Tag Archives: entrepreneur

China’s Entrepreneurship Revolution

A clip from the new documentary film Win in China, by Robert Compton, shows how fast China is changing and how hundred of thousands of entrepreneurs are driving the growth of the second economy of the World.

At the same time, China’s state-own large corporations are buying foreign companies, such as Volvo’s, as the Economist reports this week.

Maybe learning some Chinese is not bad after all…

YouTube is Inventor’s Best Friend

If Internet is a great tool for entrepreneurs to test business ideas, YouTube is becoming the natural place to disclose inventions and test their relevance.

Leslie Berlin, a Silicon Valley historian, writes If no one sees, it is it an invention? for NY Times. Leslie explains that inventors have found in YouTube the right tool to make their inventions known and test whether those are worth any attention.

The video of Johnny Chung Lee (see above) where he explains how to use the Wii Remote to track your head to create a Virtual Reality display has been seen more than 6 million times! He has now been hired by Microsoft for their entertainment and devices division. And that has been a good hire, because the invention and how he explains it in the video are outstanding.

Two ideas from Mr. Lee extracted from the NYTimes article:

  • Mr. Lee chooses his projects based on the “work-to-wow” ratio. “I want to get the biggest wow for the smallest amount of work,” he explains.
  • “Would providing 80 percent of the capability at 1 percent of the cost be valuable to someone?” If the answer is yes, Mr. Lee says, pay attention. Trading relatively little performance for substantial cost savings can generate what Mr. Lee calls “surprising and often powerful results both scientifically and socially.”

YouTube is definitively becoming another great tool for Open Innovation. Ideas are shared faster and better than ever, and inventors as Mr. Lee even provide their code in their websites.

By the way, watching the video and reading about Mr. Lee’s ideas, and mixed with the announcement of Microsoft Surface to bring a Touchless interface, I have no doubt that in 5 years we are going to be interacting with computers and consumer electronics in a very different way.

Guy Kawasaki on Venture Capital

Highly recommended videos for anyone planning to ask funding from venture capital. Guy Kawasaki is one of the star entrepreneurs and venture capitalists of Silicon Valley, and if you listen to his speech you will understand why.

I extract from the talk the ten slides Guy advises when presenting your idea to a VC:

  1. Title. Add contact info.
  2. Problem. What pain you solve.
  3. Solution. How you solve it.
  4. Business Model. How you make money.
  5. Underline Magic. Why you will succeed.
  6. Marketing & Sales. How you go to market.
  7. Competition. What you can do they can’t do. What they can do you can’t do.
  8. Team.
  9. Projections. Show the metrics behind.
  10. Status & Timeline. Where you are.

Guy’s 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30pt minimum font size

There are plenty of books about how to prepare a business case for a start-up. These ten slides are the best summary I have ever seen.

Entrepreneurship 2.0

Thanks to Internet, entrepreneurship is getting much easier and less risky than ever.

In the past, to create a start-up, the first steps were to put the team together, gather an initial investment, work on a prototype, test the market, and sell your vision to seed or venture capital, to fund your growth.

Now, more entrepreneurs are having a different approach, as they aim at turning an idea into a business on a low budget. This is called “bootstrapping“, and Globalization and Internet are enabling it.

Tim Ferriss, in his book “The 4-hour workweek“, gives some interesting hints to bootstrap an start-up.

1) Customers first. Select a narrow segment of customers you want to serve. Select a nich that you know weell, because of your job or because as a consumer, you are part of it.

2) Define your Product and your Unique Value Proposition, for your selected niche. Look for high margins (product price should be between 4 -8 times your cost)

3) Test the Market, before you start any manufacturing or any investment into the product

– Use eBay to test the market price. See what prospective customer would be willing to pay.

– Build a simple web page for your Product. You can find developers in www.elance.com to create a professional site. The message should get across in only 1 page. Even if not ready to ship yet, add a “order now” button to track how many of your visits would turn into an order

– Use Google AdWords to drive a test campaign – do not spend more than $500, over a short period. This will drive traffic to your product website.

Check how many visits turn into orders, and do your numbers to see if your product passed the Market Test and keeps profitable.

4) Orchestrate your Business. In case the market test flies: Outsourcing,outsourcing, outsourcing…

You should aim at no employees in your company. Outsource:
– Virtual Assistant to YMII or Brickwork
– Web design, and software development: www.elance.com,
– Contract manufaturing. See a list in www.thomasnet.comAvoid inventory, only build product once customer order is received. As the business scales, you might consider additional functions to outsource: Customer Care, Marketing Campaigns, Credit Card handling, etcThere is much more than this in Tim Ferriss book, which is a good reading for those dreaming of becoming New Riches, not only in financial terms but, more importantly, in free time.