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

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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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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Business, Chrome

Go North Innovation Event

The founder of Research In Motion talking about quantum computing research

The founder of Research In Motion talking about quantum computing

I’ve just finish to give me talk at the Go North event. The goal of this talk was to expose young entrepreneurs to the power of the web platform and how they could leverage progressive web apps in order to improve their businesses. It was very cool to meet with a lot of developers and entrepreneurs that are passion about the mobile web. One of the interesting questions I got was around AMP and PWA and how to bridge between them. Here is the detailed answer. The shorter version is that you want to start with AMP as a great first impression that you give your users (it’s all about speed!) and later stay engage/productive with PWA.
The two scenarios below tell this story in a nutshell. Continue reading

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Business

Startup Pitch Deck

In the past 5 years, I meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs and developers that were starting a new company.
In many cases, it was during a pitch or mentoring session.
I learn a lot from these meetings.

One surprising learning was a common intimidation from pitching your startup. If there is one thing that entrepreneurs are really afraid from is this moment of true, when they need to sell.

Let’s not get into the why here but focus on what can reduce this stress.

If you think about it, it’s a way for you to gain trust and show that you can deliver.
No one (with experience) want to see that you got all the answers but investors do want to see that you are thinking on the right issues and you have a plan. It’s true, that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” but it’s still valuable to see such a plan.

Here is the template for a good pitch deck.

The one I will use myself and tell my kid to use.
You can feel free to add slides but please keep in mind that your presentation should not be longer than 15 slides as you want to finish it under 20min and leave room for open conversation. Continue reading

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Business

A New Space For Startups In San Francisco

Today we are opening our new Space for startups in San Francisco.
I can see that you are asking, what?

Well, it is a place to explore the latest technologies and learn how to build successful startups. It a great feeling to build new things and especially when you have the chance to dream about something and than move it forward so it become a reality. I am excited about this place, as it will give us a good option to help more and learn more.

Look below who open it 😉 Continue reading

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Business, Chrome

How To Kanban?

Kan-what?

That is the first thing you hear when someone is hearing about this for the first time. In my last two startups,  I used it and it works quite good for us. Like in Agile / Scrum and all the other methodologies, you need to try and take what works for you. The magic in Kanban is the ability to keep most of the ‘things that works’ and gain productivity. If you like to do daily stand-ups meeting – keep them. If you push new version to production every week – keep it and the list goes on. The power of Kanban is in the ability to improve the communication and to put everyone on the same page, or a board in this case.

The Kanban technique emerged in the late 1940s in Toyota. It was their effort to invent a new approach to manufacturing and engineering. Line-workers displayed colored kanbans (=cards) to notify their downstream co-workers that demand existed for parts and assembly work. The system’s highly visual nature allowed teams to communicate more easily on what work needed to be done and when. It also standardized cues and refined processes, which helped to reduce waste and maximize value.

How to use it in your startup?

Continue reading

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