If you have a spare half an hour, check out The Verge's series called Small empires; a dive into numerous tech start ups. The striking thing about all of the start ups that they interview is that they have a drive and passion to make their product susccessful and to not be part of a large corporate machine, something a lot of our students feel passionately about as well. The video above is particularly awesome as the founders started straight out of university.
TUESDAY: ED DOWDING- PITCHING AND PRESENTING
Two weeks a go I stumbled across this fantastic article by Rik Lomas and have kept it open in my browser ever since. For us over at Basecamp it promotes exactly the same kind of principles and methodologies that we teach to students day in and day out. I especially loved the article written by Gordan Ramsay that Rik posted. As a chef myself I have seen how you can really learn from so many different sectors and industries and apply the core meaning of what you are doing to almost any business. It's my main argument about lean start up; read between the lines and the book isn't about software iteration, it's about a mindset and methodology concerning listening to your customers!
Make sure you check the article and feel free to tweet your appreciation Rick's way!
What happens if you create a podcast that chronicles how to start up a podcast company? You get HearStartUp.com which creates a weird Inception of a company that has documented all of the struggles that almost every start up goes, and it’s brilliant.
So many questions that I’ve been asked by students are covered by this podcast show and I can’t recommend you listening to it enough. From how to name your company, to how not to pitch to billionaires, the podcast is funny and informative. And for young entrepreneurs that come from Basecamp it shows them that often their struggles are similar to what other people have experienced.
Check it out and make sure you tweet about it if you love it!
This week I had a really interesting meeting with a student who wanted to know how they could break their way into the startup scene by joining a company rather than starting one. Naturally the first point that I brought up in the conversation was that the best way to be noticed by companies, especially small start ups, is to go out and network with the people who run the businesses you’re trying to get back too, however I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to truly answer the question I got back;
“How do I put myself in those situations?”
It’s a question I wasn’t really expecting back and one that in some ways was discussed by a fantastic article I read by Greg Lindsay for the Aspen Ideas Festival concerning “Engineering Serendipity”. To put it in laymans terms engineering serendipity asks; how can you increase creativity and innovation by creating chance meetings between people that may not otherwise meet? In the article Lindsay discusses how disruption to routine and chance meetings that happen by accident have increased productivity rather than hinder it, and that large tech companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google are creating new campuses that are constructed around this idea. Even our own Enterprise Dinner at the University of Bristol is using a seating plan that seats people next to others they are likely to never have met. All of these actions are based on this assumption that we can spark moments of creativity through human interactions, and that through engineering chance encounters we can create innovative moments that we may not have had before.
Gripped on a business idea? Whether it’s a high growth or not for profit, make sure you ask yourself these questions…
1. Is there proven demand for the product/service that I want to sell?
2. Is there a clear value proposition that will make your product unique?
3. Is there a clear way to market through existing channels?
4. Can I leverage online marketing to help grow my business?
5. Can this business become a sellable asset?
6. Is this a business I will find fun and interesting to run today?
7. Is this something I will still be willing to do 4 years from now?