Power of One Live Blog – #P1event

I’m at the Battersea Power Station today for the Power of One event.

It’s a conference focused on how the individual can achieve in the technology industry.

There is a whoppingly impressive lineup of speakers from Jason Calacanis to Charles Arthur discussing everything related to technology and start up companies. If I miss quote you, please let me know!

The event was sponsored by Telefonica, so credit to them.

I’ll be updating this page throughout the day with the best bits. Hit F5!

Morten Lund – How I survived the European tech start up world, lessons learned

Disclosure: Morten is chairman of Tradeshift (an EML Wildfire client)

  • Be very careful about seeking capital. You can only really understand it if you do it yourself and there is no formula.
  • I love sales and people with stamina!
  • Made 50m EUROS so was loaded but bored. And then I fucked up and went bankrupt! It was scary. I saw how amazingly nice people can be.
  • Now I just focus. Focus on two companies.
  • Love marketing – I made this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP_vLqc9fnU
  • It’s simple, not easy.
  • Everyone should have done Dropbox, but no one did. If you don’t spend your investment on your prototype, you’re stupid.
  • Networking – people need to know you are in the game.
  • What is the next big thing? We don’t have a fucking clue.
  • You have to have no fear of losing. Starbucks lost $60m on Living.com.
  • Money matters less. People is everything.
  • There is a fine line between vision and hallucination.
  • All the odds are against you. Be speedy, be fast and be original.
  • Good people can succeed with a bad idea, bad people can’t succeed with a good idea.
  • If you pay in bananas, you get monkeys.

VC Panel chaired by Elizabeth Varley

Investing in companies that embody the Power of One – Jason Calacanis, Gonzalo Martin-Villa, Carlos Eduardo, Tyler Crowley

Here are the Twitter links for the panel – @evarley @Jason @steepdecline @delossantos_h @ceduardo

  • Do you need a lot of money or people to create something game-changing?
  • JC – depends on the product. For bio-tech you do. For internet startups it is possible for a few people to create something great with no funding.
  • TC – This question wouldn’t have been asked 10 years ago. In 10 years the question might be should you take VC money.
  • JC – when intelligent people invest in a company, you also get their attention. You get their input. It’s not the money, it is the attention on your business. These people are playing for pride, they are playing for the win.
  • TC – the question in music 10 years ago was can you make an album without a record label and, today, that is reality.
  • What is the optimal number of founders? Some VCs won’t invest in one-founder startups
  • CE – often we’ve seen the quicker a startup has a bigger team, the quicker they can kick off. They stop drinking the cool aid.
  • Do you invest in a person as much as you invest in a product?
  • CE – yes, often. It’s often a combination of the two though.
  • JC – typically with an entrepreneur either a light will shine on them or it won’t. It’s hard to say it is any one thing. If I had to pick a relentless entrepreneur with a glow in a tough, unattractive market than the other way round. As an investor if you know ‘that person is going to be successful with or without me’ then that is very attractive. When someone says ‘seven year projection’ I walk out the room. Why would I read your business plan? Show me your product.
  • JC – there are two buckets – people that create and people that talk about creating

Richard Kramer – When Finance Meets Tech: Not a Pretty Picture!

  • Former analyst and investment banker
  • See 200 tech companies a month – try and help investors see through the crap
  • Tech IPOs from the first half of 2010 really haven’t done very well. IPOs are not all they are shaped up to be.
  • The device market is the only growth area in the tech industry at the moment
  • The amount of money we spend on phones is rising quickly
  • There is way to much focus in this industry on the US and Europe – check out Asia
  • “Apple is God but we need a Chinese God” - quote from Chinese manufacturer
  • App stores are content stores
  • [These 70s slides need to be seen to be believed!]
  • Big opportunity in emerging markets for tablets to really be successful
  • A tablet is a big phone, a TV is a big tablet – apps need to be cross platform
  • Apple makes all its money by marking up flash – the higher spec iPhones/iPads are a cash cow. The same with iPad ‘smart covers’. Apple have a retail channel that makes it millions.
  • Samsung has the industry’s biggest advertising budget. Samsung makes money in a different way to Apple. Samsung Telecom is a distribution model for its memory and display products.
  • HTC have made $1/2bn of acquisitions in the last year. They are the only ones that have innovated on top of Android.
  • Nokia and RIM: the difficulty in this industry is execution and that is the problem these face. But they are still profitable so can get back in the game. But they need to change their lack of internet innovation.
  • Google has had colossal failures but it is big enough that it can just wipe them off. They should use Motorola to prototype new features.
  • Mobile payment – going to be very difficult to make money on it
  • Mobile advertising – even Google isn’t sure how much they are actually going to make on mobile advertising
  • Telco marketing is stale – based on device and price – nothing else. No innovation.
  • What’s unique about the customer experience with operators? Nothing. What about letting people change phone every 6 months?
  • Start with a community and the needs of that community.
  • A billion smartphones in 2013 and all will be co-branded with an internet company with deep integration [I guess Twitter is doing this with Apple now]

Stuart Arnott – The Power of One Pitch

  • The problem – I’m better connected to people I lost touch with over the years than the people I really care about
  • Started using digital photo frames to send photos in real-time. Connected to picture feeds with captions and linked to a calendar. You can include apps including weather and Facebook etc.
  • A way of staying in touch with people that live on their own or who are ill or infirm
  • www.mindings.com

Yosi Taguri – Launching a Mad idea – lessons from the Pah! iPhone app

  • “When I started my first company I fucked up!”
  • [This guy has plenty of energy!]
  • Talking about he was messed around by WPP and Google from an investment standpoint
  • Hard to live blog this, but he’s sharing lots of videos of people playing the Pah game
  • 1.5m YouTube views led to 2.5m game plays
  • Their measure of success? The number of shouts of Pah! 63m shouts! (they also made $60,000). Now they have made $250,000 developing similar apps for others
  • What did I learn from all this? If you make cool things, people will buy it. China has the biggest piracy but they also generate the most money from downloads. get the pricing structure right.
  • “If you have an idea and you are not doing it, you are stupid and ugly!”

Media panel with Charles Arthur – The shift to the Power of One – Stuart Dredge, Ewan McLoed, Tim Green

  • CA – everything these days is the media’s fault! Why does the media write about things? Why does it write about things?
  • How do you decide what to write about?
  • SD – I spend a long time trying to find the interesting stuff from all the other stuff out there
  • What makes something interesting?
  • SD – often it is a gut feel – it just stands out. It seems new, interesting, entertaining
  • TG – it is impossible to write about everything. So we have to focus on things that do things differently
  • EM – use my first name, read my site, check what I’m writing about
  • CA – It’s not about are you a big company, it’s more about if what you trying to do is different or interesting
  • SD – There is a lot of bullshit at the moment. Often it is the low key pitches that are the best – don’t over PR it
  • CA – first it was “we’ve got a website” that was news, then it was “we’ve got VC funding” that was news but then it stops being new
  • CA – often more sceptical if a company is making lots of noise, professional PR
  • CA – how important actually is journalism? Angry Birds wasn’t successful because it got lots of good press
  • What do you write about?
  • SD – it’s got to be about the readers. At the moment more readers have iPhones than Android but that will change in the next year
  • TG – it’s a self selecting audience as well as selective journalists
  • Is the future HTML5?
  • TG – a lot of this is about distribution. Better to go straight to the source, so web apps are clearly going to be important. The other angle to look at is perception and reality but how many apps do we all actually use on a regular basis?
  • EM – if you require high performance – games etc. – then clearly you need native apps but for everything else, HTML5 is the future. I think we’ll see 95-99% web app.
  • SD – as a consumer I don’t really care – I’ll go for what I want/need where I can get it and if it works then that’s all that matters. How you pay for stuff is interesting too with Facebook Credits now coming to the web.

David McCandless – Trends in tech start ups, the data you need to see

  • Title of presentation is ‘information is beautiful
  • Billions and trillions – it is impossible to get your head around them – made a visualisation
  • Do horoscopes all just say the same thing?
  • The story is often the journey through the data – this is data journalism
  • Never been to design school and have never been trained – only been designing very recently – had an innate design sense which was absorbed by working through media
  • We are all visualisers – we all expect data to be visual these days. Our eyes are always looking for patterns – it is the language of the eye combined with the language of the mind.
  • Who is suing whom in telecoms
  • Visualisations and infographics are a new kind of camera – Racist Profiling
  • David has a book of his infographics – http://www.davidmccandless.com/books/
  • Snake Oil visualisation app
  • Spend time curating your data and it becomes an asset

Sam Ramji – API’s are The Power of One companies secret weapon – @sramji

UPDATE – slides are here

  • Think about Darwin’s Finches and evolution
  • In the past business went from direct to indirect and the web is going through the same, that is why APIs are important
  • For successful companies 80% of traffic will come from beyond the browser, in a few years it will be 100%
  • Everyone has to play in the world the winners make – the 80:20 rule
  • In the world of APIs, the 80:20 rules often becomes to 99:1
  • Current environmental pressures – social, mobile and cloud – they can all come together
  • You can’t build new Facebooks or Twitters but you need to access them through APIs
  • Change agency – what is so damn wrong with the current model? I like it and I understand it – people fear the unknown
  • You need to be as close as possible to the problem you are trying to solve
  • Software is eating the world – Marc Andreessen
  • Bake your business model into your API

Jason Calacanis – Start your own tech business, you need attitude

This should be interesting. I’ve always had a bit love/hate with him but, whatever he is, he’s always engaging!

  • We live in fascinating times
  • He is a technological optimist – everything can be solved by technology
  • e.g. turning roads into solar panels to solve energy problems
  • The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled
  • The China Study details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • There are more prescriptions for depression in the US as there are people
  • [He insists all this is coming back to tech and startups!]
  • Being an entrepreneur is painful and it is going to be depressing. You get through that depression by focusing on the end goal and getting excited [a good angel investor is really a therapist!]
  • Jason’s new book is called “A broken clock is right twice a day”
  • If your chance of winning is one in ten, have ten startups!
  • Key rule = create, don’t wait
  • Don’t worry if its not perfect, iterate
  • Ten years ago the cost of setting up a web startup was huge, now it isn’t – think what existed ten years ago
  • What do winners do? Stick with it and survive
  • We are the last generation that will remember when the internet didn’t exist
  • The problem with startups is too many people aren’t sticking with it - Steve Jobs quote to end the session