Latest Seminars

Adaptation and Social Networks in Digital Ventures: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment on a MOOC Platform

Digital startups are an important source of innovation in products and services. Entrepreneurs leading digital ventures are advised to be adaptable. However, research on how to pursue adaptable strategies and whether such strategies improve digital venture outcomes is sparse. By leveraging the ability to control content presentation and to measure outcomes through a digital venture course using a MOOC platform, we can introduce exogenous variation in strategies and mentorship characteristics, and link these attributes to venture outcomes. Contrary to expectations, we find that minimizing adaptability by adhering to a strong, persistent vision often results in better short-term performance (quality of the start-up pitch) in digital startups. However, a more adaptable approach, when combined with a mentor who can facilitate this strategy by providing access to a diverse social network, can offer the best long-run financial outcomes (measured two years after the course completion) and especially in the likelihood of pivoting to start another venture. The results suggest that guidance on mentor selection—especially selecting for the mentor’s social networks—is important for achieving the benefits of an adaptable strategy for high-tech early-stage ventures.


Speaker :
Prof. Chuck Eesley, Stanford University
Venue :
LSK Rm5047 (Lift 1-2)
Date :
Time :