Posts Tagged ‘Spencer Ante’

In Memory of Ken Olsen

February 15, 2011

Ken Olsen, the cofounder of Digital Equipment Corp, died last week.

The story of Olsen and DEC formed the heart of my book Creative Capital. I’ve been meaning to get around to publishing a blog post explaining why Ken Olsen still matters.

In the meantime, here are some of the best links to obits and memorials of Olsen, who Fortune magazine in 1986 called “America’s Most Successful Entrepreneur.”

Ken Olsen, Who Built DEC Into a Power, Dies at 84 by Glenn Rifkin of The New York Times

Innovator’s Dilemma
by Steve Syre of The Boston GLobe.

Remembering Ken Olsen by Paul Kedrosky of Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Remembering Ken Olsen by Bruce Richardson

Ken Olsen Memorial by John Furrier of Silicon Angle

Obit by IDG News Service

Obit by Chris Mellor of Channel Register

Memorial by Robert Lenzner of Forbes

Obit by Gregory T. Huang of Xconomy

Memorial by Gordon Bell on Xconomy

Deadly sins the tech industry can’t seem to shake by Bill Snyder of Infoworld


Where’s Spencer?

September 27, 2010

It’s been more than three months since my last blog post so you might be wondering: What happened to Spencer?

Well, the short answer is I’ve been working hard at my new day job as Deputy Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal, which takes up most of my working hours.

Given how busy I am at WSJ I have decided to take a temporary hiatus from regularly blogging on Creative Capital. That may change in the future but for now if you want to keep up with my work please subscribe to my Twitter feed where I post links to many if not all of my WSJ stories.

Thanks to everyone for coming by to read this blog. I started it back in 2008 to help launch my book, and then it evolved into a publishing vehicle for a broader set of stories related to the book and my work as a technology and finance journalist.

I am not sure how it will evolve going forward but I am grateful to everyone who dropped by and contributed to the conversation. Onward ….

My New Gig: Joining the Wall Street Journal as Deputy Bureau Chief

March 31, 2010

One door closes and another opens. What’s really neat is when the transition happens quickly and smoothly.

And so …. I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the Wall Street Journal as Deputy Bureau Chief of its New York Corporate Bureau, starting April 12. Keith Kelly of the New York Post wrote up an item about my new gig in today’s Media Ink column.

This is a new bureau that was formed this January to oversee reportage of big companies such as General Electric, IBM, Procter & Gamble, and several big beats, including telecommunications, New York retail and fashion, and recruiting and management.

“We formed the New York corporate group to focus on the importance and raise the visibility of the main corporate beats that the Journal covers. This group will also help to strengthen the cooperation between Newswires and Journal reporters,” said Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Company and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, announcing the formation of the bureau.

I will be reporting to Bureau Chief Andrew Dowell, and have a few big priorities:

1. Supervising telecom coverage as a writer and editor
2. Helping to beef up coverage of big tech companies in the region such as IBM, EMC and RIMM
3. Covering New York’s entrepreneurial scene of startups and venture capitalists
4. Helping to beef up’s Digits blog through editing and reporting

I loved working at BusinessWeek for the last decade. And now I am stoked to join the Wall Street Journal at this unique time. Under New Corp., there’s a lot of energy and excitement pulsing through the newsroom as the Journal pursues an ambitious expansion. I hope to play one small part in making a great place even greater. Onward . . .

New Directions: Moving on from BusinessWeek

March 13, 2010

Hey folks, apologies again for not posting that much lately. Things have been hectic at work lately, and now I have some news to share about the situation.

I am no longer working for BusinessWeek. I wanted to leave, and am excited to be moving on to new opportunities and different challenges. It was a great 10-year run, and an experience I will always treasure. I met many incredible and super-talented people, learned a lot about a lot of things, savored the opportunity to cover some of the biggest stories of the decade, and made a few good friends along the way. I wish all of my former colleagues the best in their endeavors.

Watch this space for updates on my situation. Onward and upward . . . .

Introducing “The World’s Most Intriguing New Companies”

November 13, 2009

Here’s the lead of my story introducing a big new project and special report I’ve been working on the last few months. It’s called “The World’s Most Intriguing New Companies,” and highlights 25 of the world’s coolest startups with game-changing potential.

In addition to my story and the list, the package also includes five profiles of standouts companies on the list: Epizyme, Driptech, Layar, Phycal, and China Water & Energy. And that’s not all! We’ve also created an interactive slide show of the 25 startups, plus an online extra about another Chicago startup called CitySourced. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Fertile Ground for Startups
History shows that a certain breed of entrepreneur feeds off adverse conditions, and this recession is no exception

By Spencer E. Ante

Who needs job security? In June 2008, as the recession was moving from bad to worse, Caterina Fake gave up a comfortable, executive-level job at Yahoo! (YHOO) to launch a company. She left California and set up shop in New York City to co-found Hunch, a Web site that uses the experiences of others to help people make decisions. The 40-year-old, who had co-founded the photo-sharing site Flickr before it was acquired by Yahoo, couldn’t resist the idea of creating something new, whatever the economic headwinds. “The entrepreneurial spirit really thrives in situations of adversity,” says Fake. “The world is full of more possibility.”

Fake isn’t alone in betting on that. A crop of potentially groundbreaking companies is emerging from the wreckage of the Great Recession. No question, some will blow up, and others will fail to reach their potential. But the downturn has done little to dampen the entrepreneurial spirit. During the first half of this year, angel investors financed 24,500 new ventures, 6% more than during the same period last year, according to the Center for Venture Research. The overall amount of money going into startups has declined, but the figures suggest that this year will see the birth of roughly 50,000 companies with enough promise that someone is betting money on them. “It may be that this is the best time to start a company,” says Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, an organization that promotes entrepreneurship.

With that backdrop, BusinessWeek set out to find the world’s most intriguing new companies. After much reporting and research, we’ve assembled a list that’s a barometer of innovation trends in the global economy, with startups that are pioneering new markets in biotechnology, clean technology, health care, and Web computing. Hunch is just one of 25 that made the final cut. Other standouts include Epizyme, a Massachusetts outfit creating cancer-fighting drugs that attack errant proteins; China Water & Energy, a Hong Kong company developing massive wind-power farms in the Chinese countryside; and Driptech, a California startup engineering low-cost irrigation systems for poor farmers around the world. “The markets that we are addressing in India and China are vast and untapped,” says Driptech’s 26-year-old founder, Peter Frykman.

Read the rest of the story and package here.

New Amazon Review: “Creative Capital is a Must Read If You’re In Business Today”

October 20, 2009

Check out a new customer review of Creative Capital, just published on

Creative Capital is a Must Read If You’re In Business Today
By Carole Gunst “loves to read” (Boston, MA)

Spencer Ante has done a wonderful job writing the life story of General Georges Doriot, respected Harvard Business School professor, military general, and the father of venture capital. I had the good fortune to hear Spencer, who also writes on business for Business Week magazine, speak about Doriot’s story at the French Library in Boston before I started reading the book. His stories about the man who was so influential for U.S. business were fascinating. Here are a few of Doriot’s quotes that he pulled from the book to share with us:

* “A real courageous man is a man who does something when no one is watching him.”
* “If information is to be exchanged over whiskey, let us get rather than give it.”
* “You will get no where if you do not inspire people.”
* “Always remember that someone somewhere is making a product that wil make your product obsolete.”

From the stories about Doriot’s early introduction to entrepreneurship as the son of a Peugot engineer, to Doriot’s entry into Harvard Business School, to the importance he played with R&D during World War II which taught him how to become a venture capitalist to the part he played in the starting up of Digital Equipment Corporation, this book remains fascinating.

If you are in business today or would like to be, this is a must read from a great writer about a visionary business thinker. I think you’ll agree that Doriot really pioneered the transition of U.S. business to an economy built on entrepreneurship an innovation.

Wicked Cool Recap: Boston Book Tour Pics

September 27, 2009

Big ups to Boston. Thanks to the hospitality of the Boston French Library and the local office of the pr firm Financial Dynamics, I spent three days this week in Boston giving book talks to several groups.

Each talk was a lot of fun but the most special event happened on the evening of Thursday Sep. 24, the 110th anniversary of Georges Doriot’s birth, when I addressed about 40 friends and associates of Doriot in his old townhouse on Beacon Hill. Many thanks to Jim and Cathy Stone for hosting the event at the house, which they bought from Doriot’s estate soon after he passed away in 1987. As you will see from these photos, the house is a unique and sparkling gem.

Spencer Ante, Library Chairman Gerard Mouflett and Library Executive Director Catheline van den Branden

Guests mingling in the downstairs dining room

Jim Stone welcomes guests to his home in the second floor library

Spencer Ante giving a talk about Creative Capital

Guests listening to my talk. The Stones did not rearrange their furniture so the setting was very intimate.

The ARD Men: Francis Hughes, John Shane and James Morgan

VIew from second floor balcony overlooking the dining room

Digital Equipment’s first salesman, Ted Johnson, and current ARD head Francis Hughes

Wicked Cool: Come See Me Speak in Boston Next Week

September 17, 2009

Next week, the Spencer Ante book tour is coming to Boston for three special events.

1. I have helped to organize a great panel on Sep. 23 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm being hosted by Financial Dynamics. The timely topic of the panel: What Will Drive the Next Wave of Growth?

Edward J. Reilly, Chief Executive Officer of FD Americas is the host, & Scott Kirsner, Innovation Economy Columnist at the Boston Globe will be moderating the panel at the Taj Hotel.

The panel will discuss the collaborative role of venture capital, start-ups, the legal community, and academia in innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship. Cocktails and appetizers will be served afterwards.

Scott Kirsner will moderate a distinguished panel of experts including:

* Spencer Ante, Associate Editor at BusinessWeek and author of Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital
* Bob Davis, General Partner, Highland Capital Partners
* Ed Goldfinger, Chief Financial Officer, Zipcar
* Richard Bergin, PhD, Managing Director, FTI Consulting
* Andy Goldfarb, Executive Managing Director Co-Founder, Globespan Capital Partners

2. On Sep. 24, I am giving a talk at the former home of Georges Doriot, a drop-dead gorgeous Beacon Hill townhouse now owned by Jim and Cathy Stone. I am really excited about this talk as well since a lot of the Doriot friends and family will be in attendance. This is a private event.

3. Last stop is the morning of Sep. 25 at the Boston French Library, a wonderful institution created by Georges and Edna Doriot. This event is open to the public. I will be giving a talk about the legacy of Doriot and why he remains a very relevant figure for today’s turbulent times. Tickets are $20 for members, and $30 for non-members. Click here for more info on the event.

New Amazon Customer Review – “Timely Story Brilliantly Told”

September 4, 2009

A new review was just posted to Check it out. Thanks Chris!

5.0 out of 5 stars
Timely Story Brilliantly Told

September 3, 2009
By Chris Burbach (Phoenix, AZ)

I initially began reading Creative Capital to learn more about the origins and history of the venture capital industry and ultimately became enthralled with the incredible life story of General Doriot. His list of accomplishments is staggering to consider in terms of both scope and impact, but his approach to life was what stood out most. The persistence, care and dedication he demonstrated to the students he taught, his country, the country he adopted or the businesses he financed was truly inspiring. Spencer Ante does a brilliant job of telling his story and putting it into the historical context of the development of the venture capital industry.

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in American history and is a must read for any student or practitioner of finance.

Doriot Quote of the Day

August 27, 2009

“A real courageous man is a man who does something courageous when no one is watching him.”