Being a first mover is only advantageous to the extent that your product and service meets an unmet or existing need better than current offerings and creates a loyal consumer base quickly, whether via network effects or brand adhesion.
The contest is focused on financial technology entrepreneurs, and TradeKing, an online brokerage, will be awarding 12 1M/1M scholarships, picked from 20 finalists, to entrepreneurs who are developing apps on their platform.
During today's roundtable, we turned the spotlight on Western Massachusetts, spanning the Northampton-Amherst area and the home of Smith College (my undergraduate alma mater), Amherst College, UMass, Mt. Holyoke and Hampshire College.
As I sat listening to the divergent views emerging among the entrepreneurs, it was clear to me that while some felt they were held back by the cultural expectations of women, others were moving forward with conviction.
We were encouraged by the open discussion and the expressed expectation of rapid growth even though the entrepreneurial market is nascent in India. This was the first of several meetings we had in New Delhi, but the perception of the challenges and opportunities was beginning to take shape.
The goal of NFTE was better performance in school, and ultimately in life. After several years of running a class-based program with our partner, NFTE wanted to move the lessons outside the classroom, into a sustainable model in the real world.
Rather than highlighting a small, non-representative minority of college dropouts to misrepresent the importance of education, perhaps it would be better to concentrate on redesigning our higher education system so that it better serves American society.
"Stick to what you know" seems like common-sense advice, but I have watched many business people make the same mistake I did. Once things start to go well, entrepreneurs think success will last forever.