Beating the Odds When You Launch a New Venture

by Clark G. Gilbert and Matthew J. Eyring

FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS the case study used to introduce Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management course has been Howard Stevenson’s “R&R.” It looks at Bob Reiss, an entrepreneur who launches a venture in the board-game industry. Students are encouraged to explore all the production, development, distribution, and marketing costs associated with the new venture.

A cursory reading of the case suggests that it’s a lesson in the rewards that come to an entrepreneur who is willing to take on an enormous amount of risk. Reiss capitalizes on what he correctly foresees is an ephemeral opportunity to ride the coattails of the Trivial Pursuit craze before ...

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