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Four failures and one hit

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My talk for the Tech Startup Day in Brussels on March 12. During this talk, I focus on my failures and what I've learned from them.

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Four failures and one hit

  1. 1. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA 4 Failures and 1 Hit Bruno Lowagie @ Tech Startup Day, March 12, 2015
  2. 2. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Maturity My first experience as an entrepreneur (1982-1986)
  3. 3. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno19703 Lessons learned after failure #1 Find out what people need Show people what they need You need to scale if you want to be successful
  4. 4. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Timing The Belgium Applet (1996)
  5. 5. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno19705 Lessons learned after failure #2 Technology needs time to mature Ideas need time to mature Engineers are usually bad at marketing their ideas
  6. 6. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Market PERL Server Pages (1998)
  7. 7. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno19707 Lessons learned after failure #3 Perl: what we do ourselves, we do better Don’t waste time if nobody is interested Don’t copy what already exists (ASP, JSP)
  8. 8. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Passion Cat@loogje.com (2000-2002)
  9. 9. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno19709 Lessons Learned after failure #4 It’s OK to look up to successful people It’s not OK to try to copy what they do Do something you’re passionate about
  10. 10. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Be Innovative! Bringing PDF to the Web with iText
  11. 11. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno197011 Fighting the FUD Open source is not documented The IP of open source isn’t clear Open source isn’t backed by a company
  12. 12. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Focus and discipline Book (2006), IP review (2007), Company (2008)
  13. 13. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno197013 Lessons learned Document your product from the start Document your IP from the start Create a company from the start
  14. 14. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA© 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Be disruptive Eventually, you’ll win…
  15. 15. © 2015, iText Group NV, iText Software Corp., iText Software BVBA Tech Startup Day — Bruno Lowagie @bruno197015 Conclusion If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau, “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” (1854)

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