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The Creator’s Code

The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

By Amy Wilkinson
10-minute read
Audio available
The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs by Amy Wilkinson

The Creator’s Code (2015) unlocks the essential skills needed to take a big idea and turn it into a successful company. Drawn from 200 interviews with dozens of leading entrepreneurs, including the founders of LinkedIn, eBay, Tesla Motors, Airbnb, PayPal, JetBlue and others, this book will help you better see what areas you need to address to turn your passion into tomorrow’s market leader.

  • Aspiring entrepreneurs or idea people
  • Anyone curious about how innovation happens
  • Business leaders looking for inspiration in their own ventures

Amy Wilkinson is a strategic adviser, entrepreneur and lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has worked at consultancy McKinsey & Company and investment company J.P. Morgan, and has served as a White House fellow and special assistant to the U.S. Trade Representative.

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The Creator’s Code

The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

By Amy Wilkinson
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs by Amy Wilkinson
Synopsis

The Creator’s Code (2015) unlocks the essential skills needed to take a big idea and turn it into a successful company. Drawn from 200 interviews with dozens of leading entrepreneurs, including the founders of LinkedIn, eBay, Tesla Motors, Airbnb, PayPal, JetBlue and others, this book will help you better see what areas you need to address to turn your passion into tomorrow’s market leader.

Key idea 1 of 6

Smart entrepreneurs find a gap in the market by applying one of three different approaches.

One of the keys to becoming a great entrepreneur is to spot an opening in the marketplace. To do so, consider these three different approaches.

The first approach is called the sunbird approach. Here, an entrepreneur takes a solution that has proven effective in one place and transplants it to another, often with a twist. (Just like a sunbird, a kind of hummingbird that cross-pollinates by grabbing objects in one place and dropping them somewhere else.)

During a trip to Italy, Howard Schultz (today’s CEO of Starbucks) noticed how locals spent tons of time socializing in cafes, enjoying coffee and pastries and listening to opera music. At the time across the Atlantic, Americans had to go to a diner or restaurant if they wanted a cup of joe.  

Schultz saw an opportunity to transplant the Italian cafe model in America, adapting it to suit the preferences of Americans. He replaced opera music with jazz and added tables and comfortable seats, so customers wouldn’t have to stand at a bar, as the Italians do, to enjoy their coffee.

This model, as we now know, was a tremendous success. In just one year, Starbucks captured 30 percent of America’s premium single-serve coffee market.

A second approach is the architect approach. Architects design entirely new products to address unsolved problems, an approach epitomized by Spanx founder Sara Blakely. Blakely wore pantyhose to smooth her figure, and although she liked the way stockings made her look, she hated how they were uncomfortable and often fit poorly.

Blakely realized there was an opportunity to invent comfortable, figure-enhancing pantyhose. And even though she had no market experience, she went on to make Spanx a huge success.

The last approach is the integrator approach. Such entrepreneurs assemble existing elements, often disparate or even opposite ones, in inventive ways to create brand new products.

Luxury SUVs are a great example of an integrated idea. These cars combine a high-end, high-comfort style in an all-wheel, off-road sports vehicle. This combination of two seemingly contradictory ideas has actually been a huge success, appealing to two very different market segments.

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