Zeitgeist

Zeit·geist = spirit, essence of a particular time

A collection of food-for-thought posts and articles on technology, business, leadership and management. 

WebCongress US: Why Superman wears his underwear outside his pants? - Tech trends & patterns

Actually this is a presentation about technology trends, patterns and mobility but, given the audience at WebCongress held in Miami James L. Knight center I had to look for a catchy title. Head on to slide 32 for a wonderful graph on Smartphone adoption where you can see where the world is at today compared to US and EU 5 countries. Thanks to analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco.

[slideshare id=28014475&doc=webcongressmiami2013whydoessupermanwearhisunderwearoutside-online-131107133803-phpapp02]

The deck is 51 slides long but there are another 50 in the original draft, pretty much covering everything I could find from real experts around tech. More importantly, at the end of the presentation, slides 46 onwards, you'll find what this means to people, and their reason behind the rising new generation of entrepreneurs.

As a summary, this is the new context we face:

  • New paths in Maslow’s pyramid
  • ‘truth’ is a tweet, photo or video clicked & sent away
  • New definitions of ‘success’: money may not be in
  • Access to luxury more important than owning luxury – Rise of sharing economy
  • Self-realization and self-actualization online
  • (Win)^3: You help me, I help you, we help others
  • Klout score in your resume
  • Managing man-machine symbiosis, key competencies.
  • Global network, global thinking, global objectives. A collective intelligence arising (Singularity)

Consequence of historical events:

  • Reduced sense of security since 2001 terrorists attacks
  • Destabilized economy since Global Financial crisis 2008
  • High unemployment levels – ‘Evil’ corporations
  • Increasing perceived fiscal pressure – need to self sustain or get out the system
  • Pervasive & cheap computing everywhere
  • Tech-entrepreneur heroes – Dorsey, Zuckenberg, Larry, Sergey
  • All tools you need in the web: crowdfunding yourself (kickstarter)

Loss aversion decreased dramatically for new generations, a 'nothing to lose' context fosters entrepreneurship. We'll all meet there.

@efernandez

Start up pitch - Engineering Leadership Program at IE Business School

Fascinating times in the tech world. I have learned (the hard way) how the start up pitch process works these days, and what are the key messages to convey to investors to grab their attention (and their funding) for your project.

In essence:

1. Focus on the need (the problem) you are trying to solve. Articulate clearly your solution.

2. Metrics: how big is this thing?. Market size, audiences, where are they? How much interest do they have? proofs? (have you piloted this?)

3. Demo your solution as much as you possibly can.

4. Competition, who are they? risks?

5. Financials: not relevant overall as all investors consider very difficult to predict what will happen. Very important though to state clearly how much funding are you asking for, and what are you gonna do with it.

6. The team. Team is crucial in a start up. Investors invest in people not in projects.  Always secure a capable team with the required experience and competencies.

7. Finally, the most important thing of all: put all the p-a-s-s-i-o-n into it.

Emotions are the engine of everything we do, if you are wholeheartedly committed with the project investors will notice by the way you show your emotions. This gives them confidence you're going to stay even if your project runs out of money.

For us, prior to graduation at the Engineering Leadership Program from IE Business School, we had to present our start up project to a jury of seasoned experts.

Out of the more than a dozen presentations, this project (our project) was selected as the winning start up, see below on slideshare:

[slideshare id=26433685&style=border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px&sc=no]

Awarded Best Start-Up project by IE Business School at the Global Engineering Leadership Program in its 2013 edition.

Co-leaders: Antonio Mansilla Laguia, COO Kellogg EMEA & Javier Garcia, CFO Endemol

Jury:

. Paris de L'Etraz. PhD. Managing Director Venture Labs at IE Business School

. Ikhlaq Shidu. PhD. Chief Scientist at UC Berkeley's Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership

. Jorge Montes del Pino. PhD. Business Angel & Advisor. es.linkedin.com/pub/jorge-montes-del-pino/7/831/a56

. Roy Richards. PhD. Columbia Tech. Chairman & Board Member at Southwire Corp.

About the Global Engineering Leadership executive program: UC Berkeley has partnered with the IE Business School (ranked 7 globally) and the prestigious Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to offer a global version of the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Program.

Click here to see the video.

Thanks to Antonio Mansilla, COO Southern EMEA at Kellog as well as to Javier Garcia, CFO and board member at Endemol.

Thanks also to Mario, Antonio's 9 years old son, who kindly let us into his room at his home to install the Smarthings hub we used for demoing purposes.

@efernandez

The Sales Cycle Inside Out #toomuchtimeonplanes

sales cycle

The full picture behind a handshake, the universal expression of a successful transaction, a sale, has many similarities with other processes in physics, like the behavior of sub-atomic particles in a fusion process where atoms combine at the expense of energy to achieve a 'desired' new stable form. In a short-sighted view, a sale, is just a transactional consequence of the collision between a problem and its potential solution. Beyond the solution, it's about 'the job to be done', as analyst Horace Dediu many times refers to.

Problems belong to buyers, who are perpetually in active seek of solutions, in a dance surrounded of sellers.

 sales

In between problems and solutions, where they meet, there is, in 'firewalling' words, a DMZ area, the conflict zone. In the corporate world, this DMZ area is delimited by finance, business operations, business affairs and legal on one side, Brand & corporate marketing, channel marketing, Product Marketing, Technical support and PR on the other.

Picture yourself driving the Challenger spacecraft re-entering atmosphere. You can feel the heat below your feet, that burning side of the spaceship will be what we call sales in any company. This fringe, always in friction, is where I work, at the beginning of the end of problems, where the job needs to be done.

Problems and solutions belong to 'The What' of the story. The bigger picture becomes visible if we ask about 'The Why'. Why does a problem exist?, answers are not always evident.

Majority of the times, particularly in the tech word, and as a consequence asymmetric competition, it becomes necessary to reverse engineer everything from the visible impact in the market.

Smartphone sales, as an example, may illustrate this. A smartphone is actually a piece of hardware whose purpose is to materialize an interconnected multimedia experience for human beings (although we see also cats, dogs and other animals staring at screens). The problem to solve here, is to deliver intelligibly a stream of content&services to an UI, the solution (or the tool if you will) is a smartphone.

In this case, the problem belongs to different stakeholders in the value chain. Content and service providers want to reach end users, that's their problem. They ultimately rely on carrier networks to convey their products. Carriers, owners of networks, also want to reach end users and their problem is to make sure end users have something in their hands with a screen as big as reasonable to deliver their megabytes of data. But… why?.

Problem owners or buyers, carriers, content developers, service providers, share the same motivation, they want to monetize their products or services, that's why. In other words, they want to deliver something on to a recipient (at a cost) to obtain a benefit (at a profit), the delta between cost and profit speaks to the importance of the problem and fuels the determination to resolve it.

In our example, the solution is simple, go and buy an smartphone. In our story, those with bigger profits at a stake will be keener to dance with smartphone vendors, rules are simple, everyone will fight to maximize profit or reduce cost in the value chain but always within the limits to secure the new, aspirational stage, is not jeopardized. i

It's a sum-zero game in which everybody wins one way or another. We, users, enjoy our connected life in our never-leave-more-than-a-meter away smartphones, while carriers, content and service providers make commercial profits. It's all about the transfer of value and the transactions in between.

But, this is not over, no single solution can ever, never, serve entirely to solve the problem it is intended for. There will be always gaps. Gaps need to be filled in by means of innovation in products and services, ultimately serving better end users, us, for a richer and happier experience.

Is there a limit to this?.  I guess the answer is yes, if we, at some point of time, connect ourselves to an on demand endorphins delivery system.

But, this is a standalone topic on its own…

@efernandez    from the series #toomuchtimeonplanes

 

The Web needs to multitask

The speed of innovation and change in mobile is astonishing. We can’t take things for granted, nor let legacy frameworks limit the scope of what needs to be done.

Google officially announced they are forking WebKit, the original rendering technology behind Apple’s safari browser, as it limits Chrome’s multiprocess (multitab) functionality.

Effectively, the ultimate objective, the job to be done, is to enable the user to multitask and roam between browser tabs avoiding crashes.

Enabling multitasking is becoming increasingly relevant in different user contexts, it is for Google at application layer (browsing), and, it’s key differentiator at operating system level for BlackBerry, powered by QNX kernel.

 

@efernandez

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