13
Sep

Shmuel RubashkinShmuel Rubashkin is the co-founder of Easybox, which connects the virtual world and the real world,  providing convenient pickup point for online purchases. Though many people just focus on the online shopping experience, such as UI, UX, and Web design, his idea improve the experience after the online shopping. He shared valuable information for current and future entrepreneurs with Masaaki Hasegawa, alumni of Master in Visual Media 2013. This is not something that you can learn from reading Harvard Business Review.

 

MH: First of all, thank you for taking time time today for us to learn about real entrepreneurship. 

SR: Thank you Masaaki for the interview. I’m excited to reach out to the IE alumni especially at this time as EasyBox is looking to other countries to provide the service and for local partners to lead the effort. I would be very happy to touch base with alumni members, receive your comments, and explore opportunities. Please contact me at Shmuel@easybox.co.il or via Linkedin.

 

MH: In order for the reader to better understand your venture, give us the most powerful important aspects of your service.

SR:In one line, we provide convenient pickup points for online purchases.

In order to get a good feeling for what aspects of the service are the strongest it might be best to start at the beginning.  When I was a student in NY I sold things on eBay to boost my income. As sales picked up, I found myself dealing with logistical issues more and more. Packages of supplies arrived at my apartment when I was out. Sending packages at the Post Office or waiting for pickups was a real hassle. I knew something had to change when packages started to get lost…

My brother David had a local store nearby. David’s business, like most businesses was accustomed to dealing with the mail. When David agreed to help, things got much easier. I was able to send and receive packages from the store without having to worry about missed deliveries or long lines. Here is a short and humorous video that demonstrates the issue.

Our mission is to make sending and receiving package a simple task that can be done from any place anytime and in line with ecommerce.

The major benefit of the service is that it is designed with the end user in mind. Customers don’t have to worry about being home or make changes to their schedules. Their packages wait for them at a neighborhood store that is open very early and late.

 

MH: To better understand, would you explain more about the revenue stream? Who pays for what?

EasyBox partners with websites and shipping companies to offer online shoppers convenient pickup points. The websites and shipping companies pay a per package fee.  Websites can now offer their customers an easier way to receive packages and improve the shopping experience and shipping companies can reduce missed deliveries and second deliveries needed.

 

MH: How did you come up with the idea of making small stores and shops your mailbox to receive packages.

SR: We realized that local grocery stores would gain the most by offering their neighbors the service as it would increase foot traffic and sales. From our pilot we confirmed that most people make a purchase when visiting a store. Consider the busy urban dweller picking up a package after work. There are always some basics needed at home like milk or bread.

 

MH: What was the first step to launch that idea?

SR: We had a chicken and egg dilemma: we needed stores to serve as pickup points but the stores wanted to see people coming into their stores. To get people we needed websites to start offering our service on their website for which we need stores. So we created a PO Box that allowed people to send us packages and we delivered those packages to the stores. This way we didn’t need websites and started with the stores. Once we had stores we were able to get the early adapting websites to join us.

 

MH: How did you convince small-size stores to partner with you?

SR: At first people thought the idea was crazy. “Informed” people said that shelf space is very expensive with major brands paying extra for premium space. While that is true our value proposition is more in line with products that bring people into the store in the first place.  But that’s not the really the pitch the works…

What really improved our pitch was when we found out that many local stores already receive packages for their best customers. They do this favor to keep their customers happy. We tell the stores we simply increase the number of people that they already do this favor for in order to gain more customers. It might seem like semantics but it’s very different than pitching a new concept versus something they already do.

 

MH: How did you negotiate with UPS?

SR: I went to an ecommerce conference and approached UPS’s VP of Marketing. I told him what we were doing and he agreed to a meeting.

I thought long and hard about why UPS would need us? Frankly the answer was not simple. UPS has more people, resources and technology than we can hope for.

At the start of the meeting, before I could make any small talk, the VP asks me so explain what you guys doing again? I tell him how I was an eBay seller and getting packages became frustrating… He tells me, “you are telling me about missed deliveries”? and starts sharing the averages about missed deliveries with me.  Suffice to say, most people aren’t home waiting for packages…

 

MH: What was the most difficult part of getting started?

SR: I think each point has its difficult challenges, first was getting a team of people that would go the distance. Co-founders need to share and own the dream and work to make it happen.

Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur instead of working for a company that would offer more stability?

I enjoy being passionate about what I do and the thought that we can improve things is exciting to me. More and more people I speak to these days are looking for work that satisfies them beyond the title and salary. We spend too much time working to ignore what we actually accomplish at our jobs. While this could also be the case in a large company, with a venture it is in our hands to make it happen.

 

MH: Israel is often described as “Start-up Nation”, do you think the location is an important factor to start a new business? Why did you choose Tel-Aviv?

SR: I think the location is important as people around you will be more supportive and willing to help. In Israel the market really needs a new service and it made it easier to launch. Additionally, the small size of the country allowed us to partner with local stores and websites without having to start by partnering with a major shipping company. On a more practical level we needed a proof of concept before we started exploring oversea options.

 

 

MH: Would you describe the three most important factors of being an entrepreneur?

SR:

  • Passion to see the idea come into fruition: regardless of reward. It is important to care that the concept happens from a deep place inside.
  • Self-starter: there are a lot things to do. The ability to stay at it and keep taking care of the most important tasks is essential.
  • Make it happen one step at a time: You need to excite people and get people on board because grand plans only go so far. Make it happen in small steps that will help build momentum for the next most important steps.

 

MH: For people who cannot take the first step to create their own business for the fear of failure, what would you say to them?

SR: Experiment: sell something on eBay or a service on Fiverr.com and see how you feel about it. Selling things online was exhilarating for me. Read The Lean Startup to see how to go about building a startup. Read the Innovator’s Dilemma to see why large companies need startups. Start a small project. Work at a startup. Ironically, starting a venture is the best investment you could make in your CV. You will prove to be passionate, motivated, able to take risks, make decisions and actually get cool things done.

 

6
Sep

Talented young vol.1: To live your own life

Written on September 6, 2013 by mhasegawa in News

alisaAlisa Ueno is producer of one of the most famous Japanese fashion brands, Fig & Viper, which is now getting attention of celebrities and young people around the world.  We had a chance to have an interview with her, and she shared the story behind her success and the secret to realize what you think.

 

 

 

 

MH: First of all, let us know about the brand’s concept and vision.

AU: We are unique and create original design for clothes. You cannot find similar products at any other places and they are products that you can enjoy, regardless of your age. Our clothes allow a person to be different from the person they are on typical days when they are working in an office wearing an uniform. We understand that we do not compete with fast fashion brands such as H&M and we differentiate our brand from them in that we are comparatively expensive for young people but worth the price. We put emphasis on originality and providing quality clothing.

 

MH: How did you come to find your own brand without any experience in the industry.

AU: When I was around 19 years old, my mentor encouraged me to jump into this field. At that time, I was working as a professional model as well as attending university and working a part-time job. I had no fear due to my age and I was not as serious as I am now. It is just that I happened to get involved in starting up this brand, to tell you the truth.

 

MH: What was the first step that you took to start your own brand? What was the biggest challenge?

AU: The first step was understanding the fashion business and where our label fit. I spent time thinking about what people were willing to pay and how to design decent, unique items. I had a great deal of knowledge in terms of the fashion industry, including fashion brands, as I was fond of shopping and often found points to improve in clothes that I bought. Thus, I aimed at designing something that I would be fully content with from the viewpoint of the buyer. My colleagues sometimes advised me to design something more commercial, from a business view point, but I never compromised on design because the label represents my personal brand value and image. Our consumers are likely to purchase items that I wear and then post on my blog. My colleagues gradually came to rely on my design. Over the course of two years, I came to understand the balance between my own preference and market demands.

 

MH: You and your brand have been on the cutting edge since the beginning and now the industry follows you. What has enabled you to achieve this? 

AU: Most importantly, compared to huge companies, one advantage is that our business has relatively less operational process and that enables us to be more creative and challenge the status quo. On the other hand, our weak point is bringing our business to scale because we only have six people, including me, except four for clerks in our brick n’ mortar stores. We manage to deal with everything. Personally, I believe that relationship and the strong bond between employees strongly influences our performance. In fact, all people in our company trust each other as if we are a family. This point is obviously different from the huge companies in which people are working as a small part of the big organization. All the people in Fig & Viper share a common vision and feel that every single behavior has an impact on the brand. 

 

MH: Though various kinds of media have covered your brand, your company does not have a formal public relations team. How did you achieve such huge media exposure?

 AU: It is because we have focused on our brand idea that I mentioned above, since our beginning, and that has made our brand quite different and outstanding in the industry that leads media to pay attention. The most important thing is doing something different from others and being interesting. Mass media are eager to know something they do not know. In fact, we have never promoted our brand and items to mass media. Needless to say, I appreciate stylists and media who have taken up our brand and I would like to contribute to their business somehow in the future by making my brand bigger.  

 

MH: You have effectively used SMS such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to communicate with the market. What effect does it have on your brand?

AU: Frankly speaking, in this industry social media currently has stronger power and influence on consumer behavior than magazine or mass media. In fact, I access the most valuable information through social media, sharing information with people around the world.  Instagram, especially, has an amazingly huge influence on our brand. For example, the reason that we decided to deliver our products to foreign countries is that a great number of people are following me on Instagram. I like the concept of social media that you can instantly connect with people all over the world and it has potential to make your business unbelievably huge. 

 

MH:  After just a couple or years your brand has collaborated with Steve Aoki, who is one of the world’s top DJs. Rita Ora has shared your brand items on her Instagram and Chili from TLC has given attention to your brand. What is the key to getting such great celebrity endorsements?

AU: It could be my personality! I think it is very important to say and share what you want and like. It is true that I have been in the environment which is closer to those celebrities than other industries but I have kept saying “I love Steve Aoki” that brought about the opportunity to participate in his brand’s catalogue as a model. This one time chance ended up bringing another  business opportunity with him, a collaboration with his brand. I just keep saying and sharing and more opportunities come to me. Beside that, language plays an important roll especially in the Japanese market, because not so many young Japanese people speak other languages, including English, and thus my ability to speak another language is obviously an advantage over others. I have never stayed in foreign countries longer than two weeks but I can communicate with people around the world in English. This shows that the language barrier can be overcome by your own effort and that is why I keep studying English. I do not want to lose any opportunity because of lack of effort. English let me connect with people all over the world. It is critically important.    

 

MH: No matter how busy you are, you keep changing guise and traveling around the world. What is the reason that the producer of Fig&Viper is always so progressive?

AU: My aim is to lead people all of the time so that they do not get bored. I do not want to be considered an old-fashioned product/ You know, you get one shot at life and we will all die someday. There is no escaping that reality. Traveling allows you to encounter people and experiences that you have never imagined. I am eager to know what I do not know and encounter the type of people whom I have never met. It is not based on some intricate calculation or strategy, but personal preference that is my character and personality. I love myself. 

 

MH: It is sometimes challenging and controversial to put some symbols which contain religious meaning into design, particularly when your expanding your business overseas. 

AU: It is true that I need to think more about the meaning of symbols that I have depicted in my design from the viewpoint of branding. Japanese consumers are indifferent about religion and symbols. For example, it is considered rude to position the cross upside-down abroad but it is not an issue here in Japan. However I respect other cultures and their way of thinking. As the brand has become global, I have studied the history and the meaning behind symbols in order to design clothes that are visually beautiful but do not offend anyone. Possibly, our next design focus will be “words”. 

 

MH: You shared an interesting expression, “Live as you would publish your own autobiography in the future”. Give some advice for people who are having a hard time being themselves.

AU: Just do it!! I think people who do not take action would not listen to my advice because they compromise with their life. I believe that it is important to design every single day to be interesting and exciting, to make the most of your own life with the limited time that we all have. You do not have to write something negative in your own autobiography.  Do not be afraid of failure and making mistakes. Your life will be happier in the end if you believe that everything would enrich your life. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and let things happen to you.

Instead of feeling envious of successful people, be a successful person. You are the person who can give up or make changes in your life.

2
Sep

Entrepreneurship vol.4: Beyond the boarder

Written on September 2, 2013 by mhasegawa in News

sokhoSokho Trinh is co-founder of Deparz, which is a new online business focused on services for Expatriates and students, offering you a chance to get in touch with people in the country you are moving to, to help you with anything you may need. He shared valuable information gained from his real experience as an entrepreneur.

 

 

1. What is your background and career path or your interesting life story?

ST: I was born and raised in France. From Chinese parents who were born and raised in Cambodia, who managed to escape the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot Regime in the 70`s in Cambodia. I have lived and worked in 3 continents and I can speak 8 languages. I studied my MBA at IE Business School, and before that I studied an MA in International Trade, majored in Asian Business Engineering in France. Originally I studied languages at the prestigious Grande Ecole in Paris: Langues’O and at the University of Paris XII. I also studied a term at the MBA Luxury at the ESSEC Business School, in Paris.

 

2. Why did you move to London?

ST: I moved to London for both professional and personal reasons. London is a vibrant city. I try to absorb its energy and re-use it in my life. I have a group of close friends. I live with my partner and we both enjoy meeting with our dear ex fellows from IE Business School. Above all, London offers you this magical cultural scene, mingled with a cosmopolitan crowd. This is why I would describe London as cosmopolitan and not International. Finally, this is a stunning city which may feed your ambitions – Be it personal, cultural, entrepreneurial. You may experience the stunning global start up vibe, or climb the corporate ladders.

I don’t like this city, I am loving it!

 

3. How did you come up with the idea of helping people particularly who would move to London?

ST: My co-founder and I faced the terrible pain of having to look for a decent and value for money place when we moved to London. Rents are so expensive, flats are taken in no time, and honestly, while being abroad it is almost impossible to sign a flat unless you are in London in person!

 

4. What was the first step to make the idea happen?

ST: Because we started from the pain of finding a place to live in London, we wanted to understand how a solution could be articulated around killing this pain. We started with a full business plan which, I think was probably not necessary at the beginning of our start up journey. We should probably have tried to do a light version of the business plan, and we should have focused on quickly building our prototype website. I think that, if I was asked to do that again, I would probably have used a “lean” start up approach. This first steps took us many months.

 

5. What was the biggest difficulty in the beginning stage to monetize your business model?

ST: It was hard for us to find the right quantity of clients to be matched with the right quantity of assistants. I also think that trying to monetize the site without having a proper success stories to share with the users also was a barrier to monetization. Also, what will be extremely hard is to find the point of liquidity where transactions (people posting requests and assistants responding) are going to be self-feeding themselves in a sufficient quantity to cover all our costs and eventually generate benefits.

 

6. Why this business model is focusing on 3 things: accommodation, work, and language instead of focusing on one of those?

ST: We ran the site in beta as a test during 7 months. From the data we analysed “accommodation” represented 70% of the needs expressed by our users, 20% were related to job search, and 10% to a language related issue faced by both students and professionals expatriates who are not sponsored by their companies. Therefore we decided to focus on these 3 categories, to address the pains expressed by our users, offering them an “all-in-one” solution.

 

7. Whereas the internet allows people to connect each other and to reach a great amount of information instantly, it is hard to strengthen your presence on the Internet. What is your strategy in terms of getting people scattered around the Internet together in your service?

ST: We current follow a phased approach. Even though, Deparz.com aims at being internationalized, we need to first test our concept. This is why our phase 1 is a “Proof of Concept” where we only focus on helping the French and the Spanish to relocate and/or to properly settle down in London. Once the results will prove acceptable we will extend our solution towards others markets. We plan to resort to mostly online marketing to gain visibility with the clients (people who move abroad) and a mix of online and offline to communicate with the assistants. A business development team will help find the professional assistants.

 

8. What is your future vision regarding work and personal life?

ST: I am extremely conscious about the importance of work-life balance. It simply makes you enjoy the little “joys” of your life. I like to think that I am Passionate individual, with a capital “P”.  I sing, I practice photography, and I used to act. I play badminton, and enjoy a good glass of wine with some nice Jazz music. One of my biggest passions is to travel. I visited over 50 countries. My motto in life is: “Live your life with Passion”

 

3
Aug

Entrepreneurship vol 3: Experience you have never experienced

Written on August 3, 2013 by mhasegawa in News

Screen Shot 2013-08-03 at 4.59.16 PM

Ichizo Yamamoto, co-founder of Sow Experience Inc(http://corporate.sowxp.co.jp), started his business in 2005, when he was still early 20’s. What Sow Experience provides us is “experience” that would give you unforgettable moment in your life. Masaaki Hasegawa, alumni of Master in Visual Media, class of 2013, had a chance to explore his unique experience and life style that would infer us the advent of new way of life.

 

MH: Why did you make your mind to be an entrepreneur and how did you come up with the idea of merchandising unique experience? 

IY: In my opinion, there are 2 kinds of people who start business. One is who have a specific business plan or things that they aspire to do. And the other is who do not have specific ideas but get motivated to be a self-independent businessperson who owns their own business. I was in this category that I did not have any particular business plans. 

 In my university days, I belonged to Investment Club that I could have generated value from scratch. This experience was so addictive that I could not imagine anything but founding a company by myself, and I started to build up a business plan with friends from junior high school, who finally become co-founders.  When we started business, the overheating in the information technology boom had made aspiring young people tend to develop business in that field but I was believing that I would develop some service/product in which customer would use their five-sensens unlike online experience. Then, we happened to know Virgin Experience Days that is gift service of unique experience and could see the market growth potential in Japan where the size of the gift market is quite huge compared to other countries. I have believed that the history of gift is that of human that it has connected people and strengthen the bond between them, and it should grow further. 

 

MH: What was the first step to realize your business?

IY: It was necessary to customize the idea that we had gotten from Virgin to be fit with Japanese domestic market, but, at that moment, I had no experience or knowledge about market research, and thus it was an ongoing process with trial and error. Also, we did not use time efficiently that we spent a month to build up the 30-pages business plan to raise capital. If I had had experience or knowledge that I have now, I would have quickly developed a prototype to sell.

 

MH: Who was the first target? 

IY: Normally, gift should be well within someone’s budget parameters. And our first product was designed to be a gift, for our own friends, within 10000-yen (approximately 100 US dollar) budget. In the 21st century, where the same product can be consumed by broad range of generation, we have not thought it is an appropriate way to segment the market demographically, and thus we simply focused on developing a product that would be valuable for people surrounding me. 

 

MH: What were the difficulties you faced then?

IY: Getting awareness has been our challenge. At the beginning, we thought that consumer would find us once we have developed a quality product. Unlike in B-to-B business, in B to C business, especially consumer products, it is necessary to sell a product to a number of people because of low profitability per unit and to survive in the fierce competition. Therefore, media exposure has strong influence on our business, but, at the beginning stage, we did not have any media exposure to obtain awareness in the market and it was the hardest issue to be solved at that time. 

 

MH: Unlike the present, there was no means like SNS. How did you get the awareness?

IY: fortunately, Nihon Keizai Shinbun, which is one of the biggest-circulation newspapers in Japan, took up our service. And that article brought about a good deal of exposure and additional interviews. In my opinion, the influence of social media is too tiny to get an enough exposure to sell product whereas the mass media have direct strong impact on sales, and it would be effective to maintain the relationship with existing customer or to execute branding strategy. Still it is not as impactful as TV and newspaper to get new customers. 

 

MH: Many people tend to insist that experience has become much more important than product. Is it true for your business?

IY: I disagree with the opinion that product is less important than experience because I think product is also a part of experience. For example, the delight of experience when buying a bag sophisticatedly designed by an artisan has not changed. Another example is that many people purchase Mac for experience that is incorporated in it. When I start Sow Experience, I just felt that why there is no experiential gift Japan. 

 

MH; what is the most important point on designing experience?

IY: To provide great experience for customers, the most important thing is people in my company having fun, who can have the same viewpoint as our users. Exploring the interesting, exciting experience would enable you to provide experience in which the users would see values. Also, we pay a great attention to small details that can determine the whole impression of experience, and thus we always improve every single detail of each gift. Beside, through the experience we provide, we try delivering the message that there are thousands of different kinds of unique experience you are not familiar with in the world. Our gifts are somewhat provocative and suggestive to make people experience something that they usually do not experience. It is certainly true that our most consumed gift tend to be “massage” or “spa” what heals body and allows you to relief stress in daily life, but we intentionally place the gift which gives you outdoor experience on the top on our webpage. 

 

MH: Why you decided to take MBA in Rady School?

IY: There are 2 reasons. One is to improve myself to be a person who is capable of managing the bigger size of business as my company has grown up. I started business when I was early 20’s and I could have managed it without any serious troubles but I was wondering myself whether I would be able to manage the company when hiring hundreds of employees in the future, and thus, I felt the necessity to learn business science over. Second, I was just interested in living in California where most of interesting cultures that have enriched my personality and life come from and in seeking out the reasons that this location could have generated abundant unique culture and attracted people. In fact, I came to realize that California has a culture to accept new people, product, and culture and adopts those to its original culture. 

MH: People often discuss about the risk.  What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

IY: I think that the definition of risk varies from one to another. For example, I used to work for Hewlett-Packard before taking up my own business, and people said to me it is risky to quit the company. However, for me, not doing what I really want to do is the greatest risk. Particularly, when it is about your life, it is not possible to measure the value of your decision by using some mathematical/financial calculation model like ROI (Return on Investment). It is true that, in business, it is sometimes necessary to calculate the short-term profitability, but I believe that we need to think our life as a marathon that you do not have to live in a hurry. These days, starting up and selling out business is a sort of trend or common sense among young entrepreneurs. As a result, so many intelligent young people are likely to be drown into the field of application development aimed at gaining the short-term profit. I see the competition in the startup culture is now heating up too much that young people are likely to disdain the large corporations but I think that it takes decades of time with a great deal of capital to develop technology something really meaningful, innovative and influential in the society that would make the world better. I do not think it is a good way of business that you puddle hard when no waves coming. Also, I think many people are likely to look for instant role models to be successful and to put themselves into the template to measure their value of life. 

 

MH: Please give a message for future entrepreneurs

IY: Try not to intentionally make a startup idea. You can generate something only based on your own knowledge and experience, and thus, it would be naturally generated from your inner side if you keep thinking about it. In my case, I had been making a list of the restaurant and places that were interesting, and had a passion and motivation to explore new experience by temperament. That is why I could have founded Sow Experience and led it to be successful. No matter how harshly other people criticize on your business model or laugh at your idea, the true courageous mind and the key point to be successful is to be yourself. Have courage to dig deep into what you have experienced. 

30
Jul

DESING THINKING: HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY COMBINE DESIGN AND STRATEGY? 


Written on July 30, 2013 by Begoña González-Cuesta in News

COMUNICACIONDESING THINKING: HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY COMBINE DESIGN AND STRATEGY?

Virtual Master Class – ANDREW McCARTHY

Consultant, manager, designer and associate professor of the Master in Visual Media at IE School of Communication

DATE: July 30th *17:00 *Madrid local time REGISTER: carla.szemzo@ie.edu

Today there is no dichotomy between thinking and design in multinational corporations. The market isn’t asking for choices. It is asking for options. Some companies want only strategy, some only design, many want both. There is a stronger demand among companies in Asia for design and a growing demand among organizations in the US and Europe for the design of brands and strategy. But again, most companies want both.
-Bloomberg Business Week

If you want to hear about the latest trends on Design Thinking, we invite you to participate in the Virtual Master Class conducted by Andrew McCarthy. He is a professor of Design Thinking, a creative consultant, manager, designer and a professor of the Master in Visual Media at IE School of Communication.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Andrew Peter Wallace McCarthy is a designer, innovation consultant and Design Thinking facilitator. He studied philosophy, political science, and the history of science and mathematics before becoming a creative director. Andrew has worked in his native New York and internationally as an art and creative director in multinationals and advising corporations on creativity, strategy, innovation processes, and Design Thinking. He also teaches the same as an Associate Professor at IE in Madrid, Spain. Andrew is an innovation, design, and user advocacy officer with a handful of startups and tech development companies. He speaks and moderates at conferences and his voice has been featured in ads and audiobooks.

26
Jul

 

hernando

Hernando Salazar is a co-founder of  Fábrica Maravillas, which is a brew pub located in the center of Madrid, Spain. Certainly, it has been so successful that they have been currently under the pressure to increase the capacity of production even after a couple of times of capacity increment. Masaaki Hasegawa, from Master in Visual Media, class of 2013, had a chance to explore the key factors that have made them successful. 

 

MH: First of all, let me know more about you. You are IE alumni?

HS: I am an IE alumni of International MBA, class of 2005. I am originally from Colombia, and used to work for the marketing department in Diageo, which is one of the biggest spirits and wine producers in the world, before taking master. Then I came to Spain in 2004 to take MBA in IE. After graduation, I worked for BBVA in Switzerland as a relationship manager in the private banking sector for almost 3 years. After that, I decided to do business on my own and came back to Spain to find an opportunity to achieve it. From then, I have been in several entrepreneurial projects. Since then, I have been working as an entrepreneur last 3 years.

 

MH: And how did you come up with this great idea of having a craft brewery in the center of Madrid?

HS: It was like an accident. At the time I got involved this business, I was doing my other entrepreneurship project, called Housie, which helps International young people, including IE students, find accommodation and information in Madrid. One of master brewers that I knew then had the original idea and business plan but they did not have any specific financial plan and know-how to embody it, and I started working with them to help them develop the financial plan and provided advice from the viewpoint of business, gradually started giving some ideas about vision, and ended up being part of this project.

 

MH: Why did you decide to take a responsibility to manage the company instead of just consulting or investing money into the business?

HS: First of all, this project, craft brewery, was novelty in Madrid, and people in the project had passion with it. Initially, I just provided some advices but the time when they actually needed to raise money to launch business, it was not easy for them to find an investor to raise the amount of capital that they needed. I sort of rose my hand to be an investor as well because I already had tasted the beer they brewed and felt this would be successful. Then, we became a partner and I started being in the project in depth because I love their passion for this business.

 

MH: What was the first step to make your business realized?

HS: The first step was somewhat related to mentality. It was like facing the fact that “From now on, there is no way back”. It is easy to invest money into the existing business that is already structured that you simply need to observe management and numbers. But, as for the business that is just started, it is like just crossing your fingers that consumer would like your product and service. In fact, it was required to spend almost 2 years to get the business started due to procedure and preparation such as doing paper works, building machines to brew beer, and getting the license. So the first step was making our mind to take the whole risk that you would spend your time and capital asset for this project.

 

MH: Why you chose Madrid, Spain to launch your business?

HS: I particularly like Madrid, Spain and this neighbor Malasaña. People often argue that Spain is now in the crisis and is not currently a proper location to do business. But, I have grown up in the country with crisis all the time, and so for me this is not crisis. Beside, if you start your business in the difficult condition like that of in Spain now, the condition surrounding your business just can be better in the future. In fact our business has never been in red, so the current situation is normal for us and we think we could have cultivated survival skills. Whatever happens next in the economy, it can be positive factor for us.

 

MH: Did you have any specific difficulties when you launched your business? 

HS: At the time when launched this business, no one had experienced this business model before in Madrid. For example, even for brewing machine and tanks, we needed to customize its size to be placed in this location, center of Madrid, meeting the local requirements and regulation, and it was hard to find someone who would be able to deliver it. Also, we had complicated issues in terms of the operating license because beside it is not easy to gain the license, the concept of our business was novel at that moment here that is difficult to be explained well to the authority. 

 

MH: You mentioned that the concept of this business was novel in Madrid, Spain, when you get it started. How did you market it? 

HS: We did not market that is a part of the strategy we have. We spent 2 years to develop and improve our business model that we went over it, including concept and numbers, many times. We presented our business model to many different kinds of people and they often input their experience and ideas. So at the time when we launched the business, our business model was already well thought and sophisticated that is part of initial success. And location, having brewpub in the center of Madrid, itself is already marketing. The whole concept of business that people can see brewer and tanks is our best marketing structure. Mass media are always around the center that is easy to have them come to here, and also our customer themselves promote our place, putting picture on Facebook and all those kinds of SNS, to share their experience here with their friends. 

 

MH: After 8 month of success, what is your current challenge? 

HS: The current challenge is the next step what we are going to do next. For example, our initial plan was not just serving craft beer inside the bar but also producing beer for abroad. However, the consumption of beer here easily exceeded our initial expectation that we are unable to sell beer to other places. We have already increased the capacity and we are planning an additional capacity increment this year, but then it would reach the maximum manufacturing capacity at this location. Thus our next challenge is how we can put Fábrica Maravillas to the next stage of growth. Needless to say, we would be bigger. The question is how. So we have been currently discussing about what options we can take like, franchising, licensing, join venture, and how that strategy would influence on our brand value. We are supposed to set on next step after this summer. Compared to the potential size of the craft beer industry in Spain, our current distribution capacity is quite small. To make it bigger, we need to contemplate the measure to enlarge it. 

 

MH: Do you have some future vision?

HS: We would like to make people know beer as they know about wine. People living here know a lot about wine that is part of culture, but people seldom select and order specific kind of beer and just say “caña” instead. By educating consumer to have more knowledge on beer, we believe that it would be able to generate additional demand of craft beer and we see the potential to expand our business further. Here Fábrica Maravillas provides people with an opportunity to discover craft beer, which is completely different from mass manufactured one, that is designed for customer to learn beer every time they come here. It is a great challenge to change consumer behavior in the market through providing a distinct customer experience. 

 

MH: What you have learned in International MBA helps you manage your business now?

HS: Yes exactly. Especially at the beginning stage of the business, it helped me a lot. For example, when we were developing the business plan, I definitely translated what I learned in IE into our business model development and improved from an idea to the sophisticated business model, including financial model. Initially, whereas the idea and business plan was unique, it lacked a well-developed financial strategy and plan, and what I have learned in IE is absorbed into this business. It was the first as well as direct input from MBA. 

 

MH: Give us a message for future entrepreneurs.

HS:  First of all, do not think you cannot do good business as long as you do not have a completely new idea.  Even if you do not have any idea, just keep looking for it. It does not have to be sophisticated one but can be basic one. It is understandable because media are eager to take up some interesting novel idea to get an attention. But you can even do business with basic concept like selling bread. Once you get an idea, tell it to everybody. Don’t worry about copying. If somebody can copy it quickly, chances are someone has already done it. A lot of first stage entrepreneurs protect their idea and are less likely to share their idea with people for the fear of being stolen by someone. But no one would actually quit his or her job to copy your idea. People love to help you, and so share your idea with others. 

20
Jul

Ken Segall  (http://kensegall.com)

 “Insanely Simple”

 Closely working with Steve Jobs for both NexT and Apple, for over 12 years, Ken Segall is credited for the person who put the “i” in iMac and led the awarded legendary campaign “Think Different”, and is the author of  “Insanely Simple”, that is about how simplicity influenced on Apple to innovate and develop. Masaaki Hasegawa, student of Master in Visual Media, had a chance to explore the secrets behind the concept of “Insanely Simple”.

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MH:  Thank you for giving us to have this interview with you. First of all, let us know more about you. How did you come to work in advertising industry?

KS: It’s a long story! Before I went to college, I took an aptitude test that suggested I had an aptitude for advertising. I chose advertising as my major, but moved to a different major in my very first year. It wasn’t until seven years after I graduated college, after trying my best to make it as a musician, that a friend suggested that I should look into advertising. So I took a job in the production department at Chiat/Day in Los Angeles. Only then did I discover that there was such a thing as a creative department, and that I might be a good copywriter. I took two night courses to put together a portfolio of ads and moved to New York to get my first job as a writer. It’s ironic that after all those years, I ended up in the very profession that my college aptitude test suggested.

 

MH: You are known as the person who created the “Think different” campaign for the Apple.. It is very impressive because this TV advertisement did not try to appeal through products or to persuade consumers to buy, but stimulated people to make action, and change their behavior. It seems that you applied the concept of “Think different” to this campaign itself too. How did you get this idea?

KS: The “Think different” campaign was born of the efforts of a small, talented group of people. Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple as the “interim CEO” and the company was in dire financial condition. There would be no new computers for at least six months, so the first order of business was to put together a brand campaign that would tell the world that the spirit of Apple was alive and well. To us, the spirit of Apple was based in creativity. Never “one of the crowd,” Apple was for people who didn’t think like everybody else. That led to the idea of a campaign that celebrated people who changed the world because they had the passion and the drive to “think different” — to push the human race forward. We (the agency and Steve Jobs) believed that you can tell a lot about a person by the people they admire, and that was the principle of this campaign. By showing the world who Apple admires, we would say a lot about the company itself.

 

MH: Did people who were working for Apple that time, except for Steve Jobs, easily accept the idea of “Think Different”?

KS: Absolutely. The campaign was as much for the people who worked inside Apple as it was for the company’s customers. When Steve Jobs returned, he told us that he was thrilled to find that so many of Apple’s talented people had stuck around during the years when Apple seemed to be floundering. They still believed in what the company stood for and they had remained in their jobs in the hope that one day it would regain its momentum. When the “Think different” campaign launched, Steve sent out a companywide email explaining the campaign. He asked everyone — no matter what their position — to “think different” about their jobs and find new ways to do things better. There was an unmistakable feeling inside Apple that it was on the road to recovery, and thinking different was a big part of that.

 

MH: This ad was made when Apple was facing a severe situation. Did this campaign and ads also change the people in Apple who were working with you?

KS: We only worked with a small group of people inside Apple — Steve Jobs and the people he trusted to be involved in the marketing. Everyone in this group believed in Steve’s vision and was eager to be part of the effort to turn things around. I don’t think that the campaign necessarily “changed” them, but it helped all of us focus on the mission. It became a theme for us all.

 

MH: People thought differently from others when they were children, but they came to think similar to others through education. A lot of companies may think differently but become similar to other companies as they get bigger. 

KS: Very true. It is my belief that “processes” are to blame. Every company is a startup at some point, and at that time they behave very differently. They create processes in order to “institutionalize” success. They want to be able to repeat their successes in the future, and ensure that they can continue to succeed while employees come and go. The problem is, as companies get bigger, processes tend to take over. Some people are actually paid just to make sure that the processes run smoothly. That’s a big problem when creativity is a part of your business, because the process should never become more important than the idea flowing through it. Apple didn’t have that problem. Steve Jobs refused to act like a big company. He didn’t think that great ideas were born at big companies, so he snuffed out big-company behaviors whenever he encountered them. In the areas of innovation and marketing, he purposefully kept things very small.

 

MH: You mentioned that it is difficult for large companies to change the corporate culture inside because the existence of complex systems, and thus the CEO is the only person who can change it. In that respect, how Steve Jobs is different from other CEOs?

KS: Steve was very, very different from most CEOs. He refused to relegate responsibility when it came to the things he was passionate about — and marketing was one of those things. I’ve dealt with quite a few CEOs during my advertising career, but none of them even came close to the level of involvement that Steve demanded. He wasn’t dictatorial about it. That is, he didn’t bark commands and have all of us run off to do his bidding. He simply wanted to be a part of the marketing team, and be involved in the process. There were quite a few healthy debates. Sometimes Steve would get his way and sometimes he wouldn’t. He had respect for the opinions of talented people (though he did often engage in energetic debate). What made Steve really different was that he found time for things that other CEOs did not. He was passionate about so many details, and doing things “the right way.” I have no idea how he found the time, because when I was working with him he was CEO of both Apple and Pixar — either one of which would have consumed an ordinary man. Plus, he insisted on taking time out for his family. He had that kind of inexhaustible energy and commitment.

 

MH: Please let me know about your recent book, “Think Simple.” How did you come to believe that thinking simpler is important?

KS: It wasn’t something that hit me out of the blue. It was something I noticed over a long period of time working with Steve Jobs on NeXT and Apple. And it was something that was reinforced by my time working with more complicated companies, like Intel and Dell. I came to understand that Steve Jobs had this love of simplicity that affected his thinking on so many different levels. He would see everything through this “lens of simplicity,” and then apply his common sense to it. He struck down the things that were more complicated, whether they were part of a product’s design or part of the company’s organization. His way of looking at things was refreshing and pure, and he refused to compromise for anyone. It was when complexities started to interfere with Apple’s ability to move forward that he became the “rough” Steve Jobs that we’ve all heard about. It wasn’t that he was a mean person — he had an extreme passion for what he was building.

 

MH: I totally agree with your the idea of Think Simple. However, a lot of people tend to think in a complicated way. What do you think what makes them not think simple?

KS: That’s the big question, isn’t it. In my opinion, human nature works for and against simplicity. As human beings, we have an instinctive preference for simpler things. However, as human beings working in a business environment, we also love to compete and prove that we’re talented and smart. So I don’t hold individuals responsible for making things more complicated as much as I blame organizations for creating structures that involve too many people. By creating a complicated process, they invite more people into the process — which results in a classic case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” In such circumstances, it’s difficult to keep things simple.

 

MH: Think Simple may require you to face the substance of things and to accept everything.

KS: For many people, this is scary because it is sometimes necessary to see what they do not want to see and face. A. I think that’s where leadership comes in. Not to denigrate other people’s talents, but business can’t be a free-for-all. Steve Jobs was a leader who had a vision. He led with strength and forced people to see the “truth.” Though it was difficult to work with him at times, it was also refreshing because he was asking you to put all of your effort into creating something great — and not worry about the things that distract other companies. Steve didn’t hide anything. He made you see the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you feel.

 

MH: Think Simple may be a courageous decision for many people. For example, Think Brutal is not easy for many people for fear of being hated by others. To be this way, it would be necessary that all the members in the team share the idea that they work to achieve a certain goal?

KS: You are correct when you point out that people don’t naturally like to be “brutal” to one another. Most of us want to get stuff done, but also be kind and respectful to our colleagues. So when I talk about being brutal, I mean it in special sense. I only mean that honesty is a vital part of moving forward. Steve Jobs was obviously very good at getting people to focus on a single goal, and it’s important for any organization to have that kind of unity. Opinions will always differ, but agreement can be reached on the greater vision and the guiding values. At as a foundation for all the work, people should all understand the importance and value of simplicity. It will help them become more productive and happier in their work.

 

MH: Steve Jobs said “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” And Mark Zuckerberg said “The biggest risk is not taking any risks.” Your idea “Think War” is close to taking risk in order to achieve goals?

KS: My “Think War” idea is actually more about not taking risk. It’s about knowing that the forces of complexity are always lurking in the shadows, and that you should take as few chances as possible — calling upon your most powerful weapons to ensure that your ideas emerge from the end of the process unscathed. But yes, at a higher level, I do agree that great things are never accomplished without putting yourself (or your company) at some degree of risk. Again, this is one of the things that made Steve Jobs special. He was willing to “bet the company” on new products that came with no guarantee of success. He followed his instincts.

 

MH: It is often the case that the people in large corporations lack a sense of purpose as one company and they focus on what is before them, such as promotion, pride, income and dignity. Think Simple sounds like sweeping all those things aside and finding what the most important is. 

KS: I think that’s true. If a company is good at practicing simplicity, everyone in the organization understands why they are doing what they are doing. They understand the mission and their role in that mission. But every company has a different culture and a different mission, so I try not to make blanket recommendations. I do believe that the love of simplicity can be a powerful part of any culture, and if it isn’t there already, it is well worth cultivating. Pursuing simplicity doesn’t mean putting aside other concerns — it means seeing everything through this lens of simplicity. If something seems too complicated, or lacking in common sense, it shouldn’t be ignored. Someone has to call it to others’ attention, or to try to fix it themselves.

 

MH: I think that the idea of “Think Simple” is not to think less, but think more about the core and essence of the things. For who have not read your book, would you please give me some hints to think simple?

KS: You are correct. Thinking simple is definitely not about thinking less. In fact, it’s usually much harder to distill one’s thoughts and efforts into something that registers quickly and clearly. This is what Steve Jobs was referring to when he talked about hard part of the process — “peeling away the layers of the onion” to get to the purest form of the idea. This takes a lot of thought and a lot of discipline. If I were to give out any hints, I’d start with what might be the most important one: rely on your common sense. Most of us can tell when ideas are being cluttered, or a creative idea is being whittled down into something mediocre. It’s our ability to keep ideas on track, and defend against the dark forces of complexity, that allows us to achieve simpler, more focused results. Equally important is our ability to minimize. This means not trying to do too many things at once, or to offer too many choices, or to accept an organization with unnecessary complexities. Understanding the importance of minimizing allows one to create a better organization, better products and services, and better communications.

 

MH: Thank you for taking your time to share your great ideas and experiences. We will share this interview with students from all over the world. 

KS: It is my pleasure! I’m happy to talk about these things with anyone, anytime. I can always be reached through the Contact form on my blog. Thank you, and keep flying the flag of simplicity!

 

15
Jul

Laura Illia discusses about Corporate Reputation at El País

Written on July 15, 2013 by Begoña González-Cuesta in News

Laura Illia, Academic Director of the Master in Corporate Communication, has recently talked to El País, about companies and corporate reputation. She is currently developing a research project about the topic; her interest is focused on CSR and Social Media.

The results of the research will be helpful for professionals in the field, especially to use them as guidelines to establish a better communication and a dialogue with their stakeholders, changing the culture of the companies.

Laura Illia’s opinions have been published in the blog Via@IEBusiness: http://blogs.elpais.com/via-ie-business/2013/07/la-rsc-y-las-redes-sociales.html.

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14
Jul

Real Life at IE

Written on July 14, 2013 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

303832_4719196545086_1815621403_nMasaaki Hasegawa is a student at the Master in Visual Media and one of the those who actively work for student activities. Here, in the interview, he shares his experience and what he has learned at IE, looking back last 10 months. This is the real life at IE from the viewpoint of a student that is not mentioned in school brochure or website.

 

How was your educational experience at IE?

MH: It was quite interesting and valuable. As for Master in Visual Media, it is designed to cover both business side and creative side, so I could have learned a lot how to build a bridge between creativity and business. The greatest point of this aspect is that you can easily reach to professors from MBA that they do have over decade professional experience in business field, many of them are MBA holders, as well, as well as to creative genius from the creative industry like a professor who has worked with Madrid Fashion Week. In addition, it was great experience that there were many classes covering the new business fields, which is a combination of creativity and business, such as “Business Design”, “User Center Design”, and “Emotion Design”. In normal MBA, these fields are not covered since those fields are too young and one of its objectives is to maximize the value for several hundreds of people, and thus it takes time to adopt these kinds of area to MBA. This is one of the biggest advantages of Visual Media that you can access to the latest technological and business trends in the economy. 

 

Let us know your experience in IE that would help your professional career

MH: Being in IE has given so many opportunities to build relationships with various kinds of professionals. For example, I could have interviews with Rei Inamoto and Ken Segal. Rei Inamoto is chief creative officer at AKQA and one of the most creative people 50 in the world and Ken Segal has led the legendary promotion of Apple, “Think Different Campaign”. These people gave me opportunities not just because I worked hard but because IE has strong brand value. Also, I have organized several conferences in IE. For example, the head of asset management of Bank of New York Mellon and the director of Change.org Spain, which is a petition platform having 35 million users in the world. They had conferences in IE because IE possesses potent brand value and high quality students. In fact, after the conference in IE with Naotaka Fujii, head researcher of Riken Brain Science Institute, he got an offer for a project for Indian government. This shows that how networking inside IE has a great potential for your future career. Needless to say, I could have built this kind of amazing professional relationship with various kinds of people through activity in IE. 

 

How about your private life in Madrid? 

MH: Life outside school is also amazing. First of all, so many people can recognize IE so it was easy to explain myself to people living here. In addition to that, people in Madrid are open-minded people that you can make friends all the time you go out. In fact some of my best friends outside school are 15 years older than me but they pretty much accept me and we talk like old friend. Also, through living in Madrid, I came to realize that there are thousands of way of life that there is no common sense in terms of life style in Madrid and many people put emphasis on culture and enjoyment of life that enriches their life and personality. This is one of the most precious points that you can learn while living in Madrid. Personally, I have been training martial arts more than a decade and am doing that in Madrid too, belonging to the gym, Muay Thai Madrid, and I could have met many people have seen local life style on the course of training with them. Especially, when I recently joined a kickboxing competition, they gave me a great support that I could feel at one with them. 

 

How about student activities inside IE

MH: Beside club activity myself, there are many interesting activities, parties, and networking opportunities organized by students. One good example is IE Social Club, which organizes a weekly networking party for IE students over the boarder of masters that is held in local fancy restaurants and clubs. The president of this club, Selva Dilek Oztaskin is from Turkey but has lived in Madrid more or less 10 years and she knows all the important restaurants, bars, and clubs, and owners. Through this activity, you can build a relationship with people from different master and have an opportunity to know local life. Especially, during the semester, students are normally tied up with their own work and are less likely to have a chance to communicate with people in different major. Thus, this kind of networking opportunity would help you find interesting people in different area from yourself. Also, IE Net Impact clubs organizes various kinds of interesting events in which students are able to get along with those from different masters and great speakers.

 

What did you learn most in IE?

MH: What I have learned in IE most is that the importance of taking initiative that is not something that you can gain from just taking classes. As I mentioned above, I have had interview with more than 10 great people around the world and organized 3 conferences. Actually, when I came to Spain, I had no connection with anyone that I mentioned above and I started from scratch. However, by taking a step to a little bit outside from your comfort zone, collaborating with different kinds of people, and challenging something even if it seems ridiculous, I could have generated value to students in IE and professionals in business world. Through these experiences, I could meet a number of interesting people and build an attractive human network that is definitely an intangible important asset in my life. Furthermore, these activities have definitely added value on my career that I have gotten more than 5 internship offers from 3 different countries pretty much quickly.

 

What is your professional and personal plan for the future after the graduation?

MH: Personally, I am interested in the concept of new rich that is releasing yourself from the ordinary pattern of life like working from 9-17 and having your own life: time. Their life is free from the limitation of location and time and they are doing things that they are interested in most of their time. It sounds something like dream but, in fact, I have some friends who have built this type of life-style and who are also economically successful. Like what I have learned in IE, by taking initiative and having courage to take a first step, I believe that there are not so many things that are seriously impossible to realize. And in most of the cases, we tend to fall the trap of thinking that you have something to lose and you cannot do it because others do not do it. My motivation is to overcome this common sense and build up my own life-style in order to generate value from my own way of life. I do not think it is the stage that I can reach in a moment, but I strongly believe that it is worth trying. I would like to refer one quote of Steve Jobs to finish.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

11
Jul

Congratulations MCC 2012-13 intake!!!

Written on July 11, 2013 by Laura Illia in News

Last monday 8th of July 2013 students presented their final projects for the Master in Corporate Communicatio (MCC).  Clients this year were: Western Palace, McDonalds, Hoffman Group (Vitalia), and Air Europa (Globalia). Congratulations to all our student for their works!!

I would like to thank the coaches who followed students during these final works: Cristina Vicedo and Juan Briz.  Also, my appreciation goes to the members of the jury of this year for their valuable comment and their professionality: Pedro Cifuentes, Vincent Doyle and Tony Bing.

This year Maria de la Torre and Raquel Capellas (Weber Shandwick  – WS)  examined the different projects presented by  students from the program. They decided to give the IE-WS award to the team Globalia (Air Europa) : Christopher Meyer (Germany),  Aysel Omarova (Azerbaiyan), Julia Licheva; (Bulgaria), Estrella Jaramillo (Spain), Chiara Olimpieri (Italy) and Luisa Pittier (Venezuela). Congratulations!

Pictures final project MCC Academic year 2013

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