Book Excerpts

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

The Innovators is a book about technology pioneers: from the first computers to video games, the internet and even Google, it tells the stories of digital innovations and their founders. The author asserts that there are 3 types of people to have on your team, in order to build an innovative business:

1. An idea generator
2. Someone to execute the idea
3. An entrepreneur

Ideation is probably the most common one since many can generate great ideas. But you also need someone to bring the idea to life: that’s where the execution person comes in (usually engineers).

The entrepreneur figures out the business: pricing, marketing, selling and every other thing the business needs to succeed. The entrepreneur also usually acts as the manager: he/she ensures that there are functional systems, and that people maintain operational discipline.

All these roles can be carried out by one person. They rarely are though. Some of the best entrepreneurs usually have say 2 or 3 of these attributes. Let’s check out some 2 entrepreneurs referenced in the book:

1. Bill Gates: Great at execution (software programming) and a great entrepreneur as well

2. Steve Jobs: Had fantastic ideas and understood business very well. He hardly built any of the products himself.

Another interesting insight from the book is that it acknowledges the greatest tech breakthroughs (like the internet) came about as a result of collaboration between the government, private sector and academia. Government usually provided funds, academia usually executed the idea, while the private sector made the products user friendly for commercial viability.

I think this is why we (Nigeria) have not excelled at innovation as much as we ought too. We have great entrepreneurs, but academia and government have not matched the zeal of our business men.

Excellent read for anyone interested in business and innovation.

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Babatunde Akin-Moses

I am currently CEO and co-founder of Sycamore, a peer to peer lending platform that connects lenders to borrowers using technology. I love to write about business, economy, policy, startups, inspiration and entertainment. I am also deeply passionate about making Nigeria and Africa as a whole, a much better place to thrive and prosper for all.

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