a book that changes by Riku Seppälä
Hi, I'm Riku Seppälä and this is page is my central presence on the web. I come from Finland and live in Montreal. I'm A Business Strategist And Corporate Information Systems Developer. Currently I'm Working on My Masters Thesis In Business Strategy. I'm A Firm Believer Of The Clan Of Getting Things Done. On my page you can find links to my CV and the projects I'm working on at the moment.
What I'm Thinking - My Twitter Feed
What I'm thinking
Friday, 2 October 2009
Forget what you've read, entrepreneurship is not about getting a great idea and then working very hard. It's a dangerous simplification of entrepreneurship, and actually very few successful companies are created that way.
In this post I'll describe 3 of the more common paths to successful entrepreneurship that we have identified in Aaltoes. The goal is to be able to provide some guidance on what to concentrate on in case you are a student and interested in becoming an entrepreneur.
1. Be at the forefront of technological development
Some of the more known entrepreneurial success stories are based on a group of students that have acquired specific technological knowledge and gone on to create great companies. Stories such as Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and F-Secure have been created in this way. So if you're very good in a field which is not very developed yet, and few people are very good at, you have a good chance of creating something that is possible to commercialize. I think IT is already too big and developed, but you never know. The problem is that you can't really focus on bio- or nanotech in your own backyard because you'll probably need a cleanroom and some pretty expensive equipment...
2. Find a problem and be able to create the solution.
A lot of web startups are being formed these days, and the ones that survive are the ones that fulfill a market need. In case you do identify a market need, you also need to be able to create the solution. And market it. The reality is that any web startup that wants to get traction these days needs to have a massive marketing budget to be able to break into the market. That of course requires investment, and unless you've already created a company as described above, or worked as a director for a big company, you will not get it. Not for a web startup.
Web startups are good examples of companies that are created to solve a problem, but they're not really difficult to create or duplicate and the Intellectual Property (IP) is difficult to protect. There is a huge number of developers around the world capable of doing the same thing. And there will be someone solving the exact same problem that you are. The one with the best connections and best knowledge will win, which is probably the one with the biggest marketing budget as well.
There have also been examples of teams that have identified a problem, for example mobile email (back in the days...) or created an application for an industry in which they got experience from during a summer job. In these cases, the difficulty becomes finding a great team which is committed to creating the product. It can be a good opportunity while you are studying since you might not need any income from the project. So focus on solving problems and creating the team that can solve it.
3. Be a researcher or connect with research
If you're a researcher, you will get paid and have resources to be at the forefront of technological development. It is probably easier to become a researcher and create something new than to be at the forefront of development yourself. For business students, the real opportunity is to network with researchers and find an interesting technology to commercialize or jump on board early in the companies development.
These are the entrepreneurial paths I think are the most realistic for students to become entrepreneurs. It's a lot about being active in the entrepreneurship community and networking and creating a great team. You also need to know where you stand. If you're not developing new technologies yourself and don't have a lot of experience in an industry you have very little possibilities of developing your own idea into a startup.
Aaltoes was created to help you start in one of these paths:
1. Attend our networking events and connect with other students that are interested in solving problems. Maybe you can find someone with great technological skill or the business visionary you need to commercialize your skills. Getting a committed team before you even now what to work on can also be valuable.
2. Attend our Technology Safaris and connect with research that you can commercialize as part of a team.
3. If you already have a solution to a problem but lack the skills to make it happen, join our Pitching Evenings and get your project jump started.
One of the points I want to make is that companies are not created by a group of business students thinking about different ideas. They might come up with a new sort of consulting company or a new way of distributing school books, but the ideas will be constrained by their experiences and knowledge. In addition, even if they can identify a good problem to solve, it will most likely require more financing and resources than they will be able to gather.
Anyways, probably the most important thing to do is to create a great team which has the required technical skills to pull something off.
"entrepreneurship is not about getting a great idea and then working very hard"
Entrepreneurship is about solving problems or using new technology to solve problems and having a great team that can execute.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
- first electricity was produced locally. In the same way as companies have their own data centers for computing today.
- electricity then shifted to grids, and was provided as a service or "utility".
Monday, 13 July 2009
Apple Time Capsule (TC) Setup Problem Amber Light, Stuck in Restart or just Flashing Amber Light, Cannot Connect through the Internet WAN port
My setup is a 2008 new MacBook and the Time Capsule which came with firmware 7.4.1. I have a functioning ethernet connection which I want to turn wireless with my Time Capsule.
When I started, Airport Utility only recognized the Time Capsule once when setting up. When the Time Capsule was supposed to restart, Airport Utility got stuck. After that, even by plugging off the power from and replugging the power the Airport Utility wasn't able to find the Time Capsule. The status light was just amber at this point, stuck in "completing its startup sequence"... Yeah, right.
Well, I'll now describe how you can fix this problem if you find yourself in the same situation.
I only had the functioning ethernet connection running when starting the setup, so I wasn't going to extend and already functioning wireless network, but I think it would be possible as well.
Of course, you will need the functioning ethernet connection all the time (or an already setup wireless which you will be extending with the Time Capsule.
First, make sure that your Airport utility is updated with the newest version (Airport Utility - Check for Updates...)
1. Downloading the newest firmware for Time Capsule (7.4.2 for me)
I noticed there had been problems with the firmware 7.4.1 for Time Capsule. Many people have documented that the 7.3.x versions work better, but I still decided to try the 7.4.2. It worked, but the 7.4.1 might not.
You can download the newest firmware without connecting to the Time Capsule (which obviously doesn't work...). While on your working internet connection, go to Airport Utility (found from spotlight or applications/utilities), choose the 'File' menu and choose 'Check for updates' while holding the 'Option' (Alt on a MacBook) key. This will pop up a menu where you can choose to download new firmware for any devices. Choose the newest firmware or any you think might work if your current doesn't. (The current firmware of the TC can be found on the opening screen when your computer finds the TC after a reset of the TC... See below)
2. Checking and Documenting your Network Values
Make sure your internet connection works with the Ethernet cable that you're plugging into the Time Capsule Internet WAN port (or the wireless connection that you want to extend). When that connection works, check and write down the values for the IP-address, Subnet mask, Router Address and DNS servers from your Network Preferences under the 'Ethernet' Tab.
3. Connect to your Time Capsule through Airport Utility by a full reset on the TC and Update the Firmware.
So because you'll probably be in the situation where your Airport Utility cannot find the Time Capsule, you'll first have to reset and connect to it:
1. Connect the ethernet cable from one of your Time Machine Ethernet ports to your computer.
2. Do a complete reset of the Time Machine by:
1. dsconnecting the power from your Time Capsule.
2.With a pin or something, hold the reset button while plugging in the power again.
Hold the reset button until the Status Light on the Time Capsule starts flashing fast
3. It then takes about 1 minute for the Time Capsule to start up and you'll see it in your Airport
4. When you see the Time Capsule in Airport Utilities, choose 'manual setup'.
5. In the manual setup, in the tab 'summary', click on 'version', and select to upload the version number you downloaded in step 2.
4. Resetting and reconnecting the Time Capsule with Manual IP Settings.
When Airport Utility shows the information about the Time Capsule, don't choose 'Continue', or you'll be in trouble. Go for 'Manual Setup'. (This is the screen where you can see the firmware version of your Time Capsule.)
In the manual setup screen, choose 'Internet' from the options at the top of the window. Now, choose 'Setup manually' for the IPv4 settings. Fill in the IP-address, Subnet mask, Router address and DNS Servers that you wrote down in step 2. (When checking your Ethernet connection)
(Every time you update your changes in Airport Utility, Airport Utility will ask you if it's ok to restart the Time Capsule and lose the connection for a moment etc. Press 'ok' or continue or whatever. )
So if you now update the TC from Airport Utility by pressing 'Update', you will be warned that you will lose the connection for a while. Continue and hopefully your Time Capsule will now restart. After the TC has restarted (you can listen to the process on the Time Capsule), you'll hopefully see your Time Capsule in the Airport utility. This time the Time Capsule should show a Green Light. Now you can start feeling a bit better.
5. Change from Manual IPv4 settings to DHCP
The last step is to change back to DHCP and perform the other settings such as names, passwords etc. This time, when the Airport Utility has found your Time Capsule with the green light after step nr 4., you can choose the 'continue' option instead of 'Manual Setup' as before, and continue with setting up all the things you need to. You can setup the names and passwords etc. Now, choose "DHCP" instead of manual setup of IPv4.
Follow the steps and let the Time Capsule Restart again... Now you will hopefully have a fully functional wireless network with the settings you chose.
I hope that worked for you. When I went through this process, it was iterative and took several hours. I had to reset the TC at least 6 times with different updates to get it working. If this didn't work for you, don't lose hope:
6. If it still doesn't work, go and setup the IPv4 Manually from the 'Manual Setup' again as in Step 3.
Let the Time Machine restart again with manual IPv4 settings so you get the green light. Now choose 'Manual Setup' again, go to internet and choose 'Using DHCP' for 'Configure IPv4'. You'll have to update again and let the Time Machine restart.
I hope it works for you. If you're having trouble with these steps feel free to comment and I'll try to guide you better.
Shame on Apple.
Friday, 10 July 2009
This is an indicator that Salesforce is able to sell its software with a margin of 87%. The rest can be put on developing the software and ensuring sales. SAP on the other hand sells the software with a margin of 52%. SAP has to rely on heavy support fees to keep its business running (54% of SAP's software related revenues come from support).
I think these differences are the key to why software in the enterprise will move towards the cloud. Security issues will just be solved, that's the beauty of technology.
Monday, 6 July 2009
Friday, 29 May 2009
My blogpost from our AES blog
First of all, we had two Pitches from Startups looking for interested coders and sales persons to start working for them... These are early stage startups, and really great opportunities to learn and get to do something important during the summer.
Koala is a Startup developing non-visual controlling of the mobile. It was the second time I saw the demo and it still amazes me. So with Koala technology you can control your mobile with gestures without looking at your phone with the help of a 3D sound menu. I can't really explain that, you have to see it. They are looking for a Marketing & Sales person, student, graduate or more experienced. 2 Application developers, fulltime, with experience from Mobile, Java, C++. For this opportunity contact Raine Kajastila, firstname.lastname at tkk.fi.
Another opportunity relates to a team from Sibelius Akatemia, they are creating a professional tool for Musicians on the iPhone, they're looking for a C++ coder and a Business Developer. That's a summer project. You can contact Kristo Ovaska for more information, at fristname.lastname at gmail.com.
The TechStart Evening
The evening started off with a short info by our host, Jori, and the Software Entrepreneurs Organization. After the intro we got the enjoy the real beef, three very interesting presentations by some of the top entrepreneurs in Finland:
I'm sure that all the tech students present got some very interesting new viewpoints to development and entrepreneurship. It was also a great event for everyone else... Gathering the main points from the guys about entrepreneurship, it would probably be the following:
- Figure out an interesting problem to solve
- Will, Vision and Persistence
- Be lean, fail smart and learn fast
After the presentations we got to hear about Microsoft's Bizspark program, a program that allows startups to get their hands on all the Microsoft developement products for free. At least most of them. We also got to hear the stories of two Startups that have been in the program: GWeb2 and Sopima. Excellent stuff, go and check it out.
Value of Code = 0 and some more stuff
Teemu Kurppa from Huikea gave us his insights of the mobile market. Huikea is still in stealth mode, but seems to be targeted at the mobile market... Well, it is according to Teemu. Some pretty clever mathematics clearly shows why the mobile market suddenly is so attractive, and why the iPhone is so influential. I remember when the iPhone was released, Nokia was saying that it's not a threat to them at all, it's such a marginal product. Well, things have changed a bit, but still last autumn I was discussing with some Nokia Strategy people and they commented that Nokia has a strong position regarding smartphones. The logic was that Symbian has something like 2 million registered developers. And Nokia still has the most phones out, so developers reach a maximum amount of users. Right?
Teemu drew us this table:
|OS/Phone||Amount of Phones Sold||% With Flat-Rate Data Plan||% Of App-Educated Users||=||Total Market For Developers|
It's quite astonishing how one company can create this eco-system of Developers, Users and Distibutors/Operators. It's actually very smart, currently obvious but definitely not easy. This clearly shows why the level of innovation is so much higher in the iPhone compared to others. One of the key aspects that Teemu presented was of course the appStore and the ability for Apple and the developers to monetize the apps quickly and painlessly.
Teemu went on to discuss about mobile payments, and how the appStore changed the game since it became possible for startups to start monetizing on mobile apps. The new innovation from Apple in OS 3.0 are the in-app purchases which again allow a new level of innovation and monetization.
About the payments, Teemu also went on to describing the URL as a superior distribution model (Viral & Automatic updates...), but that a good payment solution still doesn't exist. Read more from Teemu on his blog.
Next up was Tuomas, CEO of Futurice, one of the fastest growing Technology Companies in the World (well, at least it was Europe, which must mean the world as well, right?). He wanted to shape us all into entrepreneurs and his point was that it just takes Passion, Will, Vision, Persistence and the Ability to Learn. As well, you need a Team.
Learning was emphasized, and the ability to adapt to changes. As the company grew, and Futurice didn't really have any sales people, Tuomas had just one day decided to become a sales person. That's definitely will, and persistence. And I'm sure it's easier that way around...(Being more of a salesperson myself). Some other imporant things that Tuomas discussed were:
- Even contracts are People
- The less experienced you are the more dangerous money is.
- There are a billion good business opportunities - You only need to find one.
- The value of code = 0. Only code that is in use and solves a business problem is worth something. If someone has a better solution than the code you've been working on for a year. Use the better solution.
Osma Ahvenlampi, CTO of Sulake also discussed the issues that according to his experience are vital in entrepreneurship and especially Software entrepreneurship. Some of the pointers that really caught me from his presentation were:
- Starting up now is cheaper than ever.
- You (and he) are wrong most of the time, so the key to decisions is to make them and the continuously revisit and realign the decisions.
Fail Fast.Fail Smart. Learn Fast.
- Produce value for your customer: It probably isn't what you think it is, so test the market now. You always release too late (Because even he does)
- There is one metric that rules over all: Cycle Time (release-to-release)
- Small teams rule.
Learn more at startuplessonslearned.blogspot.com
I think that was a bit too much wisdom for a blog post, but if you've read this far, congratulations, and please comment about AES or TechStart!
TechStart - BioStart?
AES will continue to organize TechStart types of events. We'll gather some great entrepreneurs for a specific field and let them tell you about something interesting and how they see entrepreneurship and let them share their expertise on their subjects. It's a great way to meet interesting people and generate stuff to think about. I'm sure that there were a lot of people who got new ideas from TechStart.Riku Seppälä, AES
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Well, that's the basis of my Project of Capturing Learning Processes. I don't have a proper name for it yet though. This is a project that's going to take a while to conceptualize, since I want to revolutionize learning from the starting point of identifying the problem. I'll call the project sparks for now.
Problem: There is a lot of knowledge lost in learning. Learning is inefficient. Let's make learning more efficient by using the web.
I'm not going to tell more about the project right now, until I get a bit further. For now, I'm going to settle on Capturing my own Learning Process. I'm going to learn web developement on Django.
You can follow my learning process on my Django Learning Process blog