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ProtoHack Dubai Keynote

ProtoHack Dubai Keynote

Keynote to kick off ProtoHack Dubai, May 2017.

Boris Mann

May 19, 2017

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  1. Boris Mann, Frontier Foundry • BSc Computer Science • Building

    the Vancouver tech ecosystem for 13+ years • Founded the first startup accelerator in Canada 10 years ago • Co-founder Frontier Foundry • Investor, Advisor, Technologist
  2. The basic difference between complex problems and complicated problems comes

    down to whether a problem is solvable or not. Is there a stable outcome? Is there an end state? Can research and expertise provide us with answers? Is the situation predictable? Answer yes to these questions and you have a complicated problem. Answer no and you have a complex one. It comes down to the difference between building a community and building a building. Complex vs. Complicated – Chris Corrigan
  3. Building a Business is a Complex Problem • What should

    I do next? • What do I need to learn? How do I learn from customers and potential customers? • What is the Return on Investment (ROI) of tasks that I am doing?
  4. No One Knows Anything • Impostor syndrome! • “I’m going

    to hire a marketing person / CEO / unicorn…” • Double-down on strengths • Outsource + work with pros • You’re still going to have to understand a little about a lot • Learn by doing – you’re going to get good at some of it
  5. All businesses are technology businesses • The printing press &

    telephone were once considered new-fangled technology • Which parts of technology are you experimenting with in growing your business? • Marketing tools, payment systems, apps • What ROI are you seeing by figuring out technology?
  6. What is technology? • Email? Microsoft Office? • Basecamp? Asana?

    Trello? • Photoshop? Sketch? • Unbounce or Kickoff Labs? WordPress or SquareSpace? • Texting? WhatsApp groups? • Figuring out the Snapchat interface if you’re over 25?
  7. “Non-technical” people can win by learning tools • What are

    your 3 go to apps? • What currently has you thinking “there has got to be a better way” and what are you doing to find a tool? • What tool does everyone ask you for help in learning how to use?
  8. • Intercom • http://intercom.com • Zapier • http://zapier.com • Dropbox

    Paper • http://paper.dropbox.com Boris’ 3 Go To Apps
  9. – Asimov, “The Roving Mind” # “Human beings learn how

    to handle numerous complicated devices in their lifetimes. The learning is not always easy, but once the complications are learned – if they are learned properly – it all becomes automatic. The thought of abandoning it and learning something else, of going through the process again, is terribly frightening.”
  10. Venture Businesses • Are you building a venture business? •

    All businesses are not a candidate for venture investment • Big idea, big market, big growth, big outcomes • Venture investment is not the goal — building a sustainable business that lets you do what you want is
  11. Big Hairy Audacious Goal • You need a BHAG •

    Vision and purpose that form core passion & “true north” for the company & team • You also need an execution plan: • What can you build and sell today? • Prove you can ship • Charge money so you don’t die in the short term
  12. Investment Deck • An investment deck should be standalone and

    can be sent by email and make sense without you “live” talking about it • Market: who are the customers? what are their pains? • Solution: how are you solving the pain? have you developed novel technology or marketing channels? • Distribution: how do you think you will sell it to customers? • Team: why you, why now, why this?
  13. Use of Proceeds / Budget • The 5 year proforma

    is not very useful • “A 12 month budget is fiction. A 5 year plan is science fiction” • Hiring: who will be working on it full time, who do you need to hire? • Marketing: what marketing experiments will you run? • How many customers? Which methods of marketing work better than others? • What are the end goals? Customer adoption, revenue, building out product features
  14. User Model • A bottom up model of how you

    add customers, lose customers, and bill customers • Self serve: we do marketing, drive traffic to our website, and users sign up / trial / pay us • Enterprise: we phone a lot of people, have a lot of meetings, and spend 1 - 3 months+ to sign up a customer • In reality: trying lots of things to beg anyone to use your product, so at least you can get feedback
  15. –Mark MacLeod, @StartupCFO The best investors don’t want to just

    fund revenue growth, they want to create the future. When you look back at the biggest startup successes, they are all based on a simple, clear insight about the future of a market.
  16. Ask for help • Local mentoring, local peer support •

    “I’m looking for someone that knows X…” – scaling word of mouth • Tell your story in a way that it can be shared • Always have an “ask”: customers, advisors, investors
  17. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you

    want to go far, go together.”