Jeff Hawkins on entrepreneurship

iTunes has podcasts for many academic institutions. I was browsing the higher education site a bit and came across Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, a series of talks given as part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. One really fun talk was given by Jeff Hawkins, one of the founders of Palm.

As well as a tech guy, he’s also a brain researcher and split up his time between these two passions during his career. Amazingly he was able to pursue both interests and still have breakfast and dinner with the kids. Amazing. Anyway, he offered several lessons to future entrepreneurs.

One surprising lesson he offered was “use entrepreneurialism only as a last resort.” When your back is against a wall and you have no other choices, then you throw it all away from the standpoint of your current job and start over. For example, if can have your current employer sponsor your project, that would be a better route than quitting for fame and fortune. Usually starting over is closely connected with how ambitious your goal is. The more ambitious, the more likely you’ll need to use the entrepreneurial process because it’s harder to find a sponsor. A unique perspective I have never heard messaged from entrepreneurial types.

Other lessons he mentioned:

  • Pick a passion at follow it as long as you can. In the end, that’s what makes you able to go through all the crap that happens in life
  • Use the fastest and surest ways to progress or get to your goal. Ignore the fastest way to make the most money or fame. Follow your goal, follow your mission to get where you want to go
  • Work smartly. He doesn’t believe that you need to work a lot of hours to be successful in life. The key is making the right decisions at the right times. If you’re working 20 hours a day, then something is wrong
  • Don’t take your eye off your goal because everyone you come in contact with will want you to forget it
  • Try to have fun because business is crisis management day after day. You need to have faith that in the end of the day, everything will turn out well

Jeff Hawkins on entrepreneurship podcast here (requires iTunes).


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