Running the Numbers

by Paul Polak and Sydney Bergen Over the last 30 years I have found it useful to constantly and obsessively “Run the Numbers” when I look at any business opportunity. I try to do this in a way that quickly strikes to the heart of any business. Running the numbers can identify key transformative opportunities as well as the greatest likely stumbling blocks to success. Just about every entrepreneur I know can generate the financial projections required by a standard business plan. But the ability to carry out rapid and sequential back-of-the envelope estimates of things like where the sweet spot in the market lies,…

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Who Will Grab the Fortune at the Base of the Pyramid?

Re-posted from NextBillion Blog, Next Thought Monday: Who Will Grab the Fortune at the Base of the Pyramid? by Paul Polak and Mal Warwick In a recent post on NextBillion, Stuart Hart, who coauthored The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid with C.K. Prahalad, wrote with concern about the potential of creating disruptive innovations for poor customers that can trickle up to Western markets. He fears “the risk that corporations [will] gradually come to view the world's slums and rural villages primarily as laboratories for incubating innovations for the rich.” We don’t believe Professor Hart has anything to worry about — because major corporations have demonstrated no meaningful interest in the…

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Why Entrepreneurs Will Beat Multinationals to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Re-posted from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. See the original post here.   Why Entrepreneurs Will Beat Multinationals to the Bottom of the Pyramid by Paul Polak and Mal Warwick C.K. Prahalad and Stuart Hart’s seminal book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid gained a wide audience when it was published in 2004 and has continued to be widely read ever since. Its iconic phrase, “bottom of the pyramid,” entered the English lexicon. The book was a call to action to the world’s largest companies to develop new products for the four billion people living on $4 a day or less—a market representing what was…

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University Innovation Fellows Respond To Paul’s Open Letter to Larry Page with a Letter of Their Own

April 7, 2014 Larry Page 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy Mountain View, CA 94043 Dear Mr. Page, We are writing to you on behalf of a group of over 100 student leaders from around the country to express our support for Paul Polak’s ambitious challenge to Google to help end poverty. We are the University Innovation Fellows. We believe that poverty can be ended, and we are thrilled with the opportunity that Mr. Polak has presented you. By taking on this challenge, Google can help change the lives of over 100 million people, and can inspire millions more to address one of the world’s greatest challenges in…

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