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Dear Readers, Well, it took four years, but it looks like someone finally did what I was proposing! :) Please read this article in Nature: Take care, Simon :)
Oi Maurilio! Nossa! Muito obrigado pela comentario excelente e desculpe a demora em te responder! Eu to mudando para um novo apartmento e tinha uma casamento no Sabado, entao nao tinha o tempo responder no final de semana. Bem, eu concordo com tudo que voce falo. Seu comentario me lembra de varios vezes quando nos fomos contratando gente trabalhar no Power. Foi muito dificil porque os pais nao tava querendo deixar os filhos trabalhar numa empresa startup. E igual voce falo, trabalhar numa empresa startup nao e conhecida como uma boa opcao. No caso de Power, as pais tava querendo os filhos ser professores, fazer concurso publico, e ate faz parte de exercio, inves de trabalar numa empresa startup! Concordo tambem com seu comentario que eu to um pouco en frente de a realidade Brasileira, mas alguem precisa comeca a luta! ;) Um abraco, Simon
Oi Mario! No problem, I am happy that we are getting to the real issue. In terms of me having a pejorative view of non-first movers, it is not so much a pejorative view as it is a personal preference: innovative companies get me excited, copies don't. So, for example, lets say that I like chocolate ice cream and you like vanilla ice cream. The fact that I like chocolate and you like vanilla doesn't mean that you are wrong and I am right, it just means that I prefer chocolate and you prefer vanilla. If you read the comments that I wrote on Yuri's blog, you will see that I was careful to say that people should do whatever makes them happy and if they want to make domestic copies of foreign sites (or some iteration thereof), then they should do so. My personal preference is for what you are referring to as first-movers (it is actually a little more complicated than this, but for the sake of clarity, lets keep it simple), but that doesn't mean that I am "right", it is just what gets me, personally, excited. The reason that I prefer first-movers over copies is because I think that we (Brazilians) are capable of creating sites on par with any foreign site, so why should we copy them? Similarly, I am personally uninterested in projects that involve outsourcing to Brazil. My rationale is, why should we do someone else's piecemeal labor? Our engineers are just as good as theirs, so we should be doing our own innovative projects, not someone else's low-end work. Finally, the intellectual challenge of innovative companies interests me, whereas copies don't. But again, this is a personal preference. If someone likes to do copies, then they should go for it! There are great entrepreneurs and engineers who specialize in copies, like Alec Oxenford of OLX. The fact that he is doing a copy doesn't make him any less of an entrepreneur or engineer, it is just his personal preference. At the end of the day, you have to focus on opportunities that get you excited. Thanks! Um abraco, Simon Obs. By the way, your English is excellent!
Oi Millor! Muito obrigado! To torcindo para voces! Um abraco, Simon :)
Oi Mario! Your comment was that Akwan WAS NOT original. My response was that Akwan WAS original. I did NOT say that Akwan was the world's first search engine, I said that Akwan was original. Why do I say that Akwan was original? Because the guys (and girls) at Akwan were not looking at the US to see what the other sites did and then trying to copy them. The guys (and girls) at Akwan were creating their own innovations and implementing them, independent of what was going on in the US. In terms of the date that Akwan was founded, you need to read more carefully. I mentioned Miner's founding date, not Akwan's founding date. In terms of your comments regarding Facebook, Google, Bessemer, and Power, I don't understand their relevance to what we are discussing, though, since one consistent theme of your comments seems to be anger at venture capitalists, I can only assume that perhaps you are trying to goad me? But to answer your question, unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to see the Facebook or Google deals when they were looking for investment, so I don't know what I would have done, but I can tell you that I did everything that I could to invest in Power and would do so again if given the opportunity. Why? Because Power was the most talented team I have ever come across in Brazil. Power has since migrated to the US and is now based in San Francisco. Although the company has changed direction and almost all of the original team members have since left the company, many of them have gone on to form some of the most exciting startups in Brazil today. So, I don't think that there is anything to be ashamed of in relation to Power whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I have been meaning to write a blog post about Power calling them the Netscape of Brazil. Another cool thing about Power, no one would ever accuse them of trying to copy a US site. Out of all the Brazilian startups that I have had the pleasure of working with, they came the closest to creating a startup with global reach. If they had been successful with the original strategy, they would have broken the four minute mile. Um abraco, Simon Obs. If you get the chance, please try to read the post that I linked to on the Aceleradora blog. Do you see the way that Yuri and I address each other in the comments? He and I vehemently disagree with each other, yet we do so politely and with respect. It is possible to disagree with someone without resorting to ad hominem attacks and I would even go as far to say that you will be a happier person because of it. Thanks!
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Mar 15, 2010
Dear Diego, You are right. Building a company is like baking a cake, you need all of the right ingredients. It is very difficult and there are literally hundreds of ways that a company can fail. It is hard to separate an entrepreneur from a leadership role because usually he or she is the heart and soul of the company. What we usually try to do is find people who can help them in areas in which they are weak. So, for example, if an entrepreneur has a hard time with marketing, then we help them find a team member who can assume some of his or her marketing roles. If they are bad at financial controls, we try to bring in a strong CFO. It is hard, but the best founders/entrepreneurs are cognizant of their limitations and open to people who compliment their skill sets. Thanks for the question! Simon :)
Re: [Venture Capital Thoughts and Reflections] Gian Carlo Cecilio Martinelli submitted a comment to 'The role of the press in building a thriving venture capital ecosystem'. Oi Gian Carlo! Great to hear from you! Yes, definitely let me know if you are going to be in BH and we can get together. Thanks! Um abraco, Simon Obs. Parabens pela grande successo de o Desafio FGV! :)
Oi Michael and Diego! Thanks for the comments and suggestions! Together we will help Brazilian start-ups reach their rightful place in the global venture capital ecosystem! Um abraco, Simon :)
Oi Camilo! Obrigado pela indicacao, o site aparece otimo! Um abraco, Simon :)
Oi Millor! Obrigado pela dica! Muito legal o site de voces! E parabens pela video de, "Other People's Money"! :) Aquele filme e uma de minhas favoritas! Um abraco, Simon :)
Thanks Michael! For those who don't know, Michael is one of the leading seed-stage investors in Brazil, and a force behind many of the country's leading Web start-ups. Simon
Point of clarification: A reader contacted me via email to take issue with my characterization of nanotechnology as not having a high level of commercial success. I think nanotechnology is extremely exciting and will ultimately prove as disruptive and commercially successful as synthetic biology. My point however, was that it has taken a comparatively long time for nanotechnology to takeoff, whereas, given the size and timing of the Synthetic Genomics deal, synthetic biology has reached a high level of commercial success in a relatively short period of time--something which bodes well for the industry as a whole. Thanks! Simon :)