Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Top Three Secrets of Veteran Entrepreneurs

Veteran entrepreneurs are very different from first time startup people.  The first time startup people are like high schoolers trying to score a date, while the veterans are like a divorced person looking for a second mate.  Their differences are immense.  Here I discuss the three major differences.

(1) A successful startup always takes a trial run.  The first three years is to learning through making enough mistakes.

There is no instant success or talent.  The startup process takes a lot of learning before mastering.  The learning is done though making all kinds of mistakes, because you are learning beyond the textbooks, and you are learning through experience so that what you learn is truly imprinted in your brain.
A veteran entrepreneur only gets to succeed on a second time.

 (2) A veteran entrepreneur always knows that everything is hard.

A veteran entrepreneur does not try to fantasize a perfect thought or an easy startup.  They shoot for the difficult but the right choice.

A veteran knows that everything is hard.  A newbie startup person thinks everything is easy.  

Because the veteran knows things are hard, they expect difficulties.  This actually makes the process less difficult.

(3) A veteran entrepreneur choose the right industry and market.

A newbie just enjoys a self-made idea in vacuum.  They never truly think about the industry and market that you will be living under.  It is like someone dating for a first time would not thinks about what city you and your family would live in the future.  It is a perfect recipe for a disaster down the road.

A veteran picks the industry and market.  A newbie only thinks about ideas and excitements.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Top Three Startup Myths That Hinders Entrepreneurs Creativity

I was an engineer and professor, and always wanted to know the essence of effectively starting up something based on your interest, passion, or knowledge base.  Reading the many books on the market did not help me.  I tried to teach a class "Technology Commercialization" at the engineering school of Northwestern University - students loved it and the top comment I got was "it really removed all my day dream fantasies" about startup and innovation.

After quitting my faculty job to start up several companies and experience the full brunt of startup life, I know clearly sees that there are three myths that hinders people's startup process.  It either makes them impossible to focus, or impossible to actually start effectively execution, or make them have a low vitality company that will go no where.

The three basic myths are:
(1) Many people think "If I make it they will come".  Namely, if I make an offering (an APP, a software, a game, or a circuit board with some function), I will eventually find people who would love it.

(2) Many people don't know how the "secret" thing works, and they always end up building a solo enterprise - a sole proprietorship that many mistaken as a "company".

(3) Many people think that innovation is borne of creative and clever thinking.  They believe the power of logic thinking too much, and keeps on wanting to "improve the thoughts" whereas their thinking is completely done in vacuum, without any involvement of actual industry and market.

I will explain why these three myths prevails.  I will explain why they are wrong.  And I will explain how to bust them.

Why They Are Wrong

Why is that "I make it and they will come" is so OUT?  people keep guess what others need, what problems they have, and try to offer a solution.  What they don't realize that this is "me thinking".  The world of startup and innovation does not center on problem solving.  The center is VALUE PROVISION IN A MARKET.

The world does not care what you offer.  You should care about what the crowd really want. 
Many people make the mistake of having a solo operation.  They think alone, do things alone, and build a business that one person can handle.  This is wrong.  A one-man operation (or one woman) can never become a two-men operation - all your time is spend maintaining your own business flow, but you will never be allowed to be profitable enough that your business will grown.

A dream made by one person is always a dream.  A dream of two people is reality.
Many people who are interested in startup are students or newbies in companies.  They have never touched "business" and still flaunts their graduation paper as the proof of superiority.  They are still too infused with the world of academia, where students excel based on smart and hardworking.  Well, in real business, it is competition - smarts and cleverness does not determine the outcome anymore.  Experiences in a very tiny field of expertise takes a lifetime to learn, because the world has many people who make up the complex market and channel dynamics.

To change the world, one needs to start with the excruciatingly small detailed niche of a market or an industry.  Change starts there.

Why Busting the Myth Helps

 Once you bust these three important myths, your world is NO LONGER CENTERED ON YOU.  It is no longer "what I offer", "what I think" and "what I can do".  It becomes "What startup the world want".

If you are interested, enjoy the following video clips.