By Chris Pearson, Manager, Partnerships | IBM Digital Business Group
I’ve spent my fair share of time mentoring startups, and when we meet for the first time, I always begin by asking the founders a seemingly simple question: “Why are you doing this?” Answers to this question come in different forms, typically to the tune of “We’ve noticed a gap in ‘x’ market that we can expose,” or “We have an innovative product that can revolutionize the way ‘y’ business is done,” and of course the ever so original “We’re the Uber for ‘z.’” It’s always great to get a picture of the product these founders are developing and to witness their excitement about the potential impact it can make, but none of those really answer the question I’ve asked. They’re all telling me the what and how but not necessarily the why. The reason I specifically ask “Why?” is that this question requires the founders to defines their purpose—and I believe that understanding your purpose is the foundation on which companies can truly thrive.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” These wise words, written over a century ago by Friedrich Nietzsche, are just as true today as they were then. Circumstances change, markets shift, new innovations arise, all of which are uncontrollable factors that can impact what and how, but if you have firmly established your why, there will be very little you cannot overcome.
Determine Your “Why”
Simple questions don’t always yield simple answers. The purpose behind our actions, let alone our business, isn’t necessarily easy to define and oftentimes takes a bit of digging, but once you have it, the decision making process becomes significantly easier across the board. As a founder, you have to account for hundreds of decisions on a daily basis, each of which can potentially take you any one of a hundred directions. The benefit to understanding your purpose is that it acts as a compass in your decision making. Whatever answer or course of action aligns most closely with the central purpose you’ve identified is the decision you make, period.
For me personally, I decided years ago that my purpose was to help foster growth across the startup ecosystem. I’m not a founder myself, but I have recognized a pattern across history: civilizations tend to thrive—and reach their pinnacle—when they are focused on innovation. Creating solutions that make life and business more efficient and effective is a central theme in growing societies, and I believe that is just as true today as it’s ever been.
I developed this mission shortly after joining 500 Startups in a business development role after many years in corporate finance, and it was this idea that opened my eyes to a missing component in the startup ecosystem. I realized that enterprise companies play a critical role in the development and growth of startups and that the development of startups plays into the long-term success of enterprise companies. For the sake of time, I won’t dive deeply into the subject. Here is a reason so few large corporate entities survive, or at least maintain, a high level of success beyond three generations—and it revolves around their inability to accept and buy-in to innovation.
Partners for Innovation
It was this revelation that led me to take a role at SoftLayer, which ultimately fully migrated into IBM, where I’ve worked to become a key figure in the development and execution of our startup program Startup With IBM. Our objective is to manage a program that not only provides startups access to our technology through credits and more importantly positions those companies that work with us to reach our global network of clients and partners in order to help them find customers and generate revenue. We want to leverage the strength of what IBM is today to create meaningful value for the growth and development of these startups who will ultimately determine what IBM becomes in the future. If we can serve these startups well, helping them grow and scale on our cloud, as more than just as technology providers but also as a business partner, then we have the opportunity to become a core piece in the success of the next generation of these companies. By design, our program is only successful when startups are successful first. The goal is to create a structure that serves and supports founders by leveraging IBM’s core competencies to give them the tools and resources they need to do what they do best: innovate.
It’s yet to be seen whether or not our complete vision will come to fruition in the end. What we do know is the why behind what we’re doing, and every decision we make for this program will be to serve that ultimate purpose as we go forward.
Learn more about how Techstars partners with corporations to promote innovation—within corporations and for startups.
At Techstars, we’re building the best global ecosystem for founders to bring new technologies to market. One of the impacts that I think we’ll have a long time is to change the way that corporations engage with startups. We want to help make those engagements effective and efficient for both parties. We do this in a few different ways.
First, we have an internal team of five people that focus on corporate relationships. They’re the folks who do amazing things like BizDevDay at FounderCon, where there were 1500 meetings in a single day between big companies and our portfolio.
They also work on M&A when necessary, and we recently completed our 100th M&A transaction out of the Techstars portfolio. They have deep relationships with most of the important large corporations in our space, and are constantly making connections to Techstars’ companies.
From the large corporations perspective, they might think of this activity as corporate development or “corpdev.” We think of it as leveraging our scale to assist our portfolio of amazing startups.
Second, we partner with large corporations to build accelerators, like Techstars Music, Techstars Mobility or Techstars IoT. In working with so many large corporate partners, we’ve learned that some of them engage with these accelerators with a short term view, and some with a long term view. Let me explain.
When a corporate engages with an accelerator or with startups, their short term view might entail them thinking about which one or two of these companies could “move the needle” for their stock, or fill some current strategic gap. They engage with the accelerator as if their job is to cherrypick. That’s all well and fine and it produces near term results in many cases, but it’s also short term thinking.
Other partners engage with a long term view. They lean in and #givefirst, which may at first feel somewhat alien to them. In this mode, the partner is thinking about how this could impact their business in 5, 10 or 20 years.
They’re thinking about the startup ecosystem they are building around their own company, technology and areas of interest. They’re trying to grow more cherries to pick later. The long term thinkers understand that current opportunities are only a small part of their role in growing an ecosystem around themselves. They lean in long term.
Startups are a long game, not a short one. As our partners actively re-think what corporate innovation means, they’re learning that it’s about both long and short term focus. They’re learning that they need corpdev programs that move the needle now, but they also need to grow the right ecosystems around themselves. And that takes time and patience.
It takes good and helpful behavior around startups with a 20 year view. They are learning to be consistent in their approach to #givefirst. They are learning to leverage startups for innovation. And when they get it, when they start thinking long term in the context of startups… it’s pure magic.
This post was originally published on David’s blog.
Music Drives Culture
For many people, musical taste defines style and is a bedrock of personal identity. Boomers, Gen X, Millennials…the generations may be wildly different but the importance of music to youth culture, creativity, and consumer behavior has been as consistent as a John Bonham beat, or a Grandmaster Flash beat. Take your pick.
Music is Massive
What would Apple be without music? What would YouTube be without music? The size of the recorded music industry has changed over the years and consumption formats have evolved considerably, but the overall value that music as a category drives — including the indirect impact to businesses of all kinds — is massive.
Music Drives Innovation
Music and tech have been strange bedfellows over the last few decades. And yet arguably many of the greatest innovations in our lifetimes have been created out of or achieved mass adoption at least in part due to demand for music — in many cases completely outside the system. Peer-to-peer file sharing. Digital compression formats like MP3. Streaming media. Embedded video. Social media. Bluetooth. With innovation comes opportunity.
New Platforms are Here
Music went through a wave of massive change when the internet first arrived (Napster). And when social media first arrived (Myspace). And when mobile first arrived (Pandora). We’re just entering a new phase of change with transformational technologies including VR, AI, blockchain and more. It’s time for a new round of incredible new ideas that can change things all over again. Big new businesses will emerge accordingly.
Techstars Music is in partnership with organizations that can unlock immense value and powerful relationships for startups. Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Sonos, Harmonix, Q Prime, Bill Silva Entertainment, Young Guru’s Era of the Engineer, and Silva Artist Management. We’re bringing the industry together with the top startups in working in music today, and the industry is approaching the endeavor with a #givefirst spirit. The goal is to collaboratively drive the future of music together.
Los Angeles is having a special moment right now. An emergent technology community. A renaissance of art and culture. Unbridled creativity. Any startup looking to drive advancement in the culture industries needs to have strong ties to LA. Startups in this program will get plugged into LA in spades.
Our Managing Director, Bob Moczydlowsky, is a lifelong friend and has dedicated his life to driving innovation around music. He thinks like a fan. He is the right person to shepherd the balance that this space will need to be truly special, and he has the relationships to bring a world class pool of mentors together from across the entrepreneurial world and the music industry to help the startups in this program in a truly unique and special way.
If you are building a technology business that even remotely has ties to how music is created, consumed, or distributed, you should check out Techstars Music. You’ll be glad you did.
This post was originally published on Medium.
Don’t miss your chance to join a Techstars accelerator program – Applications close October 15. Apply today.
You are gathered in a room with a facilitator and sticky notes are flying. You hope that after the session, you’ll be able to tackle your problem to solve with new ideas.
The main goal in a brainstorming (also known as ideation) session, is to generate as many ideas as possible, before filtering them to find an final solution. The challenge however, is that there is always THAT ONE PERSON who dominates the session. If the facilitator is not aware, the extrovert of the room will soon takeover.
Here are some tips to ensure a successful brainstorming session:
- Ensure the attendee list consists of a wide variety of backgrounds, personalities and outlooks
- Make sure you find a seasoned facilitator who knows how to go “off script” if he/she realizes the participation from the attendees is lop-sided
- Include “games” where people are given a turn to share their opinions
- Have a timer so that each comment can only last 30 seconds
- Include exercises where the attendees can brainstorm by themselves and jot down ideas, in order to share the one good idea.
Dignity Health St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital have partnered with the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce to launch the inaugural Startup Weekend Ventura County on March 11-13, 2016 at Rancho Campana High School in Camarillo, CA.
The event will focus on innovative Internet of Things solutions for Healthcare and Agriculture. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event, during which entrepreneurs pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening. As a result, participants will learn how to create a real company and meet the best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who have the knowledge, resources and tools to help entrepreneurs get started.
“Partnering with others in the community to improve the quality of life is one of our three stated missions,” said Darren Lee, President and CEO of St. John’s Hospitals. “Helping to create high-paying jobs by supporting entrepreneurs’ launch of technology-driven businesses is an effective way to achieve it.” “Scalable business is fundamental to driving robust and sustainable economic growth,” added Gary Cushing, Chief Executive Officer of Camarillo Chamber of Commerce. “The high cost of housing makes it hard to attract out-of-state technology companies to set up shop in California. We need to grow our own. To accomplish this, we have to create an environment conducive to entrepreneurs launching their new businesses in our backyard.”
Со големо финале кое се одржа во петокот заврши петтиот Стартап Викенд Скопје. Овој пат, бизнис комплексот CoSeed беше домаќин на повеќе од 60 учесници, кои со помош на 20 локални и интернационални ментори ги развиваа своите стартап идеи. По петти пат Стартап Викенд Скопје беше место каде што се спојуваат млади креативни ентузијасти, дизајнери, програмери, економисти, маркетери, со една заедничка цел, да креираат своја стартап компанија за 54 часа.
Во петокот беа презентирани 21 идеја, од кои по гласањето се формираа 12 тима. Саботата беше резервинрана за менторските сесии и подетално развивање на идеите. Тимовите добија совети околу маркетинг стратегија, креирање бизнис план, дизајнирање на апликации, но имаше време и за запознавање, одмор и заедничко дружење. Во неделата се работеше на последните подготовки за презентациите, дефинирање на идеите и најважниот дел, финалето. Тимовите ги презентираа своите идеи пред 5-членото жири, а ова се најуспешните од нив:
Третото место го освоија mono.mk, онлајн сервис кој ќе ви помогне да го решите парадоксот на изборот и ќе ви понудат еден продукт дневно по многу достапна цена. Совршена опција за неодлучни луѓе.
Второто место им припадна на Slapp, апликација која на интересен начин ќе ви помогне да ја победите прокрастинацијата. Тие беа еден од тимовите кои ни презентираа и демо верзија.
На #swskopje во Мај го освоија второто место со апликацијата NowPark.me, а овој пат првото место отиде во рацете на NCS, тим кои сакаат преку апликацијата VoiTEx да им помогнат на глувите и лицата со оштетен слух да воспостават телефонски повик.
За најдобра презентација беше прогласен тимот Legend Squad, односно најмладиот тим чија идеја беше да направат Mindcraft сервер. Мораме да напоменеме дека овој тим беше едноставно awesome!
StudieBuddies преку онлајн социјална платформа го решаваат проблемот со кој се соочуваат студентите кои не студираат во својот роден град и има за цел да ги поврзе оние кои имаат заеднички интерес, да учат заедно или пак да споделуваат материјали. WeLearn со апликацијата Буфко сакаат на младите деца од пред школска возраст да им овозможат забава и учење преку игри со кои можат да ја подобрат својата меморија. BusHelp имаат за цел да го решат проблемот со јавниот транспорт во Скопје. Идејата на FreshFridge е секогаш да имаме достапна здрава храна, а тоа ќе го решат преку достава до секој дом. ConDoma го решаваат проблемот што го имаат луѓето на каса кога купуваат производи кои им предизвикуваат срам и преку онлајн сервис овозможуваа дискретна достава до посакувана локација во брендиран пакет по избор. Идејата на StudentNinja е едукативна платформа која ги поврзува учениците, професорите и родителите и овозможува интерактивно учење. Тимот 1000 работеа на веб страна која ќе овозможува групно принтање. И за крај EBLApp, платформа каде што ќе може да го најдеш кредитот кој ти е потребен со пополнување на онлајн формулар што ќе проверува какви услуги нудат банките, со цел да можеме полесно да ја избереме онаа која најмногу ни одговара.
Со успешното завршување на Стартап Викенд Скопје уште еднаш се покажа дека во Македонија има многу креативни и вредни, млади луѓе, со квалитетни идеи кои можат да прераснат во успешни бизниси. Искуството со кое се збогатија учесниците на овој настан ќе им помогне при идните предизвици, а контактите кои ги стекнаа ќе им бидат од огромно значење при реализацијата на нивните идеи.
Уште еднаш би сакале да се заблагодариме на сите кои ја поддржаа македонската стартап заедница преку нашиот настан:
- Сребрени спонзори: Холандската амбасада во Македонија, UNDP MK, МКхост и Seavus.
- Спонзори: GSIX, SEDC и Скопска Пивара.
- Поддржувачи: Brainster, South Central Ventures, Girls in Tech, Silicon Drinkabout, EESTEC LC Skopje, IAESTE Macedonia, AIESEC, BEST Skopje, Startup Academy, Startup Grind, Ладна, Ред Бул, Нескафе, Виталиа и Хотел Сонце.
- Медиумски поддржувачи: www.it.mk, www.brkajrabota.mk, www.smartportal.mk, www.itnastani.mk, www.marketing365.mk, www.popularno.mk, Startup Selfie.
Следете нè и очекувајте го наредниот настан во 2016.
Join Bergen Startup Weekend and learn how to build a Startup, create a business model, meet co-founders and enlarge your network.
Is that all? No, Thanks to our partners we are offering very useful Prizes to transform your idea into a real business and make the event memorable.
TENK_IT is a media agency headquartered in Bergen. They offer a selected IT and design service to small and medium sized businesses and organizations and, among others, websites development and graphic design.
The winning team of Bergen Startup Weekend will benefit of Tenk.IT website design (from planning to web testing) with a value up to NOK 15 000 eks. mva.
T41 – Nyskapingsparken Inkubator provide knowledge, network and office space with infrastructure made available for start-up businesses. The aim is to provide companies a faster and safer way from establishment to growth.
The winning team of Bergen Startup Weekend will benefit of a flex desk at T41 coworking space for 6 months, access to meeting rooms, social events and workshops at Nyskapingsparken.
Impact HUB Bergen is partly innovation lab, partly business incubator, partly membership community. They provide a collaborative work, meeting and learning space for people who seek to create positive impact.
Impact Hub Bergen is offering to the 2 Special Mention of Bergen Startup Weekend 2 consecutive months Flex membership, and 1 consecutive month Flex Membership to use within July 2016
2019 design illustrative posters of familiar and unfamiliar people, artworks and builds them in limited edition using innovative methods.
The winning team of Bergen Startup Weekend will be award with a “V for victory” poster with frame.
DUPO provide and distribute high quality prints made in limited editions. They work closely with both known and unknown artists from all over the world to the ensure That unique artwork Becomes available only through Dupo.
The 2 Special Mention Bergen Startup Weekend Teams will get a Mention Certificate worth 750NOK per item
AdO Arena is Norway’s main facilities for swimming and diving is offering to
ALL Bergen Startup Weekend attendees will benefit of 54% discount at Ado during the event and the most “sporties” will get a free voucher swimming cards
Sumo is one of Bergen’s most popular sushi and Asian restaurants.
Sumo si offering to Bergen Startup Weekend Winner one gift card worth 200NOK
Startup Weekend & Global Startup Battle explained:
We’re all super excited for this year’s Startup Weekend and not only that, but also for the Global Startup Battle that is happening as well. That means that not only will you be able to try your skills against your local entrepreneurs, but also be able to compete for some awesome prizes in a number of different tracks against participants in over 100 countries! So what does this all mean? Let’s break it down.
But first you should take a look at this awesome infographic about the 2014 Global Startup Battle just to get an idea of what’s in store for this year!
OK. So what are the details you ask? Very simple:
- In order to compete in the GSB 2015 you will need to attend a Startup Weekend event on either the weekend of Nov 13 or Nov 20 (Since you already signed up for the event this shouldn’t be a problem!)
- After the end of the event you will need to submit a 90 second video of your pitch within 48 hours of the event ending
- You can submit to as many Tracks as you wish, as long as your team meets their requirements
- Please see the GSB 2015 Attendee Pack for additional information
- Hashtag Battle: have a little fun during the event & tweet with #GSB2015 and #SWTampa to create buzz about Tampa Bay & Startup Weekend!
Tracks? What are these tracks you speak of?
- The Champions Track: the top 3 winning teams from each Startup Weekend event are able to compete against other teams from across the globe.
- Didn’t win, but still have an awesome idea? No worries, there’s plenty of Themed Tracks for everyone!
- Great in the Making Track – Made great by Mr. Coffee: If you seek to make a difference (a great difference) in the lives of others, this is your track.
- The Innovators Track – Powered by .CO: Calling all Startup Weekend teams that are launching their brilliant ideas on a .CO domain!
- Disruptors & Big Ideas Track – Powered By Transpose: For the entrepreneurs setting out to change industries with visionary ideas.
- Education through Video and Beyond Track – Powered by YouTube: How will you harness video to make great educational experiences possible around the world?
- Mobile Growth Track – Sponsored By Branch: Calling all app developers and enthusiasts! Let Branch help you launch your next big idea!
- Startup Women Track – Supported by Techstars Foundation: Join us and help create diversity in technology entrepreneurship around the world.
- Open Track – Sponsored By Incorporate.com: A brand new way to compete! This Track is for teams who do not attend a GSB event and are in the early stages of launching their ideas.
This all sounds awesome, how do I start? If you have yet to sign up (really, why haven’t you signed up yet?) then just follow this handy link and register today!