We came across an interesting subject the other day in class; the importance of partnerships when forming a business model vs. not being dependent on one single actor.

The issue presented and that has been vividly studied in media is the massive enterprise Amazon that has disrupted the sales of book sales for firms like Barnes & Noble. This has been an enormous opportunity for smaller writers to put their product in stock on the shelf of the e-commerce giant. What has happened now is that these writers are dependent on Amazon in order to sell their products; the huge retailer has a very strong bargaining power and can easily drop prices to directly compete with the smaller writers – loosing a couple of hundred thousand dollar won’t matter much if you are the biggest player.

This is a position that you do not want to find yourself and your business in. So in order to reduce the risk of dependency, is it enough to just increase the number of partnerships?

Another interesting, and very contemporary, subject is the music distribution industry. Spotify, one of the largest actors in the industry has somewhat reincarnated the idea of music distribution – but it has been around for several decades. Despite the, excuse my objectivity, louse pay-checks that has been paid out to record labels and musicians, somehow Spotify has lured big players in the music industry and millions of active users have followed their value proposition.

Now, I have had a couple of friends that have worked for Spotify here in Sweden. When asked about the future and their business model the response is this:

‘There will be a dominant player in the music distribution industry within the next 5 years. The focus of Spotify is not profitability, but “users, users, users”. Spotify must come out on top and then we can make money.’

It will be interesting to see how the dynamics between Spotify and the labels/musicians will develop, but it seems like they will be dependent on one large actor in the end and that their music won’t get a long reach without that actor. According to the history and how other markets have developed (read the book industry, mentioned above), then this is a bad sign for the musicians. Just as the consumers brought this down upon the book-wholesalers, so it will be brought down on the musicians.

I would like to discuss how musicians could work against the dominant player and, in the end, save their industry. Any thoughts anyone? 🙂

BR Ludwig Widén

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Hi everyone!

Talking about business model canvas I would like to share with you a work done by me and my friends in Italy this year.
We had to write a business plan for a Californian startup (with Italian origins): this firm wanted to launch in europe (our investigation regards only Italy) a diet product already approved by FDA in  U.S.A.
The first step was indeed to draw a first version of the business model canvas.

Canvas version 1

At the beginning we didn’t have so much knowledge  about the product (it was not an our idea…), so it was difficult to undestand the possible value proposition and the other parts.

After few weeks and some researches we change the canvas

Canvas version 2

We change the customer segments: the previous two segments (Middle age and Health conscious people) became only one single segment, and a new one was added (customer with age & weight diseases).

The changes occured also in other parts in the third version of the canvas.

Canvas version 3

Pay attention only to the channel part, you can notice that we added pharmacy like a possible channel, that’s because our research showed us that in Italy similar products use this channel.

The final version went under a deep change!
Our interviews pointed out that in Italy the people trust only in dieticians advices, if a physician say them that they have to purchase a certain product they will buy, and through the pharmacy.
So also our customer segment completely changed.

Canvas version 4

You can notice other changes, but my example want only to show you how many changes in the canvas occur during the time,especially in the important areas; and this was only a student work in 6 months.

Thanks, I hope that you like this simple example!

P.S. I’m sorry for the small pictures 🙁

 

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Dreamgineering was in an exhibition about Entrepreneur Creation in Royal Coin Cabinet yesterday!

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The exhibition takes a new approach on entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurs are involved in changing and affecting our lives. We can meet creative people and entrepreneurs from 400 years to today in the exhibition. Some cases really inspired us by their success, setbacks, endless perseverance and sense of timing.

 

Here are some interesting points in the exhibition:

Try to have two strings on the bow

Many entrepreneurs just come up with a new idea and they stick with it throughout their entire career. It’s lot more easily for them to fail since they put all the eggs in one basket. Try to be the ones who keep coming up with new thoughts, starting multiple businesses or buying up existing companies. These people are known as serial entrepreneurs.

Cutting-edge Ideas & Timing

The particular time when a new idea is launched is decisive to its success. (I can’t agree with the saying “timing is everything” more, especially after the assignment Idea Screening.)  Owing to the fact that the ideas are often at the forefront, and this means that those ideas sometimes challenge laws and take substantial risk. But if ones can conquer the difficulties after several attempts and make it economically viable, it’s most likely for them to be very successful.

Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurs are the employees in the company who work with creative projects of their choice as part of their job. They are just like the entrepreneurs in the organizations. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have an intrapreneurship in a company since they can profit the company. But sometimes the Intrapreneurs will start their own business and leave the original company. A classic case for intrapreneurship is that the founders of Adobe, Charles Geschke and John Warnock were employees of Xerox before.

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It was good to meet a lot of entrepreneurs throughout the history and know different perspectives of entrepreneurship. All in all, nothing is easy, but everything is possible! In every case, key words are innovation, collaboration, creativity and curiosity.

Find more in Peter’s post!

#Dreamgineering

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Danny and I visited The Royal Coin Cabinet yesterday where they had a temporary exhibit on Entrepreneurship.

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It was actually quite inspiring to read stories of past entrepreneurs while further cultivating more motivation to begin my entrepreneurial career.

I would like to bring up 2 of the most important take away messages, timing and motivation, among other things.

We’ve touched on timing here in there in class sporadically and this exhibition really helped put it into perspective. You could have a brilliant idea, but if it is ill-timed, you may not have a market or customer for it. Likewise, you could possibly stumble across the right opportunity at the right time. Take for example Spotify. After the Pirate Bay was raided by police in 2006, two guys saw the need for free online music, hence Spotify was born. The exhibit had more excellent advice on timing:

1. Timing requires preparation

2. Timing sometimes involves pushing the boundaries

3. Timing is often about having the most modern offering

Motivation is hard to cultivate and pinpoint, but also maintain. There is a reason each one of us has chosen to take this course. Maybe it is because you believe starting a company will result in money in the long run. Maybe you believe in a cause. Whatever it may be, your individual motivation is a driving force that is important to never forget as you go through your entrepreneurial journey. I took an interactive Motivation Test and this is what I got:

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The exhibition’s thoughts on motivation (sorry intopreneur.com doesn’t allow me to rotate the pic):

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What is your motivation?

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Urb-it is a new concept for fast, flexible and personal delivery of online purchasing. In December they will launch urb-it-1Hour in Stockholm. The service will offer home delivery within an hour from a large number of online stores in Stockholm.

They are now searching for 200 associates who through a mobile application will see every online purchase made from one of their affiliated stores. There you can choose to accept/decline a mission to pick up and deliver a package. As an associate you will get paid instantly after the mission is accomplished. They are now reaching out to students in Stockholm who are interested in a completely flexible part-time job.

This more or less summarises the content in their recruitment page which can be found on: http://www.urb-it.com/

Sadly this information is only available in Swedish, which got me thinking: Isn’t this a perfect job for exchange students coming to Stockholm? Since there are a lot of exchange students in this course I find it quite fitting to ask you what you think about this idea. Would you or other exchange-students be interested in having this as a part-time job? Also feel free to discuss the business idea in general.

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Society faces many great challenges today, our environmental impact, depletion of resources and aging populations to mention a few. These are indeed great challenges and maybe our most important challanges, yet almost nothing is done on an individual individual level; the problem is bigger than me. This of course extends to the entrepreneurial realm, where there is a problem or a pain there is also an opportunity, but the point of entry to these areas are immense.

Elon Musk, an entrepreneur who actively develops industries which are holding us back from facing these big questions. He is co-founder of Paypal, SolarCity, Tesla and SpaceX.  If you’re interested in his story:

Elon Musk, initially a secluded kid from South Africa, shows us that the private sector and entrepreneurs can affect the big picture.

SpaceX is one of the major private actors in the Space industry (as we learned from Karin Nilsdotter during her lecture titled “How about opportunities in Space?”), and has been the source of several innovations. Innovations which often aims to lower the cost to orbit trough reusability of equipment such as rockets and space crafts. Here is Elon musk revealing a new space capsule.

My question to you, Karin Nilsdotter and Spaceport Sweden is: Do we have an Elon Musk whom will make the spaceport possible or do we even need an Elon Musk?

 

//Sverker

 

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/

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Last evening there was “expertnight” in the SUP46, a place in Stockholm where they help startups in various activities, the most simple is to give them a space where to arrange meeting and to do networking with other people.
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The topic of the event was “mastering conflicts”, in fact lot of conflicts arise during the startup life and we have to be able to manage them.
The panelists of the evening were: Gustav Nisser (Serial Entrepreneur), Per Jonsson (Everyday) and Gustav Aspegren (Adprofit). Nils-Erik Jansson (Jansson & Norin). They all shared their experiences telling some interesting stories.

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Master conflicts is a necessary capability in the startup work, that is because time uses in fight is time lost in handling customers. There are different kind of conflicts.
The first ones are with your partners in the venture, at the beginning all are aligned with the same ideas, but then everyone evolve differently: someone don’t want to be part of the company anymore, others could have new ideas, new aims for the ventures. These problem are normal, they usually emerge due to a lack of communications between partners, it’s very important to keep talking with your team mates over time, arrange regular meeting and so on. If there is not solution left and it is impossible to keep working together you have to split; in this case it is much better if you have some split agreement written before, in order to avoid useless litigations.
Another kind of conflict is the one with your competitors, but the panelists told that in the startup environment there are not much of these conflicts, all the business rivals are very fair, the problem only arise with ex-partners who build similar ventures.
A strange and funny conflict is the one with yourself, the problem is the nowadays the people are too stressed, they have to relax sometimes. So you have to take 10 minutes per day only for yourself in order to rest your mind.
At the end the experts give some advices that I can resume in the below bullet points:
• Negotiate, don’t be afraid about the conflicts;
• Do conflict practices;
• Check-in the status of other members regularly;

I hope that these advices will be useful in your entrepreneur’s life, see you in classroom!
Stay entrepreneur stay skapa!

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space-sunrise

http://phandroid.com/2014/05/10/android-wallpaper-space/

At first glance, Spaceport Sweden, a company that organizes commercial human spaceflights, seems to target the filthy rich who have so much money that they wouldn’t mind spending a couple of millions to go to space. It is a pretty cool adventure after all.

The problem is that Spaceport Sweden also has to make nice with politicians to get permits for their operations and play well with other space entrepreneurs to be able to reap the benefits of possible collaborations.

Should Spaceport Sweden refocus their branding to include a greater emphasis on research and education? This would definitely appeal to politicians and research facilities, and would benefit the collaborations.

Would this rebranding scare off the cash cows? There might be a risk that the adrenaline-addicted billionaires are discouraged by the focus on science, since it could reduce the feeling of exclusivity.

Is this a valid concern? Is it possible to combine the branding to include both of these target groups?

These are our spaced-out thoughts – what are yours?

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Yesterday, I (and Danny) got to attend the Stockholm Startup Weekend Bootcamp hosted by Stockholm Startup Weekend at the venue for Young Innovation HUB. It was basically a workshop held to prepare all participants of the coming Startup Weekend. The theme of the bootcamp this time was focus on Product Design, or design in particular.

After having a lecture about the importance of a good business model for the success of your business idea, I found it very useful to (6 hours later) learn that a good product design and the way you want to convey your idea/product/service to others is very important as well. I think you have to have both: a solid business model and a good presentation so that you gain your public attraction. And then the best way to sustain that is through substance, which would your business model.

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Anyhow, with that being said… The event consisted of several speakers who focused on the theme of product deisgn. One of the speakers was Erik Ceder, who works at Veryday, which is a people-and end-user driven desing company that has had large corporate customer like Spotify, Toyota, IKEA and so on (the list was endless, phew). It is actually one of the top 5 design consultancies in the world! Furthermore, Ceder has also won the Red Dot Award for Product Design, which is basically equivalent  to the oscars in the digital design world. Pretty cool 🙂

The speakers gave us some useful tips in how to make your product i.e. app, webdesign etc. appealing and easy to grasp for your customers, or to the audience just in general. They 3 main tips were:

1) Simplify it/Less is More (even though you get lots of ideas for your product/service you need to scale you down layout to simplicity for others to easily understand and see a red thread)

2) Bring it to life/Branding (your product must have character and personality to create a credibility with your customers)

3) Fake It ’til You Make It (really spend time on developing your business plan)

Something else that I learned, and something the speakers were very good at pointing out was that Design is really about Conversion, meaning that it is in the end about changing behaviors (of users) and making usage more simple. One pretty interesting tip was that you should do the so-called “squint test, meaning that you should stand 3 meters away from you webpage or app to see what your customers would notice first. Then you should ask yourself if you like what you see  😎

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All in all, I believe that design/product design is a crucial part in developing your idea/product/service. It is a way to convey a message, a chance to showcase your stuff to your customers and instill a feeling or create a connection in and with them, especially when a lot of today’s innovation are digital – several business ideas that I have seen for the past few weeks have been based on mobile apps – we surely are going more and more digital!

However, a good busines splan and model is just as important. So I think both must go equally well hand-in-hand. So watch for my next post where I will go deeper into business plan/model generation! Also, read Danny’s post too to get more perspectives! 🙂

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This evening I attended an event organized by “Stockholm startup weekend”.

The main purpose of this organization is, like you can get from the name, the startup weekend competition: a 54 hours event about people working on their ideas and trying to set up a simply structure of their startup. At the beginning of the evening they explained this event and the winning team of the past year gave some tips.

After all these preliminary speeches, the main purpose of the meeting took place: a lesson, following by a workshop, entitled  “Online conversion from a designer point of view” led by Erik Ceder from Veryday.

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He gave some important suggestions about how the web site of your startup should be, we can resume the concept in 4 points:
1. Credibility: it doesn’t have to contain “dark patterns” which mislead the customer, instead it has to include statements by testimonials and social proofs which enhance the brand experience;
2.Personality: the website must be playfulness (for example using a mascot), consistent and unusual in order to capture the attention of the customer;
3.User experience: we have to focus on the conversion goals, we have to drive the customers attention where we want;
4.Disposition & Layout: obviously the website has to be attractive, it doesn’t need to have too much information on the same page but it has to emphasize the most important points.

Talking about the workshop, its main task was the rethinking of the website of a very innovative product, Easystove (http://www.ezylife.com/shop/ezystove): a wood cook-stove, created to help the poorest populations, which is very easy to use. Divided in groups we have to produce a preliminary layout about the new website, created in order to sell the product to the people who do camping.

The event was very interesting, especially regarding the website tips, but the best part was to see how the designers work: it was amazing to watch how they translated their ideas in effective layouts in only one hour. They are very gifted people to take into account when you develop a startup!

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