Manchester Enterprise Centre news

Physicist Dr. Eli Harari unveils the secrets of his entrepreneurial success at Alliance Manchester Business School

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Physicist Dr. Eli Harari unveils the secrets of his entrepreneurial success at Alliance Manchester Business School

Dr. Eli Harari came to the University of Manchester in 1969 to study a BSc in Physics. He arrived in Manchester with the ambition to be a physicist and, until he came to the city, he claims to have never heard the word ‘entrepreneur’. Little did he know then that his scientific research would spark a business idea which would grow from a 1988 Silicon Valley start-up to a corporation which now employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, has over 5,000 patents and generates more than $6.5 billion in annual sales.


The founder and retired chairman and chief executive officer of SanDisk came to Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) earlier this month to launch the third annual Eli & Britt Harari Graphene Prize, a £50,000 seed-funding initiative run through Manchester Enterprise Centre in association with Sir Andre Geim.


Dr. Harari took a room full of students through the history of flash technology and how SanDisk became one of the most important disruptions to the information storage industry in the late 1980s. 


Through his research at the University of Manchester, and later at Princeton University in the US, Dr. Harari discovered how to create a storage device which was fit for general purpose and could be produced at an affordable price point.


On speaking of taking SanDisk’s strategy to market, Dr. Harari said: “When you launch a start-up, you need to think about what you want to be when you grow up. One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is what you want your company to be.


“Start-ups usually want to appeal to niche markets – attracted by a lack of competition, allowing you to develop your technology in an environment it can thrive in. We wanted to go to market with a portable flash device with a storage solution which we discovered.


“Through SanDisk’s journey we realised that while it is important to be totally focussed on the difference you’re delivering to the mass market when you start your business, beyond a certain point you need to diversify in order to sustain growth.”


The history of how flash storage was invented, developed, and made available on a global scale is largely the history of SanDisk Corporation — an American success story that like many others began with one person and a vision. 


In 2014 President Obama presented Dr. Harari with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. This award is the United States’ highest honour, recognising achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.


What makes Dr. Harari’s story a remarkable one is how he continuously played multifaceted roles over a span of 23 years as inventor, entrepreneur, leader, public company CEO and industry visionary. If you missed his presentation this month you can catch some of his highlights in the video below:


0 comments on article "Physicist Dr. Eli Harari unveils the secrets of his entrepreneurial success at Alliance Manchester Business School "