9 Entrepreneurship Insights That Stanford Gave Me In One Week.
ASES is a Stanford organisation founded in 1989 with the goal of connecting student entrepreneurs all over the world to create a global network of innovators. Every year, they select 35 of the world’s best collegiate entrepreneurs to come to Stanford and participate in a week of entrepreneurship, design thinking, incredible speakers, and wicked problem solving, the ASES SUMMIT.
This year I had the incredible opportunity to be part of this awesome team! We had delegates from Australia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, and BRAZIL (that was me).
This post will be about the most important insights that Silicon Valley and Stanford gave me during this week.
— You are allowed to fail. You are not allowed to be slow.
From the words of Cameron Teitelman founder of StartX, a free Stanford Affiliated Accelerator: “Slowness kills Startups”.
Speed is the most valuable characteristic that a group of people can have as a startup team. To assure success, one has to have the ability to move quickly and to break and rebuild things as fast as possible.
— Great Founders have intrinsic motivation around a core problem.
“Because of the market” and “it is a great idea” quite often is not enough to make someone dedicate 10 years of their life to build and work on something. Before starting a startup for the sake of doing so, you have to find something that you really care about. Ideally it has to aim to solve a problem that is so big in your life (on in your peers life) that you feel that you are the person on earth that needs to solve that because everybody else is screwing up.
And although mentors are the 8th wonder of the world, “Clarity of thought” about the problem that you are solving is what will define the choices that you will make along the journey, and it is what will keep you on track when everything looks broken.
— All great ideas seems stupid initially.
That was a core insight that keep appearing again and again during the talks, Garry Tan and Mike Maples, in different ways, explained the same concepts regarding ideas. But what does it mean and how do you recognize a great stupid ideas?
The way that I’ve found easily to explain is thinking about common sense. We all have core assumptions about the way things works, assumptions that define our moral rules, our cultural rules, and our society in itself. But some of these assumptions are wrong. They are wrong until you show people the other possibility. And in this core misconceptions about the way things works, is where lies the biggest opportunities for startups.
Let’s take Uber for example. The assumption was that people would never feel comfortable in getting into a stranger’s car, someone that is not a taxist or officially a driver, someone just like you. When someone realize this were wrong, that people would actually feel safer in a stranger’s car than in taxi, a whole industry was born.
But just to remember, I’m not saying that all crazy ideas are good, most of them are not! (until the moment you prove the opposite).
— If you are working a lot, you have to be earning a lot, or learning a lot.
From Garry (yes we are friends now), it doesn’t make sense to create a life plan where you stick anywhere around in the middle of earning and learning. The magic is always to learn how to identify that core opportunities, that may not give an awesome financial return at first, but that will accelerate your personal development more than any other thing in the world.
— When you are small, act small.
YC mantra: Do unscalable things. It is simply the only way you get off the ground. To test ideas, to validate concepts, to deliver customer services, to make things scale, you have to act accordingly to your size. It doesn’t make sense to build structure around things that are not validated. Acting small will allow you to understand the pain points across all parts of your business, what will allow you to scale much faster, much better.
— True capitalism and competition are opposites.
From Mike Maples, -exploring some of the ideas from Peter Thiel- the best competitive strategy is not to be the best, but to be the only. Competition is always pervasive and what defines billion dollar technology companies, is the ability to escape competition.
— People underestimate the threshold of delight that products should provide.
The thing is that a great product should be 10x better than any other alternative available. It has to delight the user in a unique and relevant way and it ultimately has to change the point of view of the user about how things should be done regarding that problem.
— When you make the decision to start a company, make sure you are all in.
If you have a plan B, you will never make plan A work out. People are naturally lazy. If you are starting a company you have to be ready to some giant storms in your journey, it is a fact that things will not always be good. If your plan B is working in some big firm, there shouldn’t be a plan A at all. And this is not a bad thing! It is just much more comfortable than a startup.
— Startups are about winning a thousand small battles.
The idea is that usually, there is no silver bullet or sign-or-die moments(usually). Momentum of achieving small goals is absolutely key to move towards an ultimate goal. Keep calm and execute what has to be executed. Complacency is the enemy of achievement — so get comfortable being uncomfortable
I hope that these insight can somehow help you to achieve your goals as an entrepreneur! If you want to know more about how was the experience in Stanford, just send me a message and I will be happy to talk about it!