Joseph B. Fuller
Professor of Management Practice
Joseph Fuller is a Professor of Management Practice in General Management and co-leads The Entrepreneurial Manager course in the MBA program. A 1981 graduate of the school, Joe was a founder and first employee of the global consulting firm, Monitor Group, now Monitor-Deloitte. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of its commercial consulting operations from 1994 to 2006 and remained a Senior Advisor to firm until its acquisition by Deloitte in 2012. During his three decades in consulting, Fuller served clients in a wide variety of industries, especially those with a heavy reliance on technology. He has particularly deep experience in life sciences, ICT and the defense and aerospace industries. He has also served a number of national and regional governments in developing policies for enhancing competitiveness. He has particularly rich experience in two of the world’s most dynamic regions, greater China and the Middle East.
Joe is also a member of the faculty group leading the school's ongoing project on U.S. competitiveness. His research has probed the "skills gap" and investigates the paradox that many employers have chronic difficulty filling jobs while millions of Americans remain unemployed, underemployed, or have left the workforce. He was the principal author of Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America's Middle Skills, a white paper that investigates the labor market for jobs requiring more than a high school degree and less than a four year college education. He also co-authored Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. His current research focuses on mechanisms employers can use to address the skills gap and the impact of skills shortages on reshoring.
Joe has spoken before numerous management conferences and has written extensively. His work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, CEO, and The Journal of Applied Corporate Finance magazines, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, The International Herald Tribune, China Daily, India’s Business Standard, and Brazil’s EXAME. His white papers, Just Say No To Wall Street and What’s a Director to Do?, written in collaboration with Professor Michael Jensen are used in the curriculums of dozens of MBA programs worldwide.
Mr. Fuller is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard College Fund. He is a director of PVH Corporation and a former member of HBS’s Board of Dean’s Advisors and of the boards of Merrimac Industries and SM&A.
How to Hire a Millennial
Why TPP Isn't the Real Problem for American Jobs
How Activist Investors Became Respectable
Who's Responsible for Erasing America's Shortage of Skilled Workers?
A Real Path to Shared Prosperity in America
Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America's Middle Skills
The market for middle-skills jobs—those that require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree—is consistently failing to clear. That failure is inflicting a grievous cost on the competitiveness of American firms and on the standard of living of American workers. How can business lead the charge to close the gap?
Keywords: Business or Company Management;
Competency and Skills;
Fuller, Joseph B., Jennifer Burrowes, Manjari Raman, Dan Restuccia, and Alexis Young. "Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America's Middle Skills."
Report, U.S. Competitiveness Project, Harvard Business School, November 2014. (This report was authored jointly by Accenture, Burning Glass Technologies, and Harvard Business School.) View Details
Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap
The Beneficent Dragon
How Bigger Dividends Build Trust
What's a Director to Do?
Fuller, Joseph B., and Michael C. Jensen. "What's a Director to Do?
" In Best Practice: Ideas and Insights from the World’s Foremost Business Thinkers
, edited by Tom Brown and Robert Heller, 243–250. Basic Books, 2003. View Details
A Letter to the CEO
The Accounting Transparency Gap
Keywords: Accounting policies;
Just Say No to Wall Street
Fuller, Joseph B. "Just Say No to Wall Street." Wall Street Journal
(January 2002). View Details
End the Mythmaking and Return to True Analysis
Dare to Keep Your Stock Price Low
Keywords: price point;
Overcoming the Fear of Flying: A Future for Europe’s Airlines
Fuller, Joseph B. "Overcoming the Fear of Flying: A Future for Europe’s Airlines." Wall Street Journal
(October 25, 2001). View Details
Planning Is Dead, Long Live Planning
Fuller, Joseph B. "Planning Is Dead, Long Live Planning." Across the Board
(March 1998). View Details
Tailored Logistics: The Next Advantage
Hello Alfred: Come Home Happy
On a mission to "automate the on-demand economy," Harvard Business School classmates Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck launched Hello Alfred in 2013 to provide subscribers with an "Alfred" to complete various chores for a monthly fee. In early 2016, the company has built an infrastructure, including a mobile app, to develop Alfreds' routes and respond to customer requests in conjunction with other service providers, for example grocery delivery services, in what the founders describe as their "B2B2C" business model. Alfred won the coveted TechCrunch San Francisco Disrupt Cup in 2014, and by April 2015 had secured $12.5 million in seed and Series A funding. The founders must determine the best growth strategy for Alfred. Should they expand Alfred beyond their present operating cities, New York and Boston, or should they focus on their current markets? Should they increase public visibility to attract more customers, or should they enroll landlords in Alfred and reach consumers in that way?
Keywords: on-demand economy;
Business Growth and Maturation;
New York (city, NY);
Fuller, Joseph B., and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "Hello Alfred: Come Home Happy." Harvard Business School Case 316-154, March 2016. View Details
HourlyNerd, a two-sided marketplace platform for matching freelance consultants with small companies looking for help, struggles to define a growth plan for the future. The company, started as a class project in HBS' FIELD 3 course, is assessing three growth paths: shifting their target from small and medium sized businesses to enteprise customers, expanding into new verticals to become the Amazon of freelance labor, and transforming its business model from a marketplace to software-as-a-service (SaaS). Each of the three paths was risky and required financial and human resource investment. Could and should the fledgling startup change its business model? Could they fundamentally change the way companies purchased consulting services? Or, should the founders play it safe by remaining focues on executing their original business model -- a proven winner?
two sided markets;
Avery, Jill, Joseph Fuller, and Anthony Mayo. "HourlyNerd." Harvard Business School Case 316-134, January 2016. View Details
Jim Sharpe: Operational Cash Flow Tool
In this exercise, you will examine the cash flow implications of different operating model assumptions and the effect that this has on financing decisions.
Intuit: Turbo Tax PersonalPro - A Tale of Two Entrepreneurs
The case tells the story of a product manager within Intuit who develops an idea for a new product that spans two of the company's existing business units—professional tax software, sold to accountants, and the consumer focused TurboTax product. The new product —TurboTax Personal Pro—connects consumers with professional accountants online, allowing them to have their taxes prepared by a professional. The cycle of product development transpires within the larger, corporate context of Intuit, where founder Scott Cook has been attempting to transform the enterprise into a leaner, more innovative company. The case describes in detail the lean startup methods used by the new product team, and how their attempts bump up against the existing, entrenched systems and processes of the larger enterprise.
The Entrepreneurial Manager: Course Overview, 2016 Winter Term
Course overview of "The Entrepreneurial Manager."
GenapSys Exercise - Introduction to Free Cash Flow Curves
Exercise to accompany "GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome"
GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome
Teaching note to support "GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome."
Fuller, Joseph B., and Matthew G. Preble. "GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 816-035, November 2015. View Details
Mahindra Lifespace Developers' Venture into Affordable Housing
Hövding: The Airbag for Cyclists
In 2012, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, co¬founders of the Hövding company, reflect on the evolution of their venture and the way forward. Since 2005, Haupt and Alstin had been working on a new type of bicycle helmet—an "airbag for cyclists." What had begun as a thesis had grown into a seven-year journey of research and development, including raising over $10 million of venture capital. The product had been granted Europe's CE certification in 2011 and had been launched simultaneously in Sweden and Norway. Yet, a year later, the company had still not reached the break¬even point. To help them establish a commercialization strategy, the Hövding board had prevailed upon the founders to hire a professional CEO. But surrendering management control was an emotional process for Haupt and Alstin, while the CEO struggled to assert his leadership and build the company's commercial capabilities. Should Haupt and Alstin collaborate with their CEO despite their misgivings, or should they step away from the company they had dedicated seven years to building?
Keywords: Business Startups;
MuMaté Tool: Evaluating Financing Alternatives
"MuMaté Tool: Evaluating Financing Alternatives" walks students through the considerations in allocating equity amongst the members of a startup's founding team. This exercise is designed to be used in conjunction with: Shikhar Ghosh, Joseph B. Fuller, Thomas E. Eisenmann, Alex Godden, and Andrew Sandoe "MuMaté: Funding Growth," HBS No. 814-063.
Keywords: Partners and Partnerships;
Fuller, Joseph B. "MuMaté Tool: Evaluating Financing Alternatives." Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 315-701, February 2015. View Details
MuMaté: Funding Growth
Fuller, Joseph B., and Matthew G. Preble. "MuMaté: Funding Growth." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 815-094, February 2015. View Details
Loki Capital Management
In December 2013, Michael Kane was preparing to launch his start-up's first hedge fund. While pleased with the development of the business, he wanted to address a few lingering issues before going any further. He debated whether or not to fire the company's chief operating officer (COO), Peter Jansen, who was becoming increasingly difficult to work with. While Jansen brought valuable skills and experience to the company, Kane wondered if the two could continue working together. If Jansen was fired, how should he be compensated for the work he had already done? Was he entitled to a share of the company's equity? Kane also had to decide how to raise the necessary working capital for his company. He had an offer from one hedge fund seeding firm which would both take care of his working capital needs and provide money for the fund, but he wondered whether the company's terms—including taking half of the fund's profits—were too onerous. Alternatively he could raise the working capital from family, friends and an interested investor, but he would have to court a large number of limited partners in order to build the fund's assets. Lastly, Kane debated how to split his company's equity between the members of the founding team.
Keywords: hedge fund;
human resource management;
Financial Services Industry;
Fuller, Joseph B., Shikhar Ghosh, and Matthew Preble. "Loki Capital Management." Harvard Business School Case 814-049, March 2014. (Revised February 2015.) View Details
GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome
GenapSys, a California-based startup, was soon to release a new DNA sequencer that the company's founder, Hesaam Esfandyarpour, believed was truly revolutionary. The sequencer would be substantially less expensive—potentially costing just a few thousand dollars—and smaller than other sequencers, many of which were large devices costing tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. GenapSys' device, named GENIUS, could also quickly generate large amounts of data, as it was capable of sequencing an entire human genome in less than eight hours. At this price, GenapSys' device would be attractive to customers that had been unable to afford sequencers, such as smaller laboratories or hospitals, and even expand the market to include industries such as agriculture and biofuels.
As GenapSys came closer to releasing its product, Esfandyarpour and his Senior Director of Operations and Strategy, Leila Rastegar (HBS '11), sat down to decide which of three business models they would choose to bring this device to market. In the first model, the company would sell sequencers at a higher price to those entities which already purchased sequencers, primarily major research labs and pharmaceutical firms, but position its machine as a faster alternative to existing technologies. In the second model, GenapSys would sell its sequencer at a lower price but charge more for the cartridges necessary to run a sample, and earn its primary revenue from these cartridges. The third model would see GenapSys sell its device at or around cost, but use the data customers generated to create a proprietary database of genetic information. Customers could pay to access the database for research, to create genetic tests, or for many other purposes. GenapSys would also build an online store with the genetic tests customers created.
Esfandyarpour's and Rastegar's decision would determine GenapSys' customer base and financial position for the coming years, and also impact development and capital needs of the firm. Which was the right model to bring the device to market and have a meaningful impact?
Keywords: DNA Sequencing;
innovation ＆ entrepreneurship;
Health Care and Treatment;
Medical Devices and Supplies Industry;
Intrapreneurship at DaVita HealthCare Partners
Josh Golomb, president and general manager of DaVita Rx (Rx), was about to meet with Kent Thiry, CEO of Rx's corporate parent, DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. (DaVita), in August 2013. The two would discuss whether Golomb should lead a new DaVita venture, Paladina Health (Paladina), which operated a network of primary care clinics.
DaVita had launched Paladina in early 2011 and the startup was struggling to gain traction: Paladina had already used a significant amount of the $40 million in funding committed by DaVita; the company's primary care clinics had not yet reached the number of patients necessary to sustain a profitable business; and it was in the midst of trying to integrate with another primary care clinic operator that it had acquired years earlier, but was just now merging into Paladina.
Although the startup was young and still finding its way in an emerging industry, Thiry believed that Paladina would benefit from Golomb's experiences at Rx, which had also struggled in its early years. The situation at Rx became so precarious at one point that many of DaVita's senior leaders wanted to shut it down entirely. Rx made it through those challenging early years though, and was expected to exceed $600 million in revenues for 2013.
However, Golomb wondered how relevant his Rx experience was to Paladina. Rx was closely tied to its parent company—DaVita provided dialysis services to patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and Rx supplied medications to ESRD patients—while Paladina's connection to DaVita was less obvious. If Golomb took the job, what could he do to make Paladina's clinics as efficient as possible in terms of service and its economics, without compromising on its value proposition? Was Paladina just too different of a business to be part of the DaVita family?
This case offers an example of "intrapreneurship"—i.e. entrepreneurial ventures launched within large companies—at a Fortune 500 company. DaVita has already had a successful experience launching Rx (after some difficult early years), and the company is now even serving patients from some of DaVita's leading competitors. However, Paladina is the company's first intrapreneurial venture outside of its core focus of serving end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients—DaVita's main function is to provide dialysis services to ESRD patients and Rx provides medication to ESRD patients. Can Paladina succeed simply by following Rx's example, or will it face different challenges?
Fuller, Joseph B., David J. Collis, and Matthew G. Preble. "Intrapreneurship at DaVita HealthCare Partners." Harvard Business School Case 315-046, February 2015. (Revised September 2015.) View Details
Loki Capital Management
Loki Capital Management
Fuller, Joseph B., and Matthew Preble. "Loki Capital Management." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 315-073, February 2015. View Details
Loki Capital Management: Excel Exercise
Fuller, Joseph B. "Loki Capital Management: Excel Exercise." Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 815-706, February 2015. View Details
Describes the formation and rapid growth of a drug testing company. The company needs to decide whether to enter the painkiller testing market, in addition to growing its drug treatment center business. The associated teaching materials provide students the opportunity to weigh the attractiveness of alternative mechanisms for financing the company's expansion.
Keywords: Business growth;