What First Time CEOs Need to Know

Contact: WPI Venture Forum, +1-508-831-5075

Tuesday, February 11, 2003, 6-9 p.m.
WPI, Campus Center Odeum

WORCESTER, MA (January 20, 2003) p The right CEO can make or break a start-up. And a new, first-time CEO needs to take extra pains to avoid certain traps that can devastate their leadership reign. The February 11, 2003 WPI Venture Forum meeting will address this topic and provide key insights into how certain costly mistakes can make the difference between success and failure for a new venture. The featured speaker is Philip V. Holberton, president and founder of The Holberton Group, Inc., a business advisory firm specializing in leadership development. Mr. Holberton will share his thoughts on effectively leading a company by calling on his accumulated knowledge, hands-on experience, and involvement with financial transactions that exceed $600 million. Following Mr. Holberton, the evening's case study will be ZForm, an online game development company dedicated to creating games that allow the visually impaired to play with their sighted friends and family on an equal footing

The WPI Venture Forum meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2003, at the Odeum Campus Center on the WPI campus in Worcester, MA. Registration begins at 6:00 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Registration cost is $10 individual, annual, and lifetime members; and $20 nonmembers.

About the Speakers

Philip Holberton has held executive positions with Cambridge NeuroScience, General Cinema Theatres, Genome Therapeutics, and Becton Dickinson & Company. He has also served as an executive coach for senior management teams of various companies. A certified public accountant, Holberton is a member of Franklin & Marshall College's Regional Advisory Council and an adjunct professor at Brandeis University where he teaches “Leadership for Technical Professionals” in the masters in software engineering program. He is also an executive board member of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge.

In 1997, Paul G. Silva and Jeremie Spitzer decided to create a game development company, with a twist. Their friendship with a blind classmate inspired the founding of ZForm. The company's first game, ZForm Poker, is a multiplayer, online version of five-card draw poker that is played on a PC, using sound cues and intuitive keyboard commands which makes the game fun, easy to learn, and accessible to blind and visually impaired players. The game also includes a graphical interface, which is accessible for those with low vision and attractive to sighted friends and family. In order to achieve the goals set forth in its business plan, ZForm is seeking $1.7 million in equity capital in three stages.

About the WPI Venture Forum

The WPI Venture Forum was created in 1990 to promote the entrepreneurial spirit and to serve those who engage in technology- based entrepreneurial enterprises by providing advice, support and education tailored to meet their needs. The forum fosters entrepreneurship through such activities as monthly programs, a business plan contest, a weekly radio show on News Radio WTAG (Saturdays, 5-7 pm, 580am), and a monthly newsletter.

The Venture Forum, as part of the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the Department of Management at WPI, serves individuals who are seeking to begin their own technology-based businesses; founders, presidents, and senior managers of start-up or early-stage companies; senior managers of companies that are restarting or making a transition for one mode of operation to another; and employees leaving large companies due to a reduction in force or to start businesses.