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Hello and welcome to all of you who are taking the course "Decode the entrepreneur's DNA"!
You will have access to the exercises of the first part from Tuesday, March 24th. Throughout the three parts of this course, you will learn the basic skills that you need to understand the basics of entrepreneurship, the dynamic and key principles of the entrepreneurial journey, how to find and assess innovative opportunities.
If you have questions about the course contents, this is the place to ask! I will be here to answer them as best I can, but feel free to talk amongst yourselves and help each other. :-)
If you have questions about the logistics of the course (how to access exercises, how to correct assessments…), you can ask them via email to: email@example.com
Happy learning to you all!
-Edité par BrunoMartinaud 23 mars 2015 à 11:18:00
Hi Bruno and thanks for your course, which is clear and well explain, congrats !
On the first course in defining our entrepreneurial profiles, you linked a video from Noa Wasserman on founders replacements. This video speaks on a very interesting point for me about different split cases between cofounders. But N. Wasserman speaks too quickly for me and i'm not able to understand every subtleties from his speach.
Can you please explain me the main ideas on not do an equal split ?
What's your view on this point, is their rules on defining the best split for the sustainability of a venture ? And perhaps ways to built the proposal to the other cofounders ?
Thank you in advance for your answer.
I look forward for next steps
-Edité par Darwin42 2 avril 2015 à 20:31:29
Ok, here is my contribution for the practice exercises of the first part.
For me, Richard Branson from Virgin is the best exemple of your described skills.Self made man, "egofull", he sincerely think that he can change the world and owned the best solutions.
He start his entrepreneurial journey under his twenty, at school with a students magazine. This period coincid with personal disc selling in music industry, and after the fail of his mag, he decided to sell disc by shipment. It's an innovative idea, the adaptation of an existant solution to a new market. This idea is also cheap to develop, by building his business on classical shop stocks. So, he had not to take the risk of buying initial stock, he only do reselling.
After a post strike, he open his first classical shop in London, with the ressources he earned on the first phase.
Then, he buy a house with sound engineer to create a music label. He took their a huge risk by promoting and producting for first artist, Mike Oldfield, which plays only instrumental and electronical music. At this time, the usual shape is on traditional rock band and electro music is a kind of underground. He promoted himself this artist, by being Oldfield's manager. This faith in weak signals (literally and figuratively), was a huge success, even today, with one of the best selling success in music history.
Branson continued then to build ventures around innovative ideas and way of thinking, with the success we know. And he don't hesitate to sell his businesses and build news.
Hated first for his shifted approach and his irreverent way of building ventures, he inspire now a lot of people like me for his ability to always search fun !
"Time to practice" Part 1.
I would say Steve Jobs is the perfect guy who watched the world differently.
He was able to see the futur and to invent products people didn't believed they could loved and use them.
He started product common in 2015 but visionary couple of years before.
Thanks for your contribution about the entrepreneurs who illustrate the idea of "watching the world differently".
About Juliian's question, based on Noam Wasserman video (see related resources), here is the main justification: a 50/50 equity split is usually the result of the no decision, that is founder who are avoiding to address, what is always a tough issue: the involvment and contribution in the project.
It is never a nice conversation to have with a co-partner, but, not having it before starting, creates a much more painful problem later, even sometimes may lead the whole venture to die along the way.
Noam Wasserman states 2 key principles that drive the equity split:
I hope that clarifies.
Feel free to keep asking for some more explanations..
One nice example of innovating and believing in your idea is the story of the Wright brothers:
At the time, before 1903, airplanes did not exist and people thought a sustained flight with a heavier-than-air controlled aircraft was impossible. Only hot-air balloons and small uncontrolled glider existed and that was it. But the Wright brothers wanted to try and put in the effort, time and money into their project of building a controlled aircraft. They had a bicycle shop and acquired their mechanical skills experimenting and prototyping in their shop all types of smart mechanical systems. They finally ended up with a viable prototype and did their maiden flight in the US on December 17, 1903. They were experimenting, passionate, fast-learners and had a dream or vision. They later on, in 1909, let go and sold the patents to a company, because they probably did not want or could not turn their invention into a profit or viable business. They delegated this task to the Wright Company. What's interesting is that many people in Europe did not believe in the Wrights' invention and thought it was a scam. But the Wright brothers proved them wrong by making a flight demo in 1908.
Feel free to comment on this short story...
-Edité par augustinneuville 26 mars 2015 à 16:42:48
I really enjoyed the first part of the lesson.
But I have to say maybe you missed some crucials points especially about successful entrepreneurs.
At first to be succesful to me has a very relative meaning : basically it's a very subjective statement isn't it ?
Then you didn't eventually mentionned that being at the good place a the right time is tremendously important. What if Steve Jobs was not adopted and stayed in his biological family ? What if Bill Gates was not born in the USA ? OK I have to admit this a bit exagerated but most of the typical "self-made" men arrived in a specific position at a specific time.
Then I think it's important to talk about social origins of succesfuls entrepreneurs : despite the fact that most of them were not probably that rich; the social background has a big influence on your capacities to start something in your life. When you are born in a wealthy family, with both parents working, happy family, etc you tend to have more confidence in yourself and that's a big advantage when we talk about lauching a business.
At last : let's admit that all these peoples, wherever its Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Marck Zuckerberg, Larry Page, etc. they all have dark chapter when they created their businesses. Most of the time we learn that the main idea was stolen from that other company, a major part of them are maybe good entrepreneurs but as human being they tend to be narcissistic, egocentric, nervous, frenetic, etc
What do you think about that ?
-Edité par anthonyplomion 28 mars 2015 à 19:43:44
"Time to practice" part 1
I'd like to talk about "My Little Paris" and her founder Fany Péchiodat which I think is a great example of good start:
1) She shared tips with her friends by email (start small & prototype )
2) however she was building an newsletter, she did not involve any tech guy in the founding team but her sister Amandine and an artist (friend) Kanako Kuno. (Diversity + avoidance of territory skills). This team indicates that their is a great mix of IQ : practical and creative at least giving the unique My Little Paris universe.
3) at first, she had direct contact with her subscribers (friends' of friends) => direct selling to customers, unabling the team to test the new offerings (my little box, or niche sections : kids, weddings or new cities : Marseille and Lyon.
4) not many resources at the beginning, but sha has a strong mentor : Nick Swinmurn (founder of Zappos).
any comments or suggestions on this post ? thanks in advance
Par manque d'aisance en rédaction en anglais, je rédige ce texte en français.
Je suggère l'exemple de Augustin Paluel-Marmont et Michel de Rovira, qui ont fondé ensemble il y a 9 ans MICHEL & AUGUSTIN, une PME française de fabrication et distribution dans l'agroalimentaire, plus particulièrement l'épicerie et notamment les sablés (cookies) hauts de gamme.
Sur ce marché excessivement concurrentiel, dominé par des mastodontes industriels, et qui tranche avec les domaines habituels des starts ups innovantes, ces 2 jeunes hommes ont su insuffler un sang neuf dans cette activité ultra traditionnelle : animations originales comme des dégustations en plein air, des interventions en supermarchés déguisés en vache pour faire le buzz, mais aussi packagings ultra-soignés et décalés entre autres.
Mais selon les créateurs, la recette de leur succès est surtout liée au fait de créer des recettes de qualité, à base de produits haut de gamme, et de tester toutes leurs recettes pour obtenir comme ils disent des saveurs "explosives".
Le fait d'avoir démarré juste après la fin de leurs études leur a sans doute beaucoup servi pour défier de grands groupes agro-alimentaires bien installés : la naïveté de leur jeunesse leur faisait penser que tout était possible. C'est aussi leur esprit jeune qui a permis de casser les codes du packaging et de la communication (dessins enfantins et couleurs vives, vidéos décalées pour faire le buzz ...).
Au passage leur politique industrielle (100% sous-traitance française) s'inscrit dans une logique de partenariat long terme, ce qui là aussi est assez inhabituel pour des produits que l'on retrouve en GMS (Grandes et Moyennes Surfaces).
Même en matière de recrutement (terme qu'ils ont d'ailleurs banni au profit de "rencontre") ces entrepreneurs font dans l'originalité pour s'assurer que leurs futurs salariés sont en parfaite phase avec la culture de l'entreprise : vidéo de communication, réseaux de cooptations, ou questionnaires ouverts remplaçant la lettre de motivation sont 3 exemples de leurs outils originaux. D'une façon plus générale, ils ont parfaitement compris l'importance des compétences humaines, mais aussi de la motivation durable de leurs salariés, à l'image de certaines entreprises innovantes en la matière telles que Quicksilver par exemple.
Concernant leur succès à l'export, sans doute ont-ils su parfaitement utiliser le côté franchouillard de leurs produits et leur marque, comme tentent de le faire plus récemment d'autres start ups comme Le Slip Français dans le textile par exemple.
Time to PRACTICE PART1:
I am an entrepreneur who relocated in the US (boca raton, FL). In my point of view there are many recent entrepreneurs who got me enthusiastic by challenging assumptions.
One of them is the creator of ----- Copa Divino ------, James Martin. Copa Di Vino, helps its client consume premium whine by the glass.
Holding a patent (IP) on the opening system, and putting forward 500,000$ of his own money, James challenged assumptions after appearing on national US program for start-ups called: Shark Tank. Similar to Dragon's Den in the UK, Shark Tank is a panel of investors who invest their own money if an idea catches their attention.
James Martin, appeared not once, BUT TWICE in a row on the program. Everyone telling him: it's not ok, it's just an idea, what about your equity, etc.
Do you know, that today, James Martin, defied the odds, and has turned to a profitable multi-million dollar venture!
Sometimes, I wonder how strong we can be, by simply BELIEVING in ourselves!!
That's the story that caught my attention.
I was ready to also expose the story of Elon Musk founder of TESLA. But I had to make a choice, so I wanted someone recent.
Bruno, the exercises are: opening a discussion on this forum about assumptions + answeriong Quizz. Correct?
Or are there other exercises to do?
"Time to practice part 1"
When talking about entrepreneurs, so many names come in mind: Steve jobs, Elon Musk, Xavier Niel, Marc Simoncini...but also
Bertin Nahum( ranked the 4th innovative entrepreneur in the world),
Nicolas hazard( le comptoir de l'innovation), or Henrik Lind, Minoush Abdel-Meguid,Logan Green...and so on. They all represent the next generation of entrepreneur or leadership by the world economic forum ( http://widgets.weforum.org/ygl-2015/04.html).
By sharing this, I just want show what they all have in commun: seeing the world differently, starting small, believing in themselves,
going through challenges....
Thanks for reading.
Thanks a lot for oyur interesting contribution about entrepreneurs who can watch the wolrd differently. The Wright brothers, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, of course illustrate this idea perfectly. Also Michel et Augustin, who entered a very challenging industry with a very innovative approach, so do Bertin Nahum, Nicolas Hazard, etc.
Though it is definitely an interesting and inspiring case on many dimension, i am not sure that My Little Paris does echo this idea of challenging common widsdom and watching the world differntly, but they do demonstrate that excellence in the execution is crucial. So the point, though with a different focus is indeed very interesting.
To Anthony, thanks for the additional comment. The video lecture are not exhaustive, particularly on such a topic. Here are my thoughts on your points:
. "being there" is definitely crucial, no question about that. I made the choice in the time constraints of the video not to address that, but i agree.
. Point 3, i agree, as it echoes one quotation i am using from Sequoia Capital: the ideal profil of an entrepreneur is someone under 30 with a personal problem to resolve.
. Point 2: i don't have any data to back up my point, but i would be inclined in believing the opposition: the entrepreneur who comes from a middle high social class might less feel the need to prove, to achieve that is so crucial in the entrepreneurial process. But again i am not aware of any study that would support or contradict my intuition.
Thanks again, these are valuable and interesting insights.
As an example that illustrates the core principle of “watching the world differently, challenging common wisdom, good practices”, I suggest to mention Tesla Motors and its founders. What I find pretty amazing there, is that the big auto makers well established for so many years have been challenged by a startup company that was created in 2003. Tesla Motors founders had a different vision of the electric car. They saw the big potential of the electric engine. In fact that it is the only one that can give you 100% torque in an instant. As opposed to GM and others traditional auto makers, they were convinced that a high performance electric sport car would attract a larger market than environmentalists and tech enthusiasts...
-Edité par RaphaëlAllegre 1 avril 2015 à 21:32:09
"Time to practice" Part1
Hello everybody !
So... my example of someone who's "watched the world differently" : John Paul Gaillard !!!
in 1970 Nestlé invented the system of the coffee capsule and the first area covered by Nespresso is the professional world, that is to say, bars, hotels and offices but, sales do not take off.
So Nestlé was about to abandon this idea and it's John Paul Gaillard who had the idea to try the domestic sector. He thought that people will love to drink a real good expresso at home and then , the system became a worldwide success !
Thanks for reading !
Good evening to everyone,
I want to add my point of view to the question we were asked at the end of the first sequence of videos.
To me, "AirBnB" is a firm that does challenge common wisdom and watch the world differently (as all societies based on sharing economy).
If you take to take one minut to remember how the world was before a company such AirBnB started its main principle can see quite absurd and not viable. Most of people are taught not to trust strangers, we are accustomed to meet people in quite conventional places and situations. Offering a service such as the one AirBnB proposes is quite challenging to our previous mentality. Now it is well established it seems on the opposite that the idea is obviously good and was undoubtfully intended to succeed, but sure it was not that easy.
AirBnB takes advandatge of a situation where many people on one hand suffer from the economic crisis and have limited financial resources, and on the other hand are willing to experience new ways of discovering a city and its inhabitants.
At first they empathized on how georgous were the flats you can rent (for a quite low amout of money) and now the use have massively expanded it more generally became of much cheaper way to travel.
I'm very impressed with the idea behind sharing economy-firms beause to me all of the challenge accepted ways of living, consuming, using resources and so on.
Hi Bruno, Hi all,
I have few examples in mind when talking about entrepreneur’s skill & success : Criteo, Blablacar or BigMoustache.. Different scale of course.
About Criteo. I remember JB Rudelle (Criteo) in a conference talking about “driving in the Dark” and the “exploration journey”. He explains how he met his cofounders (unpredictable), how he was working on totally different topics at the beginning (testing and testing) than what is criteo now. Besides, it is interesting to note that his current place (evangelist ?) in Criteo is far from what he was doing at the beginning. It sounds that he has perfectly in mind the different stages mentionned previously (the 4 stages of venture).
I know I am late
A french example : Xavier Sillon ... He founded Videoclic ... A training company specialized in e-learning.
I suggest an article ... Xavier Sillon explained the different steps in the entrepreneur's life ... Very interesting ...
This is my example for the "time to practice" Part1 :
I would like to write about the company Amazon, specifically the founder Jeff Bezos :
- Before it became the "all you can buy" company we all know today, Amazon was selling books only (start small).
- In addition to this Jeff Bezos always valued the client first, and the client experience : he was one of the first to ask customers to write their own reviews.
- In 2006, Amazon launched AWS (Amazon web services) and revolutionized computer science by offering the first infrastructure service that will become the Cloud Computing (challenging common wisdom).
Hi, i'm in for the 2nd exercice.
But who will read my ideas, is it you Bruno, or somebody else in the community ?Can you insure me for some confidentiality, i don't want to spread them around ?
-Edité par Darwin42 5 avril 2015 à 11:15:40
@ Bruno Martinaud
Thanks for this kind of positive feedback. Usually when I used to talk about that this facts and insights in business classes most of the class (even the teachers) was arguing that we were not here to talk about sociology or philosophy or whatever. To me that was sounding so ridiculous, because entrepreneurship is a whole thing.
Btw I totally understand the video and time constraint of course. You made a good choice by staying focused on the core subject. Too many informations blur the main message but fortunately this is the purpose of the forum to talk about that
Good luck for the end of the class
Hi everybody, To begin I would like to thank you Bruno for your interesting courses. My answer for the first practice was Apple and the great leader Steve Jobs, because I think it is the most important leader who had all the qualities of a CEO and more particularly he really desired to change the world with another way to think. But it's true, this answer was already done.
So I would like to speak about another company, Uber and its founders. I think this company is one of the best startup on the last 10 years because they saw a big and interesting market with a real problem. For the story, the founders didn't find a cab when they were at a conference in Paris. It is an important innovation changing all the transportation way and I think Uber will develop all its services in the future.
The idea generation exercize in the 2nd period is based on peer correction. So other participants will will assess your work, and you will assess other participants work.
Thanks for your stimulating examples.
Here are a few comments and feedbacks on some of them:
Nespresso: yes it does indeed make the point. The main innovation is in the business model, while the core innovation was in the machine, for which the had a patent (I believe it went public a few years ago). They designed (after failing) a business model leaving the machine to manufacturers, and focusing on pods, and turning it into a huge sucess (we will get back on this example in the coming weeks)
Uber also illustrate the idea that we talked about of begin able to challenge common practices. They are shaking a regulated industry, operating often on the verge of what legislation authorizes, creating huge agressive reaction from established players.. But they keep moving on. Airbnb does follow the same path, also operating at the very edge of a regulated industry.. History of innovation showed that's how industries change.
On the the 3rd exercise I have to assess the student sent an empty form.
I've just sent an email to the website administrators (which promise to answer within 24 hours) but this "anonymous" people could recognize him/herself by checking the uploaded file.
Thank you for the course !
Here is an example of an innovative business model (or a business model transformation). A french group that sells children clothes and with its headquarters in the south of France has a brick and mortar approach. 5 years ago, their founder imagined a 30 euros' membership to get all clothes with a 50% discount (a model similar to the Costco company). The acceleration of the sales led the retailer to better purchases and then a better margin redistributed to customer and to the company. I think that Orchestra is the only one in its market proposing this membership approach.
@all students (see message above)
Also received an empty form for the 2nd week activity. Did anyone make a mistake while uploading their file? (seems that it has been uploaded using MAC OSX)
Thx for your feedback
I also received an empty form to correct!
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