Nicolas Reflective essay

Use your passion and have a purpose:

There are two types of motivation intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is doing something for your inherent satisfaction while extrinsic is to obtain a separable outcome from your actions (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Both are crucial when you want to achieve a goal and one of those goals for me is starting my own business.  But is not only about been motivated is about the orientation of that motivation and that’s when you need to have a defined purpose.  In my case I had a clear purpose so I quit my job and came here to do my master in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship and its been a great experience because I have that motivation that moves me to do something.

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Even though that first step of really understanding what you want to do is hard, understanding your future customer that’s the big challenge. If you are at this stage I recommend you using the empathy map, a tool that helps you understand your customer’s needs while you get a deeper understanding of that “persona” you are designing for (Dam & Theo, 2017). We start our module with a workshop that shows us the importance of talking to people. Realize the benefits of having a conversation that will lead you to understand your customers (pain, gains, feel, think, hear, do) and this is how we end knowing Patrick. Patrick is a nice guy from Nepal who share with us what is home for him and what he miss from back home. This experience lets us come with different ideas to solve his problem and make him feel like home.

Few week after the introduction workshop I had one of the best lectures where we had a practical exercise where we were assigned a “simple task” go to the toilet in groups of 3 and “do your business”. But the tricky part was that every member of a group has its own roll. There has to be one robot, one blind person, and one deaf-mute. This makes me realize the importance of freedom and also of creativity. Using Teresa Amabile framework  creativity arises when you these 3 components, knowledge, creative thinking and motivation get together. I already talked about motivation that for me is the most important component and now I will talk about the creative thinking component because everyone knows what’s knowledge. The best definition I read for “creative thinking is the ability to persevere trough difficult problems, having comfort disagreeing with others and try solutions that depart from the status Quo.” (Adams, 2005). So creativity is using that motivation like a force to move forward and overcome difficulties and using that knowledge and creative thinking to take decisions that will generate value to your product, service or idea.

 

Pivot or persevere that’s the real question:

During the last 5 months, we had to take many decisions throughout our process but without a doubt the most common and maybe the most important was should we keep going this direction of should we pivot. I have to say after this cycle of decisions I fully understand the implications of design thinking. Using Tim Brown definition design thinking it is “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity” (Brown, 2013). So the next question is how does this work. For that, the next graphic that shows the 3 main iterations: Inspiration, ideation, and implementation. As you can see there isn’t a linear relation between them but is more like a multilinear relation where for every step there are different possibilities converting in in a cycle that will go on and on.

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One of the main principles of the Lean Startup methodology is the validating learning. The validating learning is not another thing that running experiments that allow us to test different hypothesis (The Lean Startup, 2017). So following that methodology we did different experiments, some of them in the prototyping process other in terms of the concept. It was the outcome of this experiments that support our decisions of pivot or make some changes in the concept/product and keep going.

It seems pretty straight forward and it is, the problem is when you put your emotions into play. Killing that “perfect idea” that finally every team member is happy with it is damn hard, and that happened to us. After pivoting our first idea based on high production cost (nothing to do there) we moved forward and find our second idea. This time everything was looking good we got a good prototype for our first Dragons Den having confidence about getting a reasonable  MVP that we can place in the market. We make a high investment in silicon to make some more prototypes and our first production slot. Time pass and even though I tried to convince the group to pivot we keep trying to achieve that final product because most of us really like silicon and we have good feedback about the material from our early adopters. It was until our first fair where we came with an unfinished product that  like a team realized that we need to change our material. In effect, we decide to change the material and in few days we got a great product and we even have time to make what I consider the best packaging of all.

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Go one step forward and look for those opportunities

As many types of research have proven entrepreneurship is something that can be taught. What you cant teach someone is to be passionate about entrepreneurship (Daley, 2017). I totally agree with this definition and as an entrepreneur, if you don’t have that passion you won’t be successful, simply because there will be someone else willing to give more than you. This master have taught me a lot about entrepreneurship and innovation but also this year in London has shown me that is all about that passion.

As I talked in some of my blogs one of the biggest surprises I got by moving here was how many opportunities available are. Don’t get me wrong is a really competitive environment everyone is fighting for one, the good news is that there are plenty of them. All the free conferences, fairs, events are a great example of opportunities in this city. You can have a personal coaching session with a CEO of a company with plenty of experience in one area or go to campus London and meet others entrepreneurs. The opportunities are there so is on us  to go a step forward and look for those opportunities.

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In this process of looking for opportunities, I think as an entrepreneur is important to stop planning and start doing. To make this planning process easiest the lean canvas model is a great tool. The lean canvas is a worksheet that allows you to map your business plan in a fast, concise and portable way (Maurya, 2010). What I like about the lean canvas is that is a simple tool that gives a great understanding of a business.  It takes out all the writing, finance, and other speculations and its center in the key aspects of the business, who are your customers, what’s your value proposition, how are you going to reach your customers and how are you going to make money. If you have all those aspects well define and clear with strong evidence to support then you have all you need to start and move forward to the next step. I have been using this methodology since I learn about it and I am very happy with the results.

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Bet on the jockey not on the horse

Some people say is all about the idea but at the end, all relies on the process.  Before I came here I have to say I was one of those persons thinking the idea is the most important part of the success of your business. It didn’t took me that long to realized that I was wrong. During my first month of class, I read an article about what venture capitalist evaluate to invest money in a startup. An according to an interview with 4 high executives of venture capitalist firms in silicon valley there are to principal things they look in a business opportunity, the team, and the market. They look for a team motivated on what they do, with the knowledge required to manage the company and make it growth (Roberts & Barley, 2004). One week after reading that article in a conference at Campus London the speaker said this phrase that resumes its all “ Bet on the jockey, not on the horse”.

I think we have a very strong team, with a good mixture of creative and business people. I want to thanks each of them for the time and effort put on it. Each of the 4 members has some specific knowledge and strengths that help us during the entire process. All that plus the passion and commitment help us to overcome all the difficult situations. Knowing what the investors are looking when they have to invest their money, and what the market is demanding. I think we have to start investing in ourselves. We have to invest time in our knowledge, create a good network, find an idea that really motivates us so we have the strength to face all the challenges creating a new business demand. So the goal is to try to be a great jockey (manager) so no matter what horse (idea or business) you have to ride you can make it successful. I am happy to say I learn a lot of things during this year and I am not the same person that came the first day to this master. I am a much better jockey with more knowledge and with a clear purpose for the future I want to create my own business and I am working on that fully motivated and ready to face all the challenges to come.

 

 

References

Adams, K. (2005). The sources of innovation and creativity. National center of education and the economy.

Brown, T. (2013). Design Thinking. Harvard Business review.

Daley, J. (2017, March 08). Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made? Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228273

Dam, R., & Theo, S. (2017, March 8). Empathy Map – Why and How to Use It. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/empathy-map-why-and-how-to-use-it

Maurya, A. (2010). Running Lean.

Roberts, M., & Barley, L. (2004). How venture capitalist evaluates potential ventures opportunities. Harvard Business School.

Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions. University of Rochester.

The Lean Startup. (2017, March 08). The Lean Startup. Retrieved from http://theleanstartup.com/principles

 

 

 

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RunEasy

Is only 2 weeks after our first fair where we had a hard time, but now we are back on track with a great product. As mention in my last post, we weren’t able to achieve the product we imagine, that force us to make some fast decisions to be back on track. After the fair, we have 2 possibilities either change our product and do something with silicon or keep our idea and change the material. So as a team we gave 3 days so everybody can think deep about it and come back with our best solution. The days passed and we meet and we all agree that the best idea is to keep the idea and change the material. After deciding the way we want to go we went back to the path we are used to it by now, and that’s it going back to prototyping, talking with people and all the production process. I don’t want to talk about that process so I will just say we manage to do it and know we have our desirable product.

We not only change the material we change the name, the package, and the design, in other words, we change the entire product. We have a better name, the best packaging and a really quality product that solve the problem we want to achieve. RunEasy (our new name) is a neoprene pouch that you attached to your shoe and it completely safe, 100% waterproof and is flexible so you can put any type of key. Being able to achieve this 3 main important benefits is what makes fell confident that the customer will like our product. We change the features of it but the important part is we keep the benefits for the user.

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I want to talk a little more about the packaging because at first it was something that we left like a secondary aspect of the product, but after the first fair and a class of marketing and brand management, we realize how important it was. I am happy to say we have a great packaging now one that people really like it. It not only shows right away to the consumer what our product is about but it became part of our product, at the end people will keep our packaging because they feel attracted to it. In my personal opinion that’s the best achievement we made like a team in this two last weeks, coming from a regular black box to a portable shoe.

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Now that we have our final product with a great name and a kick ass packaging, as a team we can move forward to the rest of the process we were falling behind. We now start our social media campaign both in twitter and Instagram. We made our video and photo shooting this week as well so you will soon see great stuff on our social media channels.

It feels really good to have something you can approach people to sell and feel confident about it. From now own we will have a different experience like a team. Now is more about  selling it to people and being able to reach our early adopters and for that today class was really useful. As I mention before is not about the features we have is about the benefits the costumers gets by using our product. Every person is different so we will need to try to understand them and approach them in a different way. I am excited to talk about our sales experience in the next post. Now before leaving I want to share with you our social media channels so you can start following us so we can be in touch with you.

Twitter: @runeasy1

Instagram: runruneasy

 

Dont forget to follow us

You run no worries.

 

Is fair time

After Dragons Den the next big step was our first trade fair. As mention before we have a great performance in our Pitch with the Dragons what proof us that we were on the right track. As a team, we were happy with our result but we want to keep it up with that enthusiasm. We all went for some deserve holidays and came back for this new year with the responsibility of transforming our silicon prototype to a final product.

The first step for this was going back to the lab again. This time we knew the production process and what we want to achieve. So we have a prototyping session where we play with different molds, different shapes, sizes and others. The result was a much promising product reason which we decide to choose our best prototype and produce it for the fair. Time was running and after all our prototype test we have one week to produce our product for the fair. So we decide to prioritize the production part and went to produce a dozen of them. Time passed and it was fair day and but that day in the morning putting our stand we realize that we won’t sell any product that day.

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The reason is simple in our entire production process we only focus on one material silicon. We like it so much that we weren’t able to realize that we won’t achieve a final saleable product. To get a final end product we will need machine we don’t have access. Standing there for 5 hours without been able to sell a product or transmit our idea in the way we wanted was a difficult moment for the team. We are really confident that we have a great idea and a great team so we didn’t expect this. True is that it was a hard moment but it gave us a lot of customer feedback and make us realize we have to change material and also focus more on our marketing area.

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After one week of our fair, I think our main problem was focusing only on our product. When we could realize that we won’t be able to have our product for that day. Instead of that we could focus on having a better stand presentation, show the customers how is our product going to look. I didn’t mention but some of the people that came to talk to us share that they have a problem with their keys while running and that they will be interested in checking our final product.

At the end is exactly this experience that will help us the moment we want to start our own business. Every company faces problems but what really make the difference is how you approach and solve them. We are full of enthusiasm to make the changes and get the product in the quality we want so we can start to fill all those shoes with runeys.

The great city of London

If there is one right decision I make for this year of study was coming to London. For me, it was pretty easy to decide, I want an English speaking country that will challenge my English skill and I want to leave in a place that offers me opportunities. I am not a fan of US culture so the decision end being between London or Melbourne and what a great decision was choosing London.

I been in London before, but for tourism and since the first moment I like the city. I knew that my year at London will be great. But after 4 months of leaving here is not the things I experience like a tourist that support my statement(the great city of London), is something different that I just realize by leaving here. That “something” I call it as the City of opportunities. If you remember that I am doing my master in Innovation management and Entrepreneurship that’s exactly what you are looking for.dsc_0172_1485192955286

I came to this master with some business ideas to implement in Ecuador country that I have lived all my life.  I like to think that the ideas are quite smart but they end being very limited ideas to the Ecuadorian Market.  After my first month in London, I start to think different I was touch by this city rhythm. I always been the type of person that want to know what’s going on in every city and I found out two basic lessons and want to share with you. The fist one is you need to plan in advance and I don’t mean 3 days I mean 1 to 3 months in advance and if that not enough even though you have your tickets you always need to queue, seems like British love to do that. But this is not the one I want to talk about. I want to talk about the second one that is there is always something going on and guess what many of the events are free.

So after I realize that I start to go to those events I started in Campus London for a Venture capital talk. It was a great experience you have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs like you that are trying to take forward their ideas.  After that great experience, I got more involved with it and start to attend many others, went to a startup fair, yoga lessons, adventure travel show and some more. As you can see there is something for everybody,  it depends on you to take those opportunities. I forget to mention not only these events are free but as part of some of this events, you have the opportunity to book one to one mentoring sessions where people from with a lot of experience in the field advice you on what to do next.

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Attendings to all these events have given me a lot of new ideas, and this time is not only about Ecuador is about the world that every day is more accessible to everyone. However, is not only about getting new ideas is about learning new things, creating a valuable network and most important taking advantage of this opportunities and getting the best of it. I always say that London is not a friendly city if you compare to cities like Madrid, Melbourne, Rome, etc but is the city that has it all. It depends on you to take advantage of it, if you have a particular interest (music, art, sports, etc) look for events about it and go to them.  Nevertheless, if you are planning to start your own business is something you MUST do it. Is truth most of ideas don’t succeed but the import part is to take all the advantage you can from a city like this and given a try. If you don’t make it at least you know that you try it and you will enjoy the process of it because is a great one to go throw.

Go give it a try and squeeze all the opportunities London has to offer you.

 

PD: Here are some links of pages where you can look for events, hope you find them useful.

https://www.campus.co/london/en/events

https://www.enterprisenation.com/events

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/

http://olympia.london/whatson

Is Dragons Den time.

As I mentioned in my last post it was a long way to get our idea/ product, our lovely Runeys. Today I will tell you about the famous “Dragons Den”. It was our last week of class and we have to prepare our presentation for the 10 of December and we have to make our first pitch. We have our silicon prototype, all our canvas, all the information gather from our conversations with different people but now we have to summarize all that in 5 minutes convincing pitching. Even though all of us have done some public presentations before none of us have experienced a Dragons Den pitching. We were confident about our product because all the previous work we have done and all the feedback we receive from talking to people. But a perfect pitching requires more that just confident and knowing the subject.

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We have our first meeting where we define what is everyone going to present, which are the potential questions we can have and how will we respond to them.  In that meeting, we agree the most difficult part will be to stick with the 5 minutes limit. For that, we suggest everyone rehearsal their  1:15 minutes presentation and we meet the next day to practice the whole presentation. We met next day and the rehearsal was good everyone knew their part and we were doing it in the 5 minutes time. After being confident about our pitching we have to decide how are we going to present. Should we dress formal or present in sports clothes that are related to our product. We went for the last one and everyone has to be dress like we go running.

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So the day came it was 10 of December, we decide to meet one hour before the class start just to make a final rehearsal and be together. I went to the room we agree to meet in and saw Tim and Nika, we were only waiting for Kirsty. I ask Nika if she knows where Kirsty is and she told me she just receives a message from her that she is feeling sick and is puking on the toilet. Well, that was not a great news to start our day, we decide to wait for her 10 more minutes to see how she was feeling. She came out and she was really ill. She told us she wants to do it but like a group we decide she need to rest and that we will present her part. So  Kirsty left home and Nika said she will present her part, so we practice one time with Nika saying Kirsty speech and it was time to go.

We went to the class to meet the rest of the groups, the atmosphere was full of nerves. Until that moment most of the groups didn’t know what the other groups were doing so there was a lot of curiosity and nerves for the pitching.  It was funny to see all the class dress formal for the presentation. Talking about that I have to said the two persons that win the price were Luka (dress like  Albanian Model) and Karim (dress like the mafia). Leaving that funny fact behind the presentations started and we were last so we have to wait until the end. All previous groups were doing a great job, and the jury was making a lot of questions. Every judge had a different background so there were giving different points of view in a constructive manner.

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Finally is was show time, we went to the stage and did our pitching, that I have to admit is was good. After that was time for the questions, somewhat we didn’t receive much what shows that we explain quite clear our product and service. Some points where mentions that will help us to improve our product and the way we sell it.  Dragons Den was finished and we felt very happy with our performance, so we make Kirsty know about it and also ask how was she feeling. To end the night and a great semester we went with all the class to the pub to get a beer, and us all of you know is never one beer but the story about that night is subject of another post.  So now is time to take all the feedback and start producing our products for our first fair the 26 of January, hope I can see you there and be one of our first customers.

 

 

Habemus Runeys

After three months of an intense but pleasant experience, we can say we have our product “Runeys”. Runeys helps runner and walkers who want a safe place to put their keys and valuables while running or walking by providing a product which allows the keys to be attached to the individuals shoe, keeping the keys safe, providing comfort and securely unlike the Nike Running Shoe Wallet the aesthetic and material properties make our product more desirable and secure.

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In this case, I want to tell you more about the process itself than the idea, which I will talk more in detail in my future posts. Someone said “is not about the idea is about the execution” and I think this really apply to our company. The first big problem you face like a team is finding the “million dollar idea” and after one week trying to figure it out, you realize that for the purpose of this project we need something simple. Something we can produce and sell in 3 months and with a 1.000 pounds investment.  These constraints force us to eliminate a big amount of our ideas and the next issue was “we don’t want to create something that simple neither”.  So we decide like a team look for more ideas but this time they must be related to something we all like and that was traveling and sports.

It was brainstorming time and we started pitching our ideas to the rest of the team. During this meeting, you can see all of us more enthusiastic about the ideas because it was related to things we know and like to do. This is how we came with our first idea  “YourTravel”, that was a series of light, compact, connectable containers they can put their cosmetics in while Travelling.  It looks like a pretty simple product to make, not much technology involve on it. So we start to talk with people, we did some great 3D prototypes and we were very happy like a team. So we keep going forward with the process talk with more people see what they think about it, did all types of canvas and everything was in place. The next step was start looking for companies that can manufacture our product and define our production cost and selling price, yet here is where the problem appear.  We call some manufacturers and they were asking around 5.000  to 10,000 for the mold and at leats 100.000 units, so it was time to let our great idea go.

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Based on the last events an emergency meeting was call and we have to define our new idea. We came with more ideas but the one we like the most was our second option from previous discussions. We start to talk in more detail about it and it took as few minutes to realize that we will have the same production problem with it. This previous problem helps us to look for different options to solve the problem and that is how we came with the pocket shoe. To be honest, my first impression was, I like the problem we are solving but I am not sure if our product is the solution. So what better way to clear that doubt than going and talk with people.

We went to talk with people, and most of then have the same problem what gives us a strong evidence that there was room for a solution. Additionally, a lot of them also find our solution really practical and convenient, so this information gave us the necessary input to proceed with our prototype phase and gave me the confident to trust the idea that now I believe is a great product. So for the prototype, we start doing some drawings and play with some materials to get a prototype we can show people and have feedback. After the feedback, we knew what people are looking but not the way to achieve that. We were discussing how can we do it and the process we need for it. However, it was not until we decide to go to the lab and start playing around that we came with our silicon prototype.

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Like I mention before is not only about the idea is the process that gives value to your product and the way we do it will determinate the success of it. The entire process from discussing ideas like a group, to talking with people and prototyping gave us a clear idea of what are our value proposition and how can we reach our market. During our pitching in Dragons Den beside our idea, it was our entire process that makes the judges confident about our idea. It was a great experience pitched for the first time, it gave us energy and confidence to move forward and make Runeys the best product. Now that we have our idea is time to produce it and sell it. Hope you will be one of our first customers and run free with no worries with our Runyes.

 

 

 

 

Prototyping ideas:

Guess is reading week and I have classes. Sound weird, well like part of our course we have a two-day workshop about prototyping.  It started on Tuesday where we had a more theoretical class and finished on Friday where we when to Fablab to create our prototype.  Tuesday was a class where we discussed some theory related to the process of prototype. The main point was how to create an MVP (Minimum valuable product), why the importance of this MVP in our process.  I think it was really useful to understand you don’t need to come with the final product. It could be too expensive in a process where you don’t have too many recourses.  However this MVP will constantly change every time you add a feature to it adding value, but you don’t have to wait until you have all that features, you can start with your MVP.

After talking about all the theory of the MVP, we needed to find an idea that goes with the values and objectives of the UnlimitedLab ( the company that hires us for these two days). The 3 aspects we have to achieve with this idea where: reduce waste, do it yourself (DIY) and that has to be a furniture object. Well with our creative group we start to think about ideas and I had to tell you ,all kinds of crazy ideas came to the table. In fact, one of our final products was a dog bowl made from an old toilet. Doesn’t sound good, but I promise we were going to make it awesome. Well sadly we decide to change the idea and we went for a bean bag that you fill it with recycled material and that you attach your old toys on it (example your favorite teddy). We create our MVP canvas and we were really confident about our idea, who wouldn’t  like to create a bean bag with their teddies, we have a very strong market. So Tuesday was gone and we have to prepare ourselves for Friday where we will create our bean bag prototype.

For Friday we went to Fablab, where before making our prototypes we had some induction in laser cut and 3D printing. That was great, I have used before some laser cut, but never a 3D printing so I was very excited. The induction was cool, we learned all the things you can do with both machines and how to use it. After all the induction, it was time for lunch to get energies to prototype our ideas. It was not the first time we have to prototype for this class, but it was the first one we had to actually create something, our product (MVP) and show how it work. Before this experience, we prototype some impressive ideas, apps, some shoes, but none of them were an actual MVP, and I tell you this because for me that was the main difference in this experience.

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So for our prototype, we bring some teddies ( 3 penguins and 1 cow ) that will represent the customer toys and we use some socks to make our bean bag. We were very excited about it, so Nika started to sew  all the socks to form a “big”  bean bag. While Kirsty and I were carefully taking out all the fluffy material inside the toys.  If you see us you could get a bad impression of us enjoying cutting this animal, but it was pure professional work for our class. After that, we filled the sock with the material and we attach the penguins and the cow on it.That was our MVP, but we instantly felt that we were missing something it wasn’t as impressive as we imagine. So we think  giving value to the product by making a great packaging. We got a really good model, but it didn’t achieve any specific purpose, we will only do it to make more fancy our product. So we decide not to do it because it will end like waste something we should try to reduce.

Like you can notice we didn’t achieve a great product in this workshop, but I found it very useful. We could spend some more ours talking about this idea that on paper looks great, but by prototyping, we realize that it was not  a good idea. Or at least we were not targeting  the correct way because teddy bears are in fact big market but our product wouldn’t sell. The lesson I got from this experience is the importance of prototyping your ideas, where the process of doing it will tell you if is as good as you thought or where can you make some changes to make it more attractive.

Like the Rolling Stones song: Start … up

During the last 6 weeks, if there is a word I hear every time is start-up (not start me up like the song). I think there is an obvious answer for that and is “Nicolas, you are in an Innovation management and entrepreneurship master”. I have  been talking about start-ups during all this blog, the last post I mention about the conference in google campus and how London is the ideal place to get involved in the start-up world.  The best definition for this term is the one Neil Blumenthal gives “A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed,” Today I want to share with you to experience from last week that connects  each other in a particular way. These two things are the lean Canvas Model and the Start-up job fair.

 

Our last class was about business Model Canvas. For me wasn’t something new, I knew about this model, I used a few times in university, and we have been talking about it in our different classes. Why is it so popular ? Well is a simple way to map your entire business, that makes very easy to understand your business model to the investor and also makes you like an entrepreneur get a clear vision of what do you want to do and how will you do it. I want to focus on how beneficial is for us the entrepreneurs, like part of the main process of starting your business.  How can 9 simple boxes be that useful in your business process ? Well, this tool will help you define your business idea and map it in the right way. We normally start looking for a great idea, thinking subconsciously that if is good you will have a successful business. But creating a successful start-up require more than a “great idea”. I will say most of the failures are not about the idea, but the wrong direction you gave to your idea. So being able to connect this 9 boxes in a way everything makes sense and show your idea has potential will show you the right direction. You may have a good idea with strong value propositions, but if you are targeting the product to the wrong customer’s with the wrong revenue strategy,  you will fail.

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Being a simple model to use doesn’t mean is easy to do it. For getting a good outcome of it, you have to do a lot of research and all the necessary information so you can fill every block with accurate information. Fox example to define your customer’s segments, you have to understand what type of people are they, what’s matter for them, what are their customs,how much are they willing to pay,will you be solving a big problem for them, or your value propositions are more relevant to other customers. With this information, you have a clear starting point and you will move to the next box, and you will do this for the 9 subjects. Even though I did some Canvas models before this time was different. Basically, because this time I was doing for my own idea and  filling each box with specific information wasn’t easy. In this process of mapping, the  model you want for your business is when Lean Canvas is more useful because of the model change some boxes from the regular model making it practical for someone that is starting their business.

 

The second part I want to talk you about is the start-up job fair. This was a small fair where 30 start-up companies were looking for people that want to work with them because they were expanding their business. I have to say campus London knows how to do these things, it was a great event. I went to the fair, not with the objective of getting a job but looking to get more involved in the start-up world.  I want to see what type of companies  are there, what is the idea they have, what kind of people they are looking to work with and a little of everything, it was a small market research useful for all my modules.

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How these two things are connected, well I  approached different start-ups and talk about their company. I was looking to get  some information about the company, understand what they do, what is their objective and the main points of conversation were: what does your company do (what’s the problem you are solving and the solution you offer, according to your value propositions), which are your customers how many do you have so far (customers segments/early adopters), how do you get money (revenue streams) and some other question. The point is if you read the information I put in each parenthesis you will see I was asking them about their company  and we  end talking  about the 9 blocks of the canvas model.

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This was a great way of getting a practical use of this model. They were not showing the model itself ,but you can see that they have clearly  identified  all of the 9 parts of their model and they know where they want to go. I will give two examples that demonstrate how they identify their model. The first one is a company call Touch Surgery that offers an app that enables surgeons to practice complex surgical procedures before the actual operation. Offering a top learning app I thought the main customer could be doctors or universities, but those are their users, the main customers are medical machine companies that pay them to show what types of procedures you can do with their high tech equipment. The second example is a company call FlatClub, specialized in helping people finding the right accommodation.  Because their product initially was meant to be like Airbnb they change their target market and now they offer a medium-term service for corporations that contract people from all parts of the world and need a place to stay.

 

Finally here are a small ranking of the start-ups I found most interesting:

High potential growth:

1 Touch Surgery: The surgical procedures app.

2 Depop: the next generation of e-commerce

3 Quiqup: They pick anything you want and deliver wherever you are.

 

Best ideas:

1 BorrowMyDoggy: Match dog owners and borrowers for local walks.

2 Localistico: Make local business easier to find online.

Bet on the hockey, not on the horse.

This week I went to google campus here in London. It was the first time I was attending this type of events, because back home (Ecuador) they don’t have it. The conference was about getting funding for your start-up, almost a requirement for anyone who wants to start its own company. I was a 5-hour conference where they talk about business Angeles, venture capitals, intellectual property and technology costs.

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So I arrived at the office and the first thing I saw was “Welcome come start something”. It was a great sign to motivate all the people that were attending the conference. After that, we went to the event room and the first speakers started to talk about entrepreneurship and what are the most important aspect to be a good entrepreneur. The differents ways of getting investment and how to prepare for convincing that investor putting money in your idea or company. During the conference, he asked how many of you have a start-up, and 85% of the people raise their hand. That make me realize I was surrounded by entrepreneurs and the importance of London in the start-up world. Definitely, this is the place for me, and taking advantage of all these resources will be a great help during my process.

 

20161019_125837.jpgThe second speaker talked about intellectual property, what are the basic things you must do to secure your idea, and also what’s things won’t be useful and can cost you a lot of money.  He gave some examples of what can you patent and what not. Besides all the practical information about IP, what I found the best tip was the company or more specific the product name. He said don’t use something generic because you won’t be able to patent and other companies will use it. In other words, give yourself some time to create a brand that will stay in the consumer’s memory and that your competitors can’t use.

The third and last speaker talked about technology cost. He gave some examples of the cost of creating a website and mobile application and how they vary depending on the country. The numbers were clear, creating something in the UK cost more than 3 times than Asia or East Europe.  But the numbers are not the only thing that matters if you outsource then you will face some challenges with the communications and the quality of the product. At the end, it all depends on the way ourselves like entrepreneurs manage it.

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I can talk more about all the details of the conference, but I want to share with you what I consider the best lesson from a good conference. Like the title of this post says “Bet on the jockey, and not on the horse”. What is the meaning of this ? Well in the start-up world the hockey is the founder and manager of the company and the horse is the idea. The general thinking will be if you have a great idea (the best horse), the manager (jockey) is secondary. Well in the start-up world the investors give more importance to the manager than the idea. They evaluate the idea in detail, and of course is very important, they won’t invest in an idea that doesn’t have a big potential.  But they look more on the manager of the company and his skills. Evaluating if he will be able to take the company and the idea to the next level.  You may not have the best idea, but with a great manager and good investment partners, you can have a successful business.

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Saying what the investors are looking when they have to invest their money, and what the market is demanding, I think we have to start investing in ourselves. We have to invest time in our knowledge, create a good network , find an idea that really motivates us so we have the strength to face all the challenges in creating a new business demand. So the goal is to try to be a great jockey (manager) so no matter what horse (idea or business) you have to ride you can make it successful.

I wish I can fly.

Which is your favorite inventor ?

I think about this during this weekend because at first, I didn’t have one, and now I will tell you that mine are the Wright brothers. For two main reasons the first one, because thanks to them, we can fly now and I can do what I like the most that is traveling. Thanks to them, I been in places far far away experience different cultures. But that is a really personal reason, in a creative way I chose them because they create a machine that let us fly, something that years before  was beyond imagination. They not only create the plane, but they spread aviation around the world. They have  the creative and innovating side, but they also knew the commercial and management side, making it an innovation and not only a creation.

 

Here are some short videos, really interesting that talk about this great invention.