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Apr 26

Brad Gillespie at UNH

Earlier this week I hosted Brad Gillespie on a visit to the UNH ECE department. Brad, an ECE alumnus (MS EE ’94), is a veteran of Microsoft, where he was the Technical Assistant to Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie. Currently, he advises early-stage technology companies, focusing on strategic issues at the intersection of business and technology.

Brad had a busy two days at UNH. He visited the Project54 lab and led a discussion about entrepreneurship, career options and similar topics with P54 students and staff (see picture above and more on Flickr). Brad also gave a talk on this same topic to about 50 ECE graduate and undergraduate students. Here are the slides from this talk:

One message from the talk that I thought was very important is that for the majority of the people on Earth the Internet will be accessible through a mobile phone and not a PC. In fact, the PC is unlikely to be part of our computing future. Brad returned to this point the following day when he led another discussion with students, this time in John LaCourse’s ECE 444 Bionics course. Brad described some of his experiences in India, and again stressed that PCs, reliable power sources and wired Internet connections are not available in most places on our planet. Also, this state of affairs cannot change too quickly, since the infrastructure to provide power and communications to remote places is expensive and slow to deploy. Companies that want to provide Internet-based services to developing countries will have to take this fact into account. More generally, they will have to deal with what Bell and Dourish call the messiness of the (ubicomp) world.

It was great to have Brad at UNH and I’m looking forward to his continued involvement with the ECE department. Thanks Brad!

Andrew Kun

11 comments

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  1. oszkar

    After the talk I think most of the people in the audience wanted to become entrepreneurs. It really seems possible to do, when somebody explains it so well as Brad did. Now we just have to come up with the perfect idea, or as Brad would say: a good enough idea. Thanks for the inspiring talk!

    Oszkar Palinko

  2. Zeljko Medenica

    Given the current economic crisis I had a feeling that right now it is not the best time for entrepreneurs. However, as Brad pointed out, this is not the case. It is enough to look back in time and see that most of today’s big companies were actually started during similar crises. So, if we consider the suggestions that Brad gave for starting a startup, it seems likely that good ideas will find their ways into markets.

    Zeljko Medenica

  3. Nemanja Memarovic

    Brad explained really simply what it takes to startup your own company: a good idea and a good team. He emphasized the importance of both equally. One thing I didn’t realize until I heard Brad was that it’s better to wait for a wile and hire somebody who will surely fit into the team than to hire somebody just to fill in the gap.

  4. mlape

    One of the points that Brad talked about, which Dr. Kun mentions above, is the growing trend of smartphones in the world of Internet access. The interesting fact to this is that soon these users will out number the traditional PC users accessing the Internet. What makes this interesting is that with this shift, there will become a growing niche for start up companies and other entrepreneurs to develop products and services for this new world.

    Thank you Brad for your time and for the wealth of information that you shared with us!

    Matthew Lape

  5. Ivan Elhart

    That was really interesting and inspiring talk. As Oszkar said, after the talk I felt ready to become an entrepreneur. Thanks Brad for sharing so many useful ideas and giving a new perspective to the entrepreneurship.

    Ivan Elhart

  6. marktaipan

    Personally, I am not aiming to start my own company, but I would like to work for a small company once I leave UNH. Many talks that have been given to us in ECE791/792 focused primarily on starting companies, rather than simply working for small companies. Brad’s talk was different in this way. He talked about everything from hiring practices to working with a small board of directors and this information to me was incredibly useful. After all, this was the first time I ever had a chance to listen and discuss one-on-one these topics here at UNH.

    Regardless of one’s personal ambitions, I thought Brad’s talk was incredibly useful to a whole range of students and even present day professionals. He has great presentation and communication skills and I believe that this unique experience with talking with him has educated me in a topic that as an engineer, would not normally know much about. Thank you Brad for coming back to UNH to speak with us and I hope that students in the future have the chance to speak with you and experience this wonderful opportunity!

    Mark Taipan

  7. Michael Farrar

    I enjoyed Brad’s talk for many reasons, perhaps foremost being the detailed correlation between lifestyle perspectives of the entrepreneur and the big-business employee. Brad’s development as a member of Microsoft, often in communication with Bill Gates himself, and the responsibilities which were imposed upon him, seemed to lighten the transition from hierarchical management to the level “playing field” of a newborn business. I also found it quite interesting of how Brad often calls upon the skills from two very different educations, business and engineering, sometimes falling upon business when in an engineering environment and sometimes falling upon engineering when in a business environment.

    Michael Farrar

  8. Alexander Shyrokov

    I had one-on-one talk with Brad. He have made very informative comments and gave encouraging suggestions. I am looking forward to continue communication with him.

    Alexander Shyrokov

  9. Jeffrey Ojala

    Brad’s talk was very interesting. He obviously is very knowledgeable about what it takes to plan, implement and successfully market a business plan. As a budding engineer living my day to day life, I see opportunities to improve upon the quality of life by adopting the engineering skills I have learned in school and work to solve life’s problem. I plan to one day take some of those idea’s and start my own company so Brad’s comments were very encouraging and informative.
    I had the opportunity to talk to him one on one after his talk with questions regarding what to expect if hired at a start up company which I am currently considering. He was very helpful and was able to provide insight on the pros and cons of working at a start up company and what I should do to ensure that I will get the experience necessary to come out of my hired term with the skills and experiences necessary to meet my long term career goals. He seemed very eager to share his knowledge with others and I’m sure all of those who attended his lectured benefited one way or another from his words.

  10. Mahir Karatas

    It was very helpful talk. When I was talking with my friends after Brad`s talk, I realize that everyone has interesting ideas but, all of them are insecure by himself to do own projects. As far as I am concerned, Brad`s talk was very encouraging for hesitant entrepreneurs.

    Thanks a lot for incentive talk,

    Mahir Karatas

  11. Brad Gillespie

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m pleased that you found my visit useful. It was fantastic to be back at UNH and see how the buildings have changed, yet how the great hands-on approach to learning that I benefited from has stayed the same. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with all of you and I was inspired by all the great work you are doing. Thanks for having me.

    Best of luck in your future endeavors. If you want to chat more, feel free to drop me an email and if you are interested I’m also on twitter.

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