2020 January 2020 News

A torrent of file-sharing unleashes a flood of innovation

In a new study, SMU strategy professors Julian Kolev and Wendy Bradley analyze the link between digital piracy and innovation in software technology firms. Their research finds that large incumbent firms like Microsoft and Adobe Systems increased innovation after disruptions to their business model occurred as a result of file-sharing technology that allowed their products to be more easily copied or pirated.
“If you expect your ideas and innovations to be pirated, you might not feel as motivated and incentivized to invest in those innovations,” Kolev says. “Our research findings see the opposite: there was an increase in innovative activity on a broad spectrum of measures, including research and development spending, patents, copyrights and trademarks.”
Their analysis used intellectual property and the development of improvements in product software to investigate the effects of piracy on innovation.
Read more at the Cox School.

2018 December 2018 News

Cox reveals the Dallas area’s fastest-growing entrepreneurial companies

Revolution Retail Systems, a Carrollton-based cash automation and recycling tech provider, is the fastest-growing entrepreneurial company in the Dallas area, according to the SMU Cox School of Business’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship.
“Revolution has increased sales almost tenfold over the last three years, evidence of the rapid growth that made it the No. 1 company this year,” said Simon Mak, associate director of the Caruth Institute. “Often, the privately held corporations, proprietorships and partnerships we honor through Dallas 100™ don’t get a lot of recognition and yet, like Revolution, they contribute greatly to our economy.”
Mak is pictured above with Mark Levenick, president and CEO of Revolution Retail Systems.
The Institute’s annual Dallas 100™, a celebration of the fastest-growing, privately-held businesses in the Dallas area, revealed the area’s top entrepreneurial companies in rank order from 100 to one before a crowd of about 1,000 people on November 1.
The Caruth Institute, working with the accounting firm BKD LLP CPAs and Advisors examined sales from hundreds of companies for 2015 to 2017, the last year for which complete data is available. The winners represent a wide swath of Dallas-area businesses. The winning companies collectively generated $3.3 billion in sales in 2017, according to Jerry White, the Linda A. and Kenneth R. Morris Endowed Director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship at SMU Cox. Collectively, the companies grew at an average annual growth rate of 87 percent from 2015 to 2017. Together, they created 11,096 jobs in that same period.
Read more at SMU Cox.


Will Wallace ’89 Follows His Heart To Hollywood

Almost two decades ago, SMU alumnus Will Wallace’s career took a sharp turn from practicing law to making movies. After landing a one-line role in a major motion picture, the attorney was hooked on acting. Today Wallace, a 1989 graduate of SMU, is a Hollywood veteran, with more than 50 films and television programs to his credit.

Will Wallace '89 (left) with actors Glen Powell (center) and Bill Paxton on the set of Red Wing.
Will Wallace ’89 (left) with actors Glen Powell (center) and Bill Paxton on the set of Red Wing.

His most recent release is the movie Red Wing. He produced and directed the love story adapted from the French novella François le Champi by Georges Sand. Transported to present-day, small-town Texas, Red Wing follows the journey of a troubled boy into manhood. It stars a host of well-known actors, including Luke Perry, Bill Paxton and Frances Fisher. Wallace also has an on-screen role.
Red Wing is a new take on a love story with a twist to boot,” he says.
While filming near Dallas, he welcomed several Mustang visitors: “My old friend Dave Blewett ’89, stopped by, and Joel Pechauer, an ’88 grad, came to the set. His young daughter, Porter, makes an appearance in the film.”
Red Wing has been released by Warner Bros. Digital and is currently available “On Demand” in more than 100 million homes through most major cable and satellite providers, including Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T Uverse and Verizon. It also can be streamed or downloaded through multiple sources, including Amazon, Google Play, Hulu and iTunes.
Wallace is now working on a new movie with a timely theme, human trafficking. It is also set in Texas.
In addition to his work on films, he is an acting teacher. He and wife Sara, a casting director, operate the Will Wallace Acting Company in Los Angeles. They provide training for actors at all levels in areas such as improvisation and on-camera technique.
“Almost all Red Wing cast members are acting students of mine,” he says. “It is fun to be part of their journey.”
Fellow Mustang Dave Blewett '89 (right) visited Will Wallace '89 on the Red Wing set.
Fellow Mustang Dave Blewett ’89 (right) visited Will Wallace ’89 on the Red Wing set.

Surprisingly, Wallace was not interested in acting while a University student. “I really enjoyed math, and here I am an artist,” Wallace jokes.
At SMU, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, his favorite classes were all math-based, including accounting and statistics. He served as president of Alpha Kappa Psi and received a B.B.A. in the Cox School of Business.
He went on to earn a J.D. from Mississippi College School of Law and an LL.M. from the University of the Pacific.
In the late 1990s, while practicing law in Spain, the urge to make a change hit.
“I was in Barcelona, sitting at my office desk, wondering why I was doing something I didn’t enjoy,” he recalls. “I decided to take a job with a firm in Dallas and just take a stab at acting. I was able to convince an agency to represent me, and they were able to get me an audition for a small part in the sequel to Terms of Endearment called The Evening Star. It was only one line, acting opposite Shirley MacLaine, but I got the part and was hooked.”
Fast-forward to the present day, and the father of four young sons boasts an impressive film résumé that includes 25 producing and nine directing credits.
Wallace says his SMU education was “immensely helpful” while carving out a successful career in a competitive industry.
“Having a business background helps with owning an acting school in Hollywood,” he says. “SMU also prepared me for law school and graduate law which, in turn, now proves incredibly helpful for contract work as a film producer and director.”
He offers this advice to SMU students: “It might sound cliché, but follow your heart. I was late in my career when I chose to truly follow my heart.”
– By Leah Johnson ’15


Brooks McCorcle ’82: Catching Up With A Fast-moving Innovator

AT&T executive Brooks McCorcle ’82 specializes in “breaking glass,” and in the spring, she invited a group from SMU to join her.
“‘Breaking glass’ is looking at new and different ways to do things,” says McCorcle, president of Emerging Business Markets, a startup within AT&T that is responsible for identifying and rapidly launching innovative solutions to drive value and growth in AT&T Business Solutions.

Brooks McCorcle ’82

Approximately 30 students and several members of the SMU leadership team and alumni joined McCorcle for a “Hack-a-Pitch” and “Barnstorm”– sobriquets that capture the lightning pace and freewheeling spirit of the brainstorming event.
Emerging Business Markets, co-located at the AT&T Foundry® innovation center, in Plano served as the setting for the collaborative exercise centered on finding new opportunities for the company to work with SMU to improve and enhance the campus experience. The group first broke into small teams to exchange ideas and formulate proposals. They later regrouped for a pitch session.
“We set up a little bit of framework, then let them go after it,” McCorcle explains. “I was really impressed by the students’ creativity and their poise and confidence when they presented their ideas to the group.”
>See video of SMU students participating in the Hack-a-Pitch learning experience
As a result, AT&T prepared a proposal of 30 ideas generated from the session that were shared with SMU leadership. They touch on many aspects of student life including the application process, on-campus living and job recruitment.
McCorcle recently followed up with University leaders to discuss possible next steps, including potential app development.
The unbounded intellectual workout that McCorcle facilitated is the type of activity she would have relished as an SMU student. She earned a B.B.A. in the Cox School of Business and explored other interests through minors in economics and women’s studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
While she enjoyed “great relationships with many of my professors,” McCorcle says Ann Early stands out in her memory. Early taught for many years and was instrumental in introducing the study of women to the SMU curriculum in the 1960s. She directed SMU’s Women’s Studies Program when McCorcle was a student. Today, the Ann Early Award is given each year to a Women’s and Gender Studies minor in recognition of academic achievement in the minor and service to the program.
“She was not only brilliant, thoughtful and courageous as she forged new ground in academia, but she was an incredibly authentic person,” McCorcle says. “She pushed you to your limits and truly wanted to know and understand your point of view. From her I learned how to articulate your viewpoint as a headline supported by proof points. I still do that today.
“She made a huge impact on me, showing me what the possibilities for women were. I have modeled many of my leadership characteristics on her,” she adds. “I try to be as authentic and inspiring as she was, to welcome a diversity of views, to be an advocate. And, I invite my team to my home. I learned that from her. She invited her students to her home, and it was such a meaningful way to show that she cared about us as people. It really forged a relationship of trust.”
McCorcle honed leadership skills through various roles with student organizations. A member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, she served as Panhellenic rush chair. As a member of the Program Council, she welcomed such luminaries as actor Vincent Price to the Hilltop. She also participated on the student judiciary committee.
For her contributions to the SMU community, she received the “M” Award, the University’s highest commendation for students, faculty, staff and administrators.
McCorcle went on to earn an M.B.A. from the Olin Business School at Washington University.
Over her 24-year tenure with AT&T and its predecessor companies, she has held positions in Mergers & Acquisitions and Finance, and executive positions in Consumer Marketing, Customer Care and Sales.
She has earned numerous professional awards. In 2012, she was listed among the “Top 30 Women in Finance” by Treasury & Risk magazine and was named the “#1 Investor Relations Professional in the Telecom Industry” by Institutional Investor magazine for 2011. The Dallas Business Journal recently honored her in the 2014 “Women in Business” awards program that recognizes outstanding local women business leaders who not only are making a difference in their industries, but also in their communities.
For her work in the community with Friends of the Dallas Public Library and other organizations, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
While discussing her accomplishments, McCorcle circles back to SMU.
“SMU does a great job of preparing you to succeed out of the gate,” she says. “You leave with the academic foundation and confidence you need to be successful in your first job. And the valuable lessons you take with you and apply immediately are those you will use and refine over the course of your career.”
– Patricia Ward