Entrepreneurial Toolbox

NCWIT Entrepreneurial Toolbox is an interview series designed to promote fundamental skills of entrepreneurship. The series interviews both men and women about a range of topics critical to entrepreneurial success, such as networking, how to procure funding, writing a business plan, and the importance of failure. The series is sponsored by the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance with support from EMC.

Entrepreneurial Toolbox Audio

Maria Cirino

Interview with Maria Cirino

April 5, 2010

The name for .406 Ventures comes from baseball. "Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox batted a .406 average in 1941, which hasn't been beaten since. Williams had taken the time over the years to analyze where, within the strike zone, he could hit best; we thought that kind of measured selectivity was a great metaphor for this business."

Interview with Chris Shipley

February 28, 2010

As a founding partner and editorial director in Guidewire Group, Chris Shipley consults with emerging technology companies in the U.S. and Europe to identify market opportunities and accelerate products to market. "What I look for in an early stage company - what appeals to me - is this intersection of a great idea, a real market need, a smart business model, and a passionate team."

Yoky Matsuoka

Interview with Yoky Matsuoka

November 2, 2009

"If we give young girls or anyone else a sense of purpose for what they are doing," says Yoky Matsuoka, "they will become more interested in doing it well."

Charlene Li

Interview with Charlene Li

September 25, 2009

In the flood of new and competing technology, companies often lack a strategy to on-board new solutions. Rather than be reactive, get mired in, or simply ignore new technology, Charlene Li's Altimeter Group helps companies architect a streamlined approach.

Interview with Mitchell Baker

July 1, 2009

Where law and the internet and innovation and open source collide, there you'll find Mitchell Baker.

Tina Sharkey

Interview with Tina Sharkey

May 4, 2009

Tina Sharkey talks about the difference between vertical (BabyCenter) and horizontal (Facebook) social connections, why authenticity in social media matters, and how you can use social media to "think out loud" and leverage your business.

Ann Winblad

Interview with Ann Winblad

April 8, 2009

Ann Winblad gives us the Silicon Valley skinny on investing, growing a business, inspiration, and how venture capital is the backbone for the U.S. economy.

Krista Marks Photo

Interview with Krista Marks (Toolbox)

March 3, 2009

In this interview, Krista Marks shares her experience and knowledge in winning National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. Every federal agency with a large external R&D budget, including the NSF, makes a portion available to small businesses through SBIR grants. Krista was CEO of Kerpoof, LLC when it applied to the NSF and won two SBIR awards. Her company received the grants to develop its website, Kerpoof.com, and the innovative software that powers it.

David Cohen

Interview with David Cohen

January 5, 2009

David Cohen, Co-founder and Executive Director of TechStars, explains how the TechStars program identifies entrepreneurial talent, nurtures success, and crams a ton of mentoring and business essentials into just a few months over the summer.

Brad Feld Photo

Interview with Brad Feld

December 29, 2008

The "failure is not an option" mantra among entrepreneurs is "just wrong," according to Brad Feld. An early-stage investor and entrepreneur for more than 20 years, Brad says that experiencing and recognizing failure is an essential component of entrepreneurial success. Listen to this interview to find out how Brad characterizes an "unforgivable failure" and what lessons he believes you can learn from a failed start-up.