The entrepreneurship journey - What you'll need to succeed
One thing led to another; or rather, many things led to
one thing: a Delaware-registered company. After months with endless
meetings, discussions and presentations, countless Skype sessions
and iterations, and hundreds of (in) formal talks with all kinds of
experts, here we are: one company and four
Here are seven of our takeaways thus far:
1. Align your motivations
Sounds basic, doesn't it? I mean, who isn't super motivated and
wants success? But how do you define success? And have you asked
yourself what really motivates you? Is it money, recognition, or a
grand vision like making the world a better place? All great
engines, but they count for very different focus points and
therefore result in different consequences as you go along. As your
team will surely encounter difficulties, you better make sure you
have a coordinated fist and not a set of disparate freewheeling
fingers - if that metaphor makes sense.
2. You can't go it alone
Great innovations no longer come from lone geniuses, but
dedicated teams, empowered and with a clear sense of direction.
Collective greatness and complementary skill sets beat individual
geniuses flat out, again meaning culture is paramount. I'm not a
genius, but my competences, experience, motivation, and
(Scandinavian) cultural behaviour seem to be a good fit with the
rest of my co-founders. At least, so far...
3. You never really make it
Having started ventures and companies before, we all know there
is never a finishing line. No matter how great your original idea,
it's just a starting point. There are only lap times and new goals
on the horizon. But more frustratingly, there are continuous
hurdles and one problem more insurmountable than any other. Oz
calls this the "sinusoidal wave of start-up life", where there's a
predictable pattern of highs and lows, except you never know where
the next down will come from. But be sure, it's a pretty deep
4. It's not magic. It's not even art…
Entrepreneurship is the new black. But enough already of the
"How I Made It" books and LinkedIn fodder, innovation seminars,
start-up hackathons, incumasturbators, and lush corporate
accelerators. To a large degree, entrepreneurship is a muscle that
needs to be exercised and fine-tuned every day. You know, like
work. It's not magic, science or fine art. It's more like making
food: many ingredients, a few good recipes, and lots of practice.
But no matter how much you practise you can still screw up or be
average. Most do. We hope we're not.
5. Want an interesting life? Get an interesting life!
An interesting job doesn't equal an interesting life. And
entrepreneurship is a night-and-day endeavour. So figure out if you
want to be interested or interesting. Those who are aiming for a
fulfilling job quickly find the entrepreneurship work-life balance
is more like a work-work balance.
6. You're not too old
Silicon Valley seems to be full of brilliant 23-year-old college
dropouts. Not true. Gen Y is less likely to be entrepreneurial than
Gen X, according to research. And the average successful
entrepreneur (that has created value, according to some other
research) is 58-years-old! This not only makes us feel really
young, but it indicates that experience still has some value in
whatever "new" economy we're living in.
7. See you in court. Or just over coffee with a lawyer
It's a mission. It's a calling. It's both fun and frustrating.
But it's also a legal process, with lots of paper work to go with
it. With paragraph upon paragraph of incomprehensible language and
fine print. Contracts, NDAs, patent applications, and what have
you. It takes a lot of time, money and energy. And paper. Lots of
paper. Back and forth. And back again. This time with the right
signature if you don't mind, sir!
Caption: And then there were three, soon to be four.
Mobile Entrepreneurs Dr Baris Yildiz, Ozcan Cilkmaz, and Aris
Theophilakis at a workshop last Christmas in Atlanta.
Theophilakis is also the founder and CEO of Futatsu Industries, a
hybrid marketing agency based in Oslo, Norway and current
participant of the innovative Executive Master in Marketing and Creativity.
Aris and Ozcan are Alums of the Executive MBA (Class of 2016)
Impressed by Aris' journey and how he tackles the
challenges that entrepreneurs must overcome to be successful? Check
out how ESCP Europe and its Marketing & Creativity programmes
can equip you with the tools you need in any
7 things I Learned While Pretending To Be an
Entrepreneur in Silicon Valley
Online Q&A for Marketing programmes: 23 May 2018
MSc in Marketing & Creativity
Executive Master in Marketing & Creativity