Can the Next Steve Jobs be Brazilian

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> What are the opportunities in non-Western civilizations? Can they build global innovative products and services? Can the next Steve Jobs be Brazilian?
> Talk given at TEDxFIAP in Sao Paulo in November 2011.

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Can the Next Steve Jobs be Brazilian

  1. Can the nextSteve Jobs beBrazilian? @benjaminjoffe  
  2. THE WEST! THE REST!The world used to be very simple: The West vs. The Rest
  3. I  spent  most  of  my  working  life  (11  years)  overseas,  especially  in  Japan,  China,   After living Korea  and  USA.  My  realized that “The Rest” wasrather  complex.   South   in many countries, I cultural  DNA  has  become   a bit more complex.
  4. 10 years in Asia’s Digital Space! 4 years! 1 year! 5 years!Living in Japan, Korea and China showed me that even “Asia” was a strange and Western-centric concept. Their online cultures were also very different.
  5. Innovation from Asia!My work has revolved around finding innovative ideas from Asia for clients around the world. Sort of counter-intuitive?
  6. 100+ Keynotes in 17 Countries (+1!)! There was enough novelty there to get me to give over 100 talks.
  7. Advisor to Startup Incubators! I am also mentoring 5 startup incubators across 3 continents.so I’ve seen innovation happen from the very first steps, in many places.
  8. Investor in Global Startups in Asia! I am also in investor in two “Asia-based” global startups.
  9. Since 2011! Samaritan Projects!This is a new startup project of mine, developed from South-East Asia for the world. I hope it will work out and become an example of “global innovation from Asia”.
  10. Being global can still requires a lot of traveling to learn about ecosystems and meet the people who are part of them.
  11. This is the closest friend of a global traveler.
  12. To talk about innovation, I found the low-tech printing press to be a great example.
  13. Europe! Korea! China! Gutenberg (1450)! Metal (1230)! Bi Sheng (1040)!At school, I learned it was invented by Gutenberg. In Korea I learned they had a metal type 200 years earlier. Finally in China they had a wooden one circa 1040.
  14. #0! What you have learned can be ! wrong!The first surprise for a Western guy (who might tend to believe the West invented everything) is realizing that what you thought was right is actually wrong.
  15. #1! Ideas don’t have a! nationality!Another is to realize that ideas are just coming to people. They do not have a nationality, though countries use them for their “branding”.
  16. #2! Things can be invented! more than once!Also, things can be invented several times independently. “Reinventing the wheel” is a famous expression. Despite the Internet, it still happens for many things nowadays.
  17. #3! Time gap can be! bridged!Imagine what the world would look like if the West had used the movable type 400 years earlier! Your guesses are welcome at benjamin [at] plus8star.com
  18. 它  山   #4!之  石   Foreign stones!,   can polish !可   your jade!以  攻  玉    Some ideas are not born in the best place for them to thrive: Chinese has thousands of characters – not handy for printing – European languages have just a few dozens!
  19. Civilizations! Western! Chinese! Muslim! Indian! Orthodox! Japanese! African! Latin American!Looking at the world by civilizations rather than countries help understand the cultural and market affinities. Indonesia is closer to the Middle-East than to Australia or Singapore!
  20. Emergence of! Digital Civilizations!I believe in the emergence of “digital civilizations” – just look at languages as a proxy, and you will realize this is already happening.
  21. Foreign vs. Natives! Google! Baidu! Softbank! NHN! Yandex! Facebook! Alibaba! Rakuten! Nexon! Mail.ru! Amazon! Tencent! DeNA! eBay! Netease! Gree! Priceline! Sina! Yahoo!! Salesforce! Liberty Interactive! LinkedIn!Among the top 22 Internet companies, more than half are non-US. More, they are dominant in their own civilization. There should be some in the Latin American soon too (5 years?)
  22. Rebranding of Innovation! YES! SIMILAR?! COPYCAT!! NO! DISMISS! YES! SUCCEED IN IT’S AMERICAN!! USA?!Non-US innovation tends to be dismissed because it it whether qualified as “copycat” (regardless of details), or dismissed until it reaches US shores, where it is rebranded as “American”.
  23. Nationality is a BRAND! Made in > select country <!Nationality is really just a brand. Most countries don’t have a very strong brand and companies prefer to look American, especially to sell in the US!
  24. No Direct Equivalent!The reality is that there are no two exactly same companies: any “copycat” has to adapt to evolve and survive in its own ecosystem. What really matter are those differences.
  25. Local Champions!So the first opportunity is to create local champions, which will dominate a civilization by adapting much better than “global” (= Western) players.
  26. Advantage: Locals! . Cultural fit! . Market knowledge!The key advantages of local players are their cultural fit and market knowledge. Also, a local entrepreneur has more at stake than a “country manager” of a foreign company.
  27. 5C’s of Innovation™! 1.  Copy! 2.  Competition! 3.  Constraints! 4.  Combination! 5.  Context! Powerful forces shape innovation: copy is the natural start – ideas drift around the world then evolve from theredue to competition, constraints (gdp/capita, etc.), combination & context (demogaphy, geography, policies, etc.)
  28. Learning from the Game Industry!The gaming industry provides interesting examples of innovation and adaptation.
  29. Tencent’s QQ | Made for China!Tencent in China embodies the “5C’s”: started from ICQ (Israel), combined with avatars fromKorea, changed its business model from B2B ads to B2C digital goods and sorted payment.
  30. Leapfrogging!Different market conditions can lead to leapfrog to new models: digital goods is all the rage in the West now, but has been around in Korea and China for 10 years.
  31. MODERN  is  not  WESTERN  There are different paths to modernization, and it does not always equate with Westernization. Look at Japan, Korea, Singapore – this is just a start!
  32. Micro- Multinationals!The second opportunity is the creation of “micro-multinationals” – global companies from anywhere. There are many of those with niche consumer goods, but it is also possible with web and mobile ones.
  33. Those are 3 famous examples: all built from Northern Europe, where they did not have a strong enough local market and went global from day 1.
  34. UberStrike by Cmune | Made from China!Cmune (disclosure: I am in investor) is based in Beijing, created by foreigners, and targets global markets: already #1 shooter game on Facebook and Mac OS!
  35. BoomZap | No offices!!Boomzap creates “hidden object adventure games”. They are said to replace mystery novels for their audiences of Western housewives. Boomzap has 50 people and no offices.
  36. One (million) more thing(s)!!The opportunity is not limited to digital things – it is possible to create a successful product from where you are, and distribute it worldwide.
  37. Mass Customization!This Shenzhen-made shaver phone is an average phone, a bad shaver, but the only shaver phone. It likely ran a few thousand units only, but there was a market for it!
  38. Product Innovation! . Design! . Financing! . Production! . Distribution!Making stuff has become way cheaper. Platforms like Kickstarter allow you to find an audience and finance a project before you go into production!
  39. Asia do it for the kids. A Swedish friend was relocating to Singapore with his family and his friends asked him “what about the kids?”. Heresponded that he did not want his kids to grow up in a depressed environment. He was moving to Asia “for the kids”. Living in a growing and optimistic environment is a great asset, and it’s not just in some places in Asia!
  40. Advantages?!Of course, “developed countries” have advantages. One often quoted is education (though its ROI is being questioned).
  41. In many universities, education has more to do with “socialization” and jello shots. Not sure that is worth $100K (maybe if it’s open bar?)
  42. What does make a huge difference is the cheering. In the US, this is a strong part of the culture. Other countries should learn from that!
  43. In France, we are quick at criticizing things. In Germany, they even have a word for “rejoicing of the misfortune of others”. Not really a cheering culture.
  44. “China searches for the next Steve Jobs” “Why the next Steve Jobs will be Asian” So will the next Steve Jobs be Chinese? Asian? Inc. Magazine says it might be because talented Asian students can’t get a US visa – otherwise the next Steve Jobs would be American!
  45. Steve Jobs brought technology to the (wealthy) masses in an artistic way, but Apple really has only about 200 million users.
  46. Guess what? 200 million is about the population of Brazil! Bring something useful andartistic to them and you’re Brazil’s Steve Jobs! There is even room for more than one.
  47. Designed in São PauloRebranding a country is tough (Brazil = bikinis, samba and sexy people – hopefully not “favelas”). The first step might be to rebrand cities. How about “Designed in Sao Paulo”?
  48. And since Brazil is famous for its football – why not applying the same energy to cheer for entrepreneurs!

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