Tag Archives: startup istanbul

Startups, are you getting too much advice?

A common practice for most first time founders is that they constantly seek advice and mentorship in a bid to accelerate growth. A common pitfall however is that much of the advice they get can be misleading. Getting too much advice from supposedly individuals who even though mean well can lead to a path of failure. Continue reading

Why Your Startup Needs Lean Startup to Succeed

This is an extract text from the great fireside chat between Prof. Erhan Erkut and Steve Blank on October 5, 2015 at Startup Istanbul Conference. It has great insights on the lean startup building blocks and tools for entrepreneurs.

Erhan Erkut:What are some of the risks that an entrepreneur faces and how would the entrepreneur mitigate them if the MBA program is not gonna do it for them?

Steve Blank:So one of the biggest both benefits and problems with being a founder of a company is that a founder is driven by passion and faith. And in fact on day one, A startup is closer to a religious organisation than anything else.You are actually driven by your belief that you see something that no one else does.And in fact that’s not only the reason you will succeed that’s also the reason that you will fail.Because very quickly for a startup to succeed you need to turn that faith into facts as rapidly as possible. The mistake is thinking that just because you believe that therefore it exists.And the whole idea about the lean startup movement says you know there are no facts inside your building, So why don’t you get outside and try to get some facts as early as possible.And that was my contribution to this portion called customer development.

And so the Lean Startup Movement actually does three things. It says let’s take all your hypothesis and by the way I use this word hypothesis because at Stanford where I teach the students pay 50 Thousand Dollars a year and their parents want to know they learning very big words. But outside of Stanford the word Hypothesis means guess.And if you really think about it most of your startups are based around a series of untested guesses. Though you might believe and you might have convinced other employees to join and you might have convinced investors to give you some money, the odds are most of what you have are a series of untested guesses.

And what we gonna do is have you write down those guesses and we gonna use something called the business model canvas by someone named  Alex Osterwalder. I would have added Alex’s book to your reading list.This book is called business model generation and in one single diagram one piece of paper we could put all your guesses,all the guesses.

Who’s the customers ? What am I building for them? What’s the distribution channel? How do I get,keep and grow them? What are the profits and losses and costs?etcetera.

Then the second thing we gonna do is get out of the building.Physically and sometimes virtually and test those hypothesis by doing the third thing agile engineering and building Minimum Viable Products.

And so the lean startup consists of those three pieces.

Business Model Design to articulate or write down your hypothesis, customer development to get out and test them and agile engineering to physically build iterative and incremental versions of the product before you do what we call first customer ship.In a lean method you are continually testing the product, almost from day one and it’s not just code it could be a powerpoint, could be a wireframe, could be just data to get some early customer feedback and what’s interesting is the lean startup maybe five years old yet MBAs had 100 years of management stack and we kind of just building our stack of tools for entrepreneurs.

Oscar Osterwalder came up with the business model canvas, I came up with customer development, Eric Ries came up with the insight that agile engineering is the best way to build MVPs.And so all of us have just been adding to this management stack and others, the books you mentioned as well. And so entrepreneurship and tools for entrepreneurs, all of you are now the beneficially in the 21st century of all this new thinking and how to think about startups.

Again I wanna emphasize if you are doing the same thing you would have done in a large company, you are going to go out of business.

BIG IDEA! Don’t believe that just because you believe so it’s going to happen.

Writer: Paul Njorojo

Startups are not like real estate. So why invest in them at all?

Another thing that’s a challenge is that sometimes a very simple bet on real estate has a much higher return than startups with a lower failure profile. In fact in many emerging markets investing in a real estate plays probably just an index better on the overall country’s growth and a simpler way to get access to that growth than startups. Continue reading

Silicon Valley’s Secret Revealed

Dave McClure founder of the famed Silicon Valley venture fund 500 Startups has played a key role in investing in startups around the world. 500 Startups has been instrumental in amplifying the startups ecosystem especially in emerging markets making small bets on startups that the world would probably have never heard of.

But according to Dave, entrepreneurs and investors in these emerging markets have got it wrong in their quest to be like Silicon Valley. While on stage at Startup Istanbul 2015 he broke down reasons why we are getting it all wrong.

What’s Silicon Valley’s secret is a question almost everybody is asking nowdays. Speaking on what it really is he said “The dirty little secret is that Silicon Valley isn’t really a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s a  belief in the face of insanity. It’s a belief that you will be successful in the reality of the story that 80% of sort of startups will fail.Probably more than 80% of startups”

Dave gave a classic example on what belief in taking risk is like in the Valley ”We are surrounded by crazy people who know the odds and still jump off the cliff. You look to the guy on the left that girl on the right, You know you guys gonna fail ! I’m gonna succeed!  You jump up off the cliff.”

He underlines that the key factor in these acts of insanity is that they are not just individual, they are collective. And so doing individual acts of insanity might not be seen but doing collective acts of insanity is seen in fact it’s smart.

“We have to convince other people to jump with us we have to jump off that cliff together hopefully with different types of planes and hopefully one of those planes start to fly” Dave says.

However entrepreneurs in Turkey,Pakistan,Kenya and in any other emerging market are mostly heard complaining about the lack of capital for their startups. Dave had this cracking answer to them “The biggest problem is not usually a lack of ability a lack of capital or a lack of opportunity the biggest challenge is a lack of confidence in your head. You think you’re not as good as Silicon Valley entrepreneurs”

Key takeaways from his speech are that Silicon Valley is comprised of people who have come to the Valley from other places. They are no better or worse than us. They are us. The only difference is that they have the insanity and the confidence that they might actually win and we need to capture that mindset as well.

Meanwhile he also states that it’s easy to build a business anywhere than it was to build a business in Silicon Valley twenty years ago. Twenty years ago people also weren’t excited to build businesses at Silicon Valley.

To sum it up “It’s cheaper it’s easier there’s more customers there’s more opportunity get up your ass and get started.

You can watch the whole talk here

Writer: Paul Njoroge

Startup Istanbul 2015: Special Interview with Eamonn Carey

In a special interview for Etohum, Eamonn Carey, who is Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars, shared his opinion about Startup Istanbul event and the Turkish entrepreneurial ecosystem, talked about Techstars and what they do to help startups from around the world and gave valuable advice to all entrepreneurs. Continue reading

Startup Istanbul 2015: Steli Efti on Why You Should Hustle Your Way to Success

Steli Efti was one of the speakers at Startup Istanbul 2015 Conference. During his stage talk, his energy was filling the room with enthusiasm and positivism. He spoke about the importance of learning how to hustle and why it will help you on your way to becoming successful entrepreneur. Continue reading

18 Experts Reveal Their Core Startup Advice for Entrepreneurs

At Startup Istanbul 2015 Conference many entrepreneurs had the chance to meet with influential mentors, advisors, mentors and investors from around the world and to receive valuable advice about entrepreneurship. See what startup advice and tips the experts gave to the entrepreneurs and learn from their experience! Continue reading

Startup Istanbul 2015: Special Interview with Faizan Aslam

Faizan Aslam is the CEO and Founder of the Pakistani startup Bookme.pk. In a special interview for Etohum during Startup Istanbul 2015 event, Faizan talked about their startup journey, the lessons learned and the opportunities, which came from the participation in Startup Istanbul 2014 Challenge, shared what is next for their startup, and gave valuable advice to all fellow entrepreneurs. Continue reading