StartupDigest in Madrid, Spain for & FICOD


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  • Today StartupDigest has grown to be much bigger than what it originally started out as. Now we cover the best events to meet others like you, articles that help you learn about new markets, and resources to help you get better at specific skills. Overlaid behind our logo is our member growth chart over the last 2 years. Keep in mind this was squished to fit the slide + I used a smoothed line to represent growth over time.
  • New high-growth firms create a disproportionate amount of value vs. the average business
  • In total we have over 100 curators all over the world who curate the StartupDigest. This is how we get the best information about the startup world from all over the world. Displayed here are the US curators on the top and the international curators on the bottom. I left out all the market and skill based curators since those aren’t broken up by geography.
  • And here are all the 81 digests we do ordered by most subscribed to lowest subscribed. If you know the mathematical concept of “Power Law” it fits this quite nicely. You might have heard of the phrase 20% of the effort generates 80% of the results. The concept of Power Law is why you usually see major inequity in all societies and natural systems. If you’re interested more into about that research the concept “Power Law” it’s really facinating.
  • Now lets do a short segment on some fun stuff
  • Here Is some of our team members, me my co-founder and our engineer, just having fun on a random work day. We wanted a team picture so here is what we came up with.
  • We also like to throw a bunch of parties at our house. This is actually our house/office in Palo Alto. We have a big pool in the back, this was from our flip cup tournament a drinking game in the US.
  • We live and work out of a sweet place in Palo alto which ironically enough is on the same street Mark Zuckerberg lives.
  • Now it’s time to teach you some things I learned and I wish I knew before starting college then we can get into some more fun things.
  • My first example is I want to give you contrast between a normal life and an entrepreneurial life. In normal life you come to Cal Poly after you’ve gotten good grades, you pick a major, do well in your classes, interview for a job, work at your job which is usually in a cubicle, be content with your job, and have some clarity on where you want to go in life. Things can change and some people could win but you have an idea of where you are going. It’s very similar to having a map and knowing the destination of where you want to go.
  • Contrast this to the entrepreneurial life where it is like having a blank canvas and you need to come up with not only where you want to go, but how you will get there, what it will look like, if there is even a map in the first place. It’s terribly freighting and can have huge ups and downs because in this path its up to you. People can help you but no one will tell you where you need to go. This path is absolutely terrifying for most people to justify to themselves internally. Just think about a blank paper in front of you and needing to create a compelling story in a short timeframe.
  • The absolute beginning of a startup is a minimal viable product. A minimal viable product is the way you quickly test if you should continue an initial idea or not. You idea is really your hypothesis in why you think something should be different, you test it against the market, and it is either going to output traction or it isn’t. As long as your idea doesn’t lead to traction you keep changing your idea (aka pivot) because it would be very hard to change the market. If the market does swing in your favor that’s how you can get rapidly fast traction, but very very hard to predict market swings. Side note – Your initial idea follows chaos theory, which means the initial value of it matters significantly for the outcome, but the only value of it is the initial variable.
  • I always get this question afterwards so I am going to answer it now. The MVP is only step 0, an MVP is not a startup. There are many many things you need to do and get right afterwards but I can’t talk about them here nor do I know all of them. Remember its your blank canvas and you need to figure out what you want on it.
  • Thus entrepreneurship is about learning every aspect of how you can construct a canvas, the types of art techniques you can use, and the process in which to do that. Hopefully what comes out is a beautiful painting afterwards but art is about the learning process, not just the piece afterwards.
  • Entrepreneurship is also just not about learning, it’s about multidisciplinary learning. It’s best to prove this using an example.
  • To step back for a minute and talk about learning, real learning is about multidisciplinary learning. The problem with singular learning is if you learned just one of these disciplines very well, everything will look like it can be solved by that discipline alone. Life isn’t that easy, you need to be able to look at things from multiple disciplines which you have internalized enough to make useful. Here is just a sample subset of the things you should be aware of and at least know the basics and have a firm grasp of. If you don’t know any one of these you will be not equipped for battle: It’s like having a gun without armor on.
  • I am going to especially point out engineering as a vital skill going forward in life. It is much easier for an engineer to pick up business skills than a business guy to pick up engineering skills. This is especially important if you are doing an internet company, you absolutely must know the basics. I’m not just talking for talking sake either, I personally learned how to code first in python than made a Django app. I’ve pushed code to our github and sever which is on an ec2 instance. I’ve broke things and had our engineers yell at me, but I’m not afraid to get dirty.
  • Side note – Best way to learn new skills outside of the classroom.
  • I like funny cat images
  • Here are some things I would suggest doing afterwards.
  • Extra slides just in case.
  • StartupDigest in Madrid, Spain for & FICOD

    1. 1. We Believe: Life is too short to work at a boring company NetDays & FICOD | October 6, 2011
    2. 2. What I’d wish I’d known1. What Startup Life is like2. Game3. MVP’s4. Multidisciplinary learning5. Starting6. Questions
    3. 3. Background
    4. 4. 300,000250,000200,000150,000 StartupDigest100,000 50,000 0
    5. 5. StartupDigestMission: Get more people involved in the tech startup world.
    6. 6. 5000 10000 20000 25000 30000 15000 0 Startup Social NYC Design Gaming Retail London Health EducationWashington DC Paris India Bizdev Toronto Marketing Shanghai Beijing Sydney San Diego Philadelphia Baltimore Montreal Dallas Copenhagen Italy Silicon Prairie Cape Town Indianapolis Buenos Aires Pittsburgh New Orleans Malaysia Portland Michigan Netherlands Lexington Cincinnati Barcelona GenevaCzech Republic
    7. 7. Fun part ofStartup Life
    8. 8. Hi Mark!
    9. 9. Learn
    10. 10. Normal Path
    11. 11. Entrepreneurship
    12. 12. Game:Half Baked
    13. 13. Minimal Viable ProductAbsolute simplest & efficient way to testa hypothesis.while Traction is not True: Idea = Hypothesis Experiment = Market Traction = True or False Idea + Experiment = Traction
    14. 14. CautionMVP is not astartup, it’s step 0
    15. 15. “The internet means you don’thave to convince anyone else thatsomething is a good idea beforeyou try it”- Scott Bradner, former trustee of theInternet Society
    16. 16. Entrepreneurship is a game about learning
    17. 17. MultidisciplinaryMath student, Math graduate, Math post-doc.Everything will look like a math problem toyou.This is not true.
    18. 18. Multidisciplinary1. Engineering • Computer science, Thermodynamics2. Design • Contrast, alignment,3. Psychology • Social proof, reciprocity4. Mathematics • Statistics, power law,5. Business • Accounting, economics
    19. 19. Engineering*Easier: Engineering > BusinessHarder: Business > Engineering Absolute must if you are starting an internet company
    20. 20. Best way to learn new skills•
    21. 21. Economically, st artups should not exist.
    22. 22. Don’t start a company for the sake of it1. Most companies do not look very impressive when they start2. Have a personal attachment to what you’re doing (passionate)3. Don’t start a company, let the company find you
    23. 23. Most companies do not look very impressive when they start
    24. 24. Most companies do not look very impressive when they start
    25. 25. Most companies do not look very impressive when they start
    26. 26. Have personal attachment
    27. 27. Don’t start a company, let thecompany find you.
    28. 28. Action Items1. Learn something completely outside your skillset through Khan Academy or a class2. Try one Minimal Viable Product3. Work at something you are excited about now (or if in school this summer)
    29. 29. “Life is too short to work at a boring company”
    30. 30. What is traction? How does SD make money?Do I need to raise money? What’s next after the MVP? Do I need to move to Silicon Valley? How else can I get started now? Questions? chris@startupdigest.comHow do I learn about new subjects? Who taught you the multidisciplinary learning? How do I learn programming? What if my advisors won’t let me take other classes?
    31. 31. Bias’• High growth startups• Tech startups• Live in Silicon Valley• Founder, not an educator• Always take things with a grain of salt