How TED Talks killed my pitch

After been massively inspired by Chris Anderson’s great book released May 4, I have decided to ditch most of what I had preached and sold as the only true way to successful investor pitching. TED Talks is a must for everybody who are speakers, planning to do a talk or simply want to learn more about public speaking.

41WteoLHzjLChris Anderson has worked behind the scenes with all the TED speakers who have inspired us the most. He has in his book shares insights from such favorites as Sir Ken Robinson, Amy Cuddy, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert and dozens more — everything from how to craft your talk’s content to how you can be most effective on stage. 

Learn more about the book and read other reviews at Amazon.com

I just wish that I could have had the opportunity to read this book before I did my TEDx talk in Bergen in 2014. Yes, I was informed about the format and did not extend my limited time of 18 minutes, but I was not well prepared, and my thru line was unclear. I also did som repetitions throughout the presentation. I had a lot of very positive feedback on my approach, and many of my predictions regarding the decline in the oil and gas sector in Norway have come through, but I am hundred percent sure I would have done better today after listening to TED Talks Audible version for totally 450 minutes.

The main idea behind a 4 – 7 minute is to cover most of the stuff that investors traditionally are looking at in their screening. The main subjects are the business concept, business model, team and why it will succeed, niche of the market, competitive advantages, uniqueness regarding intellectual property, traction, simplified financials, capital need and exit strategy.

My focus in preparing my next investor pitch will be to tell as story, concentrate at giving, unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and promoting our dream. Is it possible to do this and the same time gives the investors what they want? Yes, I think so. If I can provide the audience with the desire to learn more and meet us in the next break or networking, I believe that we have succeeded.

 

9 reasons for doing business with Estonia

Personally, I love Estonia and have been there 27 times since 2003 and here are the main reasons why you also should consider taking the trip to Tallinn. 5576281192_fc8575f9c4_o

View from Oleviste. Photo by Tony Bowden

Estonia is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe over the last decade. Both sales and sourcing possibilities bring Norwegian companies here. There is a good access to EU markets, including 85 million inhabitants in the Baltic Sea Region. The business environment is competitive: highly educated workforce, advanced technologic environment, low taxes.

Nordic countries are the largest investors and trading partners for the Baltic region, Norway has made the fastest growth over the last years. Today, there are over 1000 companies with Norwegian capital and thousands of Norwegian companies with business partners in the Baltics.

Nordic countries are the largest investors and trading partners in the Baltic region, and Norway has made the fastest growth over the last years. Today, there are over 1000 companies with Norwegian capital and thousands of Norwegian companies with business partners in the Baltics.

Estonia is geographically and culturally close to Nordic countries. 75% of Norwegian businesses in the Baltics and Poland are satisfied/very happy with the results according to Deloitte study.

Europe is number 1 market for Norwegian green business globally, as this sector depends on public regulations. The Baltics have EU regulations in combination with extensive EU funding, which are the drivers for the development of the market.

IT cooperation has grown primarily with Estonia, who has focused Norway Grants on green IT – IT for energy, transport, and logistics, production and trade, e-health. These IT subsectors are critical for solving local challenges, as well have global growth potential according to a Ernst & Young study.

Today, Estonia is regarded as one of the most advanced e-governments in the world.

The use of technology and digital services is widespread in both the public and the private sector.

Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency (a digital identity) to anyone interested in administering business online. e-Residents can digitally sign documents and contracts, verify the authenticity of signed documents, conduct e-banking and remote money transfers.

Estonia’s tax system is unique and the most competitive tax code in the OECD. First, it has a 20 percent tax rate on corporate income that is only applied to distributed profits. Second, it has a flat 20 percent tax on individual income that does not apply to personal dividend income. Third, its property tax applies only to the value of land rather than taxing the value of real estate or capital. Finally, it has a territorial tax system that exempts 100 percent of the foreign profits earned by domestic corporations from local taxation, with few restrictions. More at http://taxfoundation.org/article/2015-international-tax-competitiveness-index

Source: Entreprise Estonia and Innovation Norway.

Picture: Tony Bowden under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Do not degenerate yourself and your visions

We had a wonderful 10th anniversary in Norwegian Entrepreneur Association and we had engaged the comedian and entrepreneur Jon Schau. He was quite an experience. One of his main messages was “be true to your idea and who you are”, and I wanted to play a little further on this message the next day. I wake up and made a blog post that have made several Norwegian entrepreneurs and a few politicians reaching out to me.

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Jon Schau at the 10th anniversary in Norwegian Entrepreneur Association in Drammen. Photo: Odd Moe

The situation in Norway is special because there is a lack of private business angels. Seed funding is mostly provided by the government through their state organisation called Innovation Norway. There are some professional seed funds that are coming up and running now funded with 50% oil money, and that will hopefully be a game changer.

In Norway most of the entrepreneurs from day one have to adapt to the system by having to have one gameplan towards Innovation Norway relating to getting funding and grants while the real plan lies in the back of their head ready for use when they have the money. My recommendation in the blog post was;

“Be true to yourself , say what you believe is right and do not degenerate yourself and your vision in the face of the system”. “Wherever crazy, politically incorrect or spectacular your idea is, you will always find investors, partners and others who have thought some of the same thoughts as you and who understands you. It takes just a little longer!”

So do we have a problem in Norway? I think that too many bright people and good ideas have left this beautiful country because of reasons mentions above.

I feel it is happening positive thinks and we have a government that really want to do something and change the system. There are a lot of good intentions, but there are issues regarding cultures that changes slowly up here in the north.

“Norway can never be Silicon Valley – but we can be much more if we define our space.”

We for sure have the financial power of the oil fund if we are willing to us it to create the future.

Are Norwegians fat, lazy and beautiful?

This talk I gave at a local TEDx event, in Bergen produced independently of the TED Conferences. I am talking about the present and future of entrepreneurship in Norway and try to examine the challenges of Norwegian startup companies on the entrepreneurial scene. Why is it so hard for startups to survive and grow is such a rich and prosperous Scandinavian country?

I am working on refining this lecture and on a book focusing on challenges Norway have ahead, so all feedback and comments are of high value for me.

Author of the month – Eric Ries

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business, published by Crown Business.

He serves on the advisory board of a number of technology startups, and has consulted to new and established companies as well as venture capital firms. In 2010, he was named entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School and is currently an IDEO Fellow. Previously he co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup. In 2007, BusinessWeek named him one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs of Tech. In 2009, he was honored with a TechFellow award in the category of Engineering Leadership.The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review,Inc. (where he appeared on the cover), Wired, Fast Company, and countless blogs. He lives in San Francisco.

Learn more about Eric Ries…

260 Events In 202 Cities; Startups Raised $30M+

A post by Robin Wauters at TechCrunch

Startup Weekend, whose mission is to kickstart and foster startup communities worldwide through events and networking sessions, had a very lively 2011.

According to internal statistics shared exclusively with TechCrunch, the organization held a total of 260 events in 202 cities, in 67 countries (you can find the obligatory accompanying infographic below).

All in all, the ‘startup weekends’ attracted some 21,316 people, who collectively formed 2,817 teams.

Startups that were incubated at its events raised at least $30 million in outside funding in the course of last year, although Startup Weekend CMO Joey Pomerenke tells me there were probably more fundraising rounds completed that they simply don’t know about yet. Read more…

Software Ideas Cannot Be Copyrighted, Says EU Court Adviser

As posted by Eddie Ringle at LOCKERGNOME.

An EU court adviser said on Tuesday that copyright protection cannot be claimed on software functions. The implications of this statement are huge, especially considering the fierce parent wars currently consuming the mobile world. Reuters reports:

The non-binding opinion by Yves Bot, an advocate-general at the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ), is in line with a verdict reached by the High Court of England and Wales in July last year. ECJ judges will rule on the case next year. SAS Institute took legal action against World Programing Ltd (WPL) in 2009, saying the British software company had infringed its copyrights by copying its programs and manuals — even though WPL had designed its products without access to SAS’s source code.

In my personal opinion, the decision this adviser made should be heavily considered by not just EU judges, but US judges as well. Why is that, you ask? Companies like Apple are patenting things left and right without having really invented anything. I can see someone patenting a new physical mechanism on a device, but to patent software ideas is just silly, as they’re usually obvious aspects of a software program. In addition, software patents essentially disrupt the innovation that keeps software from evolving into its next useful iteration.

Read the rest of this story posted by Eddie Ringle at LOCKERGNOME.

Preline Fish Farming – industry revolution?

This company has signed a contract with Lerøy Vest to build a “Extended Smolt Farm”. The Preline Fish Farming patented technology solves all the known problems in this industry and promise no lice, reduced feed cost, higher growth rate, more muscle, reduced fat rate, reduced mortality and increased capital turnover. We think they can be a game changer in an industry with high growth potential if the environmental issues are solved.

Lerøy Seafood Group is the leading exporter of seafood from Norway. The Group’s core activities are distribution, sale and marketing of seafood, processing of seafood, production of salmon, trout and other species, as well as product development. Operating revenues in 2010 was 1,5 billion USD.

For more information, log in/register here or contact manager.

Startup Weekend company raised $750K

ReportGrid, a recent graduate form the 2011 TechStars Boulder class has just raised a seed round in the amount of $750,000. The company, a data analytics as a service offering, is notable for powering its API for analytics and reporting through a cloud-scalable database and visualization engine.

Principal investors in the round included Launch Capital, David Cohen, Walt Winshall, Doug Derwin, and Ed Roman. Read more…

Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.

Choosing A Minimally Viable Co-Founder

If you’re starting a company, one of the most important decisions you’ll make early on is the selection of a co-founder. Some might advocate just “going it alone” because finding a great co-founder is hard and fraught with risk. It is hard and it is fraught with risk. But going it alone is harder — and riskier. Startups are very challenging and having someone to share the ups and downs with, to be a great sounding board for ideas and to just help get things done is immensely valuable.
One additional thought: I’m an introvert. I don’t enjoy being around people very much. If you’re like me, the notion of just doing something all by your lonesome might seem appealing. And, it is — but I think it’s a mistake. Even for introverts, having someone on your side is useful and fun.

Read more at OnStartups.com.