idea VS. execution

I love ideas. Ideas are precious. Ideas can change the world because they can change the minds of people without even touching them or taking too much time. Ideas are the spark that lights the fire of entrepreneurship. Ideas can be simple and complex at the same time. Ideas move society forward.

BUT, and it’s a big but, ideas alone are nothing. Moreover, ideas can be easily confused by the most valuable asset and the only one that we need in order to be succesful with our venture. IDEAS NEED EXECUTION. Even more, sometimes execution doesn’t even needs ideas. Sadly, there is a way larger amount of people in this world that has ideas and do nothing with them than people that executes this ideas in a smart and sophisticated way and ends up bringing real change in this world.

Execution deserves the same passion ideas trigger in people’s hearts. Execution is the exciting complex combination of actions anyone has to do to achieve anything. The right execution is the consequence of smart actions, deep learning from big failures and extremely driven and optimistic attitude.

Let’s all become evangelist of the “best execution” Church (I know, it sounds weird…). Let’s all value the entrepreneurs we see not only because they have good ideas, but because the fight hard to execute them the smartest way. Let’s stop this crappy comments about companies or entrepreneurs oversimplifying what they are doing because we can’t find a simple analogy for what they are doing.

Let me give you and idea: An online social network that connects people. Let’s think about how important would be to execute this the right way. Think about the tens or hundreds of online networks before Facebook… Yeah, it was a good idea…

Let me give you another idea: A device that can hold digital music in mp3 format. Think about the amazing difference the user experience made for the iPod. or the iPhone, or the iPad. Remember there were others before them… with not so good execution…

Let me give you yet another IDEA: A car that can drive itself… Should somebody who has the idea but does nothing to make it a reality get a reward? Or should the inventor who gave shape to that idea and put the different pieces together get the recognition? Think about it, deeply…

Let’s build a society were we value most of all the people who fight for sophisticated executions, the people who tries to do think DIFFERENT; the people who knows that ideas are important, but working on a extremeley creative and innovative execution is what really moves the world forward; the people who believes that details to perfection can make all the difference. Let’s create a world where nobody says the word idea without saying the word execution in the same sentence.

I’ll always be interested in doing the things we do in an improved way, even if many people still things the important part was the Eureka moment. Don’t let that people stop you from building something.

JVR

3D printing will change the world (if it hasn’t already)

Since I came to Silicon Valley last july (2012), one of the things that got me more excited about the future is 3D printing. I was lucky enough to visit the IDEO workshops in Palo Alto last year (2011) with the Yuzz group but I can definitely feel a major acceleration in the importance of 3D printing over the last year.
I was also lucky enough this year to meet people form the Singularity university Community and was able to see various 3D printers in a various range of models, from very expensive to really affordable ones. Also at Startup Embassy, I met some 3D designer that told me a lot about what’s going on in this area and how it is becoming an industry.
Not only 3D printing is clearly becoming a more and more popular technology, but it is even becoming mainstream with webpages like Shapeways or products like the Makerbot.

I found this very interesting video that shows a good amount of possibilities that 3D printing will bring into the world.

 

Last week, I also backed the project for a 3D printing pen. It’s not exactly a pen that can 3Dprint but I love the idea of a pen that allows you to do 3D sketches of stuff. Here is the Kickstarter video.

Find out more about the 3Doodler here

Printing a gun

New technologies usually come at some risk and 3D printing is no different. We should be aware of it and try to do our best to use this new technology in the coming future. We are going to face a reality were every individual in the world can have access to amazing powers, we are going to discover in this period if this is going to take us to a conscious society of grown ups or to complete chaos.
The name of the organization is Defense Distributed

Also, thanks to my friend Benoit and other friends at Startup Embassy, I discovered some pretty interesting articles and links that I would like to share with you.

http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/29/3d-printer-guide/
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/02/3d-printed-car/
http://www.3ders.org
http://www.slashgear.com/laser-3d-prints-tiny-spaceship-the-width-of-a-human-hair-10268744
http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/04/two-global-makers-come-together-to-make-a-robotic-han-for-a-boy-in-south-africa/
http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/31/forget-3d-printed-buildings-the-european-space-agency-is-exploring-3d-printed-moon-bases/

JVR

ENTREPRENEURS

Super interesting talk about rising kids as entrepreneurs.

And watch the video that the speaker show at the end.

JVR

10 things I learned in Silicon Valley

Place matters

You can be succesful anywhere in the world, but for certain industries, context can help a lot. For the tech industry this is very true.

One of the things I like the most is waking up and having the first conversation of the day about some new startup that has raised money while having a coffeee in the kitchen of Startup Embassy. Later, answering some emails and reading there’s an event about some interesting stuff you need to know in a place near where you live. At midday you can have lunch at Coupa cafe where you could bump into Michael Arrington or Steve Blank. Work some more during the afternoon and have a drink during the evening at some bar in San Francisco where you meet some really interesting engineers from LinkedIn or UX designers from Youtube. Before going to sleep, you talk with some friends from Singularity University who just moved to Atherton and are now neightbors of Guy Kawasaki (true story…).

This being said, I think Silicon Valley wannabes have to focus more on differentiating and complementing Silicon Valley than copying it. After a meeting with Barcelona Loves Entrepreneurs it’s clear Barcelona has many things to offer to Entrepreneurs around the world (More on that, soon).



Learning learning learning

This would be a conversation I could have any given day in Palo Alto:
– Hey, have you read this thread on Quora about the best practices on UX design? Oh, and this one about how prople works at IDEO?
– Hmmm… No, but I have seen the interview from Kevin Rose to the founder of Tesla about how they are volutionizing the automotive industry.
– Very cool! If you have time, check out this course at Khan Academy on getting investment.
– sounds interesting, I was actually following a branch on that. But I think I’lljust download the angel hack book and read the section about it.
– Anyway, let’s talk later because I’m in the middle of a webinar on how to use this new tool to come up with new revenue sources.


Ideas are important. Execution is key

I have some important news for you: EVERYONE HAS AMAZING IDEAS TO CHANGE THE WORLD but most of them are worthless if they aren’t executed, sorry if that comes as a surprise to you but nobody is going to give anything for your ideas if you aren’t able to turn them into VALUE.

Silicon Valley is all about execution. Great ideas with bad execution end up going nowhere. Mediocre ideas with great execution can change the world.

It doesn’t matter if it already existed or if you had the idea first. It’s about who does it THE RIGHT WAY first. There were mp3 players before the iPod, there were social networks before Facebook, there were smartphone before the iPhone, there were coffee shops before Starbucks… It’s more about the HOW than about the WHAT.



Start now, with whatever you have

If you wait for the perfect context for you to launch your startup somebody is going to do it before you. Even more important, you are not going to do it right the first time you try, so you better start failing now…

The book concept you need to understand is “The Lean Startup”. The idea is to start with a minimum viable product (MVP) that is as easy as possible to launch and pivot (iterate) once you get feedback from your first users. If you can’t get users the way you imagined to get them, just get out to the streets and ask people about your product or service. It’s all about moving fast and adapt to the feedback you get.

I think it’s a great theory and very useful in many ways, but don’t be trapped by the idea of lean. In my opinion, being lean doesn’t mean being crappy, if you can do things well designed with some more effort you should definetelly do it. I don’t think Apple has the Lean philosophy in its DNA. 



Not being technical can be good

It seems that everything is about a secret algorithm, but I (want to) believe that there’s lot of room for humanism and applied arts in Silicon Valley. Not only design, but sociology (Social Media is not about the engineering…), and art, and creativity, and philosphy! etc.

If you are not an engineer, like me, there are lots of ways in which you can add value to the ways things are done in Silicon Valley and the Tech Industry, and ultimately, have the same or more chances to change the world!



Get technical

Being said that not being technical can be good…

Ok, you are not an engineer. You don’t even need to understand what they do, but if you are an Entrepreneur I’d definetely recommend understand the frames in which engineers work. I don’t even think you should be able to execute some technical part, but at least be able to explain in their language what you envision for your startup. ·It’s up to you to decide where to draw the line…

Don’t ask for help, you don’t need it

One of the first things you tend to do when you get to a new place is ask for help. Even not being in a new place, one of the first things I see other first time entrepreneurs do is ask for help. I’m not saying you can’t ask for help, what I’m saying is, most of the times, you don’t need it.

What I suggest is, instead of asking for help, focus all you efforts on finding ways to generate value with you skills and your startup. Generate value in a way that people that might be able to help you will feel the tendency to do it because they like the value resulting from your effort and think you will be able to generate even more value down the road.

If you want to be introduces to somebody, show the people who can introduce you to that person that they can be proud of having been the ones who introduces you to that person; If you want some succesful entrepreneur to pay you attention and give you some advice, make yourself noticeable through value.

If you don’t know how to generate value, you can always find somebody that will share their experiences if they see you are really passionate about what you are doing. If you can’t find anyone, read books like The art of the start or Steve Blank’s and Paul Graham’s blogs.


Need funding? Be well connected, have a history, show traction

Silicon Valley isn’t that different from other parts of the world. Probably one of the main differences is that here investors understand a risky venture like Facebook can be rewarding. But in the end, nobody gives away money for nothing.

Be well connected: Is not going to happen in two days, but if you want it to happen soon, these are my suggestions after what I’ve seen:
Put an effort on your social abilities  It’s not about going to fifteen events a day, but about trying to be authentic when you are in one Have something that might be memorable to other people, wether it’s your attitude, your business card or all the things you know about a certain area. As we talked before, people will introduce you to other people if they see the value you bring with your startup.

Have a history: You maybe haven’t sold three startups before, but keep in mind all the things you have done to get where you are and try to see the things you are doing as a step for the things that are coming. The things you do today will take you where you want to be tomorrow but most people will forget them (being bartender when you were seventeen was important, graphic design when you were nineteen was important, reading all the books on communication you could find when you were twenty one was important, etc.). As much as possible, try to see how you will “connect the dots” in the future.

Show traction: It might sound obvious to you, but after listening to some entrepreneurs you might realise it’s not. The BEST thing you can do for people to pay you attention is showing that real people is using your product or service. That’s not going to be everything, but it’s a VERY good start.


Cafes a great place to make a deal

I haven’t done a million dollar deal in a cafe. This being said, I have learned how important casual meetings can improve communication between people.

It won’t be an easy task, but if we understand that we don’t need ties, elegant wooden tables, glass buildings and fancy auditoriums, maybe we are one step closer to change the world. And I’m not saying those things can’t impress me, I’m saying we could focus more on what’s really important if we didn’t have them.


If they did it, you can too

One of the most important things that happened to me in Silicon Valley was that I demystified many entrepreneurs, NOT because they weren’t as good as I thought or they had some hidden dark side but because they are as humans are we all are. They are just very hard-working people, focused, driven, ambitious and result focused and all that can be learned by most of us if we put ourselves into it. #YesYouCan


JVR




Amazing speech from Steve Jobs

He just predicts a bunch of things we today give for granted, but twenty years ago…

I love how he talks about education, publishing, programs (apps), design… He was an amazing visionary with the hability turn that vision into reality.

JVR

Startup Embassy en “El País”

La experiencia Silicon valley pasó a otro nivel en el momento que conocí a Carlos de La Lama y su recién iniciada aventura Startup Embassy. A partir de ahí, la fiesta acababa de empezar. Justo ayer me alegró mucho que publicasen un artículo después de la entrevista que nos hico Adrián Segovia mediante Skype.

Aqui está el artículo online http://tecnologia.elpais.com/tecnologia/2012/10/01/actualidad/1349112802_776849.html

Más info en:
http://www.facebook.com/StartupEmbassy
http://www.startupembassy.com
http://www.twitter.com/startupembassy
Y aqui un video que hice para la casa

JVR

IMAGINE: Una experiència que et canvia la vida

Avui s’ha publicat el video resum de l’edició 1012 d’IMAGINE a Silicon valley. Quants records concentrats en 6 minuts. Quina gran experiència que em va obrir els ulls a un nou món on tot és possible si t’ho proposes, treballes i, t’ho imagines… Mai m’hagués imaginat que aquest estiu em canviaria tan la vida…

JVR

The iPhone 5 launch in Palo Alto

I happened to be in Downtown Palo Alto today during the opening of the Apple Store for the release of the iPhone 5. I shot these two videos and I thought they are worth sharing.

JVR

Cualquier dia de estos… aparezco en la web del Wall Street Journal

Me han pasado bastantes cosas inesperadas en Silicon Valley, desde presentarnos en la Nasa el dia del aterrizaje del Curiosity en Marte sin saber ni que era el Curiosity unas horas antes; pasando por conocer PhD directores de laboratorios futuristas de HP en el tren nocturno de vuelta a Palo Alto; o conseguir poder assistir a la fantástica gala de graduación de Singularity University. Pero quizá uno de los dias más completos fué el pasado miércoles.

El dia en cuestión se hacía la presentación del iPhone 5 en el Yerba Buena Center For the Arts de San Francisco. Estando en Palo Alto nos teníamos que levantar un poco temprano para llegar a la puerta y ver el ambiente pero por problemas de transporte con el coche al final fuimos más tarde y llegamos ahí cuando la gente ya había entrado. En cualquiera de los casos, el objetivo era ver el ambiente de la puerta o sea que tampoco no creo que nos perdieramos mucho… Aqui está un video que rodé cuando llegamos.

Mis compañeros de viaje eran Fredi y Elies. El primero es un emprendedor catalán que se está en Startup Embassy en busca de oportunidades en Silicon Valley. Tiene un proyecto llamado www.makingmyself.com muy interesante… Elies es un emprendedors fundador de Fastdove.com y alertaiphone.com. Este segundo proyecto en cuestión, es un comercio electrónico muy importante en España de productos para iPhone (te pueden hasta cambiar el color al iPhone) y creo que esto lo hacía un especial buen compañero de viaje para este evento. En cualquier caso, Elies es ya un buen amigo muy bueno en temas de mobile y fue un placer compartir el micro finjiendo ser locutores que retransmiten la Keynote de Apple… Phenomenal! Faster! Thinner! larger! ;-)

Una cosa especialmente ilusionante para los tres, fue saber que la presentación de Apple empezó hablando de Barcelona. Pusieron el siguiente video. La gallina de piel! Ah, y super sorpresa ver a mi compañero de universidad y amigo de fanboyadas Francesc Brondonau con la nariz de pallaso como orgulloso Apple employee (1:24).


Llevábamos ya un rato en el sitio. Se podia notar la excitación en el ambiente. Es increible la capacidad de Apple para despertar las espectativas de las gente… Yo iba paseando mi funda con la cara de Steve Jobs… y en un momento dado, aun no se como, se me acerca un chico preguntándome por la funda y yo le lanzo el pitch! Cuando me quiero dar cuanta me ha dado un microfono con el logo del Wall Street Journal y me está filmando con una peazo de camera… Una buena aparición de 1sleeve y mía en uno de los medios de comunicación más importantes del mundo. Muy breve, pero tampoco será la ultima ;-)

Aqui algunas fotos más

Aqui con el periodista en cuestión

Nos quedamos en el sitio hasta que acabó el evento y pudimos ver como salia la gente. De hecho pude ver a Marissa Maier (CEO de Yahoo) salir del evento con el embarazo bastante abanzadito (comentario un poco de prensa rosa…)

Después tuvimos que volver pronto a Palo Alto pero Fredi y yo fuimos hasta el shopping center de Stanford porque el necesitaba algunas cosas. La verdad es que es un sitio precioso.
A mi me llamó sobretodo la atención la gigantesca Microsoft Store al lado de la pequeñita Apple Store. tiene gracia el nivel de copia que ha ejecutado Microsoft con el retail (y con muchas otras cosas vaya…).
Pero no se si por curiosidad o provocación, el mismo dia que presentan el iPhone 5, decidí entrar en la Microsoft Store!

La verdad es que me lo pasé muy bien con la Kinect. Me parece un gran producto, pero aun muy desaprovechado…
Una cosa graciosa fue cuando una dependienta me propuso hacer el reto “Bing vs. Google” para demostrarme que el buscador de Microsoft era mejor que el de Google. La idea era que yo buscava una cosa y luego me salian dos páginas de resultados de entre los que tenia que elegir sin saber si era Google o Bing. Al final de cinco busquedas te decian cual te había gustado más. Y lo más gracioso de todo fue, que salió Google! jajaja La dependienta iba diciendo, pero si lleva toda la mañana saliendo Bing! Y la verdad es que algunas busquedas tenian que ver con 1sleeve y vi que Google me trata mejor… :-)

También fuimos a la tienda Sony y tengo que decir que estas gafas para tener tu cine individual son bastante impresionantes… Si me sobrase el dinero, claro…

 Luego, como ibamos en bici, le enseñé Stanford a Fredi. Pero la verdad es que no suponia ningun esfuerzo para mi. Me parece un sitio tan impresionante…

Volciendo a Palo Alto pasamos, una vez más, por la que fue la primera oficina oficial de Facebook. Ahora hay una startup muy misteriosa…

Ah bueno, y ya puestos pasamos por delante de la casa de Steve Jobs con las bicis. Toma tour!

Estos son algunos de los pantallazos de mi aparición en el video del Wall Street Journal que me mandó mi amigo Bruno. Una pena que pusieran “iPhone fan” en lugar de “1sleeve” o algo así… :-/

Fue un dia bastante completo la verdad… Me encanta ver como estos dias puede ocurrir con facilidad en Silicon Valley :-)

JVR

The land of fearless people (ENG & CAT)

This post in both catalan and english. Scroll down for the english version.

Sent un emprenedor tens aquells dies quan no creus que algun dia aconsegueixis tenir èxit; quan no estàs segur si realment aportes algun valor al mon; fins i tot penses que acabaràs arruinat o sigui que val més que trobis un estil de vida més segur.

Estan a Silicon Valley, aquest sentiment només dura fins que topes amb altres emprenedors, cosa que passa força vegades al dia (I encara més a Startup Embassy). I començes a parlar amb ells sobre lo preocupat que estàs per forçar la maquinària, sobre el fet que estaria millor si demostressis abans de poder passar més temps a Silicon Valley; que no tens un duro… Però llavors, parlant amb ells, t’adones que tothom està arriscant força a Silicon Valley. I no és que no en siguin conscients, són gent molt intel·ligent, simplement entenen que és un lloc impressionant on ser i pel què pots aprendre. Però sobretot, perquè si ets un emprenedor, aquesta situació es convertirà en un estil de vida. O sigui que val més que et preparis perquè aquest sentiment d’estar continuament arriscant i tenir certa por és, de fet, el sentiment més adequat perquè coses emocionants segueixin passant.

Avui m’he adonat, després de compartir les meves pors amb altres emprenedors (ara amics), que la por és un bon senyal de que estàs perseguint els teus somnis i no prenent el camí més fàcil. Moltes gràcies nois.

Al Francesco, la Chiara, el Marco i el Carlos

ENGLISH

Being an Entrepreneur, you have those days when you think you are not going to be succesful. You have those days when you are not sure if you are really bringing any value to the world. You might even think you are going to end up ruined and so you better find a more secure way of life.

Being in Silicon Valley, that feeling only lasts until you bump into other entrepreneurs, which actually happens a lot during the day (even more at Startup Embassy). You start talking to anyone about how worried you are about the fact that you are risking too much, that you need to prove things in your own country before you can spend more time in Silicon Valley, that you don’t have enough money… but then, talking to people, you realise everyone is risking a lot being here. And it’s not like they are no aware of it. They are very smart people. They just understand this is an amazing place to be and learn and also, even more important, if you are an Entrepreneur, this is going to be your lifestyle for your whole life. So you better be prepared, because this feeling of continuoulsy risking and being a little scared, it’s actually the right feeling to have for exciting things to keep happening.

I just realised today, after sharing my fears with other (now friends) and entrepreneurs, that fear is a good signal that your are pursuing your dreams and not taking the easiest path. Thank you guys.

To Francesco, Chiara, Marco and Carlos

JVR