The room responded in style, which was a bit strange in this setting, a conservative, imperial XIX century establishment. Yet, as Georg Kapsch from IV-Wien whose building this is said, strange is good when entrepreneurship is in question.
Startup Week is a startup in itself. When the idea came around to make a startup conference it was rejected because that is too conventional (“boring“) so this idea of a festival-like event which lasts for 5 days (“no-one does 5 days“). When it was suggested that this isn’t possible it served as an added point of motivation.
One of the goals was to put CE and Vienna on the map. Perhaps one day this will be the point when Vienna started it’s way to becoming the new European center of gravity for startups, even though too “isn’t possible“.
Don’t be (too) greedy
Christian Mandl told us the story of how their low cost airline got an offer to get acquired by a stronger competing player and how they turned down the offer because it would give a return on investment ‘only’ three times higher than what was invested. Bottom line – don’t be too greedy, sometimes it’s OK to just “take the money and run“.
In responding to a question from yours truly on how to decide when to go for the top of the game and when to sell your company to an acquirer, Gilles Clouët pointed out that it’s not easy for anyone to know in advance how he’ll react to a “gun at his head” – a situation when you are offered a truly life-changing figure which is something no-one can prepare themselves for.
When I think of this I always remember the Zuck’s turning down of a billion dollars+ from Yahoo back in 2006. This was a great decision in retrospect because, obviously, Facebook is so wildly successful now but also because Y! is now also known as the place where startups go to die. Anyways you need to have balls of steel and a strong and clear vision for such a thing.
Listening to Felix Petersen is the
worst best idea today
I met Felix Petersen at last year’s How to Web and very much liked the guy, with one of the main reasons for that being that he immediately bought my elevator (literally) pitch to come to a MoMo Serbia event, which we’re still to realize at some point in future.
This is a “platform for opinions”, aming to find out the best (and worst) of everything. I like the app and the concept even though it’s still not something that I’d use every day. (Btw. should you need an invite ping me.)
When he was depressed a couple of years ago he discovered the therapeutic properties of running, which is his passion.
He sees running as a metaphor for life and for business and in his motivational talk he presented his recommendations to aspiring entrepreneurs, from things like working hard and making sacrifices to to win at every cost.
More on this presentation in a separate post.
Kicking it in SEE
One of the misconceptions I love to see shattered best is the one that physical location is the defining factor for tech business success (namely that you can’t succeed in the SEE region) and it was a great pleasure to be present at this panel which illustrated very nicely that such is not the case.
While location is of significant importance knowledge, creativity, common sense and good ol’ hard work are the things that make you successful anywhere in the world.
Branko Milutinović of Nordeus, Vladimir Nikolić of Limundo and Viktor Marohnić of ShoutEm shared their views on what were the factors in their success stories and what are the good and bad things when you’re starting a tech company in the SEE.
So much at this moment, a special post dedicated to this panel coming soon.
Startup challenge finals
I hoped to see more of the SEE teams make it to the finals but having two of them, Double Recall and SalesPod is not a bad result, below is the picture with the logos all the finalists.
This post is a part of the coverage of Startup Week 2011, follow @SEEHub for more on the conference and the SEE startup scene in general.