Entrepreneurship in uncertain times

We recently had the pleasure of presenting at the Alpha Tech 5.11 run by Alpha Version.  The topic was about both the challenges and opportunities of building innovative technology businesses in the midst of an economic storm.  Clearly given the volatility of the world around us, it was topic that entrepreneurs and investors can relate to.  If you are interested in taking have a look, you can find the presentation here.

If only I could come up with that great idea..

About 6 years ago I exited corporate UK and “ventured” into the startup world, initially into my own startup and after that into the business I’m lucky enough to be helping build today where I invest in and help teams I hope will be the technology leaders of tomorrow. One of the throw-away comments I hear from my former colleagues and contacts is that they’d love to run their own business, if only they could find the right idea.

I’ve been reminded of this perspective a fair bit recently when bumping into businesses that are pursuing ideas that I’ve thought of in the last 6-12 months. Of course we see a lot of innovation on a daily basis which is bound to kickstart those creative juices (this will hopefully help the companies we do work with) but two in particular rang a distinctly familiar bell. JobOn is a business that uses video to lubricate the recruitment process and Foodity is a company that aims to allow you to create weekly menu’s that automatically populate your chosen supermarket shopping cart with the required ingredients.

Whether or not these turn out to be successful businesses is obviously still to be determined (I’ll obviously track them with interest) but I’m grateful that my ideas are not that hare-brained that no-one else is pursuing them. Assuming I’m not the only person in the world who is having this type of experience (a given), this reinforces for me the perspective that no idea is totally unique but an extension of the ideas and innovation that are already out there.  So the next time a VC puts you in a holding pattern, you’ll know what they are thinking – execution trumps idea 9 times out of 10.