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.

jueves, 27 de abril de 2017

The best way to manage people is to not manage them at all

 “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
  ~ Brené Brown

By @Sofiaqt in Techstars via Mattermark Daily

One of the wonderful things about building a remote company is that you have to learn to reject the urge to control people. Instead, you have to build real trust — trust that can be tested everyday and not break. 
…a team members called Juan types in your internal chat:
“guys I’m going to take a nap and come back later, I didn’t sleep well and have a headache.”
In a typical business setting there would be some sort of freak out, some peers would get offended by Juan somehow being lazy and not pushing through the day, others will keep tabs for the next 1:1 session with Juan, and in other companies Juan would get fired immediately.
Why do we want Juan to be tired at work? Make a bunch of mistakes and have a bad day? Wouldn’t it be easier for Juan to go, take that nap and come back when he is ready?
Most importantly, the team needs to feel confident that Juan will come back at some point, do a superb job and continue doing his thing. 
Productivity for me is to be part of a team I don’t have to control, a team that does more in less time because they are not exhausted, a team that gets involved beyond their job description because they feel good about helping others. 
If your team is driven by learning, by freedom and by achieving a common goal, all you need to do is to provide the best environment for those things to happen. The rest is noise. 
If trust didn’t scale, we all would be dead by now. We need to trust each other to function as a society. In business, you build trust by doing small things well… 
Accountability is an agreement not an imposition. 
Good organizations know how to set boundaries without making people feel caged. Trust is built everyday, with small but frequent reactions and interaction.
It took me many burnouts and failures as a leader to finally understand that the best way to manage people is to not manage them at all.

martes, 25 de abril de 2017

9 Employee Engagement Ideas Your Team Will Love

 by @officevibe

1. Help With Personal Growth
Offer coaching
Offer courses
Encourage development

2. Implement Continuous Feedback
Give feedback
Collect feedback
Act on feedback

3. Make Work Fun
Have fun
Organize team building activities
Plan an event

4. Give Employees A Voice
Have monthly one-on-ones
Give frequent praise
Do frequent surveys

5. Promote Wellness
Give gym passes
Offer healthy food
Encourage mindfulness

6. Live Your Core Values
Hire for culture fit
Preach core values
Optimize onboarding

7. Respect Your Employees
Be flexible
Encourage work-life balance
Give employees autonomy

8. Encourage Experimentation
Set clear goals
Celebrate failure
Practice transparency

9. Build Relationships At Work
Involve everyone
Encourage collaboration
Tell people not to be shy

9 Employee Engagement Ideas Your Team Will Love

lunes, 24 de abril de 2017

Intel Disrupted (by Steve Blank)

Intel Disrupted: Why large companies find it difficult to innovate and what they can do about it

First, companies bought into the false premise that they exist to maximize shareholder value — which said “keep the stock price high.” 
Second, the leaders of these companies tended to be those who excelled at finance, supply chain or production
Third, the reason why companies find it hard to innovate is the explosive shifts in technology, platforms and markets that have occurred in the last 15 years–personal computers moving to mobile devices. 
Fourth, it’s harder for large corporations to offer disruptive breakthroughs… 

Startups have realized that large companies are vulnerable because of the very things that have made them large and profitable: by focusing on maximizing shareholder return, they’ve jettisoned their ability to do disruptive innovation at speed and scale
In contrast, startups operate with speed and urgency, making decisions with incomplete information. They’re better than large companies at identifying customer needs/problems and finding product/market fit by pivoting rapidly. 
Their size lets them adopt flatter and more agile organizational structures while providing incentives that reward risk-taking and collaboration.

Innovation can come from inside the corporation, by adopting Lean Startup language and methods, developing intrapreneurship, and fostering innovation-driving behaviors… 
So to succeed, corporations must re-think and then re-invent their corporate innovation model, replacing a static execution model with three horizons of continuous innovation: This requires a corporate culture, organizational structure, and employee incentives that reward innovation
It requires establishing acceptable risk level and innovation KPIs for each horizon.
And it also requires understanding the differences between executing the existing business model, extending the business model and searching for and disrupting the business model

Lessons Learned
• Even the most innovative companies eventually become yesterdays news
• To survive companies need to run three-horizons of innovation
— Horizon 1 — execute their existing business model(s)
— Horizon 2 — extend their existing business model(s)
And for long-term survival — Horizon 3 — search for and create new/disruptive business model(s)

sábado, 22 de abril de 2017

Necesitamos alternativas a Facebook, la gran 'caja tonta' de internet

Sí, se impone volver a los blogs (y a los sistemas independientes de valoración de contenidos).
Lo ideal sería que las personas construyeran grandes comunidades en línea y participaran en la esfera pública sin permitir que ninguna empresa construya un detallado informe sobre ellas.
¿Por qué hemos conseguido alcanzar lo que a menudo se denomina como la época dorada de la televisión, con sofisticados programas culturalmente influyentes que no suponen un insulto para nuestra inteligencia? No se debe a que las cadenas hayan dejado de emitir porquería. Se debe a que la audiencia está más fragmentada que antes, gracias al auge de la transmisión pública y de la televisión por subscripción y de los servicios de streaming y muchos otros desafíos a las grandes cadenas televisivas.  
MIT Technology Review Necesitamos alternativas a Facebook, la gran 'caja tonta' de internet

La red social está tan presente en los hogares como antaño lo estuvo la televisión, es un increíble éxito financiero y transmite un montón de porquería. Lo importante ahora es analizar los motivos por los que Minow consideraba que el enorme erial de la televisión suponía un problema. 
Minow ya lo tenía claro en 1961: "Creo que la mayoría de los problemas de la televisión nacen de la falta de competencia". Afirmó que estaba ansioso por que se produjera un aumento de los canales disponibles mediante nuevas tecnologías, como frecuencias ultra altas (UHF, por sus siglas en inglés), la televisión de pago y las transmisiones internacionales. Y dijo que intentaría reforzar las cadenas locales que mejor sirvieran a sus respectivas comunidades. El responsable sentenció: "Me preocupa mucho que el poder se concentre en manos de las cadenas". 
Facebook no es una red de ideas. Es una red de personas. Y aunque tiene 2.000 millones de usuarios activos cada mes, uno no puede plantearse empezar a intercambiar opiniones con todos ellos. Como aconseja Facebook, los amigos de Facebook generalmente son personas a las que ya conocemos en la vida real. Este efecto aumenta las probabilidades de que la red social estimule el pensamiento único. 
Uno de los aspectos más interesantes del discurso del "enorme erial" de Minow es que su deseo de aumentar la competencia de la televisión ayudó a inspirar la expansión de las transmisiones públicas en Estados Unidos. Y tal vez sea hora de realizar un esfuerzo similar para apoyar una mayor variedad de redes sociales. 
Puesto que las alternativas no comerciales no necesitan captar tantas datos privados, tendrían más probabilidades de probar nuevas estrategias para estimular las interacciones entre la gente. Tal vez desecharían el modelo del muro que premia el carácter viral más que la importancia. Tal vez algunas dependerían más de algoritmos para servir historias e ideas, mientras que otras dependerían de moderadores humanos para elevar el debate y eliminar los abusos al echar a los troles y eliminar las mentiras.