Syracuse University (SU) Entrepreneur-in-Residence John Liddy was interviewed by The Post-Standard about student entrepreneurs, business incubators, and ideas in Syracuse.
Liddy, who has worked with student entrepreneurs at the Syracuse Technology Garden since 2009, said to the newspaper, “An idea is like a vegetable, if you don’t do something with it, it goes bad.”
In order to prevent the spoiling of ideas in Central New York, Liddy and the Syracuse Student Sandbox hosted 12 business teams, 11 from SU and one from the State University of New York (SUNY) Morrisville, this past summer. Additionally, Liddy teaches “What’s the Big Idea?” and “Idea-to-Startup” to encourage SU students to do something with their ideas.
“There are a lot of ideas out there,” Liddy said. “The ability to act upon them is where innovation really starts.”
Though Liddy estimated that 75 percent of his students’ ideas are web or technology based, he pointed out that the winning business at the Sandbox’s Demo Day, when the student businesses present their ideas and business plans to an audience, was a hot sauce company out of SUNY Morrisville.
Liddy also spoke about the “hip” nature of entrepreurship, especially since the release of “The Social Network,” but said that only the most passionate students who are aware that failure is just as important as success are the ones who make it through the program.
Throughout the interview, Liddy emphasized that it’s not the idea of the startup that is important, but the execution. “We have tons of ideas. We have students who say, ‘I’m not going to tell you my idea; it’s too good.’ My response is, ‘Then it’s replicable.’ Others will say, ‘My idea is so good, I have no competition.’ If you have no competition, I’m not interested. It has no market validity.”
Since then, Liddy has overseen a number of student entrepreneurs, including the founders of Brand-Yourself, Grafighters, SafeSip and others. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Vermont and an M.B.A. from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.