Posts tagged with "Surveys"

Single-minded entrepreneurs who ‘go it alone’ usually are the most successful

May 6, 2019

Surprising research findings from New York University and the The Wharton School indicate that entrepreneurs who start a business on their own are more likely to succeed than those who do so with one or more partners, Inc. magazine reports.

That’s pretty much the opposite of what most aspiring founders would guess. After all, you can’t be good at everything—-so you would assume that, by teaming up with a partner who is strong in areas in which you are weak, you would be more apt to prosper.

In fact, it’s such an ingrained belief that VCs and other investors routinely choose to fund companies founded by teams rather than those with a solo founder. But it’s also dead wrong.

In an intriguing research project, Jason Greenberg of the Stern School of Business at NYU and Ethan Mollick of Wharton sent surveys to more than 65,000 businesses that had launched on Kickstarter over a seven-year period.

More than 10,000 respondents completed the survey, according to the Inc. report. The researchers narrowed their focus to projects seeking a meaningful amount of funding—the kind that could be used to start a real business, and wound up with 3,526 businesses started with either a single founder or two or more partners.

Consistent with investors’ bias toward teams rather than solo founders (and perhaps the fact that most people have more than one friend or family member), they found that companies with multiple founders were able to raise more money than those headed by a solo entrepreneur.

But that still didn’t give them a leg up. Despite starting off with a smaller stake, companies with a single founder stayed in business longer than those with two or more at the helm—and also enjoyed higher revenues.

Why are companies with single founders more likely to survive? Two or more people cost more than one, especially if the founders are drawing salaries. Even if they aren’t, office space, phone service, travel, and so on cost more for two founders than they do for one.

The researchers also pointed to some truths about leadership dynamics. Starting a company with multiple founders may bring an advantage in terms of wider expertise—but a solo founder can also hire others to provide the expertise he or she lacks.

On the other hand, it’s much easier and quicker for a single founder to think things through and arrive at a decision than it is for two people to discuss a problem or opportunity and agree on a course of action. With three or more founders, decision-making can take even longer.

And then there’s risk, Inc. reports. Starting a company is a risky undertaking to begin with. But once they’ve made that leap, many founders prefer to be conservative and hedge their bets. Two or more people making decisions together are less likely to make bold moves and take chances than one person acting independently.

Research source: @Inc

Too much information (TMI) is now a worldwide problem

April 17, 2019

Are you media-bashed? Are there just too many tweets, hashtags, news reports, Facebook comments, curated photos, streaming videos, surveys, petitions, and emails for you to process in a day—and more coming all the time?

You have plenty of company—based on findings of a study conducted in Europe by the Technical University of Denmark, Technische Universität Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and University College Cork; and published by the journal, Nature Communications.

Indeed, researchers have found that our collective attention span is narrowing due to the negative effects of an overabundance of social media, plus the hectic 24-hour news cycle to which we exposed.

What’s more, collectively, sociologists, psychologists, and teachers have warned of an emerging crisis stemming from a  fear of missing out (FOMO), the pressure to keep up-to-date on social media, and breaking news coming at us 24/7. So far, the evidence to support these claims has only been hinted at or has been largely anecdotal. There has been an obvious lack of a strong empirical foundation.

“It seems that the allocated attention in our collective minds has a certain size, but that the cultural items competing for that attention have become more densely packed. This would support the claim that it has indeed become more difficult to keep up to date on the news cycle, for example.” says Professor Sune Lehmann from DTU Compute.

The scientists have studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. In addition, they have gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015), and Wikipedia (2012-2017).

When looking into the global daily top 50 hashtags on Twitter, the scientists found that peaks became increasingly steep and frequent: In 2013 a hashtag stayed in the top 50 for an average of 17.5 hours. This gradually decreases to 11.9 hours in 2016.

This trend is mirrored when looking at other domains, online and offline–and covering different periods. Looking, for instance, at the occurrence of the same five-word phrases (n-grams) in Google Books for the past 100 years, and the success of top box office movies. The same goes for Google searches and the number of Reddit comments on individual submissions.

“We wanted to understand which mechanisms could drive this behavior. Picturing topics as species that feed on human attention, we designed a mathematical model with three basic ingredients: “hotness,” aging, and the thirst for something new.” says Dr. Philipp Hövel, lecturer for applied mathematics, University College Cork.

When more content is produced in less time, it exhausts the collective attention earlier. The shortened peak of public interest for one topic is directly followed by the next topic, because of the fierce competition for novelty.

“The one parameter in the model that was key in replicating the empirical findings was the input rate— the abundance of information. The world has become increasingly well connected in the past decades. This means that content is increasing in volume, which exhausts our attention and our urge for ‘newness’ causes us to collectively switch between topics more rapidly.” says postdoc Philipp Lorenz-Spreen, Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person, says Sune Lehmann:

Our data only supports the claim that our collective attention span is narrowing. Therefore, as a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual’s ability to evaluate the information they consume. Acceleration increases, for example, the pressure on journalists to keep up with an ever-changing news landscape. We hope that more research in this direction will inform the way we design new communication systems, such that information quality does not suffer even when new topics appear at increasing rates.”

Research contact: @DTUtweet