Academia in not generally a place one finds entrepreneurs or even much practical research for entrepreneurs faced with daily hurdles such as product development, increasing sales, cash flow and the almighty payroll. Nor is it a venue where investors have much time to linger while managing their portfolio companies, answering to their investors and looking for future deals. But recently I came across the work of Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Noam Wasserman, whose research provides a valuable resource for emerging growth companies and venture capitalist forever struggling with decisions in regard to management appointments and compensation.
Wasserman focuses on what he calls "Founder Frustrations," with particular emphasis on roles played by the founders, top executives, outside investors and board members of what he dubs "high-potential entrepreneurial ventures."
While reading through his studies and about him, it occurred to me the still young Prof. Wasserman is a person whose work is well-worth following via my blog (Further following his trail, I found, to my surprise, he has his own blog "Noah Wasserman´s Founder Frustrations Blog."
If you´re not familiar with Wasserman´s work, but interested in the topic, you´ll want to read several of his papers, including:
"?¢ "Founder-CEO Succession and the Paradox of Entrepreneurial Success"
"?¢ "Stewards, Agents, and the Founder Discount: Executive Compensation in New Ventures"
"?¢ "Executive Compensation in Entrepreneurial Teams: The Founder Gap, Board Membership & Pay for Milestones"
As well, if you (or your portfolio company) are trying to get a handle on creating competitive compensation packages, check out the (somewhat dated) study Wasserman helped with at www.compstudy.com.
For Background, Wasserman´s Bio
Wasserman first came to Harvard Business School as a student in the MBA program. Despite being voted "Most Likely to Become a CEO" by his M.B.A. section, he decided to pursue academia as a career and to enter the Ph.D. program. Before coming to Harvard, he was a principal and practice manager at a management-consulting firm near Washington, D.C., where he founded and led the Groupware Practice. He has also worked as a venture capitalist at a firm in Boston. He received a B.S.E. (magna cum laude) in Computer Science and Engineering from the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.S. (magna cum laude) in Corporate Finance and Strategic Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
I plan to follow and re-visit Wasserman´s work in the future. If there is an academic you know doing innovative (and practically useful) work on entrepreneurship or venture capital, please let me know.