The last 4 days I visited the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and these are my biggest take-aways for startups.
Goliath needs David and vice versa.
As a startup you know which one you are. You are small and agile and have a weapon of massive impact. Use it wisely. Goliath is big and strong, a weapon in itself too. You both have a need that unites you. You both want to be(come) and stay relevant for your customers. For society at large. And ultimately for the world... Use that as your focus.
What is your yell in the jungle?
It's a jungle out there. There are as many startups as animals and insects (no pun intended...) in this jungle. How do you not only get seen but also get noticed? How do you stand out? What is your yell in the jungle? This brings me to the next point:
If you are constantly looking at what the competition is doing you are not focusing on your own yell. What you should be focusing on: your own start-up.
What value do you create?
What major hassle are you taking away? What need do you create for which you have a (preferably sexy) plug and play solution? Make it obvious in your tagline. This is one I liked very much from Deployeth, a runner-up startup that was selected to be part of the accelerator programme Startup Bootcamp this year. Startup deployeth provides an autonomous, intelligent energy management solution for small businesses, hence saving significant amounts of money on the monthly electricity bills. Their tagline is 'Making money takes efforts, saving money doesn't'.
There are no shortcuts to success.
Alden Mills, an ex-navy seals officer, told a fantastic story about the similarities between the notorious Navy Seals bootcamps and startup bootcamps. There were many analogies. Everybody likes to be a hero on a sunny day; reality is often the opposite. The world does not owe you anything; there is no hot coco and warm blankets for those who quit. Try. Fail. Try harder, fail again. Repeat cycle. Until you lose count. There might be a chance you'll be successful. Might. But never, ever give up. Large opportunities are there. They require an equal, if not larger, amount of effort.
Start ups will fall. It's a matter of time. So? Get up. Continue to play.
What happened to the little baby inside of all of us?
Investors buy stories not products.
Product definitions are boring. Interesting stories that drive home key points are not. Don't tell. Sell. And be yourself. Needy is always creepy.
Trust the Chinese fortune cookie wisdom on teams.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go toget
her. Team team team!
Have fun along the way and show it.
Life is already serious enough. A smile is outrageously contagious. The best start-ups speeches were done with authentically curled up lips. People are drawn to positivity and playfulness. Remember the baby?
The world needs start-ups.
A CEO of a start-up asked me if start-ups were a trend likely to continue. This is like asking if the sun will set today. OF COURSE! The world needs start-ups. We need your light. We need your brilliance. Don't stop shining please!
How well do you score as a start-up with regards to the above?