Business, life

Einstein: His Life and Universe

I just finished to read this book and there are few aspects I really enjoyed.

It was a long book that the master of biographies (Walter Isaacson) wrote based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein.

I liked to learn about Einstein personality and his private life as well as his academic achievements. His imaginative and ‘thinking out of the box’ approaches enable him to create a revolution. To me, the amazing part, is that he only used his mind. No experiments or ‘tools’ that will guide him.

The book explores how an imaginative patent clerk came with theories that changed the way we understand the universe. We get a description of a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate. I learned that unlike the pop culture that claimed he was an awful student, he was a good one. He wasn’t strong in french but in math and physics, he was a good student who got high scores.

One of the thing that I found as a surprise, was the fact that he knew that he is going to win the Nobel prize. He also promised his first wife the money from the prize. Continue reading

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Business, life

You Don’t Need Status Meetings

The most valuable and scarce resource is time.

As a young startup you must do your best to use it as efficient as possible because you have limited time to show traction and become a profitable business.

Now, there is no doubt that you need to focus and try to spend most of your time on real work. However, we all did it in the past, we get into a room of 5-10 people and everyone is telling the group what they did.

It’s such a waste of time! Even if each person is talking for 5-10min you got here 50-100min of boring meeting which is equal to a waste of time.

Why not have this updates in a tool that let everyone in the team to see what all the others are working on? Continue reading

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Business

#LPA17 Executive Summary

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The 3rd class of Launchpad Accelerator boot camp is over. It was a great two weeks packed with talks, workshops and mentoring sessions. I hope we will see soon the accomplishments of what we did together with the founders. We had more than 1100 mentoring sessions (of one hour or more) and all the notes from these sessions are being saved in a set of apps that we built. This allowing us to follow up with the startups and see what is the impact that we are making (or not). I was amazed by the founders and their dedication and grit. It’s always a true pleasure to work with so much talented, focused group of people. My hunch is that we will ‘hear’ in the news on about 15% – 20% of the startups. Btw, this is a ratio that any VC would love to have.

The goal of our program is to help tech startups build a successful business. This is why we searching after these startups that already got a product market fit and funding. In this program, we are doing our best to help them boost their KPIs and become sustainable businesses.

After reflecting on these two weeks, I think we are moving in the right direction. We got lots of good feedback and we are going to (try and) do better next time, this summer. A series of videos with stories and ‘action items’ will be live soon – so we can share our learning at scale.

These are the startups that took part in this class. I had the pleasure to mentor 90% of them and it is going to be fun supporting them in the next 6 months. Continue reading

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Business

Objectives And Key Results

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At Google (and many other companies) we are working with OKRs. From the company level down to the personal level. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. It is a method of defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes. Its main goal is to connect company, team and personal objectives to measurable results, making people move together in the right direction.
Let’s see why it might be a methodology you would like to use in your startup.

What?

First, you wish to define what is the goal (or the top 1-3 objectives) you try to accomplished. Continue reading

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Business

#LPA17 First Week – Quick Summary

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We just finished half of Launchpad Accelerator boot camp #3!
It’s a lot of work but great fun.

As I wrote in the past. I’m having a real fun to leading Google Launchpad Accelerator. If you don’t know what we do and didn’t click here. The goal is to help tech startups build successful business. We focusing on emerging markets and working with a group of talented mentors (from Google and outside) to bring real value to the startups.

How?

We are running this program by working closely with these startups and helping them with the most critical challenges. You can see below all the startups that are taking part in this class.

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The analysis and guidance are being done by mentoring sessions. In these sessions we leverage the vast experience of Google’s engineers and other external mentors from top companies and venture capitals in silicon valley.

We covered topics like: Progressive web apps, Android, Firebase, Growth hacking, Business, Fundraising and any other challenges that the startups wanted to get help with. It’s a packed two weeks, but the beauty is (that in most cases), the mentors giving the entrepreneurs hooks and not fishes. Our goal is to learn from these sessions and share the finding publicly. So I hope to have a lot of new posts for you in the next several months.

This week we had some inspirational talks and lots of productive sessions. A quick browse in the photos (or this growing set of photos) below will give you a glimpse to the magic that is rolling in our startup space in San Francisco. Continue reading

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Business

How To Ask Good Questions?

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When you are helping entrepreneurs and developers, you want to lead them after you understand their specific situation. Asking a question is an important tool that will let you investigate what are the strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a skill, so like any other skill, you can improve it. I found that there are (almost) no ‘dumb questions’. In many cases, the basic questions are the most revealing ones. Similar to the “5 whys” that are helpful to get to root cause of a problem.

Before you asking the question, do some homework and try to find the answer yourself. Later, when you ask the question, say what you did in order to find the answer. This will help you to establish the conversation and show that you did some homework on the topic.

Some suggestions that will improve your questions: Continue reading

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Business

My Favorites Books 2016

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-11-22-27-pmHere are some of the books I’ve enjoyed in the past 6 months. I am trying to alternate between fiction and non-fiction on a weekly bases. I did two official marathons (Teveria and California international marathon) and another 2 that weren’t part of an organized race, so in the training for these events, I had a lot of time to listen to audio books.

Below are the ones that I really liked.

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

It’s an intersting story (behind Money Ball) that I enjoyed a lot thanks to Michal Lewis. It’s about two Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky who wrote together a series of breathtakingly studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Daniel Kahenman received at 2002 the Nobel price for economic on their work on physiology and how the human mind is being fooled in many situations.

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

It’s a long one, but with the great talent that Mr. Friedman got it’s passing quickly. In this book, he cover what he think we need in order to understand the twenty-first century. It’s about the planet’s three largest forces:

  1. Moore’s law – The acceleration in technology. From hardware/Internet Of Things/Mobile to big data to tools to analyze it and use it (e.g. Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning).
  2. The Market – Globalization. The ‘world if flat’ and the way we are all connected more then ever. The fact that many companies are global and markets are very connected.
  3. Earth – Climate change and biodiversity loss.

These fast accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. What does it means for you? Well, it will change the way you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate.

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

I wrote about this one here.

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

It’s a story that is told by the talented Sudhir Venkatesh. He is the source for some of Freakonomics great articles and ideas. In this book, Sudhir take us with him when he walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects. How he meet and befriend a gang leader named JT and later spend the better part of a decade embedded inside the projects under JT’s protection. From this unique position of unprecedented access, Venkatesh observed JT and the rest of his gang as they operated their crack-selling business, made peace with their neighbors, evaded the law, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang’s complex hierarchical structure. It’s an amazing story. I highly recommend it to anyone who is running a business or just curious to learn more. Continue reading

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