Alumnus offers insight into entrepreneurship

Seth Roy

President Carol Cartwright watches as Michael D. Solomon speaks in the Governance Chambers on the second floor of the Student Center. Solomon graduated from Kent State in 1974 and went on to work for such companies as Apple and Aldus. He currently works a

Credit: Jason Hall

Michael Solomon spent the first 30 years of his career working with companies that would later become acquired by the likes of Microsoft and Netscape.

And as a Kent State alumnus, he wants current students to learn the best ways to approach business opportunities.

Solomon, a 1974 graduate of the College of Business Administration at Kent State, was the guest speaker last night in the Governance Chambers of the Student Center.

“We thought we’d do something quite novel this year,” said George Stevens, dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management, as the lecture series Solomon was speaking in is named after him.

The Michael D. Solomon Lecture Series in Entrepreneurship held its first lecture in May 2001, after Solomon donated money to the university for the purpose of exposing students to professional entrepreneurs.

Solomon’s experience and achievements are extensive, said President Carol Cartwright, who introduced the speaker.

“Kent State is very proud to claim Michael Solomon as an alumnus,” she said. “Michael Solomon has shown generosity in establishing the speaker series.”

As soon as Solomon took the podium, he did something vitally important to being an entrepreneur.

“As an entrepreneur, the first thing I’ve got to do is take my jacket off,” he said, “because that’s what we do.”

After graduating from Kent State, Solomon owned and ran an audio distribution company in and around Ohio.

He moved on to work with a number of technology manufacturers during the 1980s, and he was a part of the computer and software game during that time.

In the mid-1980s, Solomon was the vice president of sales and marketing at Aldus Corporation, publisher of “PageMaker.”

Helping to start a number of businesses over the past 30 years, Solomon said he took time off from his venture capitalist job in 2002. He took that time to figure out what he wanted to do next. He started to miss working.

“I really wanted to go back and be an entrepreneur again,” Solomon said.

He got an offer from a friend to take a look at investing in a small company being run out of the University of Southern California, and he decided he wanted to do more than invest.

That company, which he is now CEO of, is Audyssey Labs, which creates products that improve the sound of speaker systems.

His lecture, which was geared toward students, faculty and community members interested in entrepreneurship, used the business plan used to set up Audyssey to explain the process one might go through in setting up a business.

The first thing needed is a good idea, Solomon said. After that, a solid team and a good businessman are needed.

“You need to be able to show people that you have something unique,” he said.

The ability to present a product in the context of other, similar products is important.

By showing models of Audyssey’s revenue plan and sales model, Solomon helped to illustrate what goes on behind the scenes in the business world. These business decisions and meetings are his favorite parts of running a business.

“You get to invent your own game,” he said. “This is what happens inside of entrepreneurial environments.”

Through his involvement with the university, he hopes to help students learn the best ways to approach business opportunities, and the best ways to make a difference in the business world.

In November, there will be a fireside chat with an entrepreneur as part of the lecture series. Two more events will take place in the spring.

Contact College of Business Administration beat reporter Seth Roy at [email protected].