At the Henkel Startup Day
Henkel Startups Day, September 19
It was an honor to get invited to the startup day at Henkel with approximately 250 Henkel management representatives mainly from M&S and R&D. We, two of my Bayer colleagues and me, were the only external guests.
I was lucky to meet three of the most thrilling startups I had never heard of before: Jovoto, Selinko and Treatwell. They disclosed and clearly stated that everything can be digitalized but really everything. You could sense the awe-inspiring spirit of digitalization anywhere. The average age of all people at the conference was rather low. Then the first pitcher, Vidar Andersen, asked us to talk to a person we don’t know at all. A fairly easy task: I turned to the left and talked to a guy that was doing a dual course of studies with Henkel. At that moment he was writing about collaboration between companies and startups. Stunning, his enthusiasm and concentration paying attention to every single detail that was said. Andersen made one point clear that big companies have to be faster and adapt flexibly to startups’ pace in order to be successful. He also mentioned a splendid quote from Claus Schwab: “In the new world, it’s not the big fish that eats the small fish. It’s the fast fish that eats the slow fish”. With his funny sayings he made the audience laugh their ass off. At the end of the first part of the event the IBS Excubator was challenging us to finding out and collaborating with the right startup, a quite knackering choice to make. Cause every startup seemed to offer something new and exciting that does not exist before. I was spoilt by choice and I wondered how you can make sure that a startup will deliver.
Anyhow, even more exhilarating was the second part of the event. The powerful guy, Markus Fuhrmann, on stage threw light on the momentum mindset. As boring as the title could be he nevertheless was riveting his audience and put a smile on everyone’s face. He made known: “80% of success is just showing up”. This stand came from a guy that built his own startup and became so successful that you better consider that advice. He continued to elucidating mathematical equations and then converted them into comic characters and I think that no one in the room had a “hard time” to understanding his information. Promptness and a positive mindset are the most important factors for big corporations working with startups, Fuhrmann said. Big companies are wasting time by scheduling meetings that leads to long delays in decision-making, he forwarded. Fuhrmann highlighted the special approach from Henkel promoting startups and thus giving innovations more space, allowing Henkel to benefit from fresh ideas as well. Second pitch and my favorite one was Christoph Sollich AKA Pitch Doctor. He was called so because he has proven the ability to analyze pitches and to tell you exactly how to structure your pitch and to influence the audience in a way that makes them understand WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM THEM? He was just awesome. I only saw two of his pitches and they were striking and unique. I bet there was no one in the audience who did not like his pitch. He opened my eyes on one thing that is supposed to be obvious: Slides are free. Why cluttering one slide with so many bullet points and ideas plus action titles when we could have three slides with a clear or funny visual on each of them. The pitch doctor is inspiring and I’d be thrilled to being able one day to moving on stage like him and talking to the audience like him.