Blog Innovation and Entrepreneurship

“How hard can it be to take down Facebook?” with Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm (video)

Mark Coopersmith has a fireside chat with Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm about Arnaud’s 6-year journey as co-founder of a startup whose mission was to create a *better* option to Facebook. We discuss Arnaud’s takeaways from that experience, and delve into the book Arnaud wrote about that failed venture: “How Hard Can It Be: Startup Lessons From Trying (And Failing) To Take Down Facebook.” (Answer: pretty hard).

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Join me to kick off the Innov8rs Connect “Culture & Teams” Conference on March 15. I have free passes! (normally $200+)

On Tuesday March 15, I will kick off the 2022 Inov8rs Connect “Culture, Talent & Teams” online conference with an updated take on my book The Other “F” Word, which I co-wrote with John Danner. I’ll do a quick talk and then join in a fireside chat and Q&A on this topic. This conference is designed...

The Other “F” Word Podcast #10: Mark & John’s Year-in-Review Episode (video)

Happy New Year everyone!  Here’s to 2022 being the year we break free from this Groundhog Day (re)cycle of the past several years. In this episode of our podcast, John and I provide some thoughts on the year 2021. John focuses on a few huge failures such as the US/world’s handling of Covid and climate...

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Other “F”​ Word Podcast #9: Facebook Goes Down, & Mark Almost Gets Scammed (video)

In this episode, Mark and John discuss multiple failures at Facebook and its family of apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram, including the global outage and whistleblower testimony before Congress. We also highlight a potential seldom-reported risk for YOU if you use Facebook or Google to automatically log into other apps or accounts. Mark then...

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Corona Postpona

Happy summer.  And what a summer it is. Heat waves across the U.S., exacerbated by climate change, as we in the West endure extreme drought and water rationing, and an even worse fire season than usual.  At least we have plenty of masks for those smokey days (always looking for that silver lining).   The...

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The Other “F” Word Podcast #8: The New Space Race, & The Tokyo Olympics (video)

In this episode we discuss: – The new race to space by billionaires Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. Is “space tourism” really a lofty objective for all those $$ billions? – The 2020 Tokyo Olympics (taking place in 2021 of course). We keep our episodes brief, fun, and pithy; promise to disagree regularly...

The Resilient Entrepreneur

In this video series, my co-author John Danner and I share insights about The Resilient Entrepreneur from our entrepreneurship classes at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and from our Amazon bestseller, “The Other ‘F’ Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work” (John Wiley & Sons, 2015).

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The Other “F” Word Podcast #7: Experimentation, & RIP Mr. Post-It Notes (video)

In this episode, John Danner and I discuss the importance of experimentation to drive innovation and change, and the role that having a healthy relationship with failure has in the way we process the outcomes of all of these experiments, and especially business experiments.

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The Other “F” Word Podcast #6: USA’s failing infrastructure, and J&J’s vaccine issues (video)

In this episode: – Mark raises America’s embarrassing, ongoing failing infrastructure, with some suggestions on how to pay for it. Not necessarily tax increases, but rather equitable tax reform. – John discusses several failures at drug company Johnson & Johnson relating to their vaccine, from the manufacturing contamination issue to the on-again/off-again/on-again approval. – Which...

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The Other “F” Word Podcast #5: Disney, Pendleton, and “our suggestions so far” (video)

Just published the current episode of our 10-minute “Other ‘F’ Word” podcast based on John’s and my book of the same name, on how to turn failure to success. In this episode we discuss: how Disney has navigated the pandemic, including the breakout success of its “Disney Plus” streaming service, and how the company is positioned for the...

John Danner and Mark Coopersmith on Podcast

Is there a failure in the making at Amazon (video)?

Check out Episode 4 of “The Other ‘F’ Word” podcast. John and I discuss Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash, Jeff Bezos stepping back from the CEO role, and the “Goldilocks-zone” for checklists (= just right). Is there a failure in the making at Amazon? Do you know how to optimize YOUR checklists? Join us for 10 minutes to find out our take.

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Gravity, and how it can be a force for good (video)

Boeing has been in freefall for awhile now (“freefall” is probably a bad analogy for an aviation company), and this week announced their biggest loss ever and yet another delay in their space program and in the launch of their next big jet. In our latest Other F Word podcast, John and I dissect what...

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New Year’s resolutions (video)

I just published episode #2 (!!) of the “Other ‘F’ Word Podcast,” where my co-author John Danner and I discuss/dissect/disagree re: current failures, what we can learn from them, and how to bounce back and improve. All in about 10 minutes. This week’s topics: New Years’ Resolutions; the insurrection and riots in Washington, and the...

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I Just Launched My New Podcast (video)

I just launched a new podcast based on my book “The Other ‘F’ Word,” co-authored with my UC Berkeley colleague John Danner. And we cohost the podcast as well. We figured if NOW wasn’t a good time to learn from our collective failures (goodbye and good riddance 2020), there might never be such a time....

A TED talk take on The Other “F” Word (video)

This is a TED-style 25 minute talk on my book The Other F Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work (co-authored with John Danner) about how to create a more productive relationship with failure to drive innovation and growth for individuals as well as companies large and small. This keynote address was recorded in Copenhagen in November 2019, at the Innovation Roundtable Global Summit, which is represented as the largest annual gathering of corporate innovation executives globally.

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My mom made the front page of the NY Times today (for a sad reason)

The NYT remembered 1,000 victims of COVID, including my mother Alice. She was in the fourth column, above the fold. She would’ve loved that, having grown up in Manhattan and always a bit of New York girl at heart. Alice Coopersmith Furst passed away from complications of COVID-19 a few weeks ago. She was 87. She lived a...

Dr. Samuel West and Mark Coopersmith

“Museum of Failure” and other highlights from the Innovation Roundtable

Greetings from Copenhagen! I am here for the Innovation Roundtable Summit—the largest gathering of corporate innovation executives in the world. I just delivered a keynote address on the closing of Day 1, giving an updated take on “The Other ‘F’ Word.” On Day 2 I did a deeper dive into that topic, and deconstructed the Failure Value Cycle (from my book). On Day 3 I led a session on “Three Keys to Corporate Entrepreneurship,” where I take core entrepreneurial practices and adapt them to work in large enterprises.

Join me in Copenhagen at the Innovation Roundtable Summit (plus new insights from “The Other F Word”)

In 2015, my coauthor John Danner and I released our book “The Other F Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work,” (Wiley).  At the time, I thought we would have two or, at most, three years of interest in our book and the related frameworks we developed to cultivate a more...

Unlocking Innovation: Strategies from Silicon Valley CEOs (podcast and article)

I recently moderated an on-stage conversation in Silicon Valley with a group of four amazing and successful CEOs of very successful companies. This was the kickoff evening of a multi-day conference, and our objective was to lay out the topic of innovation as the core theme for the days that followed.

To to get things started I asked them each to share some personal perspectives and examples about how they unlock, drive and nurture innovation inside large organizations.  

Innovation versus Entrepreneurship

We often conflate innovation and entrepreneurship, but while they are related, they differ in several key elements. My definitions are straightforward: Innovation is developing something new and better, with the potential to drive significant value for customers, partners and your organization. Innovations include concepts, processes, products and services. Entrepreneurship is all about putting innovation to...

The Innovation Conundrum

As business leaders, we seek growth and competitive advantage. Innovation is a key lever to help us get there. Unfortunately, I often hear executives frame it this way: “We need more innovation across the organization. And, of course, failure is not an option.” There is a conflict inherent in that statement. The more innovation these...

The “3 Sets” of Successful Entrepreneurs

Every year I meet with dozens of groups who seek to better understand why so much innovation, company formation and value creation takes place in Silicon Valley. Part of the answer is found in the highly evolved entrepreneurial ecosystem that exists in Silicon Valley, and part of the answer is found with the talented entrepreneurs...

Mark Coopersmith Executive Education

Top 10 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

For more than a decade, I have maintained a list of the top 10 traits that define the mindset of successful entrepreneurs: How they think, how they are wired, where they set priorities.  Here it is: Bias to action: Every strategy and plan is merely a set of hypotheses until put into action, and that’s what...

Mark Coopersmith Strive Magazine Cover Story The Entrepreneurial Mindset

“The Entrepreneurial Mindset” (cover article for Strive Magazine)

How do entrepreneurs think? What distinguishes the best entrepreneurs and innovators from the rest? Originally published as the cover article for Strive Magazine, January 2019 For the past 30 years, I’ve pursued the answer to this question: “What distinguishes the best entrepreneurs and innovators from the rest of us?” I’ve done this as a startup...


SPOTANGELS dubbed the “Waze for Parking”

The idea for SPOTANGELS was developed by Hamza Chahdi during one of my Learn2Launch classes in the Silicon Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at UC Berkeley. SpotAngels is now available on the App Store and Play Store and has been featured by Apple and Google as among the best apps of the year, but I...

Winners and Losers in the Age of Automation by Mark Coopersmith

Winners and Losers in the Age of Automation (Video)

The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. Computers make decisions on their own and their logic now evolves and improves without human intervention. Robots operate independently. Our homes and cars and cities are increasingly connected and automated. The definition of “reality” blurs when we add the suffixes “virtual” or ‘augmented.” If you think technology-driven...