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4 things a Danish startup can learn in Silicon Valley

20 Jun

Be Open
When you have a good business idea the conventional assumption among Danes is that you keep it to yourself, fearing that everybody will copy everything you had planned to create. That whoever is introduced to your new idea will be ready to abandon their own startup, their job, or other activities they were in the middle of, in order for them to pursue something that you have just introduced to them.

This happen very seldom, and the losses are the tremendous amounts of feedback that you will never receive, because you follow through with an idea that you have not tested on reality. In the case that your business idea is to be a commercial success amongst the masses, you will need test it with your future users, and/or customers. You may then experience that you may have gotten most of it right, and you will be able to tweak the features that you wrongly expected to be sparks of genius.

Of course you do not reveal the idea to your prospective competitors, who may have the resources to copy the whole concept, but you must not be afraid to share your thoughts with experts within the industry, or a savvy IT-guy. These could easily become your future co-founders, or the guy who end up being the one helping you create your product.

Be Commited
If you want to succeed you must do whatever it takes. It’s as simple as that. You need to be so commited to what you’re doing so that failure is not an option, and then you will experience that you will not fail. This is mostly due to the fact that you will be open to change you initial approach, in order for it to appeal more to your customers. Napoleon Hill said that you must actively ‘burn all ships’, like in medieval warfare, where the attacking soldiers could not retreat. I don’t totally agree with, but it will leave you with no other option than success.

Commitment also drives your work morale, giving you the strength to work late and get up early with an unaffected devotion to your startup and its associated success.

Additionally, it will affect your team mates, as well as the people you’re selling the product or idea to.

Think Big
If you want to attract talented employees, or the first, second or third round of capital, you have to be able to convince yourself and the people around you that what you’re doing is about to change the world. If you’re a talented guy, are you going to join a team that is only striving towards the mediocre? And if you’re a venture capitalist, are you going to invest in a team (because it to far greater extent the team, rather than the idea, that they are impressed by) that will settle for less? No. That’s the fast and correct answer. Obviously, everybody wants to invest in the next Facebook or Twitter.

This is also where the phenomenon of scalability enters the scenario. Scalability means that you easily can increase the scope of your business, without increasing your expenses accordingly. This is really applicable to IT venture, since the marginal costs of bits and bytes are low. Consequently, it is imperative that you apply the possibility of scalability early in your development of your product and business plan.

Network with Everybody
As an extension to the section of being open, it is pivotal that you exploit your network. This applies to your personal network, where you may find your future partners, or people you can give you the honest feedback you need. But it also applies to the network that you constantly must seek to increase and improve. You never know who may become good and loyal users/customers of your service or product, and you never know who might be able to hook you up with that special person, who can change the trajectory of your startup.

Imagine your former co-workers, who from time to time change jobs. These people lobbying your product may be the easiest access to a potential customer (given you sell to a corporation). Imagine also the benefits of talking to other entrepreneurs. These may not be the most obvious sources of direct sales or rock hard capital, but chances are that they have dealt with your stakeholders in one way or the other, or know someone who does/has. I talked to a guy, whose plan was to develop an iPhone app, that you could measure the calories in the food you took a photo of. Not very beneficial, in relation to my own career portal, but his German friend had been dealing with numerous German universities and this is definitely something I’ll be trying to exploit.

In order not to make this post too long, I’m going to stop here. Did I forget some point, which cannot be ignored? Feel free to supply your thought below.

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1 Comment

Posted by on 20 June, 2011 in Entrepreneurship, Silicon Valley

 

Tags: , ,

One response to “4 things a Danish startup can learn in Silicon Valley

  1. Scott Wilson

    21 June, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Awesome post – I want more!

     

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