Entrepreneur as Case Study

Shane Hutcheson of Outside Media was kind enough to send information about Klymit and to ask Klymit CEO Nate Alder for three tips for entrepreneurs exclusively for Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

Nate Alder of Klymit About Klymit, Shane wrote:  "Here's a heads up on a new outdoor gear company in Utah called Klymit that is being featured in two textbooks this summer as a prime example of entrepreneurial success [by]…the young CEO, Nate Alder.  He turned his passion for the outdoors into a great idea that became a big deal in the outdoor industry."

From a press release on Klymit:  "Klymit, an innovator in outdoor technology, is being recognized again by the academic community for its revolutionary business model."  The two textbooks are the forthcoming sixth edition of Essentials of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management by Thomas W. Zimmerer, et al., and Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures by Bruce Barringer.

Thank you Shane Hutcheson and  Nate Alder!

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Three Tips for Entrepreneurs from Nate Alder:

1. Knowledge Brokering

From The Harvard Business Review, “The best innovations aren’t lone geniuses. They’re people who can take an idea that’s obvious in one context and apply it in not-so-obvious ways to a different context. The best companies have learned to systematize that process.”

My best ideas are a conglomerate of different products or ideas, applied in new ways. My inspirations come from adventure, travel, nature and existing products.  We look at parts of random products from random industries. If we have a development problem, we ask ourselves, "How has this problem been solved already by another product in another industry?" We look at all kinds of toys, gear, products etc., to see if any component can be helpful. My favorite quotes are: “To Invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk,” and “First, study the present construction. Second, ask for all past experiences,” by Thomas Edison.

2. Creating Blue Oceans

There is a lot of buzz about "red oceans," but there is just too much noise and competition. It is boring and no fun. I am an adventure junkie who is all about taking high risks and having fun. If I end up having an idea that risks the danger of entering into a red ocean, I stop and think, “How can I convert this to a blue ocean?” For example:

  • Don’t debate, innovate!
  • Tell how you're different, not better
  • Be hybrid-capable to enhance competitors
  • Use adaptable add-ons
  • Redefine the need; choose features others cannot talk about.

3.  Getting Start-Up Experience

After everyone has given their advice, the most valuable education is experience. Rather than only reading about it or writing fancy business plans, you have to get out there. Find a start-up company that you can work with, preferably one that cannot afford to pay you a salary yet. Start at the ground level and learn every step, including what decisions lead to success and which cause problems.  If you don't know what to do long-term, the experience will serve you better than anything else.

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More from press release on Klymit:  "Klymit is a noble gas technology company based in Ogden, Utah.  Klymit develops and licenses its noble-gas-based, variable insulation technologies to companies in a variety of industries. Klymit Kontrollable Insulation is the only technology on the market that gives users the power to Kontrol the Elements and adjust their level of warmth with the turn of a dial. The noble gases used in Klymit’s technologies are non-toxic, non-flammable, and safe for the environment."

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