Tag Archives: O’Reilly

Martin Varsavsky on Web 2.0 Expo

Tim O’Reilly interviews Martin Varsavsky during the Web 2.0 Expo Europe last month. Martin is a serial entrepreneur that successfully created Jazztel and Ya.com to compete with Telefonica in fixed telephony and Internet access in Spain in the late 90s. He later IPO’ed Jazztel and sold Ya.com to Deutche Telekom with huge profits.

Martin is a very smart entrepreneur, and you can notice from the interview his clarity of thought.

  • “Markets are bipolar, and they over-emphasize good times and bad times. […] Entrepreneurs need to distinguish Price and Value […] (and) steer in the middle of the tremendous swings of the market, which are unreal in both ends. […] There are times when markets want to give entrepreneurs almost absurd amounts of capital, and others where the denial is absurd.”
  • His post on Sequoia’s panic is here.
  • Anecdote: The same bank that rejected Martin’s application for a $40,000 job, gave him a $12 million loan to start a company.

I am not a believer in Martin’s latest venture, Fon, that aims at creating a global community of Foneros that share their Wifi bandwidth. Although initially a good idea, with broadband prices falling , including 3G unlimited data plans, few people will be compelled to share Wifi, with the security risks involved, even if Martin claims in his blog that “it costs 85% less [to Operators] to send traffic through WiFi than through 3G.”

Whether Fon succeeds or not, Mr. Varsavsky is no doubt a savvy entrepreneur, and I feel proud we have him in Spain.

Judo and O’Reilly on the Financial Crisis

Tim O’Reilly published yesterday a great post on the current financial crisis. His thoughts are inspiring and an excellent guide on where to focus in times of trouble.

Here is a summary of his main points, most of which are part of an email O’Reilly sent to his employees:

  • Need for robust strategies. Those are needed in good and bad times, but the strategy will be more robust if we prepare for the worst.
  • Rough times are often the best times for creativity, opportunity and change.
  • Great problems are also great opportunities for those who know how to solve them.

After recognizing he does not know how the crisis might affect his company, he advises his employees:

  • Work on stuff that matters. If the world go to hell what would you still work on?
  • Exert visionary leadership. In tough times people look for inspiration and vision.
  • Focus on the “must do” things and accelerate them

Read the entire post including some illustrative examples of how this worked in the past for O’Reilly.

Judo Principles to weather the storm

O’Reilly’s advice is a wise one to sail troubled waters. How about adding the five principles below?

  1. Carefully observe oneself and one’s situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one’s environment.
  2. Seize the initiative in whatever you undertake.
  3. Consider fully, act decisively.
  4. Know when to stop.
  5. Keep to the middle.

I find that Jigoro Kano‘s Five Principles of Judo are also a very valid framework to guide us in good and (specially) in rough times.