Entrepreneurial expert and Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann discusses rookie mistakes, patterns of failures, and other highlights from his new book Why Startups Fail. Explaining strategies and tactics to prevent avoidable failure, Eisenmann shares insights on the simplest mistakes that can result in the most complex failure.
Eisenmann teaches preventing failure by avoiding common mistakes that cost many entrepreneurs time, opportunity, and, most importantly, money.
Meet our guest:
Thomas R. Eisenmann is the Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Peter O. Crisp Chair, Harvard Innovation Labs, and Faculty Co-Chair of the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, the Harvard MS/MBA Program, and the Harvard College Technology Innovation Fellows Program. Eisenmann teaches the MBA elective Entrepreneurial Failure and the MS/MBA core courses Technology Venture Immersion and Launch Lab. In recent years, he has served as Chair of Harvard’s MBA Elective Curriculum—the 2nd year of the MBA Program—and as course head of The Entrepreneurial Manager, taught to all 900 1st-year MBAs. With colleagues, he launched the MBA electives Making Markets, which focuses on marketplace design, Scaling Technology Ventures, Entrepreneurial Sales & Marketing, and Product Management 101, in which students specify and supervise the development of a software application. Eisenmann also created the January Term Startup Bootcamp for first-year MBAs and the MBA electives Launching Technology Ventures and Managing Networked Business, which surveyed strategies for platform-based businesses that leverage network effects. He twice co-led a Harvard Innovation Lab course, Cultural Entrepreneurship in New York City, in which students from across Harvard spent a winter break week in New York exploring new ventures in fashion, food, and fine arts, and co-led four similar winter break trips to study entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.
Professor Eisenmann received his Doctorate in Business Administration (’98), MBA (’83), and BA (’79) from Harvard University. Prior to entering the HBS Doctoral Program, Eisenmann spent eleven years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he was co-head of the Media and Entertainment Practice. He currently serves as a director on the board of Harvard Business Publishing.