It was in fall that Chander Chawla has visited Sweden to attend Innovation in Mind Conference. Now, a few months later, he is back to Lund again, to explore and share more about innovation and startups. Chander has worked in every area of the mobile ecosystem and is a renowned multi-disciplinary, cross-functional, predictive thinker. His global accomplishments include commercializing disruptive mobile technologies and running a $600M business at T-Mobile USA. He is the Founder and CEO of Mjedi, an award winning organization, which envisioned the convergence of social media, retail, and mobility. Being in Sweden for a couple of weeks now Chander has been giving some lectures and seminars.
Here are key 7 points on tribal knowledge for aspiring entrepreneurs that he shared with students of entrepreneurship program at Lund University.
Learn by doing. When you create a startup you enter unknown territory, there is no previous knowledge to real on really. So the key is learning by doing.
Adopt “ready, shoot, aim” philosophy. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, in his biography shares philosophy of “ready, shoot, aim”. Yes, shooting in this case should come before aiming. And the reason why is simply because you don’t have the knowledge yet where to aim. What you need to do is to set a hypothesis and try it out. That’s exactly why having a business plan in early stages is rather useless. Of course, investors need something tangible so it might be impossible to avoid preparing one. But again, don’t spend much time on it, just enough to defend your point. Instead, have a learning plan. Set goals: “This is what I want to learn by going into the market”.
Understand the causation. It should be a part of the learning plan. Why do sales occur? Tech companies often have this unsupported assumption: they make a product, get it to the market and after a while add extra features and increase the price. The belief is that sales increase because of these new features, but is it really so?
Do not confuse risk with probability. Think in terms of different options if your current strategy is not working out.
Rise above the noise around. There is much noise around. So you need to rise above it to communicate about your product. But at the same time don’t let too much influence you.
Replication with variation and selection with competition are the keys for building a startup community. This is how any startup or community works or how they should work. At the very same time tons of companies come up with similar idea but they implement it with variations. Since they all address the unknown, they have to try things out and then some get it right. The notion is that the best startup wins. And when it does, it grows and acquires similar companies.
Competition and cooperation go together. Competition encourages cooperation. So on the large scale companies cooperate but on smaller one they compete with each other.
Chander’s experience of Sweden.
“Being in Sweden for a few weeks now, what I have observed is that there is not enough replication. There are maybe 3-4 companies that are working on the same things. There is also not enough talking and sharing what you are working on. Much concern is on patents. But you have to set your priorities straight. If the idea is not shared it reduces the chance of the whole community to succeed.”