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Aaltoes Talk with Mårten Mickos

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Aaltoes Talk with Mårten Mickos

  1. 1. Starting a Business Mårten G Mickos Otaniemi 15 Dec 2009 Aalto Entrepreneurship Society
  2. 2. Here’s to a lot of failure!
  3. 3. MySQL 2001-2008 <ul><li>2001 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a dozen people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>less than $1m in sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>leading open source DBMS (4m installs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>niche player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>valued at $7m </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>400 employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>about $100m in sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>leading open source DBMS (11m installs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>leading player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>valued at $1bn (original founders’ shares grew 40x – from $7m to $280m) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. &quot;Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.&quot; — Winston Churchill
  5. 5. About Mårten Mickos <ul><li>Born 1962 in Otaniemi, Finland </li></ul><ul><li>M.Sc. (Eng) in technical physics from TKK </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.twitter.com/martenmickos </li></ul><ul><li>Founded Polycon in 1987 with 2 friends </li></ul><ul><li>VTKK 1991-1993 </li></ul><ul><li>ViSolutions 1993-1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Solid Information Technology 1995-1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Intellitel Communications 1997-1999 </li></ul><ul><li>MatchON Sports 1999-2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Vexillum 2000-2001 </li></ul><ul><li>MySQL AB 2001-2008, Sun 2008-2009 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Keep going 1 2 Ambition Outcome 3 4 5 6 7 8
  7. 7. &quot;The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.&quot; — Michelangelo
  8. 8. Starting Your itch / your passion A real market demand with a window of opportunity + Fail fast Scale fast => Don’t worry – be crappy
  9. 9. When is the right time? <ul><li>Are *you* ready? </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of the S curve </li></ul><ul><li>First-mover advantage? </li></ul><ul><li>Many entrepreneurs start too early in the window of opportunity </li></ul>
  10. 10. Driven by what? <ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Ego </li></ul><ul><li>Greed </li></ul><ul><li>Patriotism </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Customers </li></ul><ul><li>Markets </li></ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Growing a business FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS. Pick the business that you want to be in. Period. Everything else is out of mind. Done. Finished. Gone. Just get on with it!
  12. 12. Stockdale paradox = sisu <ul><li>Pure optimists don’t survive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>” Don’t believe your own PR” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pure pessimists don’t survive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.&quot; - Henry Ford </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” — Admiral Jim Stockdale (POW in Vietnam) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Being a startup CEO <ul><li>Knowing & accepting yourself </li></ul><ul><li>More humility than ego </li></ul><ul><li>Faith in people </li></ul><ul><li>Visionary & contagious optimism coupled with sustained ability to face the brutal truth </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to hire the best </li></ul><ul><li>Listening & experimenting </li></ul><ul><li>Inexperience can be a great asset </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to be engaged in making things happen, coupled with ability to detach and see the helicopter view </li></ul><ul><li>Relentless drive towards goals </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, it is a lonely job to be the CEO. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Effective executive by Peter Drucker <ul><li>Great managers may be charismatic or dull, generous or tightfisted, visionary or numbers oriented. But every effective executive follows eight simple practices. </li></ul><ul><li>1. They ask “What needs to be done?” </li></ul><ul><li>2. They ask “What is right for the enterprise?” </li></ul><ul><li>3. They develop action plans </li></ul><ul><li>4. They take responsibility for decisions </li></ul><ul><li>5. They take responsibility for communicating </li></ul><ul><li>6. They are focused on opportunities rather than problems </li></ul><ul><li>7. They run productive meetings </li></ul><ul><li>8. They think and say “we” rather than “I” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Effective team (by mgm) <ul><li>Great executive teams may be aggressive or conservative, intuitive or calculating, conflicted or harmonious. But every effective executive team follows eight practices: </li></ul><ul><li>Team members ask each other &quot;How can I support you?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Team members hold each other accountable while also allowing each one to show vulnerability. </li></ul><ul><li>The team practices open and authentic communication. </li></ul><ul><li>The team arrives at key decisions together through discussion, debate, and synthesis. </li></ul><ul><li>The team has fun. </li></ul><ul><li>Team members see success of the whole team as the best form of success. </li></ul><ul><li>The team operates at a strategic level and empowers the organization around them to make and execute operational decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>Each team member builds his/her own teams following these principles. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Thoughts on success <ul><li>Shoot for the stars. Even if you fail, you’ll land on the moon. </li></ul><ul><li>Succeed in spite of your background, not thanks to it </li></ul><ul><li>Assets can turn into liabilities in an instance; liabilities can turn into assets over a long time </li></ul><ul><li>There are innumerable ways to fail, but there is also always more than one way to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Fall seven times; stand up eight.&quot; — Japanese proverb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.&quot; — Michael Jordan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Full effort is full victory.&quot; — Mahatma Gandhi </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Easy ways to fail <ul><li>“ The market is so big that 1% is enough for us.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Actually, there are no competitors.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our product does, among other things, everything.” </li></ul><ul><li>Greed, fear </li></ul><ul><li>Falling in love with a product or idea, believing your own PR, not knowing your place </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of patience and endurance </li></ul><ul><li>Misjudging the scale of the challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of “Excel Gymnastics” </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to deal with people </li></ul><ul><li>Not solving the customer’s problem </li></ul><ul><li>Not listening, not experimenting </li></ul><ul><li>Not removing toxic individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Failing to act on early signals </li></ul><ul><li>Blindly believing ”experts” </li></ul>and many more ...
  18. 18. Thank you! Please start great businesses. [email_address]