No problem – no startup. Every successful startup solves a problem. Without a problem, there is no solution and therefore no business. If you want to succeed on Startup Weekend, you’ll have to quickly validate that your idea solves a real problem in order to have enough time to build the right prototype and prepare the business case. 95% of teams that I mentored during four or five Startup Weekends used the wrong approach to validating the problem and their ideas. Therefore, they had to double (or even triple) their effort if they wanted to fix it and still get a chance to succeed. I am going to quickly explain you what is the mistake and how to avoid it to validate whether your idea solves a real problem.
Panic, stress and sweating hands. That’s how you could possibly feel when you have booked an expensive flight to the other side of the globe and your AirBnb host cancels your reservation a few days before the trip. Even though I love AirBnb for both business and personal trips, these things sometimes happen. It happened to me some time ago. I was looking forward to my business trip to New York, everything was planned well and the accommodation confirmed through AirBnb.
I was queueing for the immigration office in New York at the airport when I received a text from my host that the room wasn’t available anymore. Quite a #*&#%! feeling. However, it took less than an hour to get a new room and AirBnb also included some travel credit for my future trip as a sorry for the situation. No expensive airport hotel or looking for a cheap hostel on Manhattan didn’t happen. Many people keep asking what happens if the host cancels and many of the people that have been canceled on by the host didn’t do anything. And it’s so easy. Read further to learn how can you do it.
Chaos, stres a panika. Takto nejako sa môžeš cítiť keď máš kúpenú letenku na druhý koniec sveta a pár dní pred odletom ti zrazu zrušia dohodnuté ubytovanie cez AirBnb. Aj keď je AirBnb super a vo väčšine prípadov je to pre mňa lepšie riešenie ako hotel, takéto situácie sa stávajú. No netreba podliehať panike. Mne raz takto zrušili ubytovanie a dozvedel som sa to, až keď som večer pristál na New Yorku a čakal v rade na imigračnom. Nič moc pocit. Na druhej strane, náhradné ubytovanie som mal asi do hodiny a k tomu kredit navyše na ubytovanie. Žiadny drahý letiskový hotel alebo behanie od hostelu po hostel sa nekonalo. Kamarátom, aj iným ľuďom, sa to už stalo a nikto o kom viem, s tým nič nespravil. A teda nedostal od AirBnb žiadne “odškodné”. Pritom je to tak ľahké a ďalej zistíš, ako na to.
I don’t like the New Year’s resolutions. In most cases, they are just wishes that never come true. I prefer having things organized and making realistic plans. For the past 6 years, I’ve been looking back at the year just ended, summarizing in and roadmapping – Is it even a word? It should be… – the new one. I did the same this year. However, the outcome was a bit different. I haven’t created any roadmap for 2016, just one rule to live by. And make sure that every decision that I’m going to make will follow it.
Let’s admit it. When you tell someone about your idea, you want them to like it. You are wired to crave for being liked all the time, whatever you do. And I’ve been the same, for now. I decided to change it, because I realized how toxic those words – “I LIKE IT!” – are. It happened quite recently.
Igor and I have been working on Mentegram for two years. It’s been an amazing journey with an amazing team and people we met. I’m still very passionate about it, because I see how we are going to help many people improve their mental health conditions and therefore their lives. I really like this mission that Mentegram has. Being able to improve health of millions is very inspiring and motivating. And that leads to a problem that we haven’t expected.
A long time ago, there was one very wise man who said that the best way to learn is to teach – “docendo discimus“. His name was Seneca and he lived in ancient Rome two thousand years ago. Have you ever realized how right he was? I have. And because of that, I’ve always been happy to help others. I can hardly say no when I’m invited to mentor startups at Startup Weekend or when someone just emails me and asks for an advice. I neither could say no to a friend of mine who runs a non-profit organization. Especially when he asked me to do two lectures about startups at the biggest university in my home country, Comenius University in Bratislava. It was a big challenge as well as an opportunity and I’m very thankful for that. Keep reading to learn what my lectures were about.
Are you searching for the Business Model Canvas that you want to share with your remote team, or just take with you whenever you want? I was searching as well and couldn’t really find one. Of course, there are some apps or templates, but neither of them were really simple to use. So I logged on to my Google Docs account and created a template in Spreadsheets that you all can use.
Each year, at the end of December, I like to look back at the year, summarize it and set a roadmap for the following one. It’s a great tradition that my wife came up with 5 years ago (thanks love). It helps me see how successful am I at living my life. This summary, however, is only a list of facts what happened in the past and what I want to happen in the future. The most important is to analyze those fact and LEARN. That’s what made me realize my strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve. (more…)
Začiatkom jesene som bol plný očakávaní. Mali sme naplánovaných veľa nový vecí. No nevedeli sme úplne odhadnúť, ako môžu dopadnúť. Okrem toho, že sme boli zvedaví ako sa uchytí Sara a Dennis ako naši growth managers, čakala nás jeseň plná konferencií a business developmentu v USA. Boli sme na to pripravení, kedže produkt sa nám podarilo naplno spustiť už v lete. Na jeseň sme potom skôr dorábali menšie veci, ktoré nám pomáhali predávať. Získali sme prvých zákazníkov a začali budovať prvé partnerstvá. To nám ukázalo, že robíme veci správne a motivovalo do ďalšej roboty.
Startup je výzva, zodpovednosť aj zábava. Ale hlavne je to o tom robiť správne a potrebné veci. Na začiatku je nás málo a robota je rôzna. Je to iné, ako keď som bol zamestnaný. Síce som mal na starosti tím ľudí, projekty a svoju zodpovednosť za ne, no nikdy som sa nemusel starať o všetko. Na mojich pleciach nebola ťarcha zodpovednosti za úspech firmy. Pri zlom produkte majú ťažkú robotu aj tí najlepší salesáci. A naopak, pri zlých salesákoch sú mi dobrí programátori a projekťáci takmer na nič. Keď som zamestnaný, firma ma za úlohu postarať sa o to ostatné, aby som mohol sústrediť čo najviac svojej energie na moje úlohy. To, v čom som najlepší a čo ma baví.