New Kauffman Sketchbook Illustrates the Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

Amy Wilkinson, author of The Creator's Code, describes key characteristics of today's leading entrepreneurs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 18, 2015) — Startup founders can learn the same skills that the creators of game-changing companies such as Chipotle, Dropbox and eBay have used to build their enterprises.

These skills are the focus of what Amy Wilkinson, author of The Creator's Code, shares in the latest installment of the Kauffman Sketchbook video series released today by the Kauffman Foundation.

The three-minute animated video is narrated by Wilkinson, who conducted extensive research, funded by the Kauffman Foundation, to determine the fundamental skills of today's leading entrepreneurs that can be learned, practiced and passed on to others.

Throughout the past five years, her analysis was based on personally interviewing 200 high-impact entrepreneurs, including the founders of Airbnb, Gilt Groupe, LinkedIn, Jetblue, PayPal, SpaceX, Spanx, Tesla Motors, Theranos and Under Armour.

"All of us can learn to be more entrepreneurial," Wilkinson states. "We need to pattern ourselves after people who have done well. Across all of the research, I figured out that there are six essential skills." The Sketchbook illustrates each one:

  1. Find the gap
  2. Drive for daylight
  3. Fly the OODA loop
  4. Fail wisely
  5. Network minds
  6. Gift small goods

In the Sketchbook, Wilkinson presents founder insights, such as how to stay ahead of competitors, how generosity leads to productivity, and how to manage speed and complexity like a race car driver.

Wilkinson is a strategic adviser, entrepreneur and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has held leadership roles with McKinsey & Company and J.P. Morgan, and founded a small, foreign-based export company.

She has served as a White House fellow and special assistant to the United States Trade Representative, and as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Since the Kauffman Sketchbook series launched in September 2011, the videos — featuring the insights of influential thought leaders in the areas of entrepreneurship and education — have drawn more than 377,000 online views.

The award-winning pieces have been widely shared on a variety of websites, blogs and social media outlets, as well as at numerous conferences and events.