A retired eight-time serial entrepreneur, Steve’s insight that startups are not smaller versions of large companies has reshaped the way startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught. His observation that large companies execute business models, but startups search for them, led him to realize that startups need their own tools, different than those used to manage existing companies.
Steve’s first tool for startups, the Customer Development methodology, spawned the Lean Startup movement. The fundamentals of Customer Development are detailed in Blank’s books, The Four Steps to the Epiphany and the The Startup Owner’s Manual. Blank teaches Customer Development and entrepreneurship at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School and Columbia University, and his Customer Development process is taught at Universities throughout the world. In 2009 Steve earned the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in Management Science and Engineering. In 2010, he earned the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business.
In 2011, he developed the Lean LaunchPad, a hands-on class that integrates Business Model design and Customer Development into practice through fast-paced, real-world customer interaction and business model iteration. In 2011, the National Science Foundation adopted Blank’s class for its Innovation Corps (I-Corps), training teams of the nation’s top scientists and engineers to take their ideas out of the university lab and into the commercial marketplace. In 2014 the I-Corps program was expanded to include the NIH, DOE, and DOD. More than 1,000 teams have gone through the I-Corps program.
Steve’s eight startups in 21 years as an entrepreneur include two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers; Convergent Technologies; a consulting stint for Pixar; a supercomputer firm, Ardent; a peripheral supplier, SuperMac; a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL; and Rocket Science Games. Steve co-founded startup number eight, E.piphany, in his living room. Steve has followed his curiosity about why entrepreneurship blossomed in Silicon Valley while stillborn elsewhere with the talk “The Secret History of Silicon Valley.”
Dr. Tina Seelig is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) at Stanford University. She is also a faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University’s School of Engineering. She teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in MS&E and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) at Stanford.
In 2014 Dr. Seelig was honored with the SVForum Visionary Award, and in 2009 she received the Gordon Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, recognizing her as a national leader in engineering education. She received the 2014 MS&E Award for Graduate Teaching, the 2008 National Olympus Innovation Award, and the 2005 Stanford Tau Beta Pi Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2018, Dr Seelig received the Richard W. Lyman Award which recognizes one outstanding Stanford faculty member for extraordinary service to the alumni community and Stanford Alumni Association programs.
Dr. Seelig earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University School of Medicine where she studied neuroplasticity. She has worked as a management consultant for Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, as a multimedia producer at Compaq Computer Corporation, and was the founder of a multimedia company called BookBrowser.
She has written 17 books and educational games. Her books include The Epicurean Laboratory and Incredible Edible Science, which focus on the chemistry of cooking, published by Scientific American; and a dozen games for children, called “Games for Your Brain,” published by Chronicle Books. Her newest books, published by HarperCollins, explore the process of bringing ideas to fruition. They include What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 (2009), inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity (2012), and Creativity Rules (September 2017.)
With a background that spans technology, product development, and entertainment, Steve Weinstein has been focused on where media meets technology. Currently Steve is the founder and CEO of MovieLabs. Steve is also the co-founder of KineTrope a small design shop for small consumer and professional electronics. Additionally, Steve is currently teaching entrepreneurship at U.C. Berkeley and at Stanford.
Previously, Steve served as CTO of Deluxe Entertainment, a 6,000 person postproduction house, and CTO at Rovi Corporation where he guided the transition from physical technologies to e-commerce, connected home, secure and subscription services. Additionally, Steve held the role of Chief Technology Officer at Vicinity, a mapping company acquired by Microsoft in 2002. Steve was also a founding executive and Chief Strategist and Technologist at Liberate Technologies, an interactive television software company. Further back in his career, Steve held executive-level positions at Microprose/Spectrum HoloByte (game company), Electronics for Imaging (print processing), and Media Cybernetics (image processing). Steve also was chief architect at Ship Analytics for real time ship, sub and helicopter trainers. Steve started his career at Naval Research Laboratory in the area of advanced signal processing, computer language design, and real time OS development.
COLONEL U.S. ARMY (ret) is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Technology and National Security Policy and a senior advisor within the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO).
During his 32 years in uniform he served as both an enlisted national guardsman and as an active duty officer. He served in, led, and commanded Infantry units at the platoon through brigade level, while performing peace support, combat, and special operations in Panama, Kosovo, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
During his last assignment in the military he led the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) in the investment of over $1.4B in developing rapid solutions to answer Soldiers’ most pressing needs. Among the initiatives he developed were the Army’s $66M effort to develop and deploy renewable energy systems on the battlefield and the Army’s $45M effort to design an integrated system to gather the data required to determine the potential causes of Traumatic Brain Injury. He was also responsible for the Army’s first deployment of mobile advanced/additive manufacturing labs in a bid to more closely connect scientists and engineers to problems on the battlefield. His efforts to accelerate problem recognition and solution delivery to military units is the subject of the 2013 Stanford Graduate School of Business Case Study “The Rapid Equipping Force Customer Focused Innovation in the U.S. Army” and appears in the 2014 book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao.
Newell holds a BS from Kansas State University, an MS in Operations from the US Army Command & General Staff College, an MS in Strategy from the National Defense University and Advanced Certificates from the MIT Sloan School and Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Mar Hershenson is passionate about soccer but mostly about FC Barcelona. More than 20 years after immigrating to the U.S. from Spain, she enjoys few things more than watching Blaugrana prevail in a close match with Real Madrid. As a co-founder and managing partner at Pear Ventures, she brings operational and technical expertise to the investment team. After earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1999, she had developed a ground-breaking technique for optimizing the design of analog semiconductors.
After graduating, she accrued more than 13 years of founder experience, cofounding three startups in the mobile/ecommerce, enterprise software and semiconductor industries.
Having combined a hardware/software focus during her studies, she spent the next 13 years co-founding three startups in the mobile/e-commerce, enterprise software, and semiconductor industries, work that led eventually to her registering 14 separate patents.
Mar has been recognized by MIT Technology Review as a Top Innovator Under 35, named a Champion of Innovation by Fast Company, included by EE Times in its listing of the Top 10 Women in Microelectronics, and awarded the Digital Automation Conference’s Marie R. Pistilli Achievement Award.
Tom Bedecarré was Co-Founder and CEO of AKQA, the leading and most-awarded digital advertising agency. Tom built AKQA into a global company which now has more than 2,000 staff in 20 offices in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Tom was also President of WPP Ventures, exploring Silicon Valley investment opportunities for WPP, the world’s largest communications services group.
An innovator and pioneer in media, entertainment and communications, Tom was named “Silicon Valley’s Favorite Adman” by Fortune magazine and he was recognized in 2013 as an EY Entrepreneur of The Year.
Tom earned his BA from Stanford and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He has been an active mentor to Stanford students and startups, and in 2018 Tom received Stanford’s Outstanding Alumni Mentor Award. For the past two years, Tom has been a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.