IACMR Research Seminar Series Session #19
Theme: Measure twice, cut once: achieving exceptional growth in nascent online fashion markets
Speaker: Kathleen Eisenhardt, Stanford University
When: 9:00- 10:15 am, December 15, 2021 (Beijing Time, UTC +8)
We explore how ventures achieve exceptional growth. By studying 3 venture-pairs in 3 nascent markets in the online fashion industry, we contribute a theoretical framework describing a process for achieving exceptional growth: Entrepreneurs first 1) unexpectedly focus on profitability (not growth), take time for broad (not narrow) learning, and actively delay (not accelerate) growth, and then 2) shift to focus to growth and profitability while making long-term investments in core capabilities guided by accurate strategic mental models. Thus, exceptional growth is a non-linear process with an inflection between short-term learning about an opportunity and long-term capability building to scale it. Broadly, we contribute that learning is both more critical and more dangerous than previously recognized. We also add insights into entrepreneurial strategy and the evolution of strategic mental models. A unifying theme is that even small “cracks” in the foundation of a venture are amplified by the weight of growth.
Kathleen Eisenhardt is the Stanford W. Ascherman M.D. Professor and a faculty member in the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Her recent book (w/Don Sull) is “Simple Rules: How to Survive in a Complex World” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) which explores how simplicity tames complexity in business, life, and nature. She is also co-author (w/Shona Brown) of “Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured” Chaos (Harvard Business School Press), winner of the George R. Terry Book Award for outstanding contribution to management thinking and an Amazon Top 10 Annual Business and Investing book. Professor Eisenhardt is also author of over 100 articles in research and business journals, and the first author featured in Harvard Business Review’s OnPoint collection. She has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor with INSEAD’s Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise area.
Professor Eisenhardt’s research focus is strategy and organization, especially in technology-based companies and high-velocity industries. She is currently studying the use of “simple rules” heuristics, strategic interaction in new markets and ecosystems, strategy making in marketplaces, and business model design. She often uses multi-case theory building methods and more recently machine learning for theory building. She has received the career Scholarly Contribution Award from the Academy of Management and the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research. She has been honored by many other awards including the Irwin Award for her contributions in strategy, the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Organization Theory and Management (OMT) and Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) divisions, the ASQ Scholarly Contribution award for the most influential paper five years after publication, and Strategic Management Society’s Schendel Best Paper prize. Professor Eisenhardt consults at senior levels with firms in industries ranging from Internet, telecommunications, software, and biotech to agribusiness, semiconductors, and clean tech.
Professor Eisenhardt was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management and of the Strategic Management Society, and is an INFORMS member. She has served on the editorial boards of ASQ, Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. She has been a Fellow of the World Economic Forum (Davos), a member of General Motors’ Science Advisory Committee, and a board member of MWH Global, an international engineering design and construction firm. She serves on the Advisory Board of Start-Up Chile. Eisenhardt received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Brown University, cum laude and with honors). She holds an M.S. in computer science. Her Ph.D. is from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Professor Eisenhardt has several honorary degrees including from London Business School, Aalto University, Chalmers University of Technology.