Tom Nicholas

William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration

Tom Nicholas is a Professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Group of Harvard Business School. He holds a doctorate in Economic History from Oxford University. Prior to joining HBS, he taught Technology Strategy at MIT's Sloan School of Management and technology and finance courses at the London School of Economics. He was also an economics consultant in San Francisco where he performed economic analysis for environmental and antitrust litigation including Sun Microsystems v. Microsoft. At HBS he has taught the first year course, The Entrepreneurial Manager, and he currently teaches in Executive Education programs on entrepreneurship and intellectual property as well as two second year elective courses: The Coming of Managerial Capitalism, which examines entrepreneurship, innovation and business development in the United States over the past 230 years; and Venture Capital in Historical Perspective (with Felda Hardymon), which focuses on the changing organizational structure of the venture capital industry and its impact on entrepreneurship and innovation over time. He has received the Faculty Teaching Award in both the Required Curriculum and the Elective Curriculum and the Charles M. Williams Award for teaching excellence.

His research focuses on the historical foundations of entrepreneurship and wealth accumulation in Europe, and on the organizational structure and incentives for innovation in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America, Britain and Japan. His work shows how the foundations of new technology formation across countries can only be understood by examining the coexistence of large corporations, formal R&D establishments and independent inventors operating outside the boundaries of firms. It also highlights that alternative mechanisms to patents—specifically prizes—can exert a powerful influence on the rate and direction of technological change. He has also constructed historical real estate price indices for Manhattan from the 1890s through to the Great Depression in order to understand the relationship between real estate and stock market cycles.​

Working Papers

  1. Scale and Innovation During Two U.S. Breakthrough Eras

    The effect of scale on innovation is central to traditional endogenous growth theory and to new theoretical approaches that focus on variability in innovation outcomes within the firm size distribution. Using new data on 11,514 U.S. R&D firms active during the interwar and post-WWII periods, this paper examines long-run effects. Although the level and quality of innovation scaled strongly with firm size, innovation novelty was considerably more invariant to firm size across both breakthrough eras. While there is some evidence of firm-level heterogeneity as a determinant of the scale effect, the new data highlight the importance of variability in the nature of technological discovery.

    Keywords: R&D; Scale; innovation;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Scale and Innovation During Two U.S. Breakthrough Eras." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-038, November 2014. View Details
  2. The Organization of Enterprise in Japan

    Recent research reveals that the joint stock corporation was not a superior form of business organization in many countries historically. In Japan, however, it played a more fundamental role. Between 1896 and 1939 joint stock enterprises accounted for 44 percent of registered businesses, and 80 percent of total capital. From 1922 to 1939 joint stock enterprises outperformed limited and unlimited partnerships by ROE, and generated 94 percent of aggregate profits. External finance factors, Japan's development phase, industrial structure, public policy and culture determined high joint stock usage. When the private limited liability company was introduced in 1938, it did not displace the joint stock form.

    Keywords: Japan; legal form; enterprise; modernization; Business Organization; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Japan;


    Nicholas, Tom. "The Organization of Enterprise in Japan." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-037, November 2013. (Revised August 2014.) View Details

Journal Articles

  1. Did Bank Distress Stifle Innovation During the Great Depression?

    We find a negative relationship between bank distress and the level, quality, and trajectory of firm-level innovation during the Great Depression, particularly for R&D firms operating in capital intensive industries. However, we also show that because a sufficient number of R&D intensive firms were located in counties with lower levels of bank distress, or were operating in less capital intensive industries, the negative effects were mitigated in aggregate. Although Depression era bank distress was associated with the stifling of innovation, our results also help to explain why technological development was still robust following one of the largest shocks in the history of the U.S. banking system.

    Keywords: Great Depression; patents; R&D; Bank Distress; Patents; Research and Development; Financial Crisis; Banks and Banking; Innovation and Invention; Banking Industry; United States;


    Nanda, Ramana, and Tom Nicholas. "Did Bank Distress Stifle Innovation During the Great Depression?" Journal of Financial Economics 114, no. 2 (November 2014): 273–292. View Details
  2. Are Patents Creative or Destructive?

    Current debate over patent aggregation has led to renewed interest in the long-standing question concerning whether patents are a creative or a destructive influence on the process of technological development. In this paper I examine the basic patent tradeoff between incentives and monopoly distortions in light of recent contributions to the literature. I outline where patents can function effectively, where they can be damaging, and where additional complementary mechanisms to spur innovation may be appropriate.

    Keywords: patents; innovation; incentives;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Are Patents Creative or Destructive?" Antitrust Law Journal 79, no. 2 (2014): 405–421. View Details
  3. Prizes, Publicity, and Patents: Non-Monetary Awards as a Mechanism to Encourage Innovation

    This paper exploits the selection of prize-winning technologies among exhibitors at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851 to examine whether—and how—ex post prizes that are awarded to high-quality innovations may encourage future innovation. U.S. patent data indicate a 40% increase after 1851 in patenting for prizewinners compared with other exhibits. Results are robust to controlling for technology-specific pre-trends and for the quality of patents. A comparison of changes in patenting for prizewinners with changes for technologies that were described on the front page of the Scientific American suggests that publicity for promising research fields may be an important mechanism by which ex post prizes encourage future innovation.

    Keywords: Prizes; patents; innovation; Motivation and Incentives; Patents; Innovation and Invention;


    Moser, Petra, and Tom Nicholas. "Prizes, Publicity, and Patents: Non-Monetary Awards as a Mechanism to Encourage Innovation." Journal of Industrial Economics 61, no. 3 (September 2013): 763–788. View Details
  4. Real Estate Prices During the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression

    Using new data on market-based transactions we construct real estate price indexes for Manhattan between 1920 and 1939. During the 1920s prices reached their highest level in the third quarter of 1929 before falling by 67% at the end of 1932 and hovering around that value for most of the Great Depression. The value of high-end properties strongly co-moved with the stock market between 1929 and 1932. A typical property bought in 1920 would have retained only 56% of its initial value in nominal terms two decades later. An investment in the stock market index (including dividends) would have outperformed an investment in a typical property (including net rental income), by a factor of 5.2 over our time period.

    Keywords: Property; Market Transactions; Price; Value; Financial Crisis; Investment; Real Estate Industry; New York (state, US);


    Nicholas, Tom, and Anna Scherbina. "Real Estate Prices During the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression." Real Estate Economics 41, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 278–309. View Details
  5. Intermediary Functions and the Market for Innovation in Meiji and Taisho Japan

    Japan experienced a transformational phase of technological development during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We argue that an important, but so far neglected, factor was a developing market for innovation and a patent attorney system that was conducive to rapid technical change. We support our hypothesis using patent data, and we also present a detailed case study on Tomogorō Ono, a key developer of salt production technology who used attorneys in connection with his patenting work at a time when Japan was still in the process of formally institutionalizing its patent attorney system. In accordance with Lamoreaux and Sokoloff's influential study of trade in invention in the United States, our quantitative and qualitative evidence highlights how inventors and intermediaries in Japan interacted to create a market for new ideas.

    Keywords: Japan; patents; innovation; Patents; Innovation and Invention; Japan;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Hiroshi Shimizu. "Intermediary Functions and the Market for Innovation in Meiji and Taisho Japan." Business History Review 87, no. 1 (Spring, 2013): 121–150. View Details
  6. Hybrid Innovation in Meiji Japan

    Japan's hybrid innovation system during the Meiji era of technological modernization provides a useful laboratory for examining the effectiveness of complementary mechanisms to patents. Patents were introduced in 1885, and by 1911, 1.2 million mostly non-pecuniary prizes were awarded at 8,503 competitions. Prizes provided a strong boost to patent outcomes, especially in less developed prefectures, and they also induced large spillovers of technical knowledge in prefectures adjacent to those with prizes, relative to distant control prefectures without prizes. Linking competition expenditures with the expected market value of patents induced by the prizes permits a cost-benefit assessment of the prize competitions to be made.

    Keywords: patents; Prizes; Technological Innovation; System; Patents; Knowledge; Value; Cost vs Benefits; Factories, Labs, and Plants; Performance Effectiveness; Japan;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Hybrid Innovation in Meiji Japan." International Economic Review 54, no. 2 (May 2013): 575–600. View Details
  7. Inducement Prizes and Innovation

    We examine the effect of prizes on innovation using data on awards for technological development offered by the Royal Agricultural Society of England at annual competitions between 1839 and 1939. We find that the effects of prizes on competitive entry are large, and we also detect an impact of the prizes on the quality of contemporaneous patents, especially when prize categories were set by a strict rotation scheme, thereby mitigating the potentially confounding effect that they targeted only "hot" technology sectors. Prizes encouraged competition and medals were more important than monetary awards. The boost to innovation we observe cannot be explained by the redirection of existing inventive activity.

    Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Patents; Innovation and Invention; Technology; Growth and Development; England;


    Brunt, Liam, Josh Lerner, and Tom Nicholas. "Inducement Prizes and Innovation." Journal of Industrial Economics 60, no. 4 (December 2012): 657–696. View Details
  8. Did R&D Firms Used to Patent? Evidence from the First Innovation Surveys

    Matching 2,777 R&D firms in surveys conducted by the National Research Council between 1921 and 1938 with U.S. patents reveals that 59 percent of all firms and 88 percent of publicly-traded firms patented. These shares are much higher than those observed for modern R&D firms. Industry, firm size and the location of R&D facilities relative to major cities are shown to be important determinants of the propensity to patent. The effect of these factors remained constant across the 1920s and the Depression years suggesting that the tradeoff between patent disclosure and secrecy did not change over time.

    Keywords: Research and Development; Patents; Surveys; Innovation and Invention; Geographic Location; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Did R&D Firms Used to Patent? Evidence from the First Innovation Surveys." Journal of Economic History 71, no. 4 (December 2011): 1032–1059. View Details
  9. What Drives Innovation?

    The idea that innovation drives economic growth is incontrovertible, but the factors that, in turn, drive innovation are not fully understood. This paper surveys the recent literature, focusing on three main drivers: intellectual property rights institutions, the supply-side of technical change, and the financing of innovation. Research in these areas reveals that laws and economic environments can create powerful incentives and disincentives for innovation. The mechanisms through which these effects influence competition and technological development can inform policy towards antitrust enforcement.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Economic Growth;


    Nicholas, Tom. "What Drives Innovation?" Antitrust Law Journal 77, no. 3 (September 2011). View Details
  10. Independent Invention During the Rise of the Corporate Economy in Britain and Japan

    Independent inventors accounted for approximately half of all patents in Britain and Japan by 1930, despite the rise of the corporate economy and the spread of industrial R&D. A mixture of patent renewal and historical citations data reveals that the quality of independent invention was high. Active markets for inventions created incentives for independents, especially in large cities like London and Tokyo, which dominated spatially. Alongside evidence for the United States, the findings show that in countries with different patent systems and at varying stages of economic development, a key component of overall inventive activity originated from outside the boundaries of firms.

    Keywords: Independent Innovation and Invention; Development Economics; Research and Development; Patents; System; Motivation and Incentives; Tokyo; London; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Independent Invention During the Rise of the Corporate Economy in Britain and Japan." Economic History Review 64, no. 2 (August 2011). View Details
  11. The Origins of Japanese Technological Modernization

    Explanations of Japanese technological modernization from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century have increasingly focused on domestic capabilities as opposed to the traditional emphasis on knowledge transfers from the West. Yet, the literature is mostly qualitative and it lacks a comparative context. This article presents quantitative metrics derived from patent data covering Japan, the United States, Britain and Germany and it also exploits non-patent based sources. The evidence shows that Japanese domestic inventive activity exhibited a pattern of rapid modernization to the technology frontier in terms of its level, sectoral distribution and quality. Domestic capabilities were much stronger than is often supposed in accounts that stress the prevalence of Western technology diffusion. A long run expansion in indigenous development set a favorable foundation for the economic growth miracle Japan experienced after the Second World War.

    Keywords: Technology; Knowledge Sharing; Body of Literature; Innovation and Invention; Technological Innovation; Patents; Measurement and Metrics; Expansion; Growth and Development Strategy; Economic Growth; Developing Countries and Economies; Information Technology; Technology Industry; Japan; Germany; Great Britain; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "The Origins of Japanese Technological Modernization." Explorations in Economic History 48, no. 2 (April 2011): 272–291. View Details
  12. Cheaper Patents

    The 1883 Patents Act in Britain provides perspective for modern patent policy reforms because it radically changed incentives for inventors by reducing filing fees by 84 percent. Patents increased 2.5 fold after the reform, which was evenly distributed across the geography of inventors, the organization of invention and sectors. By realizing a large demand for cheaper patents the reform increased the propensity to patent and shifted inventive activity inside the patent system. It did not increase innovation as measured by changes in the distribution of high and low value patents and citations to English inventor patents in the United States.

    Keywords: Patents; Global Range; Distribution; Demand and Consumers; Organizational Structure; Business Processes; Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Policy; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Fluctuation; Motivation and Incentives; Distribution Industry; United States; Great Britain;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Cheaper Patents." Research Policy 40, no. 2 (March 2011). View Details
  13. The Role of Independent Invention in U.S. Technological Development, 1880-1930

    Why did independent inventors account for over half of US patents by 1930 and more than three times the number granted to R&D firms? Using new data on patents and historical patent citations, I show that independents supplied high quality innovations to a geographically broad market for ideas. Those close to large urban centers developed some of the most significant technological advances. Demand for independent inventions remained high during the growth of the corporate economy as firms continued to acquire external innovations that complemented formal R&D. Despite their relative decline, independents remained central to the process of technological development.

    Keywords: History; Technological Innovation; Patents; Urban Scope; Independent Innovation and Invention; Research and Development; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "The Role of Independent Invention in U.S. Technological Development, 1880-1930." Journal of Economic History 70, no. 1 (March 2010). View Details
  14. Spatial Diversity in Invention: Evidence from the Early R&D Labs

    This article uses historical data on inventor and firm R&D lab locations to examine the technological and geographic structure of corporate knowledge capital accumulation during a formative period in the organization of US innovation. Despite the localization of inventive activity around the labs, one-quarter of inventors lived outside a 30 mile commuting radius of the nearest facility of the firm they assigned their patents to. A strong positive effect of distance from a lab on technological importance is identified, especially for inventors from large cities that were geographically separated from a firm's labs. A patent case-control method helps explain spatial sourcing by showing that the average quality of externally available inventions was high. Firms selected complementary, not substitute, inventions from non-lab urban locations, suggesting a link between the organization and the geography of innovation.

    Keywords: Factories, Labs, and Plants; Geographic Location; Innovation and Invention; Patents; Knowledge Acquisition; Research and Development; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Spatial Diversity in Invention: Evidence from the Early R&D Labs." Journal of Economic Geography 9, no. 1 (January 2009). View Details
  15. Does Innovation Cause Stock Market Runups? Evidence from the Great Crash

    This article examines the stock market's changing valuation of corporate patentable assets between 1910 and 1939. It shows that the value of knowledge capital increased significantly during the 1920s compared to the 1910s as investors responded to the quality of technological inventions. Innovation was an important driver of the late 1920s stock market runup and the Great Crash did not reflect a significant revaluation of knowledge capital relative to physical capital. Although substantial quantities of influential patents were accumulated during the post-crash recovery, high technology firms did not earn significant excess returns over low technology firms for most of the 1930s.

    Keywords: History; Technological Innovation; Patents; Stocks; Valuation; Financial Crisis; Financial Services Industry; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Does Innovation Cause Stock Market Runups? Evidence from the Great Crash." American Economic Review 98, no. 4 (September 2008): 1370–1396. View Details
  16. Why Schumpeter Was Right: Innovation, Market Power and Creative Destruction in 1920s America

    Are firms with strong market positions powerful engines of technological progress? Joseph Schumpeter thought so, but his hypothesis has proved difficult to verify empirically. This article highlights Schumpeterian market-power and creative-destruction effects in a sample of early-twentieth-century U.S. industrial firms; his contention that an efficiently functioning capital market has a positive effect on the rate of innovation is also confirmed. Despite market power abuses by incumbents, the extent of innovation stands out: 21 percent of patents assigned to the firms sampled between 1920 and 1928 are cited in patents granted between 1976 and 2002.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Power and Influence; Emerging Markets; Rank and Position; Status and Position; Capital Markets; Capital Structure; Technology; Patents; Creativity; Economic Systems; Development Economics; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Why Schumpeter Was Right: Innovation, Market Power and Creative Destruction in 1920s America." Journal of Economic History (December 2003). View Details
  17. Clogs to Clogs in Three Generations? Explaining Entrepreneurial Performance in Britain Since 1850

    Research into culture and entrepreneurship in Britain has been dominated by casual empiricism. This article shows the benefits of using a new method. Lifetime wealth accumulation is specified as a measure of entrepreneurial performance, and applied to data collected from dictionaries of business biography. Industry, region, and religious dissent are ruled out as explanations of entrepreneurial performance. Education and entrepreneurial type are the important predictors. Firm inheritors and those receiving a high-status education experienced relatively low lifetime rates of wealth accumulation. Firm founders, managers, and individuals with a lower-status education were comparatively successful.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Performance Evaluation; Biography; Culture; Education; Wealth; Research; Great Britain;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Clogs to Clogs in Three Generations? Explaining Entrepreneurial Performance in Britain Since 1850." Journal of Economic History (September 1999). View Details
  18. Businessmen and Land Ownership in the Late Nineteenth Century

    This article analyses the proportions of personal to real estate wealth for a group of 295 businessmen profiled in the Dictionary of business biography. It shows that businessmen who owned land on a large scale in the late nineteenth century were a comparatively small group who retained a small proportion of their total wealth in landed assets. Low levels of social mobility are identified as a function of land purchase, and new insights are given into the relationship between wealth, status, and land ownership. Any integration of business and landed wealth in this period was not a consequence of businessmen becoming landowners.

    Keywords: Ownership; Personal Finance; Property; Biography; History; Acquisition; Wealth; Power and Influence; Status and Position; Integration; Transformation; Market Transactions;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Businessmen and Land Ownership in the Late Nineteenth Century." Economic History Review (February 1999): 27–44. View Details
  19. Wealth-Making in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain: Industry v. Commerce and Finance

    This paper refutes the hypothesis put forward by W.D. Rubinstein that a disproportionately large share of Britain's wealth makers were active in commercial and financial trades in London. We use a data set of businessmen active in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain and quantitative methods to show that the pattern of wealth holding was much more diverse than supposed by Rubinstein. A large fortune could be made in a variety of regions and occupations. Big industrialists active in the provinces were equally capable of generating wealth similar in size and significance to the City elite. More generally, London was not the centre of wealth making in this period. Neither was there a subordination of industrial and manufacturing to commercial and financial wealth.

    Keywords: Trade; Finance; Commercialization; Mathematical Methods; Wealth and Poverty; Great Britain; London;

  20. Entrepreneurs and Business Performance in Nineteenth Century France

    A popular explanation for the supposed "delayed industrialisation" of the nineteenth century French economy has been the inappropriate attitudes and actions of the managerial classes and family firms. To address these claims we model the supply and demand for entrepreneurship and also management success. We analyse a data set of 244 nineteenth century French businessmen, showing that on the demand side textiles offered greater, and iron and steel less, than average opportunities. On the supply side, secondary and university education were negatively associated with starting a successful firm, as was a father already in business. Surprisingly, Protestantism made no difference to the chances of setting up a firm. In the business performance model, the longer the period the businessman was active, the greater the accumulation—not consistent with life-cycle models of saving. Second, those who started their own business, compared with entering an existing firm, left less wealth at death than they could have expected to acquire over a normal lifetime, other things being equal. Unlike formal education, training—mainly apprenticeship—was associated with greater wealth at death. The pace of wealth accumulation suggests a dynamic sector during the Second Empire, at least where larger businesses were concerned.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Performance; Economy; Management; Success; Opportunities; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Saving; Higher Education; Training; Demand and Consumers; France;


    Nicholas, Tom, Elisa Boccaletti, and James Foreman-Peck. "Entrepreneurs and Business Performance in Nineteenth Century France." European Review of Economic History (December 1998). View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Technology, Innovation and Economic Growth in Britain Since 1870

    This chapter examines technological change in Britain over the last 140 years. It analyzes the effects of patent laws and innovation prizes that were designed to promote technical progress. It explores the challenge associated with the changing organizational structure of innovation and the shift from independent invention to R&D activity taking place inside the boundaries of firms. And it also studies the development of British industrial science in universities and efforts to promote innovation through the formation of industry clusters. Overall, the evidence supports the traditional story of British failure in generating large payoffs from technological development. Although from the early 1970s Britain experienced a revival in the quality of innovation and improved productivity growth, structural weaknesses in the commercialization environment still remain.

    Keywords: Technology; Organizational Change and Adaptation; History; Economic Growth; Change; Innovation and Invention; Great Britain;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Technology, Innovation and Economic Growth in Britain Since 1870." In The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain. 2nd ed. Edited by Roderick Floud, Jane Humphries, and Paul Johnson. Cambridge University Press, 2014. View Details
  2. Stock Market Swings and the Value of Innovation, 1908–1929

    Keywords: Fluctuation; Financial Markets; Innovation and Invention;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Stock Market Swings and the Value of Innovation, 1908–1929." In Financing Innovation in the United States, 1870 to Present, edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux and Kenneth L. Sokoloff. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Samuel Colt: An American Gun Maker

    Samuel Colt not only perfected and patented the technology for a gun that could fire multiple times without reloading, but he also developed and applied early principles of mass production more completely than anyone had done before. Until the nineteenth century, weapons manufacture, like most industries, had been the exclusive domain of skilled craftsmen, whose families had typically been in the trade for generations. Colt substituted specialized machines that made parts to exact specifications, which could fit into almost any gun of the same type. This made replacement and repair significantly easier and production more uniform. Other industries and countries would later implement these principles of production from Colt's armory, thereby revolutionizing manufacturing. Also, through his personality, product, and marketing, Colt's guns became intertwined with American identity in a tangle that persists to the present.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Product Positioning; Machinery and Machining; Production; Independent Innovation and Invention; Manufacturing Industry; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Casey Verkamp. "Samuel Colt: An American Gun Maker." Harvard Business School Case 815-061, September 2014. View Details
  2. Napalm: From Soldiers Field to Trang Bang

    Napalm is one of the most destructive weapons ever to be invented. Yet, at its original inception it was nothing more than a technical challenge, and it was never intended to be used in indiscriminate antipersonnel warfare. The pathway of its development by a Harvard research scientist to its use in flamethrowers by U.S. ground troops in World War Two, and as an incendiary device during the Vietnam War (1959-75) was unanticipated. Many of the early technical challenges associated with Napalm were solved by experimentation under the guidance of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), created to coordinate scientific research into the problems of modern warfare. Because the government needed private contractors to manufacture Napalm, it turned to several companies with experience in chemicals manufacturing. One in particular—The Dow Chemical Company—bore the brunt of the moral opprobrium association with the production of Napalm.

    Keywords: Moral Sensibility; War; Chemicals; Research and Development; Chemical Industry; Viet Nam; Cambridge; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Jonas Peter Akins. "Napalm: From Soldiers Field to Trang Bang." Harvard Business School Case 815-060, November 2014. View Details
  3. OvaScience

    In early April 2012, Michelle Dipp, MD, Ph.D, CEO and co-founder of OvaScience, had just received a buyout offer from PG Ventures, a private equity firm interested in acquiring the innovative fertility treatments company. The company’s first promising fertility treatment, AUGMENT (Autologous Germ-line Mitochondrial Energy Transfer), had the potential to improve egg quality, increase the success of IVF cycles, and decrease the incidence of multiple births (i.e., twins, triplets). OvaScience had been in operation since 2011, and AUGMENT had not yet reached the market. Dipp and her partners had high hopes for the success of AUGMENT and the impact the underlying technology could have on millions of infertility cases around the world. How fast might Dipp and her team grow OvaScience? Would they have the resources? Dipp considered the best way to build out OvaScience’s business model and whether AUGMENT’s potential outweighed the PG Ventures offer.


    Hardymon, Felda, Tom Nicholas, Toby Stuart, and Noah Fisher. "OvaScience." Harvard Business School Case 815-058, September 2014. View Details
  4. Venture Capital at the Harvard Management Company in Historical Perspective

    The compromise between capital preservation and growth has always been central to the performance of the Harvard endowment. Setting an institutional structure for effectively governing this compromise became especially important when the Harvard Management Company began operating in July of 1974. HMC's investments in venture capital, which began within a decade, created tensions around risk-return tradeoffs. HMC grappled with issues surrounding short-term versus long-term investment payoffs, the proportion of the portfolio that should be allocated to venture capital and the most appropriate investment form—direct investing in entrepreneurial startups, later stage businesses, or outsourcing this function and investing in funds. Such decisions would matter from the perspective of generations of students and faculty who depended on HMC maximizing returns and getting the balance of the Harvard portfolio right.

    Keywords: Venture Capital; Financial Management; Asset Management; Higher Education; Investment; Financial Services Industry; Education Industry; Cambridge;


    Hardymon, Felda, Tom Nicholas, and Vasiliki Fouka. "Venture Capital at the Harvard Management Company in Historical Perspective." Harvard Business School Case 815-047, July 2014. View Details
  5. Don Valentine and Sequoia Capital

    Don Valentine participated in the beginnings of two significant milestones: the birth of the silicon chip and the development of the venture capital industry. From humble beginnings, Valentine became a legendary salesman at Fairchild Semiconductor and National Semiconductor, before founding Sequoia Capital in 1972. Valentine was comfortable making high-risk bets on unknown entrepreneurs in markets where he saw great potential. Unlike other venture capitalists of the time that focused on finding outstanding entrepreneurs or groundbreaking technology, Valentine took a different approach. He focused predominantly on the size of the potential market.

    Keywords: Venture Capital; Personal Development and Career; Semiconductor Industry;


    Hardymon, Felda, Tom Nicholas, and Liz Kind. "Don Valentine and Sequoia Capital." Harvard Business School Case 814-096, April 2014. View Details
  6. Samuel Slater & Francis Cabot Lowell: The Factory System in U.S. Cotton Manufacturing

    At the time of the American War of Independence (1776-1783) and for several decades after it, Great Britain dominated the global production of cotton textiles. In fact, Britain became so dominant in textile manufacturing and trading that Manchester, its industrial capital, was nicknamed "Cottonopolis." By contrast, American manufacturing of export-oriented or even tradable-quality cotton textiles was practically nonexistent. This position of relative American backwardness changed with the influence of two prominent individuals: Samuel Slater (1768-1835) and Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817). Slater, a skilled British textile machinery engineer helped to develop the country's first cotton spinning mill. Lowell, a member of a prominent New England mercantile family, established the first integrated cotton spinning and weaving facility in what became the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. Together Slater and Lowell brought the sophistication of British industrial revolution technology and introduced innovative methods of factory production to the United States.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Production; Business History; Manufacturing Industry; Great Britain; Massachusetts;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Matthew Guilford. "Samuel Slater & Francis Cabot Lowell: The Factory System in U.S. Cotton Manufacturing." Harvard Business School Case 814-065, January 2014. View Details
  7. 18 Months in a Startup:

    The founders of Zaggora reflected back on a tumultuous year-and-a-half in which they had generated, from just $40,000 in personal savings, a multi-million dollar sportswear enterprise selling Hotpants to women. These were hotpants not of the 1960s hipster variety, but instead the first sportswear product of the new brand Zaggora that was made with a specially developed multi-ply fabric technology that heated up during a workout. While the founders had faced several challenges including averting bankruptcy, now they faced an equally difficult time ahead. Should they grow the enterprise by continuing with their current bootstrapped online approach, or attempt to get their product into retail stores? Should they continue to self-finance and keep control, or cede some control by taking on venture capital funding?

    Keywords: Online Technology; Growth Management; Problems and Challenges; Business Startups; Brands and Branding; Innovation and Invention; Corporate Finance; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Sports Industry;


    Nicholas, Tom. "18 Months in a Startup:" Harvard Business School Case 813-140, February 2013. View Details
  8. New Enterprise Associates

    NEA was established in 1977 and it subsequently morphed into one of the largest venture capital firms in the world. Despite its size and significance, some other firms established during the same era such as Kleiner-Perkins and Sequoia (both were established in 1972), are arguably better-known. No venture firm, however, can parallel NEA in terms of its scale and its commitment to organizational and operational innovation. From early on the founders predicted that NEA would grow in size and significance, but the challenges associated with achieving these goals were formidable. How could NEA scale and generate favorable returns from a large capital base for its Limited Partners (LPs)? How could General Partners (GPs) be integrated and incentivized? How could the bi-coastal structure be sustained over the long run?

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Venture Capital; Organizational Structure; Innovation and Invention; Financial Services Industry; United States;


    Hardymon, Felda, and Tom Nicholas. "New Enterprise Associates." Harvard Business School Case 813-097, February 2013. View Details
  9. Arthur Rock

    Arthur Rock was known as one of the country's first venture capitalists and was instrumental in launching major Silicon Valley firms, such as Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel Corporation, Apple Computer, Inc., Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne Incorporated. He was the first venture capitalist to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. Rock was adamant that his success was due to luck and being in the right place at the right time. Others argued differently, emphasizing in particular his unique style of investing and his focus on selecting the right people. Was this a case of luck or a classic example of the principle: back the right people?

    Keywords: Venture Capital; Success; Financial Services Industry; Technology Industry; California;


    Hardymon, Felda, Tom Nicholas, and Liz Kind. "Arthur Rock." Harvard Business School Case 813-138, January 2013. View Details
  10. The Origins and Development of Silicon Valley

    On October 1, 1891, as Senator Leland Stanford cut the ribbon at the ceremony gifting 8,000-acres of his Palo Alto, California, stock farm to a new, 559-student university bearing his name and seeking to produce "useful" in addition to "cultured" graduates, the majority of onlookers were orange groves and wildflowers. There was, as Gertrude Stein would remark of nearby Bay Area city, Oakland, nearly 50 years later, almost "no there, there." That is, it was a place with little social depth, identity, or culture. But over time, the region became synonymous with a culture of entrepreneurialism and developed into the most significant innovation hotspot in the world. What factors, if any, made what was to become known as "Silicon Valley" unique? Will Silicon Valley remain a vibrant community of technological innovation and economic growth, or will it decline like other previously thriving U.S. regions?

    Keywords: Silicon Valley; History; Venture Capital; Entrepreneurship; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and James Lee. "The Origins and Development of Silicon Valley." Harvard Business School Case 813-098, January 2013. (Revised May 2014.) View Details
  11. Kleiner-Perkins and Genentech: When Venture Capital Met Science

    Genentech is a rare success story in the biotechnology industry. Hundreds of billions of dollars of venture capital have been invested without the expected transformational effects. Established in 1976, Genentech was to develop the new science of recombinant DNA into viable therapeutic products with mass market appeal, something that most scientists agreed was at least a decade away. The founders, Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson had limited financial resources, so they turned to Tom Perkins, the co-founder of Kleiner-Perkins, for venture funding. Genentech developed through an effective union between scientific and venture investment mindsets. In 1980 an IPO valued Genentech at $300 million. In 2009 it was fully acquired by the Swiss-based healthcare company, Roche, for $47 billion. Roche had held a majority stake in the company since 1990.

    Keywords: venture capital; innovation & entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Biotechnology Industry; United States;


    Hardymon, Felda, and Tom Nicholas. "Kleiner-Perkins and Genentech: When Venture Capital Met Science." Harvard Business School Case 813-102, October 2012. View Details
  12. The Role of the Government in the Early Development of American Venture Capital

    Whether the government or markets, or a mixture of both, can provide efficient and effective incentives for encouraging entrepreneurial activity and new venture financing is an age old question. Public promotion efforts are controversial and in most cases they tend to fail. In the United States, debate about the role of government in these areas can be traced back to at least the Great Depression and the period immediately after World War II when the issue became a particular concern. Policy makers considered that existing financial institutions could neither provide the necessary due diligence nor the pool of risk capital that was necessary to spur entrepreneurial ventures. Furthermore, there were calls for additional inducements in the form of tax related incentives. The mechanisms that were used raise questions about benefits, costs and unintended consequences. Can, and should, the government influence entrepreneurial activity and venture financing? What are the limits to government intervention?

    Keywords: venture capital; Venture Capital; Business and Government Relations; United States;


    Lerner, Josh, and Tom Nicholas. "The Role of the Government in the Early Development of American Venture Capital." Harvard Business School Background Note 813-096, October 2012. View Details
  13. Whaling Ventures

    Whaling was a prominent global industry in the nineteenth century and the United States was dominant. By 1850 there were about 900 whaling ships in the world and 700 of these were American. Rates of return on capital were high compared to benchmark investments, at least in the early years of the nineteenth century. The whaling industry was one of the earliest to grapple with complex issues in relation to the provision of high-risk investment capital, syndication, organizational form, ownership structure, incentives, team building and principal-agent tradeoffs. It represents an important starting-point for exploring the origins of American entrepreneurship and venture financing.

    Keywords: whaling; venture capital; finance; organization design; entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Jonas Peter Akins. "Whaling Ventures." Harvard Business School Case 813-086, October 2012. (Revised December 2013.) View Details
  14. Al Capone

    In 1929, Chicago, IL mob boss Al Capone was at the height of his power. As head of the extensive crime organization known as "The Outfit" during most of U.S.'s Prohibition Era (1920-1933), Capone oversaw hundreds of brothels, speakeasies, and roadhouses which served as venues for gang-administered gambling, prostitution, and illegal alcohol sales. At their peak, yearly revenues from all of his enterprises combined totaled over $100 million. Capone's ability to operate these establishments with impunity stemmed from a combination of his political ties and a profound fear of reprisal. Capone's ascension had come at the tremendous loss of human life. Turf wars between Chicago gangs had caused roughly 700 gang-related deaths from 1920 to 1930. By some estimates, Capone had been directly or indirectly responsible for over 200 murders, the most notorious of which was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in February 1929, a shootout that had killed seven men from a rival gang. The brutality, efficiency, and wealth of Capone's organization demonstrated the destructive forms of American entrepreneurship in the early 20th century.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Crime and Corruption; Games, Gaming, and Gambling; Business History; United States; Chicago;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Al Capone." Harvard Business School Case 809-144, April 2009. (Revised March 2012.) View Details
  15. Bessemer Trust: Guardians of Capital

    Henry Phipps, Jr. made his fortune in the steel industry alongside one of America's most celebrated entrepreneurs—Andrew Carnegie. His wealth was administered in the form of trusts, which he hoped would provide a stream of income for his family and their descendants into the future. Phipps had a clear vision for the intergenerational disposition of his assets, which required both an efficient organizational structure for the wealth to be administered and leadership on the part of family members to keep his original vision intact. Despite undergoing several significant legal and leadership changes, the trusts survived relatively intact and continued to achieve their express goal of preserving the capital Phipps created and providing income for Phipps family members.

    Keywords: Wealth; Asset Management; Family Business; Business History; Income Characteristics; Entrepreneurship; Capital; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Bessemer Trust: Guardians of Capital." Harvard Business School Case 811-031, October 2010. (Revised March 2012.) View Details
  16. Neoprene

    In 1931, during one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history, Du Pont announced the discovery of an innovative rubber synthetic product—neoprene. Yet at the time of the announcement, Du Pont did not have any neoprene to sell. Manufacturing facilities were still being erected and production remained at laboratory scale. Rubber synthetics had been developed in Russia, Germany, and even in the United States before, but large-scale production had never taken off. Would Du Pont's announcement and public disclosure of the basic science lift the barriers to commercialization? What made Du Pont so confident that it could succeed at this uncertain time?

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Business History; Innovation and Invention; Product Development; Risk and Uncertainty; Science-Based Business; Commercialization; Chemical Industry; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Felipe Tamega Fernandes. "Neoprene." Harvard Business School Case 810-084, December 2009. (Revised April 2012.) View Details
  17. The Coming of Managerial Capitalism: Overview

    This is a course overview note for The Coming of Managerial Capitalism. CMC is chronologically organized. It starts in the late eighteenth century when America gained independence, spans the remarkable rise to industrial maturity during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and ends at the crossroads at which the United States currently stands. There are four modules: 1) THE HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP 2) THE EMERGENCE OF ORGANIZATION 3) PROSPERITY, DEPRESSION AND WAR 4) TECHNOLOGICAL AND FINANCIAL REVOLUTIONS. Each covers a distinct period in business history but the themes overlap and these themes are collectively analyzed in a concluding session LESSONS FROM THE PAST. CMC is motivated by the idea that effective decision making in the current business environment crucially relies on a comprehensive appreciation of how things worked—or didn't work—in the past.

    Keywords: Business History; Business or Company Management; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Welfare or Wellbeing; War; Transformation; Technology; Finance; Situation or Environment; Decision Making; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "The Coming of Managerial Capitalism: Overview." Harvard Business School Course Overview Note 811-033, January 2011. (Revised March 2014.) View Details
  18. The Whiz Kids

    In October 1945, Henry Ford II received a telegram in his office at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan written by Charles "Tex" Thornton, a U.S. Air Force colonel. The telegram presented an opportunity for Ford to deploy a system of statistical control which had been developed and applied successfully in the management of the Army Air Forces. Henry Ford II had recently assumed control of his grandfather's troubled automotive empire, and was looking for experienced auto industry men to help him make Ford a dominant name once again. Thornton had no industry experience whatsoever, but seemed convinced that his ideas could be applicable to Ford's company. Perhaps the Ford Motor Company could use an injection of new ideas. Hiring Thornton and his men could end up being Ford's most inspired move. Or his most disastrous.

    Keywords: Mathematical Methods; Management Systems; Accounting; Business Processes; Auto Industry; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "The Whiz Kids." Harvard Business School Case 811-042, March 2011. (Revised March 2012.) View Details
  19. Control Data Corporation and the Urban Crisis

    Control Data Corporation is considering its response to the assassination of renowned civil rights activist Martin Luther King. Four months prior, William Norris, president of the Minneapolis-based computer firm had already committed to building a plant in a low-income area of Minneapolis, but with pressure rising on businesses to respond to inner-city needs and increase minority hiring, Norris urges the company to consider building yet another inner-city plant, this time in Washington, D.C.

    Keywords: Urban Development; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Urban Scope; Computer Industry; District of Columbia; Minneapolis;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Laura Gaie Singleton. "Control Data Corporation and the Urban Crisis." Harvard Business School Case 808-096, November 2007. (Revised September 2011.) View Details
  20. Lehman Brothers

    In 2008, the U.S. financial system was in a state of crisis and Lehman Brothers went from a major Wall Street investment bank to an insolvent institution. It was a swift end for a firm that had its beginnings over 150 years prior. What would be the firm's legacy? And how, if at all, had its activities changed the course of American history?

    Keywords: History; Business History; Development Economics; Business Exit or Shutdown; Investment Banking; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Economic Growth; Financial Crisis; Financial Services Industry; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Lehman Brothers." Harvard Business School Case 810-106, February 2010. (Revised September 2011.) View Details
  21. Maiden in America

    Uses Ida Rosenthal's entrepreneurship in brassieres to explore how economic, social, and demographic changes reshaped gender and business enterprises in early- to mid-20th century America. It shows the importance of timing and geography to Rosenthal's new firm in New York City, as well as the significance of her own entrepreneurial agency. Explores the challenges Rosenthal faced in defining products, consumers, and the company's image in an environment where gender divisions still remained the norm.

    Keywords: Geographic Location; Marketing; Entrepreneurship; Gender Characteristics; Change; Apparel and Accessories Industry;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Maiden in America." Harvard Business School Case 808-095, November 2007. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  22. Online Pet Supply Retailing

    From 1995 to 1999, the U.S. experienced a period of tremendous growth in its information technology (IT) sector. The IT industry, although it accounted for less than 10% of the U.S. economy's total output, contributed disproportionately to economic growth. One market that was particularly contentious was online pet supply retailing. Pet supply retailing had an estimated worth of $31 billion in 1997, and in the late 1990s, several startups and brick-and-mortar-based companies launched online retail stores, hoping to become the premiere (and perhaps the only) online pet supplies retailer. Two companies emerged as pure play frontrunners: Oakland-based and San Francisco-based In the years that followed, online pet supply retailers were widely regarded by the media as epitomizing the excesses and the follies of dot-com speculative mania in the late 1990s that culminated in the 2000 stock market crash. In 2008, CNet pronounced as one of the greatest dot-com disasters in history. But what led to the failure, and subsequent crucifixion, of these one-time media darlings? Were and the victim of poor strategic decisions, a prohibitive and crowded market, investor attitudes that destroyed their chances of success, or perhaps just bad luck or bad timing?

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Price Bubble; Growth and Development Strategy; Failure; Competitive Strategy; Online Technology; Retail Industry;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Online Pet Supply Retailing." Harvard Business School Case 809-117, April 2009. (Revised May 2011.) View Details
  23. The Ice King

    Provides an opportunity to examine the risk-reward tradeoff and the travails of entrepreneurial venturing in the nascent U.S. economy. Traces the origins and development of Frederic Tudor's Ice Company, a business which developed during the 19th century to hack chunks of ice from New England freshwater ponds and transport it by ship for sale around the globe. Explores how Tudor managed operations in ports as far flung as New Orleans, Charleston, Havana, Bombay, and Calcutta, and how he overcame personal difficulties to create a successful business enterprise.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Cost vs Benefits; Entrepreneurship; Globalization; Business History; Operations; Risk and Uncertainty; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Sandra Nicholas. "The Ice King." Harvard Business School Case 808-094, November 2007. (Revised February 2011.) View Details
  24. The Indian Removal Act and the 'Trail of Tears'

    Native Americans were subjected to a protracted and painful process of forced removal from their land. The case provides "first hand" evidence on the debate over Indian removal as it took place during the early nineteenth century. The first document is excerpted from Andrew Jackson's First Annual Message to Congress in 1829 and the second document from Jackson's Second Annual Message in 1830, the year the Indian Removal Act was passed. The third and fourth documents cover the Congressional debate over the relocation of Indians, which led to strong partisan splits and divisions between the North and the South. Document three is excerpted from Whig Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey's six-hour speech to Congress opposing Indian removal. Document four is excerpted from a speech by Senator John Forsyth, a Democrat and former Governor of Georgia who spoke in response to Senator Frelinghuysen's remarks. A final document presents the Cherokee perspective and the reasons for their opposition to removal as represented by a memorial letter, written to the United States Congress in 1829. A statistical portrait follows the documentary evidence.

    Keywords: History; Laws and Statutes; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, Ari Medoff, and Raven Smith. "The Indian Removal Act and the 'Trail of Tears'." Harvard Business School Case 812-079, December 2011. (Revised February 2014.) View Details
  25. The Travails of Rubber: Goodyear or Badyear?

    Explores the reason why Charles Goodyear, inventor of rubber vulcanization, was unable to profit from his discovery despite securing international property rights over his invention through a patent in 1844. Considers the utility of patents as an incentive for innovators in light of international industrial espionage associated with Goodyear's idea and international differences in patent laws. Also examines commercialization strategies based on Goodyear's choice between developing the innovation himself and licensing to third parties.

    Keywords: Crime and Corruption; Entrepreneurship; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Innovation and Invention; Patents; Motivation and Incentives; Commercialization;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Andrew Ferguson. "The Travails of Rubber: Goodyear or Badyear?" Harvard Business School Case 808-118, February 2008. (Revised May 2011.) View Details
  26. The Wright Brothers and Their Flying Machines

    Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948) Wright were fascinated by the mystery of flight and they built on the ideas of prominent earlier figures such as Octave Chanute (1832-1910) the French-born American who was influential in fostering the free exchange of ideas surrounding aeronautics. Information exchange between practical tinkerers from across the globe led to a process of cumulative innovation unhindered by rivalry operating through the intellectual property rights system. Yet in 1903, the year the Wright Brothers achieved controlled sustained flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they applied for and were subsequently granted a US patent for a "flying-machine" which changed the industry irrevocably. While American manufacturers diverted resources from science and technology to patent wars and legal disputes, European aeronautics advanced more rapidly.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Business History; Technological Innovation; Patents; Knowledge Sharing; Air Transportation; Air Transportation Industry; Europe; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "The Wright Brothers and Their Flying Machines." Harvard Business School Case 811-034, December 2010. (Revised October 2012.) View Details
  27. Trouble with a Bubble

    Examines technology, firm performance, and the stock market during the 1929 Great Crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s. The 1920s was an extraordinary period of technological progress marked by a strong run-up in stock market prices. Firms invested heavily in R&D and human capital, while mass production and scientific management techniques were extensively adopted. Narrates the history of the 1920s and 1930s through the life of Irving Fisher, a prominent academic, investor, technologist, and market commentator who claimed that innovation was driving equity prices higher. Analyzes why Fisher believed that the high level of the stock market was justified, and his explanations for why the stock market crashed. Further explores the 1930s, marked by mass unemployment and social distress on the one hand, and entrepreneurship and innovation on the other. Fisher's views provide a conduit for examining the dynamics of stock market behavior and economic performance during one of the most significant periods in U.S. economic and financial history.

    Keywords: Technology; Organizational Change and Adaptation; History; Financial Markets; Performance; Labor and Management Relations; Equity; Financial Crisis; Innovation and Invention; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom. "Trouble with a Bubble." Harvard Business School Case 808-067, August 2007. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  28. Narragansett Brewing Company

    Mark Hellendrung, CEO of Narragansett Brewing Company, is deciding whether to partner with a local television station for the upcoming NHL Winter Classic outdoor hockey game between New England's own Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. He had purchased the trademark of the historic New England-based company, Narragansett Beer, four years earlier in 2005. The hockey game offered the company an opportunity to expose millions of potential consumers to their brand. Hellendrung was just one of many local business owners looking to take advantage of the marketing opportunity. The case explores whether investing in a professional sports event represented the right shift in strategy.

    Keywords: Corporate Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Business Strategy; Sports; Financial Strategy; Marketing Strategy; Investment; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, Lindsey Marshall, and Charles Anthony Miller. "Narragansett Brewing Company." Harvard Business School Case 811-028, October 2010. View Details
  29. Crosley

    In October 1941, a top secret envoy from the U.S. military was sent to Crosley Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio to request their assistance to construct a weapon that would drastically strengthen the defenses of U.S. troops: the proximity fuze. Such a fuze would allow enemy aircraft to be shot down with a rate of accuracy well above that of previous weaponry. The task would be a challenging one, as conventional wisdom held that it took at least four years for a weapon to go from concept to production, whereas the proximity fuze was needed on a shorter time frame. Moreover, the production process would be complex, requiring hundreds of components produced by dozens of manufacturers, all of which Crosley would have to assemble to produce the finished product. Would Crosley accept the assignment?

    Keywords: Technology; History; Production; National Security; Organizational Structure; Corporate Strategy; Research and Development; Product Development; Business and Government Relations; Creativity; Innovation and Invention; Ohio;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Crosley." Harvard Business School Case 809-160, June 2009. (Revised October 2012.) View Details
  30. Cincom Systems, Inc.

    Tom Nies, charismatic CEO of Cincom Systems, is considering a public offering of his software enterprise, but the 1987 stock market crash checks his plans. Nies reflects that capital for expansion will keep Cincom at the frontier of technological development in a changing industry. He also realizes that an IPO might negate his firm's efforts to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and change Cincom's unique corporate culture.

    Keywords: Customer Satisfaction; Capital; Initial Public Offering; Organizational Culture; Going Public; Corporate Strategy; Information Technology Industry;


    Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Cincom Systems, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 808-084, February 2008. View Details