Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship#8217;

11
Nov

Anxo Peréz: Linguistic Prodigy. Be True to Your Vision

Written on November 11, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Anxo Peréz is the founder of 8Belts which is an online service to allow people to learn Chinese in 8 months. He is well known as a language genius that he speaks multiple languages. He is also the author of 88 peldaños del éxito. Today, he tells us the essence of how to take a leap of faith to build your own life.

foto libro - Anxo Portada

 

1. First of all, for those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about you. You are well known as a polyglot. How did you get interested in languages so much?

AP: I am just a humble apprentice that still has much to learn. I became interested in languages when I was a child. However, my interest wasn’t what was important, it was the fact that I realized that language teaching constituted one of my oil wells. However, I’d like to stress that my abilities aren’t better than everyone else’s, they’re just different. As soon as I discovered that one of them was languages, I decided to strengthen this ability as much as I could. There are two ways to increase one’s value in the world. One is improving the bad. The other is taking advantage of the good. The key to success isn’t found in the first one, it’s found in the second.

 

2. When you speak different languages, what happens in your mind? Does it feel  like you’re a different person?

AP: Anxo Pérez is Anxo Pérez, whether he’s speaking Gallego, Spanish, Chinese, or English. It’s just like how you continue being yourself making lunch and writing an article for a blog, a person is the same person no matter what language they’re speaking. Me communicating with someone in one language or the other doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we communicate. I feel the same way in every language.

 

3. You often encourage people to take  action. Are you naturally an outgoing person or did you have a specific episode that changed you to become proactive?

AP: When I was fifteen, I realized that I wasn’t making the most of my talents and I decided to move to the US so I could better take advantage of them. While there, I was able to develop my language-learning and musical abilities. If I hadn’t decided to incite change at that time and in that way, none of the wonderful things that have happened throughout my life would’ve ever happened. Actions have strength. Not one thing in the world around us has come from someone’s indifference.

The world isn’t moved by people with ideas because everyone has them. The world is moved by the few that are willing the do something with theirs. This is why I defend the standpoint that there’s magic in action.

 

4. What was the motivation for you to help people learn Chinese in 8 months? Why it was Chinese instead of any of the Romance languages?

AP: Because I couldn’t find any other language that was as distant and useful as Chinese. I wanted to dispel the notion that Spanish speakers aren’t good at languages. If we were able to demonstrate that anyone could learn Chinese with the proper method, why couldn’t we speak any language, like English, in the same amount of time?

Our mission is to demonstrate, to Spain and to the rest of the world, that there aren’t any “bad” ways to learn, but that there are ways to teach that can be improved.  When people don’t learn, it’s not their fault, it’s the method’s. If you teach properly, everyone learns. Even Chinese.

 

5. How do you make yourself outstanding in such a competitive market: language learning?

AP: You can’t achieve more than anyone by doing the same as everyone. We offer a different method where there are no classrooms, no books, no teachers, no exercises, and no tests. We also offer different results: you learn to speak a new language in just 8 months. If you don’t, you get your money back. Up until now, we haven’t had to return anyone’s money, not even once, because 8Belts doesn’t work 99% of the time, it works 100% of the time.

 

6. For most people, it is very scary to take a leap of faith to change their own life. How they can get out of their comfort zone?

AP: With monotony, you don’t suffer, but without risk you don’t grow. There are circumstances in which life puts a “dare-to” moment right in front of you. In such a case, you have two options: stay in your comfort zone, the safe place where you’ll never suffer, or launch yourself into the unknown. If you choose the second option, you may win or lose, but you’ll always grow.

 

7. What would be the first thing that someone could do to change their life?

AP: Incite change. Do things that you’ve never considered doing, play a new sport, learn a new language, talk to people that you never thought about talking to,… shake things up and observe the repositioning of all the pieces that make up your current situation in life. Action is magic, and shaking things up multiplies your magic’s impact.

 

8. What is the most important thing you have ever learned in your entrepreneurial life?

AP: Be true to your vision. When you begin a project, there are a thousand people that “advise” you to stop, they say that it’s not worth it, or that you should give your idea a 180 degree spin to “make it better.” Resist these temptations. Accept advice, but always stick true to your project.

 

9. If you could make a call to a 20-year-old Anxo Perez, what kind of advice would you give him?

AP: Don’t let a day go by without getting closer, even if it’s just a little bit, to achieving your goals.

 

10. If you can leave one message to make the world a better place, what would your message be?

AP: Chase your dreams…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISumoPkLDag

 

 

29
Jan

What is success?

Written on January 29, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

One of the greatest thinkers in the 21st century is here. Randy Komisar is a venture capitalist(KPCB), author(The Monk and the Riddle), and entrepreneur(Co-founded Claris Corp). There are many people who would teach you how to calculate ROI and make a business model, skills and techniques for pitching and storytelling, and branding strategy and marketing methods. However, there is almost no one who would tell you what is a successful life. Randy Komisar shares his wisdom and philosophy with us.

Randy Komisar

 

Let us know more about you, what is your current passion and mission?

 

My mission is to serve Human Potential. Business is just the means, not the ends. In my experience entrepreneurship is a very effective marriage of business and social progress. Not every venture contributes to a better future, but the potential is there to do good while doing well.

 

My passion is to partner with high potential leaders to accomplish meaningful change. I relish the opportunity to teach and learn from the next generation of business and thought leaders. It’s a privilege for which I am very grateful.

 

What is the greatest experience you’ve ever had in your career?

 

I can’t think of a single “greatest” experience. I am fortunate enough to continually renew my “greatest” with the “latest”. Joining Bill Campbell, my life-long mentor, to found our first start up, Claris Corporation, was exhilarating. Inventing the role of the Virtual CEO at WebTV and TiVo was a joy. Writing my first book, The Monk and the Riddle, was a dream. Teaching at Stanford, with my partner Tom Byers, was life changing. Working with Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers to make Nest one of the most successful Unicorn Ventures was extremely satisfying. And the good news is that today, I am having a completely new set of wonderful experiences.

 

Explain the emotion and feeling you had on the day 1 of your entrepreneurial life.

 

I was working at Apple 1.0 in 1985 when Bill Campbell, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing, grabbed me in the hall, pulled me into a dark office, closed the door and asked me if I would join him in creating Claris Corporation, an Apple Software spinoff. He didn’t mention my title, role or compensation, and he wanted an answer before we left the room. I thought hard, for less than a minute, and leapt into my career in entrepreneurship. It was a whirlwind. I did everything that needed doing. Deals, real estate, hiring, etc. The hours were never ending, but I could not have been happier. I was finally the master of my own fate and part of a team I loved and admired. I didn’t know what could not be accomplished, so I accomplished it. Win or lose, there was no turning back from a career in entrepreneurship.

 

When you take a new action in terms of business, what is the first question that comes to your mind?

 

Does it matter? More specifically, does it matter to me? Do I care enough about the mission and opportunity to fail at it? Yes, fail at it. Why? Because most ambitious ventures fail and if you are not committed to the mission, the ensuing emotional rollercoaster will lead you to howl at the moon. So I ask myself if I am truly passionate enough, and sufficiently committed to the mission, to risk failure. If not, I look for another one.

 

On the one hand, each city, country, and region has a different value. On the other hand, knowledge and management process tend to get generalised. What are you able to learn from generalised knowledge and what do you need to find answers by yourself?

 

A decade ago, when I traveled the world meeting with entrepreneurs, I was struck by how far they were behind their competitors in Silicon Valley. Innovation and creativity arise anywhere on the planet where smart people reside, and that is everywhere. But entrepreneurship is a profession with a best practice, and that best practice seemed to be centered in Silicon Valley. Today I am impressed by how advanced the global entrepreneurs have become in a mere decade. The Internet and media have disseminated the details of best practices to every corner of the planet. Those practices are recited in endless books, blogs, videos, conferences, competitions, hack-a-thons and news services. So today, the regional challenge is not one of an unfair information advantage, but rather an experience gap and a lack of suitable mentors who can bridge the experience gap. I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the generalized area of entrepreneurship, but I look for specific answers by reaching out to the smart people who surround me. They have the perspective and knowledge I lack.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.47.21 AM

 

Sometimes, people are afraid of failures too much. Sometimes, people romanticise failures too much. What are people actually able to learn from failures?

 

No one should set out to fail. And no one should take the risk of failure lightly. But innovation is about trying things that have not been done before. It is about experimenting and struggling to challenge the status quo. It is about creative destruction. Most change fails just as most mutations are evolutionary dead ends. If we are ambitious we will fail often before we succeed. Silicon Valley has distinguished itself in part because of a culture that does not punish failure. If you fail for some reason other than being stupid, lazy or corrupt, then SV wants to put your experience to work again as soon as possible. You learn a lot succeeding, but failure seems to sharpen the senses even more. And I have come to understand that disappointment is not always failure. Was Edison’s 900Th filament a failure or merely a disappointment; more knowledge on the way to success? It all depends on whether you stop trying. Failure in the context of innovation needs to be defined differently as we all fail toward success.

 

 

 

All the resources on the earth are available to you, what would you like to create?

 

An energy ecosystem that supports a prosperous but sustainable planet. A food ecosystem that feeds a growing population without taxing the earth and future generations. An educational ecosystem where everyone on the planet can reach their full potential. Hopefully, these three accomplishments will further our collective peace, fairness and happiness.

 

If you start everything from scratch again without any money, status, and network, but with your wisdom that you have now, what would be the first thing you work on?

 

I would first work on myself. To find the peace of mind and inner strength so that I can undertake the challenges ahead. I would combine my inner journey with opportunities to teach and mentor the next generation of leaders. I would look for those opportunities that can make a difference and to which I can contribute meaningfully. I would resist the urge to race ahead with the herd chasing the Next Big Thing in the hope that I can find my own way.

 

Make a call to 20-year-old Randy Komisar, what kind of advices you would give to him?

 

Trust yourself. You don’t have to become someone else to succeed in life. Define your own success and don’t surrender to the expectations of others. Don’t worry about what you can’t change and don’t concern yourself with the ultimate questions of life’s challenges, focus instead on the here and now. Know yourself in order to know others. And don’t be fooled by money. It can empower greatness if you are truly great, but it comes at a steep cost and can be a burden that keeps you from living a meaningful life. In the end, it’s the relationships with others and your help for those who need it that will define your happiness. Trust in goodness.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.44.38 AM

 

If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?

 

Be kinder. Move beyond yourself and deeply empathize with others. We are all in this life together and no one will get out alive. While our generation is obsessed with how we can make and consume more, twenty-five hundred years ago the world’s best thinkers on every continent wrestled with a much more powerful question, “how should we live our lives?” I think it starts with losing your ego and being kinder to each other in the process.

 

 

©Masaaki Hasegawa

 

 

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. 

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. 

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