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

Focus (2)

That is my room about a year ago (now there is no stand and the wall if ull of post-its)


I already wrote about focus and I knew I would write about it again. This time, I write about it because I think focus is a very common concept in Silicon Valley. In fact, for what I read somewhere, Mark Zuckerberg has a banner in his desktop that says “Stay Focused and Keep shipping”. Not to mention the fact I already talked about Steve jobs’ obession with Focus.


In this post though, I would like to talk about how entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are focused specially on execution, as Di-Ann Eisnor puts it,” you have to be able to show something new (and meaningful) to me everyday!”.

Execution is making things HAPPEN. And that is very easy to say but much harder to achieve. I guess that, like any learning, it takes time to really absorve it. I think I have actually been reading some interesting articles on execution for a while now, but I have the feeling that after all I have done with 1sleeve I am just starting to grasp how execution can really happen.

Maybe it’s a mix between GTD (Get things done) tools, personal organization, attitude and, most of it, focus on your short term goals. I’ve seen it and has happened to me many times. You sit and start working, after 30 minutes, you realise you have been doing anything but what your goal was. Nobody said it would be easy.

To me, the most important is set those 2-3 daily GOALS very CLEARLY and have ways to keep them in mind all the time. Maybe three little post-its with each one of them. Once again, it’s very easy to say, the hardest part, and the part I find myself and many people around me in is, maintaining that focus on those three tasks.

I think it also helps a lot the energy and motivation you can find to achieve those goals. Try to see the vision behind those three goals. I guess, it helps me to think that if that goals aren’t achieved, I’ll never be able to achieve the overall vision. i’ll never succeed.

JVR 









Jogging at Stanford

One of the things I’m going to miss the most during my “temporary visit home” before coming back to Silicon Valley ;-) is my regular joggings at Stanford. I don’t know exactly if it’s just because the place is so beautiful or also because I keep thinking how many smart and interesting people has walked around the paths of the campus. Even Steve Jobs walked this paths, at least to his way to the Stanford Stadium… :-)
This is the progress I’ve been doing during august. It feels so good to see I’m getting used to it. Running allows me to think about some things I don’t have time to think about during the day. 
Here, I post some pictures I have taken during some of my joggings. But I can assure you this isn’t all, there are many other beautiful hidden places I still haven seen. At the end, you can find a little place that my friend Elies showed me. I go there during the jogging to think about being excellent in whatever I do…

Whoever I am or whatever I am doing some kind of excellence is within my reach.

JVR

THE FUTURE IS OURS

I found this video in Andreas Raptopolous’ twitter account and I loved it! Totally agree! This is an amazing time and we can do amazing things! Let’s do them!

 

JVR

A day in San Francisco, a night at the museum

Today I went to San Francisco. It’s been a month (with one exception one night I went to have dinner) since my last time I was there, when IMAGINE ended.

I was so happy when I got there because it was sunny! :-)

After a meeting, I went to the museum and the science lesson started! It was around 7, which is already night in american terms…

Even if it looks like daylight, it’s not. It is the light from the artificial forest.

Looks like the scientist work more hours than a startup…

And these are the drinks! :-D

There’s this cool terrace on the top of the building.

Have you ever been to a Club like this?

Funny to see a museum full f empty alcohol glasses…

This is the room with the dj. One of the two.

I have actually seen this in other clubs… (but with a drink in their hands) ;-)

Elies and Siegfried lost in the jungle of the night…

Oh, and we met with a huge group of catalan people! Catalans are everywhere! ;-)

Oh, and as you leave the museum you bump into the Young museum. beautiful…

Nice night! Thanks Elies for telling me about it!

JVR

Startup Embassy – Tu casa en Silicon Valley

Estoy muy contento de la gente con la que puedo estar en Silicon Valley. Especialmente las horas que paso con Elies, Carlos De La Lama, Di-Ann y todos los chicos de la casa Startup Embassy.

Startup Embassy es una iniciativa del propio Carlos de La Lama. Se trata de una amplia casa en Palo Alto con el ambiente perfecto para cualquier emprendedor que llegue aqui y quiera enterarse el máximo de rápido como funciona esto al mismo tiempo que conoce otros emprendedores.

Con Carlos nos conocimos el año pasado cuando visité Silicon Valley como YUZZ y luego coincidimos en los Lovely dinner de Josep Amorós en Barcelona. El maravilloso “connecting the dots” ha hecho que coincidamos y esta vez colaboremos para que el máximo de gente posible se entere de la fantástica iniciativa que es Startup Embassy. De esta colaboración han salido la diferente actividad generada en las redes sociales (fb y tw), un montón de ideas para la casa que se verán muy pronto, y un video que irá evolucionando para mostrar el ideal y fantástico momento en el que Startup Embassy empieza su andadura. Os lo dejo a continuación. Estoy seguro que esto es solo el inicio…

Las criticas son bienvenidas y tendrán sus efectos en la evolución del video ;-)

Aprovecho este post para agradecer a Carlos su trato y generosidad en esta colaboración.

JVR

Palo Alto at night

One week ago I came back to Palo Alto from San Francisco using the Caltrain and I had a one hour walk getting back home. I didn’t know at that time that the bus I had to take was working the whole night but I actually didn’t care that much. Everything was new and I din’t even look for a cab. I just wanted to see Palo Alto. So I took the walk.

The best thing about it is that I had a really nice Nikon D7000 from my friend Carlos De La Lama and I could take pictures during my walk. These aren’t amazing pictures but it was a very nice walk.

The other nice thing about it is that during my walk, I  not only bumped into typical nice houses of Palo Alto, but also could take pictures of IDEO and Groupon. I specially like the one I took to the white circular “sofa” at IDEO :-)

JVR

L’experiència Silicon Valley

Porto ja més de dues setmanes vivint a Palo Alto (després del mes de San Francisco amb IMAGINE) i de moment l’experiència està essent reveladora.

La cosa que més destacaria d’aquest poble és la concentració d’startups, emprenedors i inversors de la forma més natural en un poble que podria ser perfectament Sant Cugat del Vallès (en quant a tamany i estil de vida). Vas a comprar el pa o al super i les referències al món de les startups és continua. Tothom hi està vinculat d’una manera o una altra. La manera més fàcil de veure-ho és obrint el Foursquare i explorant el teu voltant. Al mapa et començen a sortir noms que si segueixes una mica Techcrunch et sonaran.

Una de les coses que fa característic aquest poble son determinades cafeteries. Les principals podriem dir que son el Coupa Cafe, University Cafe, La Boulange i el Paris Baguette. Si vas a aquestes cafeteries, les teves probabilitats de conèixer emprenedors o gent vinculada al món de la tecnologia augmenten de forma desmesurada. No és comparable a res que poguem viure a Barcelona (de fet, potser a cap altra lloc del món). La mescla de poble amb líders mundials del món tecnològic i grans quantitats de joves emprenedors amb ganes de llançar “the next big think” és una cosa que em treu el son moltes nits. No és d’extranyar que aqui passin les coses que passen. Perquè us feu una idea, aquestes son fotos de dues de les cafeteries que comento. La primera de La Boulange i la seegona del Coupa Cafe. Res de l’altra món, simplement cafeteries com podria ser el Zurich de Plaça Catalunya o la Granja Sant Jaume de la Rambla de Sabadell.

Si m’haig de quedar amb alguna cosa, que possiblement té molt a veure amb la quantitat de coses que passen aqui, seria amb la facilitat que hi ha d’interactuar amb la gent. És molt fàcil encetar una conversa amb qualsevol desconegut i, el més sorprenent, és que pot acabar sent una conversa interessant. Aquesta és una característica que ja em defineix personalment però que comparant Catalunya amb Silicon Valley aqui visc amb molta més naturalitat. Aqui el networking és una cosa que passa de la forma més natural a qualsevol lloc. Sense anar més lluny, l’altra dia tornant de San Francisco amb el Caltrain (la Renfe d’aqui) vaig conèixer un dels caps del centre de recerca d’HP especialitzat en impressió 3D. de fet, el personatje era una eminència en innovació (No treballa amb ningú que no sigui doctorats) i em va fer una xerrada durant el trajecte que una mica més i em passo la parada.

Una altra demostració de la facilitat de networking va ser en una barbacoa que vam anar convidats (les bbq és una cosa molt comú aqui) en la qual vaig recollir unes7-8 tarjetes sense fer CAP mena d’esforç. De forma totalment natural i menjant hambuegueses vaig conèixer un bon grup de gent molt interessant.

Tinc la sensació que porto a Silicon Valley molt més que un mes i mig. L’altra dia em vaig adonar gràcies a Facebook que ja m’he mogut força per l’area gràcies a aquests mapes.

Avui a més, ha passat una cosa força interessant. Gràcies a que el Xavi Verdaguer em va presentar una parella de catalans que estan treballant a Apple, avui he pogut dinar dins dels Headquarters a Cupertino. No he pogut fer fotos però també confeso que no he vist pas l’iPhone5 ni res soprenent. Ha estat més aviat simbòlicament important per a mi poder entrar a la plaça central de la seu d’Apple. La cosa per la que recordo més aquesta plaça és per ser el lloc on s’hi va dur a terme la ceremònia de despedida a Steve Jobs quan es va morir i s’hi van fer concerts de Coldplay i Norah Jones en la seva memòria. Aquell mateix dia també hi va parlar Jonathan Ive i Tim Cook i va ser especialment emotiu. Jo em vaig haver de conformar a seguir-ho per Internet però ja va ser un detall que ho obrissin a la resta del mon i no només treballadors.

Bé, vorem com segueix l’experiència Silicon Valley. M’hagués agradat fer més posts però els dies passen volant i haig de dedicar tot el temps a aprofitar l’estada per tal de poder tornar més endavant. De moment m’hi quedo fins al 22 de septembre. Els objectius fins al moment és llançar 1sleeve a Kickstarter, promocionar la casa Startup Embassy i tirar endavant alguna altra idea que em pugui aportar una bona experiència o m’obri altres portes per tornar.

JVR

Getting to Palo Alto after Imagine

Imagine ended two days ago. We had an activity yesterday but it was more like a goodbye… :-( It’s been sad waking up today at the Center with only three of us left… But the day has evolved in a very positive day. After leaving Rafa and Jacob at the Airport, Xavi and Rosa left me at the Caltrain Station for me to go to Palo Alto. I love this place. It’s so peaceful and active at the same time…

Once in Palo Alto I have spent the day with Carlos De La Lama. Carlos is an amazing spanish Entrepreneur behind Yabo.com and Startup Embassy. He has teaken me to Black Box, a Silicon Valley accelerator focused on helping non-US startups that strive to bring their products to the global market. I actually took a picture of the front of the house.

After that, he took me to Startup Embassy, which is going to be my house while I stay in Silicon Valley. There, I have met all the residents and I think we are going to have some fun…

The second fase of my second Silicon Valley experience looks very promising…

JVR

IMAGINE Creativity Center in Silicon Valley

This has been one of the most amazing months of my life. No doubt about it

It all started with shy handshakings and controlled excitement but with a warm up weekend in Cadaqués like the one we had, it was clear IMAGINE was not only going to be more than we expected, we began to realise, it was going to change our lifes…

Take a look at the trailer the staff made from the warm up weekend…

And here the complete video

 

A week after the weekend in Cadaqués, we took a flight to San Francisco and we have been there for a month. I can’t write everything we have done this month in a post, but let me share some of the learnings and memorable moments I have lived here…

WE LEARNED… A LOT
We have been listening to so many interesting and eye opening talks that I don’t even think we have already absorbed them. I think it’s going to happen in the coming months.
We learned about design thinking at IDEO and the D-School. We actually had the honor and pleasure to have a session with Alex Castellarnau at IDEO.

We also had the pleasure to visit Eventbrite and have a conversation with Julia Hartz, Co-founder and President. She talked about being one of the first startups to be in San Francisco now that many are moving to the city instead of Palo Alto. She told us about her experience and the fact that they have been working on Eventbrite for 6 years and have a  very respectable revenue stream. Most of it, I think it was great to be able to understand how they have created a tool for people to organize events and how this involves having a great relationship with lots of people.

We learned from one of our mentors, Elianne, the experience of building your own “house car” using design thinking. It was a great talk.

We learned how to keep working and iterating on our ideas. Inspiration comes when you are working…

We had a talk from Neil Harbisson (Watch his talk at TED), a guy who can’t see colors and had installed in his head a camera that makes sounds for every color. Now, he listens to colors.

We had an amazing opportunity to use the CISCO telepresence system and it was really amazing, more than I expected. It’s more than a Skype on huge screens. It nearly felt as if the people in Barcelona and Madrid where behind a glass.

We learned to listen, although I guess you can always get even better at that…
We learned about team work, a lot…
We learned about history of the Valley
We learned how to express our ideas better
We learned many more things. And I don’t have time or space here to write them all, but it has been an amazing experience that I will always remember. Thanks to a TED talk we learned this:

EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
As all my friends know, I’m a Steve Jobs fan, and by default, an Apple fan. So it was great to be able to “visit” such iconic spots as the garage where Apple started, the company headquarters in Cupertino, and we drove by what used to be Steve Jobs’ house.
I still think often about Steve Jobs and many of the things I learned from him. I hope everything goes great at Apple and history pays the right tribute to his figure.

WE HAD SO MUCH FUN AND I FEEL SO FORTUNATE

I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend this month with such an amount of amazing people. I have learned so much from them.

I want to THANK SO MUCH the staff at Imagine for being so generous and sharing so much experience and knowledge: Phillippe, Elianne, Josep Lluis, Victor , Hugo (And Ideami!!!) and specially to Rosa and Xavi! Thank you so much!!! I will never be thankful enough!

Thanks Ideami for the amazing videos…

JVR