Category: Entrepreneurship

How To Come Up With Startup Ideas

Note: A version of this post originally appeared in Spanish with the title Cómo encontrar ideas para emprender in El Mercurio, one of Chile’s leading newspapers. I use my monthly column to give mainstream readers exposure to startup ideas. It’s a shortened version of Paul Graham’s original post How to Get Startup Ideas.

Lots of people dream of starting their own business. They want something of their own, to be their own boss and to try to build their business into something big and successful. As an investor, I meet with hundreds of hungry potential entrepreneurs looking for capital to start businesses. Their ideas run the gamut from small businesses to scalable tech startups. Their funding plans cross the specturm from VC, friends and family to bank loans.

The vast majority of the best Latin American companies that I see come from people looking for solutions to problems they’ve seen close up in their daily lives. Paul Graham, the cofounder of Y Combinator, the world’s most successful accelerator, put it extremely directly: (more…)

Pushing the Lead Domino

Pushing the lead domino is another heuristic I’ve been using lately. In the words of Tim Ferriss, “which of these [tasks], if done, make the the rest easier or irrelevant?”

Most people know about the 80/20 principal, in that 20% leads to 80% of gains, but the lead domino is even more powerful. It’s the 80/20 principal on steroids, making it easier for me to focus on what’s important. There’s always one thing that I can be working on that will make everything I’m doing much easier. (more…)

An Economic Slowdown Is a Good Time to Launch a Startup

A version of this post originally appeared in Spanish as a column in El Mercurio, Chile’s equivalent of the New York Times with the title Una desaceleración es un muy buen momento para lanzar un emprendimiento.

As some context to my non-chilean readers, Chile, along with most resource producing countries, is currently going through an economic slowdown. Most of Chile’s government revenue comes from Copper sales, who’s price has gone down by 55% from its peak. Although Chile’s not in a recession yet and Chile’s economy is in great shape compared to other Latam countries, unemployment is up, businesses are investing less and people are worried.

Here’s the original column:

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Offense vs Defense

I’ve been using going on offense vs. being on defense as an heuristic to see if I’m working on the right things each day. Am I on offense or on defense? How much time am I spending on defense each day?

I can’t take credit for this heuristic, as I took it from multiple Tim Ferriss podcast guests like Chris Sacca, Naval Ravikant and Derek Sivers. (If you’re not listening to it, highly recommended!).

Offense is when I’m setting the agenda for my day, trying to grow my business. Whether I’m doing research, taking time to think and create a plan then executing it, in the street selling, banging the phones cold calling for leads or creating content/landing pages for my business. It’s the way I grow my business. (more…)