From Nov 14 to Dec 8, the founders team of the World Innovations Forum is back in Vietnam. Let us share their schedule so you can join one or the other event or arrange for a meeting in between events.

It’s our purpose to help innovative entrepreneurs to grow, get successful and create large amount of jobs in the country, driving a self propelled economy. It is our objective to help 17 countries, including Vietnam, become a “Developed Nation” before 2038.

Ho Chi Minh City

All below events take place at
Saigon Innovation HUB
273 Điện Biên Phủ, Phường 7, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Fri Nov 15, 09:15 am – 11:30 am
Inner circle meeting
For all WIForum supporter and those who are helping organize everything we do- now and in the future,

  • Introducing and discussing the plan for 2020 “Seeding Innovation 2020
  • Introducing and discussing our 18 year plan until 2038 “Go2038
    “Prosperity for all nations” and how we can jointly do it with the help of the world!
    Please let us know if you can come: closed
  • Saigon Innovation HUB

Fri Nov 15, 14:00 am …
Talent Interviews
We are interviewing candidates for our local ‘Program Manager’ position.
If you know any candidats, please send them our way.
See details here:  closed
Saigon Innovation HUB


Wed  Nov 20, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Investor training
How we envision Investors can co-invest with international investors to close bigger rounds
Investment best practices from all over the world
Finding, reviewing and investing in innovative businesses
For Angel investors, PE investors and VCs
The ICN (Innovation Capital Network) a global investors initiative
Please register here:  closed 
Saigon Innovation HUB


Wed  Nov 20, 03:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Entrepreneurs event
Introducing the “Seeding Innovation 2020” initiative and how can help in the next 8 years to get to IPO level.
Up to 6 companies can present, maybe joining the Seeding Innovation engagement.
Event URL:
Presenter Application: closed 
Saigon Innovation HUB


Thu  Nov 21 09:00 am
Media Breakfast, (Journalists an blogger only)
World Innovations Forum introduction
Informing media representatives about our goals and activities, Seeding Innovation 2020
How a million people can help ALL nations get out of poverty
Introducing the “Innovation Paradigm” a radical new way for innovative thinking
Register: closed 
Saigon Innovation HUB


Thu  Nov 21, 01:30 pm – 04:30 pm (canceled) 
Innovation Paradigm Seminar 
For SMEs, Corporate Managers and startup founders
Learning more about innovative thinking and disruptive business model design
A methodical approach to innovation creation
Why in the next 5 to 50 years every industry will get disrupted
Register: closed 
Saigon Innovation HUB


Mon Nov 25 – Fri Nov 29
Innovation Accelerator (Flight 8)
Full week Innovation Accelerator program for founders and SME owners
Getting from good to great – from local to global – from one of many to an economic driver
So far we have stellar teams from Cambodia, Nepal, South Korea and Vietnam
Details & Apply here:
Saigon Innovation HUB



Mon Dec 2, 09:00 am – 11:30 am
Innovation Paradigm Seminar
For SMEs, Corporate Managers and startup founders
Learning more about innovative thinking and disruptive business model design
Why in the next 5 to 50 years every industry will get disrupted


Wed  Dec 4,  10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Innovation Ecosystem Hanoi meeting
(Incubators, co-working space, mentors universities…)
Moderating an ecosystem development process
Details & Apply here:
Select: Halon Bay Dec 4-2019
Halon Bay, Exhibition space 2nd floor


Wed  Dec 4 – Dec 6 
Techfest Vietnam Ha Long Bay
Vietnam’s biggest tech and innovation event
Axel Schultze will present a keynote at the opening ceremony and speak on a panel about the future of entrepreneurship in Vietnam.

I’ve been asked countless times if it is worth to still enter the startup hype – or will it be gone sooner or later. Yes, in the developed nations, where legal structures, capital markets and production gets ever more complicated, it may fade away. If the is is good or bad is a very important question to ask.


When The Startup Hype ends

Startups exists for approximately 12,000 years. The 300,000 years before that people have been already innovative, but not as a full time job. But 12,000 years ago, when during the agricultural revolution individuals produced more food than they and their family could eat – everything changed. That was the time when some people ventured out to specialize and did no longer gather or hunt but built pots, bend metal, built housing and others began t sell those products and services as a full time job. The simply traded products and even services for food. Those were the first entrepreneurs. And that never faded away. After hunting and farming, building and trading have been the oldest businesses on earth.

Today, roughly 0.007% of the world population are entrepreneurs. In the developed world, about 0.03% are entrepreneurs, approximately 3% are busy farming and taking care of food and 97% are working for those entrepreneurs or for the government. As most governments have the tendency to grow, the number of startups and innovations are sinking. In the developed world, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and the US are some of the most efficient with less than 15% working for the Government.

The more people work in “safe” jobs in large enterprises and the government, the lower the number of startups and with it the lower the likelihood to grow the next generation of innovation powerhouses. That’s when the startup hype ends in those nations and grows in other nations as the windows for new opportunity widen quickly.

And we could see this over the past 12,000 years. Egypt led the longest time as global economic leader. But it was not sustainable. Other leading nations rose. The Roman empire, the chinese high times, the british empire, and so forth. Today – the economic power is far more distributed. California, China, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland are all leading nations. But when the startup “hype” vanishes away, so do their countries on the global leader list — BUT — with 20-30 years of a delay.

What are your prediction, when the startup hype will end?

Despite all the political shifts and changes in the US, Silicon Valley will continue to lead. China is following very fast. And the rest of the world looks no longer only to Silicon Valley but also to China – with only little attempt to compete.

The gap remains to be wide
We participated in pitch events and organized our first “Innovation Development & Innovative Thinking” workshop. We had an opportunity to speak with startups from German, Switzerland, France, India, Mexico, and a few other countries who were here as guests. Most came here as winners from foreign pitch events, sponsored by their countries. The difference is as big as it was 5, 10 or 20 years ago.  Those teams come here with their very low key and entirely product focused pitches. There is still no word about the business model, go-to-market strategy, and their early successes so far. Well yes, there are no early successes because most work in isolation and only speak to customers when they are really forced to.

Selling your startups to the US
To the contrary, Silicon Valley based startups come with bold plans for the future and are determined to make a difference, pushing hard towards an IPO. Startups from the rest of the world come with an exit strategy without even having begun to grow their business. And if the discussion comes to selling the business they have no answer than selling it quickly – and those who make it to some revenue actually do so. Just think about it. If Carl Benz, Robert Bosch, Alfred Escher or Steve Jobs would have sold their company for a few million or so to Russian enterprises; Germany, Switzerland or even the US would be less wealthy or poor, like in the past and Russia would be a premier industry nation.

Cultural Reflections
Silicon Valley still holds the pole position as the most advanced human business and entrepreneurial or innovative culture. When we look at Chinese businesses, from startups to global enterprises, we literally feel an unparalleled transformation of their culture here too. Only comparable with Silicon Valley, everything is possible. And it starts at the very top: one belt, one road or Belt & Road Initiative, is for the world today, what was going to the moon in the 1960’s. Startups quickly emulated the big thinking, everything is possible. Even though we don’t see groundbreaking innovations yet – we will. And with that transition we see multi billion $ startups from China as well. The rest of the world continues to argue with jealously or huge admiration. But no real attempt to work on their respective cultures.

Technological advancement
The biggest data concentration is now balanced between California with Amazon, Google, Netflix and Microsoft, quickly followed by some 20+ other giants on one side and Baidu, Tencent and Telco and banking systems in China. Building a European Search Engine never happened and the data protection effort in Europe played all advantages perfectly in the hands of China and the US. If one would like to put up a conspiracy strategy, it is maybe that somebody influenced the EU in a way to protect everything to a degree that there is one day nothing to protect anymore. Digital warfare at its absolute best. And it is not only on the digital side – but now enters the automobile industry.

Automobile Industry advances
It’s amazing to see how fast US car makers began to learn as their cars got more and more connected. Data is shared with the car makers so they can learn from driver behavior and accidents. In Europe that would be unthinkable. Its all about protection and not about learning. We learned there are roughly 500 autonomous cars in San Francisco. There are now companies who perform these test drives. All the learning and knowledge is aggregated in Silicon Valley – again. Testing those cars in Europe is prohibited. And since European businesses are all about bar bone technology and not customer experience, they are doomed to fall much further behind. Yes, the order books in Europe are full – but how long?

Mobile Connections
Just 3 years ago we were still arguing about the mobile connection in the US. Boooom that has changed. I no longer used Wifi during our entire 4 week stay. We used our local phones and tethered with our laptop because it was the fastest. 4G is fast. In Europe, only Switzerland can keep up with the US when it comes to online connections.



The economic development problem

There are roughly 3 Billion (3,000,000,000) people living in poverty. Over 4 Trillion Dollars have been invested to help develop – with virtually no success. Wars, the gap continues to widen. Many NGOs, humanitarian workers, philanthropists began to look for alternatives?

It was assumed that helping the small businesses to grow would help but they did not. It was assumed that education is the key. But it evolved into a new problem. What is a degree worth if there are no jobs? Usually education is a function to improve what already worked.

We decided, not to look for answers how WE could help 3 billion people to get out of poverty – but HOW could we help them get out of poverty themselves? We analyzed all the 30 developed countries to learn how they came to prosperity. To make a very long story short: Innovation and Entrepreneurship was the key to all of them. The first machines for production in England at a time where nobody needed machines. The first automobile in Germany at a time where nobody needed a car. The first Jet engine in France, where flying was a pure luxury. Computers in the US where most struggled to get their farms going. Later electronic equipment in South Korea, at the time one of the poorest nations in Asia.

WIForum and a unique way of volunteering

We envision prosperity in all nations through innovation and entrepreneurship. And we need lots of people who are willing to volunteer and help. We want to help local entrepreneurs with crazy ideas to actually get them out into the world.

17 countries on 3 continents we are engaging with in 2020
Africa (5) — Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda
Latin America (6) — Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, Peru
South East Asia (6) — Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam

Current Volunteers Support Needs:

  • Local market research in the countries we work with
    We want to learn as quickly as possible and as fast as we can about data that are key, yet not accessible.
  • Photo/videographer who catches and reports stories of our work locally
    We want to share the stories of local entrepreneurs and their innovations with the world. We want to help those teams to get visibility and attention.
  • Bloggers who are interested in partnering and share news and updates
    We look for blogger who can share new sightings with us and will share our content with them.
  • Anybody with relevant connections to help spread the word
    We are looking for people with large amounts of relevant connections and followers to help spread the word about stories, things that happened in the countries.
  • Promoters to help promote our upcoming workshops and accelerator program
    We are looking to get the word out about our accelerator program where we help young startups to accelerate their business, grow, create jobs and contribute to the local economy.
  • Connectors who help connect with the respective government leaders
    We are looking to get introduced to the local governments to collaborate on FDI policies and also on immigration rules.
  • Co-working spaces who are interested in hosting our events
    We are looking to partner with co-working spaces to develop areas of Silicon Valley style cultures as well as collaborate on events.

Please let us know if you are interested to collaborate with us on one or the other project.


As an organization, who has INNOVATION in its name, obviously we are diving very deep into the topic and getting a large variety of perspectives and insights. Innovation tightly connected to entrepreneurship. As a consequence, we asked ourselves, what can we do to bring economic development in developing countries to an all new level. A level where we can see progress in a much shorter time period. Obviously education is one of the initial needs.

Phenomenal Education Development

Africa, most of South East Asia and Latin America has showed phenomenal progress in education already; having 1,000 times more academic graduates than 50 years ago. There are now thousands of Universities across those continents, which created millions of well trained people – but with no equivalent job. What would a math degree do if you can’t work with it? Today there are more than a million graduates in in each of the three continents. The best they can do would be try to get to Europe or the US. Yet – that would be a devastating brain drain and remove all hopes, those nations have today. Before the inception of development aid, education was a function of having better employees to handle the jobs – but here we have better education but no jobs. We realized we needed to find out how exactly did developed countries develop.

The Rise of Developed Countries

In the early and mid 1800’s, Switzerland was the poorest country in Europe. Germany was a poor country, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in Asia, California was a desert and the most western farmland in the US. If not for the Gold, California would hardly be on the map. Yet the natural resources died out quickly. A similar risk the Arabian peninsula is facing. However something changed above and beyond natural resources and tourism: Innovation and entrepreneurship. When Carl Benz, Robert Bosch, Werner v. Siemens and Friedrich Krupp, crazy entrepreneurs with useless ideas, started to engineer, develop, produce, market, sell and scale their businesses, Germany became a wealthy nation. There is nothing else that propelled the German economy as much as these crazy entrepreneurs. At the same time period, Alfred Escher wanted to build a railroad in Switzerland. But since this was a low priority for the very poor Swiss population, he could not raise any capital. So he asked for foreign investment, the sheer amount he raised, required him to create a more international bank, Credit Suisse. Since he needed more talent, he created the Zürich based University, ETH, today one of the most renowned Tech Universities in the world. Did you know the jet engine was invented in France? Now you know why France is still one of the world’s leading aerospace nations. Did you know that Silicon Valley was essentially based on five entrepreneurs? Almost all developed countries started poor, had an environment where crazy entrepreneurs just could do their thing, no matter how useless and money could flow in from foreign investors. The US, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, and all others have been based on that very principle. Thousands of years before that it was war, theft and the financing of their armies to do the very same: invent, grow, sell and come to prosperity. Since thousands of years, the nations that carried their goods in foreign countries and received investment from foreign countries rose. And there is no reason to continue that path with an ever larger number of nations. We never tried to answer the question, how can we get 3.5 Billion people out of poverty with the help from the West? We wanted to know what made the developed countries so prosperous and if we could apply that learning to eradicate poverty.

Economic Development 4.0

We realized that nearly all developed countries, on three different continents rose to prosperity through innovation and entrepreneurship. Moreover, in understanding that entrepreneurship is not a western ‘invention’ but a universally applicable concept, for thousands of years across all cultures. We began to look for such entrepreneurs in developing and emerging countries. And we found jar dropping entrepreneurs and their startups in Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria, Peru, Vietnam and many other countries. With those results, we decided to turn economic development towards a direction that was probably not very well understood before: innovation and entrepreneurship.

We envisioned entrepreneurial journeys from local to global enterprises in most nations. We developed unique tools like the Innovative Thinking Model, Digital Engagement Methods, and explored Next Generation Digital Stock exchanges that could make a huge difference to those entrepreneurs embarking on a catch up race with developed nations. These measures have a good chance to play a defining role in enabling fast growing innovative companies. They will develop far more environmentally friendly products, find new ways of packaging, new ways to turn deserted land back to green land, turn abundant energy like wind or solar heat into usable energy or even mechanisms to leverage those energies directly. We see entrepreneurs working on biological material and AI solutions, like in Nepal, in a way nobody ever thought about. We will not come with technology and ideas that they can execute but with ways to stimulate their ingenuity to do the impossible – and radical different things. Those new businesses can create hundreds of thousands of jobs quickly absorbing the already waiting academics. This is not an idea or concept. Again, this is exactly how developed countries emerged. And since today’s startups no longer take 30 years to rise but already after 3 years have somewhere around 50+ employees and rise to the top within 7 to 10 years, we have a good chance to turn 20 to 50 nations into prosperous developed countries by 2030. The only key task to perform is the work with governments to enable three things: Foreign Direct Investments, Infrastructure development, and Investor/Entrepreneurship friendly policies.

Economic development 4.0 is all about inspiration, education, stimulation – and letting the local entrepreneurs do what they think, what they want and what they believe is the right thing to do. If nobody wants to develop tools to structure their overwhelming city traffic, well, than there maybe no need and we may learn from the way that flow is going – very much like the flow of our blood does not need signs and stop lights ;) Economic Development 4.0 was created to prevent our developed experiences from influencing their development. You may also notice that none of the fastest growing economies these days such as China, Vietnam, Rwanda… are democracies. And we have no right at all and under no circumstances to change that. The only ones who may want to do that are the respective countries themselves – no matter what.

We are starting end of this year with “Seeding Innovation 2020” in 17 countries in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. This is an open invitation to join us. Https://

I was wondering what are the biggest problems we have on earth today. I know there are thousands, millions or even billions of problems to solve. I get asked so often on Quora or at startup events what problems do actually exist that could be solved, that I compiled this list of 100+ global problems worth solving, after a day research on the Internet and my own observation.

Of course this list is far from being complete. It’s just a tiny start.

And you can add to this list of “global problems worth solving” on our Google Drive. Feel free to add yourself to the contributor list. Do not spam it – please.
We will update this post once in a while.

100+ global problems worth solving

(1) Building a platform that collects problems, anybody can contribute and be curated by the community.


(2) Inventing new material or techniques to replace plastic
(3) Inventing new techniques, and materials to replace paper
(4)Inventing new techniques and products, recycling any given material
(5) Inventing new materials replacing plastic bottles and cups
(6) Creating new ways to package food (100’s of varieties of food) environmentally friendly
(7) Finding artificial, yet environmentally friendly replacement for wood to reduce deforestation
(8) Inventing new motors that neither use electricity nor fuel


(9) Finding ways to augment education in conventional schools and universities with highly relevant education
(10) Creating social education programs that can run in parallel to schools, universities or jobs
(11) Offering classes for undergrads, how to get successful and rich
(12) Providing better base education programs on political know how
(13) Providing better education programs on the general concept of economies
(14) Providing better education on how wars are started and how peace is achieved and maintained today
(15) Creating more tangible lifelong learning concepts
(16) Creating more universally applicable career guidance mechanisms or platforms
(17) Creating solutions to shift from an “all learn – all work” model to a more balance model


(18) Exploring new ways to generally reduce and safe energy
(19) Providing a more transparent and plausible energy consumption prediction for the scenario that most people on earth are out of poverty, living in newly developed countries
(20) New ways to harvest energy from bio thermal energy sources
(21) New ways to harvest solar energy
(22) New ways to harvest hydro energy
(23) Finding ways to transmit energy created on the moon, down to earth
(24) Identifying new ways to harvest energy from unidentified sources
(25) Finding all new ways to store electric energy in bigger volume and less in size and weight
(26) Smart energy re-distribution for those who produce excess energy that can be provided to others


(27) Lower cost reliable Internet connections
(28) Independent and reliable “News & Information Publishing” organization
(29) Better, social media integrated search engines
(30) All new and modern operating systems
(31) Fully integrated business application tools
(32) Meteorology technology provider not only for weather forecasts but for everything agricultural
(33) Generally available intelligent traffic lights, connected to a traffic flow system, but autonomous features
(34) Low cost mini satellites to explore earth and space, provide data hubs, accessibility and more
(35) Omnipresent, inexpensive and easy mobile payment system
(36) Building robots for all kinds of dedicated tasks such as cleaning shoes, planting crops, cleaning windows, etc.
(37) The whole range of wearable products counting, watching, recording, measuring all kinds of things underway
(38) Situation dependent automatically changing materials to turn a lofty t-shirt into a rain covering shirt
(39) Smart materials that change their behavior based on environmental conditions i.e, taking the carbon out of carbon dioxide and returning the dioxide back to air
(40) Smart Contract development for cryptocurrency agnostic blockchain like media
(41) Universal low voltage power connection system that handles everything from a single wall plug to staggering distribution
(42) Creating universal ultra small IOT devices that allows any product to be programmed by a smartphone including remote controls, refrigerators, heaters, air conditioner, lights – anything. One interface for any product in the future.
(43) New better zipper that do not stuck, break or derail


(44) New ways to get to clean water
(45) Better ways to turn salt water into sweet water
(46) New ways to manage waste water in rural areas
(47) Cheaper ways to produce sanitation products i.e. toilets
(48) All new toilette models alleviating paper use
(49) More efficient ways for flushing toilets than using precious water
(50) New product for cleaning replacing bathtubs and showers or make their use a less used luxury
(51) More water consumption sensitive products such as water cranes, showers, garden watering systems


(52) New ways to offer unified insights into the ingredients of food in any supermarket
(53) Ways to eradicate factory farming (mass animal farming)
(54) More scientifically proven and generally understood advice to a healthy diet
(55) New ways to provide food portions in smaller sizes to stimulate reduction of food consumption and reduction of food waste


(56) Finding new ways to research all the facts and sources of climate change
(57) Finding new ways to deal with climate change and leverage the development so far
(58) Finding ways to predict climate change more precisely for the next 50 years and provide meaningful indications for the agricultural industry
(59) Better ways to organize research in general, creating more unbiased data.
(60) Catalog of things that could be done with AI and inspires developer
(61) An AI development system that could be used by virtually anybody
(62) Research for a more rational view of the evolving powers of Artificial Intelligence
(63) Creating algorithms that focus on environmental dependencies of new technologies
(64) Identify new ways that help certain countries to get off of the data protection hysteria
(65) New suggestions for data privacy models that give more power to the individual
(66) Developing ways to deal with the general risk of eradicating life through asteroids
(67) Developing scenarios to evacuate earth if needed, even though we would probably take 1,000 years to find the technical possibilities.
(68) New tools and platforms to interact with governments and communities
(69) New apps that cover all of the problems, allow to contribute in all kinds of ways and see reports
(70) 3-D printing companies, producing unique products, spare-parts, artificial organs, and more
(71) Cyber security improvements to significantly reduce or even alleviate hack attacks
(72) Data ownership mechanisms, rules and technology that makes sure that personal data are controllable by its owner


(73) Providing better technology for customer experience management
(74) Providing a new value system for corporate balance sheets involving employee contribution
(75) Providing new ways to offer equity to highly innovative employees
(76) Develop new systems that can track the degree of innovation development
(77) Design new systems for customer interaction with corporations
(78) Design new corporate employee education systems including lifelong learning
(79) Create a fortune 100,000 leader board with indexes addressing environmental, employee and other key aspects
(80) Creating all new insurance business models that provide much more contract transparency and easier to deal with
(81) Online grocery stores with home delivery like a few in Germany or Switzerland
(82) New media business models, disrupting the user unfriendly monopolies
(83) Much easier booking systems for public transportation anywhere in the world
(84) Creating systems that alleviate waiting (in line, at doctors, at shops, at bus stops….)


(85) More effective ways to deal with birth control in times where we help more people to survive
(86) Starting large scale research that can only be done with tens of thousands of supporters
(87) Finding better ways to deal with migration, integration and return mechanisms
(88) Finding ways to replace prisons with socially effective methods of societal reintegration
(89) Finding new policies to deal with people ignoring the generally accepted rules of societal coexistence
(90) Finding solutions to get to a broader reach of well being for all humans
(91) Developing new political concepts or new varieties of democracy that is more applicable in today’s world
(92) Developing new job concepts for people who work on social or macro economic solutions to be financed
(93) Developing new concepts for city creation addressing the bigger problems of today’s cities
(94) Developing new and holistic ways to reduce traffic congestion in larger cities
(95) Developing new logistical concepts to bring the huge amount of products directly to the citizens
(96) Developing new techniques to transport the remaining waste to the designated areas without the current waste disposal chain
(97) Finding new methods to alleviate corruption in government and other large organizations
(98) Finding new mechanisms to make governments more accountable, providing rewards and punishment solutions based on their achievements relative to their promises


(99) New ways to provide a more balanced healthcare for the various developed nations
(100) New ways to provide healthcare in the first place for developing nations
(101) New ways for mental health care
(102) New ways to produce cheaper medicine or secure living without medicine


This list of “global problems worth solving” will sooner or later grow much bigger. We are looking forward to your inputs.

Pretty much every car manufacturer on the planet are testing their autonomous cars here in Silicon Valley. Resources are plentiful, rules and regulations, as innovation friendly as possible without going overboard. And again the accumulation of knowledge is unparalleled. We spoke with a few test drivers and physically sensed the excitement, the community and the open exchange. The learn every 24 hours new things. Then share and compare in Silicon Valley style open and freely and learn 50 times as much from all the others. Knowledge aggregation and rapid execution has always given the Bay Area its technological edge. And since the workplace of these ever driving software developers, analysts and testers is not in a coworking space, they meet at parking lots of super markets to share and compare.

The epicenter of innovation is – and probably remains for a long time – Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Rules and regulations on one side and lack of courage on the other side prevents true innovation in the rest of the world – maybe except China.

What do they actually test?

We ask them what the do and they told us that they simply analyze every move the cars are doing in any situation and constantly optimize their algorithms and sensor usage and so forth. The terrain is great and the environment perfect. These tests happen in a culture of innovation where the large part of the public is innovation friendly.

Day in and day out they roam the city with ever new tests and updates from previous tests. We were asked not share photos but found it OK to post about it. Each of the cars, no matter what brand is manned with 4 people multiple computers each, mounted screen on the back seat and one of the seat next to the driver. The driver is simply focused on taking care that in every situation the car is under human control. We jokingly asked if they don’t trust them yet? One said: “the only device we do not really trust is the human driver” – huge laughter. The main reason for running these tests under human control is that the driver is sensing tiny anomalies to human driving style in either situation: the advanced precision and superiority of the machine and the reaction to unknown situations and the reaction even if the computer would not have an answer. Very much like a human. If all of a sudden in the middle of the Market street an elephant would fall from the sky, we are not trained to that situation but we stop the car immediately. And that is what the machines is conditioned to do as well.

Obviously nobody shared any – not even personal – views of when the car industry, the policy makers and the public would be ready for autonomous cars. Yet it was not hard to guess it would not be any soon – but it would also not take two decades.

Why San Francisco?

We asked one team from a European brand, why San Francisco? A point blank answer: “Where else could we go. In the past 30 years we have always the same cycle: Europeans want innovation, but it must be in harmony with the existing business and we allow the existing industry to fight it with lawsuits. AirBnB, Uber, Tesla, Google, Amazon all the major disruptors have a hard time in the old world – they want to wait and see and if they can’t stop it anymore. It’s really sad.”

In any case 500 cars, 3 engineers each car, that is 1,500 AI developer, analysts and testers plus the people in the offices and labs, making Silicon Valley again, the world’s number one hot spot in next generation automotive technology.

Let’s see what else we discover in the next few weeks.

I’ve been asked so many times that I felt it would be good to write a blog post.
Obviously there are many consulting services, software developer and others who could built your MVP in a rather short period of time. Then you get what you asked for and can enter the market. If customers report bugs, you go back to your developer. And you hire them again and again – or you ignore the requests for now until you get more funding. It sounds totally logical. However reality tells a very different story:

Your MVP is a barebone minimum solution. It is supposed to be up rather quickly and your customers tell you what they experience, what they like and what they don’t like. If you have a CTO, it is not just taking the bug reports but carefully listening to each request. Each discussion with a customer contains a wealth of insights about how they use the product, what key benefits they have or want to have, how it is or should be integrated in other technologies and so forth. From that moment on you get probably daily requests for changes and more important lots of tiny little cool ideas that your developer or developer team can implement. I remember we received 1,400 feature requests, update requests and bugs within the first three month. You can’t pay your outsourcing organization to handle that.

Moreover our CTO saw what directions this will take and prepared the platform a bit differently. In the first six months, he was involved in almost any customer discussion. He needed to know and feel where this is going. More importantly he sensed functionalities based on the customer stories that led to functionalities they didn’t dear to ask but made a lot of sense and was no problem to do. The CTO is the one person who shapes the product, the future technology decisions and the technological direction of the company like nobody else. This cannot be outsourced – not at reasonable cost.

On top of all, the CTO does not try to build an MVP that meets the specification you gave them. The CTO is building the foundation of a solution that will change the world in the future and crafts an MVP that acts like the first cell of an organism.

Early Adopter Customer

If you have a sensational new application, you won’t get typical customers. Those ask you who else is using it, how many customers you have, are you funded and so forth. And so you have to look for early adopters. Thos premium customers are willing to check out new things because also they want to lead their market. BUt if you tell them that the technology was done by a freelancer, outsources, service organization or a like they get less motivated. They are taking a risk, dealing with a ne technology – but far less so when there is no CTO.

With all that said, there should be no reason to hire a consultant, rather than involving a top notch technologist.

Hire or Co-Founder?

first: as a startup you just cannot hire a top performing developer. No matter what you offer to pay. Therefore attract them as co-founder. Yes, they are hard to find and you want to start. But there is no shortcut what so ever. If that technology is a core element and differentiator of your business, than the person that builds it and develops it further over the next 10 years should have a seat on the founders bench.

As an investor

I would never invest in a company that outsources their development. It’s too clear that there is no technological focus or the technology doesn’t play any important role. It also shows that the founder could not attract any co-founder and I must ask: can they attract customers?

All in all the number of reasons for a co-founder CTO outweigh the short term benefit of getting a MVP slapped together for a demo.

As a precursor let me try to define success, as I see it, to put all this in context:
Success is when I achieve or exceed my very own dreams – not what others tell me I should do to be ‘successful’. No dream no success. Yet, to achieve or exceed an entrepreneurial dream is a successful entrepreneur.

What traits make truly successful entrepreneurs?

Founders are often seen as magicians. And maybe they are to a certain degree. The more we see and interview, the more we understand about their key traits. Here are the 10 most relevant founders traits, I observed by working with some of the top CEOs and over 1,000 startups.  Each of the traits are not ‘sort of having a little bit of that too’ – instead are especially standing out as extremely developed trait. If any one is missing or weak – it seriously weakens the entrepreneurial profile. You may also notice an important interconnection between these traits – again missing one cripples the complete concept.

1) fearless / risk taking
Absolutely does not fear anybody or anything. There is no higher up person for an entrepreneur. There is no rule that is respected and no definition that is taken just as that. They fear no failure, they fear no total loss, they fear not to be laughed at.  They do not fear to risk everything they have for their vision – and they do risk everything they have.
[Related with: (2) creative, (3) determined, (4) curious, (5) independent, (6) confident, (7) connected, (8) communicative] Corresponding habits: making fast and determined decisions

2) creative / compositive
The ability to be creativity means finding a gazillion bits and pieces in your brain and composing it in no time to a new picture. Creativity requires maximum inputs, from travel, discussions, reading… Being compositive is the ability to very quickly identify opportunities and turning them into business cases or even innovation. Experiment fearlessly, no matter what the outcome maybe.
[Related with: (1) fearless] Corresponding habits: Seem to change course over and over again. But never lose sight of the ultimate goal. Knowing there is never a straight line to get to the top.

3) determined
Determination is a mindset. Doing anything, whatever it takes to make something happen. No irritation from others, no distraction, no uncertainty. Determined entrepreneurs never give up – ever. If you are bankrupt, you still have 3 to 6 month to repair and get up again.
[Related with: (1) fearless, (2) creative / compositive] Corresponding habits: Consistency – Pushing the direction in everybody’s mind – every day. There is only one vision, one ultimate goal and they let everybody know. They plan their days towards their goals – not towards responses to others.

4) curious/open
Wide open mind. Wanting to really know in detail how things work, how people do things, how we live, what the barriers are, where the limits maybe if any. Listening to others very carefully, without constructing an argument half way through.
[Related with: (1) fearless] Corresponding habits: Playful – They look very quickly at all kinds of things, want to know everything without ever going really deep. 20% of the knowledge is all they need to know 80% of what there is to know.

5) independent
There is nothing and nobody that prevents the entrepreneur do their things. No friend, no family, no lack of money, no rules, no legislation can get into their way. Societal rules, conformism and alike fences are respected but do not apply to entrepreneurs. [Related with: (1) fearless, (3) determined] Corresponding habits: Super-Focus – There seem to have no family, not even seeing other people with certain personal needs. It’s important to understand that independence often feels like ruthless – but it is the vision that is much larger than live that drives these people to almost impossible results and that means independent behavior. Most people only begin to understand when such a vision was fulfilled.

6) confident
Once an idea is manifested, true entrepreneurs have no doubt that it will work. They just know it will. The extraordinary confidence comes from a ‘brain defect’ that spills emotional knowledge from the right brain half into the brain without consulting the rational part of the brain.
[Related with: (1) fearless, (3) determined, (5) independent] Corresponding habits: Decision Maker – fast decision making, often others feel to be run over, turns sometimes into arrogance. They don’t deal with devils advocates and uncertainty of others. They simply have that trait to know.

7) connected
True entrepreneurs are always highly connected. Connected with their market, connected with the player, connected with customers or targeted customer, connected with investors, influencers, industry associations and so forth. Entrepreneurs have no issues to connect to anybody.
[Related with: (1) fearless, (4) curious, (6) confident] Corresponding habits: Networking – They connect with almost everybody, then maintain only those that are relevant. May sometimes feel a bit superficial, yet they make almost everybody feel important. They know that connections are more precious than gold and they know how to deal with it.

8) communicative
Communication is the most important skill humans developed. We can communicate with words, text, pictures and even preserve past events. That helps us learn beyond any animal. Top entrepreneurs are masters in communication with others, drawing an imaginary world that they are seeing in the future and attract others. At the same time they can sit and truly listen for an hour and construct the situation they hear into a solution and opportunity. Learning and sharing – in this order – are the keys to entrepreneurial communication.
[Related with:  (1) fearless, (2) compositive, (4) curious, (7) connected] Corresponding habits: Extroverted – They ask anything they need to know right at the moment they want to know. They listen and learn very intensely. They also tell everybody and their dog what they are up to, why it’s important. They spread the word about how they will change the world and expect everybody to do so too.

9) involving
Entrepreneurs are very involving. Involving their team, their customers, their market, their investors and their business partners to actively participate in their undertaking. Entrepreneurial involvement of others go way past the concept of delegation but truly inspire others and fearlessly pulling others into their gravitational powers.
[Related with: (1) fearless, (2) creative, (3) determined, (6) confident, (8) communicative] Corresponding habits: Engagement – They don’t worry too much if people have time for them. They simply ask and get people’s involvement. Sometimes it feels like they think they are the only important people on earth. And what they really think is they are one of the most important people on earth – often they actually are.

10) intelligent
While we may debate what intelligence is, here is our definition: “Intelligence is the ability to comprehend a never before experienced situation, abstract the essence and developing a solution by simply thinking through as many as reasonable options without trial and error”. In that sense, true entrepreneurs are intelligent and involve others to solve the problem.
[Related with: (4) curious, (8) communicative, (9) involving] Corresponding habits: Simplification – Breaking the most complex things down into a few or only one simple aspect. Pretty hard for some people to follow and ignore that everything else is just work to be finished.

Fearlessness is the most important glue in between all the key traits. And it is not just generally fearless – it means unconditional fearlessness. Top entrepreneurs have a lot of respect for others and other things, they do experience uncertainty but quickly and clearly decide where to go. Decision making is not a ‘trait’ but a skill – one can learn to make decision. However traits like being fearless, creative, determined, open, independent, confident, connected, communicative, involving and intelligent are key traits for making good decisions and getting them executed.
It sounds like a very demanding profile – it is. As it turns out, only 0.007% of humans are actually successful entrepreneurs.

Few interesting things about this list:
a) None of it can be really ‘trained’ people my change towards, it but not necessarily trained.
b) They are all interconnected, not one goes without some of the others
c) If one or even more are missing the ability to be a successful entrepreneur is decaying very quickly
d) This is uniquely dedicated to entrepreneurs. Any other career or engagement has some of them but never all – and may have others, but they maybe not relevant for entrepreneurs. At least our finding when we compared it with Scientists, Artists, Politicians, Actors, Musicians, Architects, Athletes and so forth.

All in all, fearless, creative, determined, curious, independent, confident, connected, communicative, involving and intelligent are the top 10 traits for entrepreneurs.

Help from the GROUND UP

Getting 3,5 Billion people out of poverty is a daunting task. But 150 years ago most developed countries were seriously poor too. We think we found a very different way to get countries out of poverty.
We are supporting entrepreneurs in emerging countries like Vietnam, Ghana, Peru, do – what the founders in Silicon Valley, Germany, UK, South Korea did: building a strong economy and prosperity from within a country. We do not help building wells. We help local entrepreneurs what they need to build for their country – whatever it is – and it maybe wells.

How YOU can help

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And so forth :) Lots to do !!!!