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Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024
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Author Releases 14th Entrepreneur Book

You might call Ray Smilor an expert in the field of entrepreneurship.

For openers, he’s been writing about the subject for decades going back to his days as a professor at the University of Texas’ business school, and later as the vice president of the Kaufman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in Kansas City, Mo.

Today, Smilor heads up the Foundation for Enterprise Development in La Jolla, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the concept of employee-owned companies.

Recently, Smilor had his 14th book published, all of which deal with entrepreneurship in some fashion. But his latest book, “Daring Visionaries,” is aimed at a much wider audience.

Smilor said he wrote the book to tell readers what it’s really like to start and grow a company, something that happens more frequently in San Diego than in many other areas of the country.

How come? Four quick reasons, he says.

San Diego is blessed with a group of high-level universities that are research-oriented; has a high quality of life that attracts a good number of bright people; has a good infrastructure of support for fledging businesses; and has a compelling number of successful role models who have achieved their dreams here, Smilor said.

Smilor said three key things distinguish a successful entrepreneur from the pack, and contribute to their success. They usually have an incredible drive, an extensive and diverse network of support, and an uncanny awareness for their product or service that is sharper than others.

Among his favorite tales of entrepreneurial fame is Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computer Corp., whom Smilor met while he was a student at the University of Texas. As a 21-year old, Dell realized he didn’t have the business experience to bring his vision to fruition. Because he was able to recruit veteran business people, the company became one of the biggest high-tech success stories in the last decade.

Danny O’Neill is another favorite. A founder of a Kansas City gourmet coffee roasting business, O’Neill is so passionate, he went to Costa Rica to pick beans, and learn everything he could about coffee. The business The Roasterie is now doing more than $4 million in sales.

“Daring Visionaries, How Entrepreneurs Build Companies, Inspire Allegiance, and Create Wealth” is published by Adams Media and retails for $22.95.

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