Friday, May 23, 2008

Ivans Advice to the Entrepeneurs at Cebit 08:-

Focus on the P’s of the Entrepeneur

Passion
Pitch – Invest in getting your elevator 30 second pitch right – have a pitch for every occasion – for an investor , for a customer and for a potential employee – as an entrepreneur , you are constantly selling!!
People – Hire slow and fire fast – focus on the best people. Make sure you look after them , take them for lunch, communicate with them , show them that you care – it’s the little things that count. Founders are generally technically oriented – know when to change the guard – example eway Tony Mcgrath – has built his business to 20 people… both founders were techos – 6 months ago hired a sales and marketing team – and sales have gone crazy!!
Customer focused and Sales and Marketing is key – Jason said that Customer Service is important for all in organization to get involved in as this is free focus groups… be on same wavelength as your customers. Develop relationships with them .
Planning – is key – with knowledge of where you are in the business cycle –
Penossa – make sure you have enough cash to fund your growth – growth = cash burn – if you cannot afford organic growth – make sure you have a group who has deep pockets who are supporting you or you will get crunched… cash flow cash flow cash flow!!
Point of Difference – is key – why are you different from the competition – why are you going to hit the home run!
Persistance and staying focused – keep going (however , ensure that when climbing the ladder – you are climbing up the right wall! (also know when to quit!!)
Network Network Network – develop relationship with advocates of your product, networked groups, consultants, advisors – they will help you inject your business into the ecosystem – get them to buy into your dream
Don’t be scared of giving your investors a great return on their investment . If you do this , they will invest in you again and again.
Always try to climb on the back of giants – align with organizations that will make you look bigger than you are

focus or fail - Mick Liubinskas Pollenizer cebit 08

Mick Liubinskas - Pollenizer Helps companies with there technical strategies and then gets involved and implements them!

1 in 100,000 companies will hit that home run - to do that - one of the key things is to be laser focussed

kazaa millions of downloads... but failed because of no focus. too many distractions, 300m downloads, millions of users - but underachieved
facebook facebook - 3 features, 20,000 people - very focussed

there is ++ competition - to be succesful - you need to have laser focus - or get crunched by the competition

customers like the fact that you are laser focussed
there are 3 things that get you focussed -
sacrifice, sequence and focus on the core vs the crap

sacrifices - there are many choices - rather be narrow and deep vs wide and shallow

example - Atlassian - being laser focussed - created a big business in a target area.

2. Get Sequences right -

1. University
2. Lots of Universities
3. Highschools
4. Workplace

Booking angel - pay per booking 0 initially focussing on one market - restaurants
Martian Logic - initially focussing on recruitment companies

social business
1. individual value (wifm)
2. group value
3. community value

If too many balls in the air - too busy juggling than focussing on your core strength and making that happen

Get your core utility right - the absolute must have - get this cranking and you will win
then the support
outer circle mostly crap - but where ++ money is spent

How to Focus:-

1. Know your purpose
guy kawasaki - know your meaning - what you are about

2. test test test test

3. patience and persistance - keep turning the crank and don't give up.

Jason Calacanis on Entrepeneurship cebit 08

JASON CALACANIS – Founder and CEO of Mahalo.com (Sequoia Capital Adviser
Mahalo.com is a human powered search engine focused on search terms including travel, products, news , entertainment, sports, food and health. Cofounderd Weblogs Inc that he sold to AOL in Nov 2005, then GM of AOL’s netscape… strong insight into the internet calls a spade a shovel…

Jason spoke about the need to only hire excellent if you are to succeed… hire the good is not enough. The beta between average and good is too small.

Hire slow and fire fast!! Get rif of “the bad people culture”
Hiring exceptional people lowers the management burden so they can then focus on the strategic.

Customer support is key as this is a free focus group. Jason makes himself available 24/7- that is how he learns what his customers are thinking.

Jason gave an excellent Ying and Yang description of the Internet:-

– An entrepreneur is not paranoid – he is strategic. People ARE after your market share and your demise. Develop strategies to prevent this

– An entrepreneur is not narcissistic – he is confident (people are just jealous!!)

– An entrepreneur is not detached – he is stoic – an entrepreneur needs to be focussed

– An entrepreneur is not stubborn - – he is resilient. If an entrepreneur does not persist – he will get his ass kicked!!

– An entrepreneur is not obsessive – he is thorough needs to be detailed

– An entrepreneur is not unbalanced – he is committed

– An entrepreneur is not crazy – he is brilliant

There will always be people who will say why something will not work….

Computing in the Cloud - Paul Slakey – Director Google cebit08


Paul gave an enlightening talk on "Computing in the Cloud"

Gems from discussion:-

1. Soon we will be able to communicate on the web in any language in any time – 67% of internet users not English speaking – translation real time – (ik comment:- tower of babel?)

2. The new imformation supply chain – Energy is KEY…

Scale is like we have never seen before - Storage capacity – becoming unlimited – you tube is currently receiving 10hrs of content per minute – scale matters… google built a datacenter and are continuing to build datacenters around the world….(IK Comment:- is peer to peer goingto make this redundant?)

As you Scale – cost per user less cost per revenue more

Energy is a bottleneck – solar panels are now on all buildings and parking lots – 30% of peak energy needs can be supplied to headquarters… will be the same for datacenters around the world.

Millions are being invested in renewable energy – Google believes renewable energy will be cheaper than coal in 10 years…. Who would have thought that renewable energy and corporate computing linked

3. Democratization of Capabilities
the world is flat – 3 guys in Mackay can compete strongly by plugging into the grid…..

through adwords – ads used to be for big advertisers – auction system has leveled the playing field – where a company can bid for a key word…. David can compete with goliath…easy to work out roi….

Little company using google – can be conceived as a player on a global scale


4. Consumers driving business vs corporate – iphone best examples of consumer innovation…. There is now better innovation at home vs at work.

Vendors need to compete for mindshare. Those vendors who make interfaces easy will win.

Mobile web browser – safari browser 71% - because its easy to use… creating a new market – getting people to access web through mobile device – it is easy –
In India – many wont have a laptop – they will access the web through mobile


5. SAAS – whan is the tipping point

– Connectivity – now going away – broadband cheaper – more people getting access
– User Experience – needs to be easy – quick – one click of a button – easy is going to win.
– Reliability– multihoming for gmail - gmail in more than 1 server and place – more reliable than typical corp gmail service
– Offline access – offline gmail – google gears – any web app and make it available on line. Offline for docs and spreadsheets – steep innovation path
– Security – 10% of laptops will be stolen 60% corp data in nprotected pcs and laptops 68% of corporates laptops most risk
Missing laptops 20,000 names
Agilent – 51000 employees were stolen…..
Clouds at Work in Government (commercial off the shelf)
10/15 us cabinet agency use google search
Thousands using google earth
Who do you trust?

Bankers, accountants, outsources, payroll outsourcing

Can people get compfortable outsourcing their corporate data

SAAS companies like google will need to earn the trust.

6. Google bought POSTINI – start up –

Service you can buy – simple – once up and running works…. Now under google apps brand – customers doing filtering – now have email hosted in cloud.


7. Last thoughts on CLOUDY future

On premise software is not going away –
Innovation will be “in the cloud”
Market will have ++ competitors
Your new employees – are the cloud generation. Digital natives – 11yr old – digital natives – never read instructions – know digital intuitively –

Expectation in workforce – cloud computing will be in the business world….

Where will they be employed?

Google need to earn your trust. Data to be held in a region – to be in area where there is economies of scale…..



SAAS70 –
The iso9000 for saas and the cloud….

Cloud computing corporate arena.
People will buy from someone they can TRUST!!

(ik comment:- For BSI – there is an opportunity for google to sponsor our innovation forums/technology launchpad etc….

(ik comment:-If Google has all this information – have they got more power than governments? Is this a bad thing or a good thing? What happens if google is forced by governments to share data? )

jason calacanis on how a startup raises money



Jason has a bunch of tips on how to do this for business. Among them:

Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT department

Buy second monitors for everyone, they will save at least 30 minutes a day, which is 100 hours a year... which is at least $2,000 a year.... which is $6,000 over three years. A second monitor cost $300-500 depending on which one you get. That means you're getting 10-20x return on your investment... and you've got a happy team member.

Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy. Going out for food or ording in takes at least 20-60 minutes more than walking up to the buffet and eating. If you do meetings over lunch you also save that time. So, 30 minutes a day across say four days a week is two hours a week... which is 100 hours a year. You get the idea.

Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs. Tables are a complete rip off. We buy stainless steel restaurant tables that are $100 and $600 Areon chairs. Total cost per workstation? $700. Compare that to buying a $500-$1,500 cube/designer workstation. The chair is the only thing that matters... invest in it.

Don't buy a phone system. No one will use it. No one at Mahalo has a desk phone except the admin folks. Everyone else is on IRC, chat, and their cell phone. Everyone has a cell phone, folks would rather get calls on it, and 99% of communication is NOT on the phone. Savings? At least $500 a year per person... 50 people over three years? $75-100k

Rent out your extra space. Many folks have extra space in their office. If you rent 5-10 desks for $500 each you can cut your burn $2,500 to $5,000 a month, or $30-60,000 a year. That's big money.

Outsource accounting and HR---such a no brainer.

Don't buy everyone Microsoft Office--it's too much money. Put Office on three or four common computers and use Google Docs.

Use Google hosted email. $50 or free per user.... how can you beat that?!?! Why screw with an exchange server!?!?

Buy your hardest working folks computers for home. If you have folks who are willing to work an extra hour a day a week you should get them a computer for home. Once you get to three hours of work a week from home you're at 150 hours a year and that's a no brainer. Invest in equipment *if* the person is a workaholic.

Fire people who are not workaholics. don't love their work... come on folks, this is startup life, it's not a game. don't work at a startup if you're not into it--go work at the post office or stabucks if you're not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.

Get an expensive, automatic espresso machine at the office. Going to starbucks twice a day cost $4 each time, but more importantly it costs 20 minutes. Buy a $3-5,000 Jura industrial, get the good beans, and supply the coffee room with soy, low fat, etc. 50 people making one trip a day is 20 hours of wasted time for the company, and $150 in coffee costs for the employees. Makes no sense.
Stock the fridge with sodas---same drill as above.

Allow folks to work off hours. Commuting sucks and is a waste of time for everyone. Let folks start at 6am or 11am and you'll cut their commute in half (at least in LA).

Go to each of your vendors every 6-9 months and ask for 10-30% off. If half of them say yes you'll save 5-15% on fixed costs. People will give you a discount if they think they are going to lose the business.

Don't waste money on recruiters. Get inside of linkedin and Facebook and start looking for people--it works better anyway.

Really think about if you need that $15,000 a month PR firm. Perhaps you can get a PR consultant to work on 2-3 projects a year for $10-15k each and save 75%. More PR firms are wasted half the year while you build up your product anyway.

{I'm going to add a couple more of mine as I remember them }

Outsource to middle America: There are tons of brilliant people living between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York who don't live in a $4,000 one bedroom apartment and pay $8 to dry clean a shirt--hire them!
for more information see http://www.calacanis.com/2008/03/07/how-to-save-money-running-a-startup-17-really-good-tips/2#comments

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Can Digislide be a Home Run?

Digislide is close to achieving its goal through the commercialisation of Digismart.... a microprojecor for your mobilephone or laptop for more information... press http://www.digislide.com.au/consumer/digismart.htm
video

Saturday, May 17, 2008

BSI April 08 Investor Forum - Westin Hotel

BSI held its 23rd Investor Forum, and showcased 8 Great Innovative Companies to 150 + HNIs, Angels, Investors and Funds in Sydney and Melbourne. Fr More infomation see http://www.bsi.com.au/corporate/preview.asp?id=167

video

Heidi's 16th Birthday

videoHeidis 16th Birthday - Brunch at the Kayes for 65 hungry teenagers...much fun!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The VCs Lament

Below is an article that was on a friend of mine's Blog - Gordon Whyte.... Gordon... thanks for the article!!



Your Equity Isn’t a Payment, it’s an IOU


by Wil Schroter who is the Founder and CEO of the Go BIG Network

Hello there young entrepreneur, I’m your investor. Remember me?

I’m the guy that sat in front of your heartfelt and emotional presentation to raise capital for your business. I listened closely to your entire plan, and made a few comments about what I didn’t think would work. You of course ignored my comments and assured me that with the right amount of my money, you’d be able to solve all of your problems.

I wrote you a check, you spent the money, and those problems haven’t gone away.
So aside from all of your promises of future riches, you haven’t paid me back. And, you know, the reason I wrote you that check was to create more money than I started with, which hasn’t happened.
You see – giving me equity in your company wasn’t a payment, it was an I.O.U.

Your Currency is Worthless

Giving up that equity may have felt like a payment. You may have felt like what you were giving up was an actual asset that had real value. We signed agreements and created a currency that was backed by your promises and intentions. I swapped my currency for yours. Now yours is losing its value - fast.
You may have thought those promises you made were going to be forgotten about or displaced by other promises. In fact they weren’t. Unlike the currency I gave you, I couldn’t spend your promises to hire my friends, find a fancy office or buy everyone new laptops. But you did.
Now I’m stuck holding the bag with the useless currency you gave me while you’re out trying to print new currency with even more promises. I’m sorry, I’m not buying it.

Remember these Guys?

Perhaps you may have forgotten about our arrangement, but maybe you’ll remember these guys – your employees. What? You don’t? Allow me to jog your memory.
You may recall an evening over more than a few beers when you convinced them to quit their existing jobs to go work for you. You told them that even though they would be giving up a steady income with an existing company, the money they would make from the stock options you gave them would far outweigh the risks.
They went back to their families and took your sales story with them. They convinced themselves and their loved ones that the opportunity you had for them was real. Soon thereafter they were missing family dinners, soccer games, and any time they ever had with their friends. They were pretty confident that you’d make good on that little I.O.U. you created after that last beer.
Just like me, they seem to be wondering what happened to all of those promises. They’re wondering how you expected to pay them back for all of the investments they have made in you. By now they’ve figured out that no return is going to pay them back for the time they’ve lost with their friends and family, but they sure would like to think a payout might help them create some more time in the future.

We’re Not Done Here

Maybe somewhere along the line you forgot the basic mechanics of an exchange, so let me re-educate you. When I hand you something of value, in order for the exchange to be equitable, you need to hand me something back something of equal or greater value. Unless we finish the exchange, which involves you giving me something of value, we’re not done here.
In fact, unless you give me something back at all, it’s not even an exchange. It’s probably not theft but it’s certainly not charity, and I’m not feeling like Santa Claus right now, so it ain’t a gift, that’s for sure.
In order for us to complete this transaction, and in order for you to make all of your debts right, I need you to fulfill your promises. I need you to dig down and find all of the energy, enthusiasm and focus you had when you accepted my check and think about getting that money back.

You’re not Alone


Although times are tough and you’re feeling the pressure, you may feel like you’re the one with everything to lose. Truthfully though, you’re not alone. You may be the most visible person in this transaction, but if you quit on us, we all lose.
It took all of us to start the exchange and write that IOU, and it’s going to take every one of us – your investors, your employees and even your customers – to make good on your big promise to us.
We realize that you need us as much as we need you, so we’re here to support you in any way you need us to. We just ask that you don’t forget about us, because we can absolutely assure you – we won’t forget about you