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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Business

Lean Canvas Basics

The lean canvas is a tool that helps entrepreneur with forming their idea into a macro plan and later (hopefully) a full function service or product.

You can use something like a good pitch deck to do the same. The core in these tools is to help you articulate what are you going to do and how you are going to win with it.

Let’s have a look at the page below. You can click on it to see it on a full page. If you wish to work with such a template – scroll down and print the clean one that we got in the bottom of this post.

lean canvas

The idea here is to think on our idea and to break it down to the different aspects.

We will fill in short bullet points each section. If you have a co-founder or advisor/mentor to consult with, please do so. It will improve the final result. Also, show the result to many people that you respect. Each might give you a point of view you didn’t think about. Continue reading

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Business

The Idea Factory Review

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I’ve just finished “The Idea Factory” and although it was long, I really enjoyed it.

It deals with a question that kept me (and many others) busy in the past few years: What causes innovation? and it’s doing it by telling the history of the most productive scientific laboratory on the planet (between 1920 to 1980): Bell Labs.

How did this organization become such a success story?

Bell labs produced seven Nobel Prizes and contributed important innovations: the transistor, transatlantic cable, the laser, UNIX, C++, photovoltaic cells, error-corrected communication, charged-coupled devices, digital communications and the mobile phones. Continue reading

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Business

Google Launchpad Accelerator – The 3rd Class

AsiaIn the past ten months, I’ve been busy working with startups in Google’s new program for startups, which we call: “Launchpad Accelerator“.

What?

In this unique program we doing our best to help tech startups build successful business.

How?

We are running this program by working closely with these startups and helping them with the most critical challenges. 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. Their value is huge and I’ll update here with specific examples.

When your startup is selected to the program, you get a two weeks at Google Headquarters full of learning and networking opportunities. After that, you have another six months of work with Googlers on your objective and key results. In other words, you get access to Google engineers, resources, and mentors. Which are all aimed to help you do your things better/faster/cheaper and make your startup a success. Continue reading

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startup good ideas that look like bad ones
Business

Want Great Startups Ideas? Think On Problems!

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-10-01-53-pmA question I get from time to time is going around “How can you come up with a good idea for a startup?”

It’s the wrong question. In order to get to an answer you do not want to think on a great idea for a startup. Because this won’t lead you in the right path. It might be a cool idea that you and your friends think is wonderful but if it’s not a real problem in the real world, most chances are that people won’t find it useful.

If it’s not useful, you won’t be able to monetize it and build a sustainable business. After all, a startup is a temporary organization in a hunt of scalable, repeatable and profitable business model. So you want to improve your odds in this hunt by identify a common problem.

It’s not only that the better way is to look for problems. It should be a problem that you have.

The very best startup ideas usually contain three aspects:

  1. You (the founder) want to have it. It’s your personal pain point.
  2. You can solve it.
  3. Few others realize that these ideas worth the time and energy to pursue.

Continue reading

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