Student Entrepreneur Simon Barker completes his own top-ten list of entrepreneurs
Ė Herewith is the second half of my top-ten entrepreneurs list. Let me emphasize
this is a personal list and does not necessarily make any great claims for the
global significance of the individuals but obviously they have touched or influenced
me and I think they are worth checking out if you are interested in
entrepreneurship. And the fact they are not the usual cast of characters may
open up people up to some different ways of thinking.
Robinson is founder director of Kromek, and is one of the people behind the 3-D
image and liquid detection scanners currently being installed in airports. He
is an entrepreneur-in-residence at Newcastle University and is one of the
people who first inspired me to follow the entrepreneurial path. The first talk
I had from Robinson was on intellectual property (IP) and the second was on
life as an entrepreneur. Both talks were enjoyable and even though IP is not
the most stimulating of topics he still made it interesting. For this reason he
is on my list.
That's eye glasses and you might think an odd choice. He is here because Glasses
Direct shows the entrepreneurial spirit at its best. Shocked at the price of
new glasses Wells began searching for reasons as to why they were so expensive.
After a long period of being stonewalled, someone finally answered with
something along the lines of ďbecause thatís what the market is prepared to pay,
so why should companies charge less?" So he started Glasses Direct with
the aim of saving the optically challenged money, and that includes me, as well
as making money for him. Five years after starting the company Glasses Direct is
well established and has indeed saved people money.
finished Harvard and, unlike his class mates, decided he didnít want to work in
investment banking, or management consulting. Instead, he took a leaf out of
his dadís book and started a company. The father, John Adler, was a successful
entrepreneur and neurosurgeon. Trip and a friend worked on some ideas for a
year or so, and then hit on the idea of online document sharing that is now
Scribd. Tripís dad wanted to get a medical paper out quicker than the typical
academic journal lead time, so Tripp and his friend put together Scribd and had
a working prototype running fairly quickly. Scribd was signing up thousands of
users weekly soon after launch. This traction led to venture capitalists
approaching to offer funding, even when Trip and partner werenít even looking
for it! Not the typical entrepreneur story in that respect, but it shows that
when you hit on a good idea it can really take off!
I agree, but in the dental and medical area - including opthalmic opticians - it is also important to have some checks and balances in place to prevent the free market riding roughshod over vulnerable people. And those checks and balances, and professionalism, sometimes state-sponsored, often introduce cost. Some might say too much cost, but I would not wish do without protection when I am paying for essential aids such as glasses.
It is often amazing how few products could actually cost much less and still serve the same purpose or be equally useful. As in the case of glassesdirect, a lot of medical technologies could cost a lot less if only more people got ideas like Jamie Wells and, of course, the public realized there is little correlation between the quality and the price of a product in this brand driven market and marketing driven economy!!