viernes, 19 de mayo de 2017

Spanish entrepreneur ecosystem is Great Again

and that's even without coming to Valencia… imagine if they did!!

daphni newsletter: what daphni has learnt about Spanish Ecosystem and must-reads of the week

After not having been there in 7 years, I almost didn’t recognize Madrid: Streets were busier, the food tastier, the sky bluer than ever between the ochre walls of la Plaza Mayor. Even the posh Salamanca looked funky. And I don’t want to mention the startups there.

Trying to rationalize my romantic surge, I took a look at the figures. Spain is recovering fast. In 2015, investors injected $664 million in Spanish startups, versus $363 in 2014. Between 2015 and 2016, the average ticket jumped from $250k to $650k. Even if Spain is still lagging behind the UK, Germany or France, it is growing much faster than them.

The 3 key takeaways from our May trip

 - Everybody is “capital efficient”. We heard it more than once, both from the entrepreneurs and VCs. Understand that Spain has known a long decade of cash scarcity, with smaller funds, pale corporates and a bloodless consumer market. In that context, each euro counts, and both founders and investors are particularly picky when spending their money. This great quality could yet dampen their enthusiasm to tackle big I&D projects or mass consumer markets. Get lean or die tryin’.

- Spain first. All the Spanish VCs and CEOs we met welcomed us warmly, with no exception. They were glad to learn more about us and seemed very open to host French co-investment to feed their champions. Regarding the reciprocal flow, we felt that France was not their top priority, coming well after Latin America, UK and Germany. For now :)

- The difference between Madrid and Barcelona. Using the most refined and secret due diligence and interview processes, we finally hacked THE question. Long story short: Barcelona is more internationally talented and focused with a strong sweet spot on BtoC ventures and tourism, while Madrid is open to Spain and Latin America and cherishes the relationships with corporates.

 We give a special thanks to all the VCs, angels and entrepreneurs who brilliantly welcomed us during the trip :)

martes, 16 de mayo de 2017

Co-workers and makers: New public policies and corporate strategies for the city

LSE Business Review – Co-workers and makers: New public policies and corporate strategies for the city

Our seven propositions to make communities more open, sustainable and inclusive:
  1. More emphasis should be put on ‘infra-organisations’i.e. transparent platforms designed for independent entities to share identity and governance.‘Infra-organisations’ provide infrastructural services without searching for the increasing returns likely to lead to a monopoly (Google). They benefit both citizens and entrepreneurs. The growth of each sub-unit is limited to the governance can remain highly collaborative. Framasoft in France best illustrates this new trend;
  2. An ‘inclusive label’ could be organised by collaborative communities and collaborative movements themselves: the label would work like a brand to signal a product’s social and ethical quality (respect for the rights of workers and the environment) and be operated by a combination of public and private structures;
  3. Mega-spaces could be opened in all cities to let expressions of creativity flourish: collaborative spaces can coordinate broader movements. The whole city could periodically be turned into an urban-planning ‘hackathon’ to mobilise a diverse set of individuals from a given area. Such involvement can strengthen the social fabric of a territory.
  4. Academic presence in the city should be reinvented towards more urban and rural mobility. Academics could be made to serve and spread knowledge geographically and socially. Collaborative spaces can serve their mobility;
  5. Ephemeral labs could be multiplied and supported by public authorities and private companies. Mobile labs or maker spaces can help revive rural areas and connect isolated communities together;
  6. Open innovation should be made more open. Innovation involves numerous external and internal stakeholders. Why not push open innovation initiatives in the space of the city itself (e.g. with fablab trucks)?;
  7. Finally, better global digital infrastructures should be developed for coworkers, remote workers, and nomads, which requires the support of public policies, at the national and EU levels.

sábado, 13 de mayo de 2017

Innovation, Change, and the Rest of Your Life (Steve Blank)

 As we’ll see, information does not mean experience, maturity or wisdom.
Reading about, hearing about, and learning about how to build a successful company is not the same as having done it. 

Innovation, Change, and the Rest of Your Life –

Silicon Valley emerged by the serendipitous intersection of:
  • Cold War research in microwaves and electronics at Stanford University,
  • a Stanford Dean of Engineering who encouraged startup culture over pure academic research,
  • Cold War military and intelligence funding driving microwave and military products for the defense industry in the 1950’s,
  • a single Bell Labs researcher deciding to start his semiconductor company next to Stanford in the 1950’s which led to
  • the wave of semiconductor startups in the 1960’s/70’s,
  • the emergence of Venture Capital as a professional industry,
  • the personal computer revolution in 1980’s,
  • the rise of the Internet in the 1990’s and finally
  • the wave of internet commerce applications in the first decade of the 21st century.
  • The flood of risk capital into startups at a size and scale that was not only unimaginable at its start, but in the middle of the 20th century would have seemed laughable.

What we’re now seeing is The Democratization of Entrepreneurship. What’s happening today is something more profound than a change in technology. What’s happening is that these seven limits to startups and innovation have been removed:
  1. Consumer Internet and Genomics are Driving Innovation at scale.
  2. We’re now Compressing the Product Development Cycle.
  3. Founders Need to Run the Company Longer.
  4. You can start a company on your laptop For Thousands Rather than Millions of Dollars.
  5. The New Structure of how startups get funded.
  6. Starting a Company means you no longer Act Like A Big Company.
  7. The last one and perhaps the most profound and one students graduating today don’t even recognize is this — Information is everywhere. 

The Entrepreneurial Singularity
Revolutions are not obvious when they happen. When James Watt started the industrial revolution with the steam engine in 1775 no one said, “This is the day everything changes.” When Karl Benz drove around Mannheim in 1885, no one said, “There will be 500 million of these driving around in a century.” And certainly in 1958 when Noyce and Kilby invented the integrated circuit, the idea of a quintillion (10 to the 18th) transistors being produced each year seemed ludicrous. 
We may remember this as the time when scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs were integrated into the fabric of society faster than they had ever been before. When the speed of how businesses operated changed forever. 
We may remember it as the time when we reinvented the economy and GDP began to take off and the world reached a level of wealth never seen before. It may be the dawn of a new era for a new economy built on entrepreneurship and innovation.

martes, 9 de mayo de 2017

Ooooh...that founder narrative

 by @asanwal in CB insights newsletter.

The idea that tech startup founders take a bunch of financial risk when starting up is on average pretty BS. It's generally manufactured cuz it's great for PR.

Let's understand the risk.  

  1. Most are highly employable if their startup doesn't work out
  2. The reality is that many are middle-class or better
  3. If they raise money, they're taking a salary (even if modest) as well
  4. Many have families/spouses who bring insurance, paychecks, financial support, etc
This is not roughing it despite the stories they tell when trying to get press for their startup.

I'm not saying it's easy, but this whole "we burned the ships. There was no turning back" narrative is kinda horse-isht.

If you dig into the background of founders who say this, more often than not, they've got a safety net.

Heck, a lot of them raise from friends & family so it's clear their families have some discretionary dinero lying around. (BTW, I'm not talking about the 0.1% of people whose parents take a 2nd mortgage out to pay for their kid's startup. That's just dumb.)

Again, I'm not saying the startup life is easy or some folks don't struggle significantly financially. I'm talking on average.

The problem with this "woe is me, I took all this risk" narrative besides it being false for the purposes of PR is it makes people think their success is due to them and doesn't give credit to luck or other advantages. It's tiresome and dangerous.

If you're truly living hand-to-mouth, a tech startup is prob the last thing you build. You'd want a cash flow generating business. Not on-demand laundry.

BTW, tech startups are socioeconomically, a middle, upper-middle, and upper-class game. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

lunes, 1 de mayo de 2017

Why Companies Are Not Startups, by Steve Blank

 The Enterprise: Business Model Execution

Why Companies Are Not Startups – Startup Grind – Medium

an enterprise is:
A company is a permanent organization designed to execute a repeatable and scalable business model.
Once you understand that existing companies are designed to execute then you can see why they have a hard time with continuous and disruptive innovation.

Driven by Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and Processes
Once the business model is known, the company organizes around that goal and measures efforts to reach the goal, and seeks the most efficient ways to reach the goal.
Paradoxically, these very KPIs and processes, which make companies efficient, are the root cause of corporations’ inability to be agile, responsive innovators.

The goals for public companies are driven primarily by financial Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).
A consequence of using these corporate finance metrics like RONA and IRR is that it‘s a lot easier to get these numbers to look great by:
Outsourcing everything.
Getting assets off the balance sheet.
Only investing in things that pay off fast.

HR Process
The incentive system for a company focused on execution is driven by the goal of meeting and exceeding “the (quarterly/yearly) plan.”

What Does this Mean?
Every time another execution process is added, corporate innovation dies a little more.
Innovation is chaotic, messy and uncertain. It needs radically different tools for measurement and control. It needs the tools and processes pioneered in Lean Startups.

What to do
Because internal culture applies execution measures/performance indicators to the output of these incubators and allocates resources to them same way as to executing parts of company.
Corporations that want to build continuous innovation realize that innovation happens not by exception but as integral to all parts of the corporation.
To do so they will realize that a company needs innovation KPI’s, policies, processes and incentives. (Our Investment Readiness Level is just one of those metrics.)

Lessons Learned

  • Innovation inside of an existing company is much harder than a startup
  • KPI’s and processes are the root cause of corporations’ inability to be agile and responsive innovators
  • Every time another execution process is added, corporate innovation dies a little more
  • Intellectually companies understand innovation, they don’t have the tools to put it into practice
  • Companies need different policies, procedures and incentives designed for innovation
  • Currently the data we use for execution models the past
  • Innovation metrics need to be predictive for the future
  • These tools and practices are coming…

Joined Airbnb at 52, What I Learned About Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry

 being an intern publicly and a mentor privately was essential 
intergenerational learning is especially important to Boomers, as we are likely to live 10 years longer than our parents, yet power in a digital society has moved 10 years younger. This means Boomers could experience 20 additional years of irrelevance and obsolescence. 
I Joined Airbnb at 52, and Here’s What I Learned About Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry

A growing number of people feel like an old carton of milk, with an expiration date stamped on their wrinkled foreheads. One paradox of our time is that Baby Boomers enjoy better health than ever, remain young and stay in the workplace longer, but feel less and less relevant. They worry, justifiably, that bosses or potential employers may see their age more as liability than asset. Especially in the tech industry. 
And yet we workers “of a certain age” are less like a carton of milk and more like a bottle of fine wine — especially now, in the digital era. The tech sector, which has become as famous for toxic company cultures as for innovation, and as well-known for human resource headaches as for hoodie-wearing CEOs, could use a little of the mellowness and wisdom that comes with age. 
Often I would leave a meeting and discreetly ask one of my fellow leaders, who might be two decades younger than I was, if they were open to some private feedback on how to read the emotions in the room, or the motivations of a particular engineer, a little more effectively.

“I’ll offer you some emotional intelligence for your digital intelligence.”

I realized that we expect young digital-era leaders to miraculously embody relationship wisdoms, with very little training, that we elders had twice as long to learn. 
a lot of “why” and “what if” questions, forsaking the “what” and “how” questions on which most senior leaders focus 
beginner’s mind helped us see our blind spots a little better, as it was free of expert habits 
Boomers and Millennials have a lot to offer, and learn from, each other. Enter the “Modern Elder,” who serves and learns, as both mentor and intern, and relishes being both student and sage.