Endeavor Entrepreneur María Noel Ache was featured on CNN Español as the founder of AIVA, a company that provides technology and outsourcing business services to investment and insurance companies in the Latin American, Caribbean and Pacific Rim regions. In the […]
During a recent visit to Mexico, New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman spent time visiting with Endeavor Mexico MD Pilar Aguilar and a number of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. These visits strongly influenced a column he went […]
According to a report in the New York Times, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital is now joining other U.S. corporations by extending its influence into South America. Led by partner David Velez, who will start up a regional office in Brazil this July, Sequoia Capital has been planning to create a South American presence for over a year, and started with a $10 million offering to Scanntech, co-founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Raúl Polakof. Scanntech ”makes technology to connect independent grocers and retailers with supplies.”
After Sequoia partner Doug Leone traveled to Brazil in late 2010 to scout out new entrepreneurial investment opportunities, the firm brought aboard Mr. Velez, who previously worked in the financial sponsors group of Morgan Stanley doing investment banking, last year. And though Sequoia has yet to invest in technology entrepreneurs in Brazil, the firm made two investments last year: Scanntech and Despegar, ”an online travel company for the region.”
According to the piece, Scanntech has worked with Kraft, Coca-Cola, Scotiabank, and Visa in the past, and is projected to double last year’s $18 million revenue total in 2012. Although the company is based in Uruguay, it plans to expand into both Brazil and Asia in the upcoming years; Raúl Polakof said he wants “Scanntech to become a global company.”
Last night, dozens packed into the Center for Architecture to join the conversation among some of the most influential in our field. Panelists included Endeavor Entrepreneurs and ArchDaily founders David Basulto and David Assael, who closed the Going Viral event with their tale of the creation and future expectations for their architecture websites. While ArchDaily receives millions of views per month, many may not know the story behind ArchDaily and the truly remarkable accomplishments this media empire has surpassed in a mere few years.
ArchDaily has grown to become the most widely read architecture website in the world, a feat largely accomplished by the founders’ clear goals in creating a large platform to expand opportunities available to all architects, and their understanding of the power social media has in influencing those in our profession.
During the 2000s, Basulto recognized a “circle of opportunity” that was forming for several architects who continually graced the glossy spreads of traditional architectural magazines. As a kind of critique of this exclusive network, and after noticing the talent of lesser known architects making great architecture, Basulto and Assael launched their first architecture website – Plataforma Arquitectura – as a way to expand the existing traditional network to provide opportunities to all architects.
And, it worked!
As Plataforma began to grow and show different architects’ work, soon, those architects were being contacted not only traditional publications, but also by clients and even other architects inquring about the projects. In essence, Basulto and Assael crafted a system that showed what could happen outside the traditional network, because now, architects, clients, readers, etc. could interact with one another and form a hub of opportunities.
From Plataforma, the Davids realized the magnitude of their influence when the website was ranked the fourth most widely read architecture website– a remarkable accomplishment as the site was all in Spanish and actually out ranked many major English websites. The success marked a turning point for our founders as the Davids now realized that to reach more of the world, the website would have to appeal to English speakers. And, so, ArchDaily was created.
In a time of so many architecture websites and publications, it is hard to stand out. But, what separates ArchDaily and gives us our identity is our mission to educate and inspire readers by showing the range of the profession. For the ArchDaily team, it is not just about bringing the most well known projects to you, but it is about sharing the local projects and introducing new firms to you, and projects with interesting clients, or programs, or constraints. And, as widely read as ArchDaily is (thanks to all of you!), the Davids focused on a huge mission the site must accomplish in the years ahead during their talk.
By 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities – that’s about 6.6 billion people! But, the cities experiencing such growth will not be New York or London or Madrid, but rather cities in developing countries where the percentage of architects are low, and the number who will need housing and infrastructure are high. ArchDaily will need to function as the source of inspiration, knowledge and opportunity to reach architects in all these countries, and to show what can be done or what has been done in similar situations as a way to help people have better lives.
When it comes to economic theories, there is plenty of fascination in the business world around how to explain what drives business and purchasing activities. Behavioural economics, the field of economics concerned with examining why people behave the way they do when it comes to their purchasing behaviour, is hot right now. Bestselling books like Freakonomics andPredictably Irrational dig deep into the psyche of people to try and explain seemingly illogical actions.
My own upcoming book called Likeonomics, to some degree, looks at a similar theme of why we do business with people and businesses we like and what impact likeability has on building a trusted business. As part of the research for that book, I have come across a disturbing number of examples of a new type of economic philosophy which is becoming sadly common, and which cannot be explained by modern economic theory.
I have started referring to this philosophy as Delusional Economics – a new economic principle which explains the growing number of businesses who expect some type of unreasonable behaviour change or act of altruism among their consumers in order to help their business succeed. This is not a strategy for success, even though sadly many businesses fall prey to it. Here are what I believe the four key principles of Delusional Economics are, and how you might avoid applying them to your own small business:
1. Change a customer’s worldview. A worldview is generally how a person sees the world around them, and it is usually the toughest element of perception to change. It is why people vote the way they do, why they sometimes blindly believe something or someone, and why they approach life in the manner that they do. To attempt to change how they see the world as part of your business strategy is usually a waste of time and effort.
2. Getting people to pay for something that is currently free. When a customer has become used to getting something for free, you really need to offer a compelling reason about why they should pay for something similar. Is it better, faster, more complete or more premium? Whatever the benefit, you need to make sure it is truly compelling to move people past the hurdle of being free.
3. Basing a business model on revenue from nonexistent advertisers or customers. More than one tech startup has been launched over the last several years with an extremely naive view of what advertisers will pay for. They have a revenue model based on advertising, but no pipeline or ability to get those customers. The end result is that their entire business success hinges on being able to connect with a key audience that doesn’t even really exist.
4. Overestimating a customer’s ability to appreciate value worth paying a premium for. A common problem with products or services targeted to the higher end of the market is that people in general are not that good at being able to detect what value is worth paying for. If I told you a bottle of wine was $100, you would assume it was great wine. If a wine bottle cost less than $5, it probably wasn’t. This is fine when it comes to wine, but in your business and industry it is probably much harder for a customer to discern the real value that they get and understand that it may be worth paying more for.
Last year on a trip back to the US from South Africa, I picked up a magazine about a topic I knew very little about. It is of the common tricks I use to learn about different industries outside of the ones I work directly with – and in this case, the magazine I ended up with was called Farmer’s Weekly.
The content was as you would expect, advice for farmers on techniques, information about regulations that will affect their industry and ads for tractors and things like that. In the middle of the issue I picked up was a feature article about what the author called the “Amish Paradox.”
This paradox describes the unexpected methods that the Amish use when farming their land that are working so well that they are continuing to run their farms profitably without interruption while many other farmers are struggling to make ends meet and often going under as well. What makes the Amish technique so special?
They rotate their crops consistently (planting different items at different parts of the yar. They never use chemical fertilizers and use something called “legume-based pastures’ to keep the fertility of their land. They tend to grow smaller fruits and veggies (which some say they are tastier to). Perhaps most importantly, they do what is called “adding value” – by producing additional products such as fresh cheese.
In an industry facing increasing pressure from large industry leaders to plant more genetically modified crops, and focus on volume above all else … the Amish philosophy stands out. What can you learn from their lesson, even if you are not in farming?
1. Stick to your ideals. For the Amish, their farm culture is mixed together with their religion and belief system. Few of our small businesses take such a principled approach, but if you do – it can help serve as a guidepost for what your business will do and how it will evolve, and what you will avoid.
2. Think longer term. One of the biggest challenges in any business is to think of the long term and not of today. Crop rotation, for example, is a principle focused on making sure that land remains good for cultivating crops far into the future. Sometimes what it requires is passing up the opportunity to simply plant the most profitable thing every time.
3. Avoid following the “experts.” The Amish philosophy goes against many experts in the farming industry who push for higher production and instead follows their more traditional path. This tends to draw many critics and also probably causes them to have lower revenues from their crops. Yet this goes back to point #2 – and how your priorities tend to be different if you focus on taking care of your land for future generations instead of just maximizing profit today.
Rodrigo Jordan returned to Mount Everest to celebrate 20 years since his first ascent.
Endeavor Entrepreneur Rodrigo Jordan has just climbed Mount Everest…again. The first Latin American to reach the summit, Rodrigo was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur for his company Vertical, which offers outdoor education, expeditions, and team-building to schools and leading corporations throughout Chile. After returning from his first climb of Everest in 2004, he founded Fundacion Vertical, a charitable organization that fosters social skills in children through outdoor activities. Read about his recent expedition below:
This following article was reprinted from Ilovechile.cl. The original article can be found here.
Chilean Team Climbs Mount Everest
by Daniel Boyle
MOUNT EVEREST, NEPAL — A Chilean team led by Rodrigo Jordan has reached the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point in the world. It was Jordan’s second climb to the summit with the journey marking twenty years since his first ascent. He was not only the first Chilean to reach the summit, but the first from Latin America.
The current team also includes two other Chilean climbers who had previously reached the summit. Eugenio “Kiko” Guzmán and Ernesto Olivares. Both climbers made the journey in 2004.
In a sign of the change of the times since his first ascent, Rodrigo Jordan has been keeping his followers up to date through his Twitter account. The messages were immediately relayed to the world.
rodrigo jordan 270×168 Chilean Team Climbs Mount Everest
Rodrigo Jordan returned to Mount Everest to celebrate 20 years since his first ascent.
Rodrigo Jordan came to visit the I Love Chile studio earlier this year. You can listen to the podcast. The 1992 expedition was the third attempt for Jordan after two unsuccessful attempts. This latest expedition also included three members from the Chilean Army.
The members of the team are Rodrigo Jordan (Expedition Leader), Eugenio Guzmán (Deputy Expedition Leader), Gabriel Becker (Head of Climbers), Sebastián Irárrazaval (Expedition Doctor), Ernesto Olivares, Sebastián Varela, Pedro Vidal, Lorenzo Ruiz, Juan José Varela. (Climbers), Felipe Olea, Juan Díaz, Paulo Grandy (Climbers, Army of Chile), Cristobal Hurtado (Cameraman) and Sofia Jordan (Base Camp Manager).
On return from the successful climb of Everest, Jordan started Fundacion Vertical, aimed at building social skills for children by outdoor activities. Vertical also runs corporate leadership programs.
“We don’t have anything typical. We have learned to co-design our programs with the clients,” Jordan said in his interview on the Hot Chile program.
The Chilean group was the first expedition to reach the summit this season. They reached the 8,848 meter summit at 1:50 p.m. local time. This journey was the fifth Chilean expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Before returning to the fourth camp, Jordan tweeted, “We need your company and thoughts for the long journey back to 4.”
From the camp, the group will link with Chilean Defense Minister Andres Allamand by satellite phone.
Hang around with lots of small business owners and not all are what one would call entrepreneurs. In fact, many are simply people that happen to own a job that pays the bills. Don’t get me wrong, these are good people, really good people, but calling them entrepreneurs sort of muddies the distinction. So what is the difference? What are the character traits that one possesses or actions that one endeavors that qualifies them for this often misused label?
I’ve been asked this question repeatedly and until now not come up with a distinction that captured it adequately. That is until I found myself in the kitchen with my wife.
I think describing the very different ways that my wife and I approach cooking can best capture the difference between how an entrepreneur and the rest of normal civilization view the world. My wife enters the kitchen, cleans up any lingering messes, imagines a meal, looks up a recipe, acquires the ingredients, carefully measures, mixes and serves the meal all the while cleaning up as she goes. This is, of course, a perfectly logical approach to eating and entertaining.
I, on the other hand, enter the kitchen, figure out what we have on the shelves, ponder combinations of things I like, decide how these things could be combined to make what I hypothesize would be something good to eat, taste, test, add, mix, add more, revel in the odd discoveries, pivot based on what I learn and whisk what seems reasonable onto the plate of anyone I can convince to eat. And, somehow every single pot and pan available gets pressed into service and dirtied.
My wife imagines a future meal based on what she knows and I imagine a future meal based on what I discover as I go, and that I think is as clear a distinction of the entrepreneurial mindset as I can illustrate. Entrepreneurs don’t learn by thinking, they learn by doing.
I had occasion recently to spend some time with Ned Hallowell, M.D., Ed.D., a child and adult psychiatrist, New York Times bestselling author and leading authority in the field of ADHD. Hallowell will tell you that an extremely high number of entrepreneurs share many of the same traits as the ADHD patients he has treated over the years. The primary difference is that they’ve been able to channel what is, for some, a debilitation into an asset. Hallowell’s research and treatment of persons with ADHD is shedding entirely new light on the power of this trait.
In the words of Dr. Hallowell, “In my opinion, ADHD is a terrible term. As I see it, ADHD is neither a disorder, nor is there a deficit of attention. I see ADHD as a trait, not a disability.” And there, perhaps, you have it – entrepreneurship is a trait, that unmet, untended or unleashed could be considered by some a disability – or you could imagine a world where you discover only by doing.
Endeavor is proud to make public the following transcript and video from a presentation at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. The event, which assembled over 450 entrepreneurs and global business leaders, featured dozens of entrepreneurship-related presentations by top CEOs and industry experts.
Overview:The cleantech revolution has unleashed what some have called the largest market opportunity in the history of the planet. As experts in the cleantech space, Mike Ahearn (Chairman, First Solar) and George Bilicic (Head of Energy, Power, and Infrastructure, Lazard) discuss the magnitude of this opportunity, what it means for entrepreneurs (particularly those in emerging markets), and what entrepreneurs should keep in mind when starting cleantech businesses.
Managing Partner, True North Venture Partners, L.P.
Michael J. Ahearn currently serves as Managing Partner of True North Venture Partners, L.P., a venture capital company that invests in early stage innovative businesses addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems in areas such as energy, water, agriculture and waste. Mr. Ahearn also serves as Chairman of the Board, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR); Member, Board of Trustees, Thunderbird School of Global Management; Member, Board of Trustees, The German Marshall Fund; Member, Board of Directors, Endeavor; Member, Global Advisory Board, Beijing Climate Policy Initiative; and Member, Advisory Board, BDT Capital Partners. Mr. Ahearn lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds B.S. and J.D. degrees from Arizona State University.
Managing Partner, Omidyar Network
George Bilicic heads the Firm’s global efforts in power, energy and infrastructure and also works with companies in other industries. In addition, he serves as a member of the Firm’s Fairness Committee and Investment Banking Committee. Mr. Bilicic earlier completed a term as Head of Lazard’s Midwest Advisory business serving the needs of companies and governmental entities based in that region of the U.S. across all industries. Other than his time at KKR (see below), Mr. Bilicic has been at Laz ard since March 2002.
Most recently, Mr. Bilicic has advised on the following matters (client in parentheses): proposed merger of Progress Energy and Duke Energy (Progress Energy), proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR (Northeast Utilities), resolution of joint venture and related matters between EDF and Constellation Energy (EDF), proposed sale of RBS/Sempra Trading Business (RBS and Sempra), proposed sale of Autopista Central toll road (Skanska), potential privatization or municipalization of the Long Island electric transmission and distribution system (LIPA), proposed exchange offer by Exelon for NRG (Exelon), leveraged buy-out of TXU led by KKR and TPG (TXU), Duke Energy spin-off transaction (Duke), National Grid acquisition of KeySpan (KeySpan), PlaNYC (City of New York), Duke Energy merger with Cinergy (Duke), various alternative energy financings and others.
From May 2008 to October 2008, Mr. Bilicic served as a Managing Director and Head of Infrastructure at KKR. At KKR, Mr. Bilicic was responsible for initiating and leading KKR’s global infrastructure investing efforts and contributing to other areas, especially alternative energy and power. During his time at KKR, Mr. Bilicic served on the Infrastructure Investment Committee and led teams that considered investments in airports, ports, surface transportation, utilities and power, alternative energy, midstream infrastructure, social infrastructure, and infrastructure conglomerates.
Everyone has had fear. It’s human nature to be fearful of a tiger. But why does it tend to get in our way in business so much? I’ve had the chance to ask millionaires and experts about their fear and how they pushed past it. Google defines fear as:
“An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”
Fear is just an unpleasant emotion. That’s it! There are a ton of other unpleasant emotions, but for some reason this one can stop us from really becoming what we want to in life. It stops us before we start. If you want to have an amazing 2012 and beyond you need to find a way to fight your fear. Below are action items for you to do to get past the fear you have in your business. Choose at least one today to fight your fear.
You Don’t Have to Be Fearless
Earlier this year I was able to ask Seth Godin a question about fear. I asked:
“Do you use excuses because of fear? How do you recognize them and get past them?”
“Oh yeah, all the time. And the fact is, in our highly-leveraged world, where anyone can write a book on Tuesday and publish it on Wednesday, if I wasn’t using excuses I’d be a master of myself and would be producing tons of stuff. I ask myself, ‘What’s important enough to be afraid for?’ In those areas I’ll strip away the excuses. I’ll focus so much energy to do the things that I think are important enough. And in other areas of my life I will succumb. No one is Clark Kent and fearless. You don’t have to be Clark Kent to do what you want to achieve.”
You don’t need to be fearless! You just need to overcome it just enough to take action in spite of it. Millionaire Frank McKinney, who calls himself a real estate daredevil and creates $30 million dollar dream homes, said this about fear:
“The first emotional reaction to the thought of undertaking a risk is fear. So we’re afraid. That’s normal. That’s natural. Then we go and do our homework with that fear firmly embedded in the back of our minds, and as we’re researching, we are subconsciously looking for a way to say no. Realize that. Don’t let it happen. Realize there is a force at work subconsciously in your mind that is tempting you to say no. That’s the primary difference between my career and most others, especially in real estate, that I don’t let the fear that is there stop me. I’m afraid every day of my life. I admit it–I’m like an alcoholic that admits he’s an alcoholic. I admit I have fear every day, but I don’t let it stop me. That is the primary difference.”
Over and over again I hear it. You don’t need to be fearless! Frank also says you should exercise your risk like a muscle, and I think you can do the same thing with fear. Once you start to face it using the techniques below, you will get better and better at facing it.
As organizations grow, they gain an audience, revenue, cash flow and trust. They add staff and then, soon, they decide it’s time to offer something new. Smuckers decides perhaps it should use its shelf space to offer a peanut butter. A corporate coach wonders if he ought to add HR consulting services. A website decides to clone a product made by a smaller company that they can bring to a larger audience…
If you extend your reach because you can, because you have market power, you will probably be doing your existing customers a small service (centralized support or billing or just one less person to deal with) but your brand doesn’t increase in stature. You had a chance to bring some of your original magic to the table (after all, it’s that magic that got you started) but all you did was bully the competitors out of the way.
On the other hand, if you extend your brand because the new offering is better, magical in the way you can make it magical, then you’ve dramatically increased not just your market share but your perception as well.
Nike and Apple sometimes fit into the second category–the iPhone and some of Nike’s clothing options are clearly different/better. Starbucks did it when they launched their ice cream.
On the other hand, there are literally thousands of organizations (including non-profits) that head down the path of mediocrity by rushing to offer 57 varieties, merely to please today’s shareholders, merely because they can.
My watch doesn’t keep very good time, and I like it that way. Its uncertainty keeps me from organizing my days too precisely. It gives me breaks – sometimes short, some longer – for unstructured thinking.
At the top of organizations, and particularly in younger companies, time for unstructured thinking is scarce. Yet, unstructured thinking is what spawns the breakthroughs that people expect us, as CEO’s, to deliver.
This is our work of the highest order. But building space for this kind of thinking requires a stance that counters certain pressures we receive from others about how we should spend our time and requires a different discipline for managing our days. Not difficult. Just different.
Here are five tips that will help you build time for unstructured thinking into your workday. And if you do it, you will raise your odds for delivering what others expect of you – the big ideas – even though some of your constituents might not see the connection as you start.
When I see a day of back-to-back entries on my calendar, I know that it won’t be a very productive one. Still, most of us fall into a trap of feeling most important and that we’re doing our job best when we haven’t got a minute to spare.
Do you remember the Eureka! story? After working hard on a problem, Archimedes drew a deep, warm bath to clear his head, release all thoughts and relax. As water spilled over the side, the answer he’d sought for days emerged. Eureka!