1) Discuss the major achievements of the innovator/entrepreneur or business you choose along with how they arrived at their achievements and success (as we have seen, however, not all achieved financial success from their endeavors). If you choose an inventor/entrepreneur please try to discuss how they arrived at their ideas and how they made their idea a practicable reality. One of the major difference between the 19th century “industrialists” and entrepreneurs, opposed to the “scientists” of the earlier ages, is that they took inventions and ideas and made them useful and beneficial to our lives – there achievements did not reside exclusively in minds or books, they took the form of machines and tools and appliances. If you choose a business, I want you to similarly focus on how the business developed, perhaps how it acquired investors, how it grew (and continues to innovate), compete, improve, etc. Also, focus on the impact the business plays on the lives of its consumers. (As an aside, try to focus on the positive. You can include any negatives, but don’t make your whole paper a bash session. Some businesses, ex. McDonalds, Wal-Mart, ALCOA, or Standard Oil, have taken reputation beatings in the past and you can find books at Barnes & Nobles about the alleged “evils of Wal-Mart” etc. – let’s try to focus on the positives, as this course is about the role of technology in society).
2) Be sure to discuss the struggles and obstacles your chosen figure/business had to overcome. What major difficulties your entrepreneur/business encounter in his life and path to develop his idea? Did your inventor have to deal with patent issues? Others infringing on his/her patent? Competition? Social ridicule? Did your company make any mistakes, fall behind on the technological curve, fall out of favor with customer tastes and preferences? How did it deal with this?
3) Discuss how the invention, innovation, or product(s) of the person/company you chose has affected society. Who benefitted? How? What was life like before their product(s)/invention? Is the entrepreneur/inventor/business one you admire? You might also discuss this.
4) Make sure your paper is as “technology focused” as possible. For instance, there are some companies on here like Disney and Kellogg. If you choose these, put your emphasis on what made Disney such a successful and well-liked company technologically. Do not focus on the fact that they made cute lovable characters that we all pay too much money for. Place emphasis, for example, on what technological developments Kellogg embraced to make them so dominant in the cereal industry, rather than the fact that they make such great cereal brands, like Raisin Bran, Rice Crispies, and SpongeBob SquarePants cereal.
Likewise, if you are writing about an inventor or entrepreneur, trim the unnecessary. Cut out whatever does not directly pertain to the inventor/entrepreneur and his efforts. For instance, if you are writing about Bill Gates or Thomas Edison, it is fine to comment briefly about their childhood, but try to include details only insofar as they play a role in the development of Gates or Edison as an “inventor or entrepreneur.” You can leave out the fact that Bill Gates had bad acne or was picked on in grade school, for instance – unless this played a significant role in him working hard and developing his genius. You can leave out, or keep to the bare minimum, facts like Bill Gates is now a great philanthropist, donating to numerous charities. In the case of Steve Jobs, him being an orphan, did play an important role in him developing a strong work ethic, so you would include this.
I am saying all this to help you with the perspective your paper should take. So, in other words, try to keep in mind while you are writing your paper – this is a research paper about “an inventor or entrepreneur,” not a mere biography about a person.
5) Lastly, your paper should have at least 5 different sources – with at least 3 of these sources coming from actual published books or academic journal articles (which are not websites). (If you are doing a very recent person/company like Google or Facebook, this might be difficult and I will make an exception, but do your research early! Because if you cannot find anything in print form – this is a hint to choose a new topic.)
Wikipedia is not a source, though it can be a good place to start to get an OVERVIEW to help you choose your topic. This goes for any similar website like About.com – they cannot be used as sources. You may, however, use a company’s actual website, which sometimes has good info in the “about” or “history” sections.
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