
“Well, I’m very repetitive,” Truchard said.
To share his ideas, Truchard has used 1,500 slides throughout the years in presentations to employees. His employees took all of those slides, shrunk them and then they made a portrait of him out them and presented to him as a gift.

TechStars Cloud Demo Day blasts off today in San Antonio

Three months ago, a group of entrepreneurs moved into Geekdom in downtown San Antonio.
Since then, the inaugural TechStars Cloud participants have been toiling away and working to create blockbuster cloud businesses that will change the world.
Some have iterated, pivoted and overhauled their operations countless times. Names have changed. Teams have mixed it up.
But in the end, 11 companies stand ready to present today at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in downtown San Antonio.
The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and ends around 2 p.m. But a reception later in the evening at the Weston Centre will celebrate the accomplishments of this group of entrepreneurs and their leaders, Jason Seats, founder of SliceHost and Nicole Glaros, managing director of TechStars in Boulder, Colo. Seats and Glaros ran the TechStars Cloud program.
The TechStars Cloud focused on cloud computing and cloud infrastructure. Its mentors included Pat Condon, founder of Rackspace, Jeff Lawson, founder and CEO of Twilio, Brad Feld, head of the Foundry Group, George Kardis with SoftLayer, Rajat Bhargava, founder and CEO of StillSecure and dozens more.
All of the companies received $18,000 and access to more. Today, some of the companies will ask for investment capital, while others are fully funded. The audience will include venture capitalists and angel investors.

The U.S. Needs to Focus on Innovation

About 10 years ago, Sino CES started operating in China.
“We realized we couldn’t stop them,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the world’s biggest electronics show in January in Las Vegas.
“We couldn’t sue them,” Shapiro said. “So we entered into a partnership with them.”
That’s how a lot of business is done in China, Shapiro told about 100 people attending his morning talk at InnoTech San Antonio Thursday.
Every year, Shapiro travels to China for the show. But a few years ago, an encounter with a Chinese politician, who spoke no English, shook him up so much he decided to write a book. The Chinese politician, in a few simple hand gestures, indicated that China was on the rise with a thumbs up sign and that the United States was on the decline with a thumbs down signal.
“There was some truth to it,” Shapiro said. “We’re not leading innovation the way we should be.”
Shapiro, 55, and his wife had children late in life. He has a four year old and another child on the way. His children make him have a laser-like focus on the future of the country. Last year, he wrote the bestselling book “The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream.”
For years, the United States has feared the rise of various countries like Japan, Korea and Mexico. All of those countries threatened to extinguish the U.S.’s powerhouse economy. But they didn’t, yet China has made a dent in it. But even China is suffering now because of the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. market and because of China’s enormous growth, Shapiro said.
Manufacturing jobs have fled the U.S. in favor of cheaper labor in China, and those jobs are not coming back, Shapiro said. In China, a worker might spend all day doing one repetitive task on a manufacturing line.
“Americans are not going to be doing that kind of repetitive work – not with our education,” he said.
That’s why our national strategy should be focused on creating an innovation economy, Shapiro said.
“The thing about innovation is that every new idea challenges something in the past,” he said.
That’s why the U.S. has fewer travel agents, newspaper reporters and plant workers than years ago.
“As Americans we have a culture of doing things better,” Shapiro said.
To encourage innovation, the U.S. school system needs improvement, Shapiro said. Kids need to be taught to ask questions. The teachers that allow students to ask questions and challenge them are the best teachers, Shapiro said.
The U.S. entrepreneurial system also encourages innovation. The U.S. should not punish people for being successful and making money, Shapiro said. Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, whose estimated net worth is around $60 billion, should be applauded, Shapiro said
“We reward people by letting them get wealthy,” he said. “It encourages the best and the brightest.”
But the focus on innovation has changed since Sept. 11, Shapiro said.
To remedy that, the U.S. also needs to change its immigration policies so that it doesn’t kick out the smartest people in our society who earn advanced degrees in science, engineering, technology and math. The National Science Foundation spends $6 billion a year on research and a lot of that research is done by foreign graduate students attending U.S. universities. Upon graduation, those students must go back to the countries they came from instead of being allowed to stay in the U.S., Shapiro said.
The U.S. also must increase its high bandwidth transmission capabilities to remain competitive, Shapiro said
And the signing of the JOBS Act by President Obama on Thursday was a step in the right direction in making it easier for entrepreneurs to raise money for their businesses through crowd funding.
“Innovation is so important for our country,” Shapiro said. “What’s really important for the future of innovation and technology companies is the health of the U.S. economy.”
Right now, all countries look to the U.S. for innovation, Shapiro said. They all want to emulate the U.S. That’s why he created Innovation-Movement.org to keep the focus on that strategy.
“Every company, every country, every individual needs a strategy,” Shapiro said. “Our strategy should be innovation.”

(InnoTech San Antonio was an advertiser with Silicon Hills News)

Gary Shapiro, head of CES, advocates for innovation at InnoTech San Antonio

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association

Gary Shapiro, the president of the Consumer Electronics Association, spoke Thursday morning at InnoTech San Antonio about the need to promote innovation in the United States.
He also supports the JOBS Act, which President Obama is expected to sign into law today. That legislation contains a crowd funding provision that makes it easier for startup companies to crowd fund their operations.
Shapiro also wrote a 2011 bestselling book The Comeback: How Innovation will Restore the American Dream, outlining ways that the U.S. can compete globally with powerhouses such as China and India.
For more information, Shapiro has established Innovation-Movement.org.

(InnoTech is an advertiser with SiliconHillsNews.com)

Startup America comes to Texas

Startup Texas launched today.
With Michael Dell on the board of Startup America, it’s natural that Texas is one of the latest regions selected by the organization to help foster entrepreneurship.
Startup America launched earlier this year and is a private-public partnership initiated by President Obama and the White House. But Steve Case, CEO of Startup America Partnership, sees the organization as rallying private companies to help spur innovation and create jobs through startups.
The Startup America regions already include Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts and Tennessee. The Austin Chamber of Commerce is spearheading the Startup Texas effort. Its goal is to provide more jobs in central Texas and the chamber plans to provide funding through its Opportunity Austin initiative.
“Cities like Austin prove that as young companies are founded and grow, they create the jobs America needs right now,” Case said a in news release. “We’re thrilled to work with the Austin team to initially launch Startup Texas, and look forward to integrating our resources and reach throughout all of Texas, with its formidable and well-established culture of entrepreneurship.”
John Price, CEO of Vast.com will serve as chair of Startup Texas.

KLRU’s Capital of Innovation highlights Austin entrepreneurship

If you were so busy Wednesday night preparing for the big turkey day, that you forgot to set the DVR and you missed Austin public television station KLRU’s new gem of a program that focuses on Austin innovation, don’t worry.
KLRU plans to re-run the program, Capital of Innovation: Episode #101, which debuted Wednesday night. The next showing is Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Capital of Innovation’s first episode features Josh Kerr, co founder of Zosh, and maker of an iPhone app that allows people to sign contracts on the mobile phone. YouSendIt acquired Zosh in January of 2011.

The program also features Chris Richter who created a drink mix and Ruth Glendinning who turned an abandoned retail site into a micro incubator for small businesses.

© 2024 SiliconHills

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑