Hello and welcome back to yet another episode of the b2b podcast as always here with Tulou. continuing our conversation from last last week or so I think it was exactly last week, same time ish.
Hi, Sue. How are you doing? I'm good. How about you?
Pouya LJ 00:33
Oh, good doing well. As always, we are joining forces to have some conversations, some fun conversations. There's a lot of things a lot of topics we won't talk about for the next few episodes. But today, we're going to stick with a continuation of our last conversation, we started last conversation with immigration, we talked a little bit we pivoted towards the end to talk about some experiences you had personally in entrepreneurship, but very briefly, so now we would like to expand on that. So first of all, we are in a country that has good, pretty good opportunities to be an entrepreneur supports you in terms of the regulation in terms of the support system, incubators and such, of course, nobody does that one of the top countries would be United States, but we are also in a not so bad of a country in that department. So and you have done some basic studies on your own reading free readings and such in the space. So I would like to, you know, for you to give some like general background to our audience, and what do you think of? First of all, let's start with actually defining entrepreneurship. I'm not sure most people know, probably everybody knows what it means. But let's get our definition straight. So what does it mean to be an entrepreneur? What is an entrepreneur? Oh, that's
a good question. And it is really like kind of depends from person to person. But what I like about the definition of it is like, if you're creating something of benefit for society, or benefit for humanity, or something like that people can use people can benefit of it. You're an entrepreneur, when it doesn't necessarily mean that you have millions of dollars of company like startup, like your own company, but actually, whoever, even nonprofit, even like, they call it like an internal, or like maybe something else. But even if you didn't a company, if you're creating a value, creating a project, creating something you're like, internal intrapreneurs to, or if you're working for a nonprofit, organization, if you're creating something, if you're like creating a value, you're still an intrapreneur, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to make a profit out of it. intrapreneur is something that you're creating a value out of it, let me
Pouya LJ 03:11
write it as you say, value doesn't have to be monetary, although it can be but it doesn't have to be monetary. Okay. Okay. So that's the definition. You go with it. I agree with you. But like, you can define a different, many different ways, I guess. Yeah, that's right. And that's why I wanted to I mean, the definitions will be related, even if different, but I wanted to get that out of the way. Okay, so, so a personal or group of people who venture to do something that generates value to to others or potentially themselves, okay, and the value doesn't have to be monetary. All right. So so what was your so what was your the first time you became, you know, interested in this concept, and started thinking about it?
As far as I mean, as far as I know, I always like, had this spirit. I'm like this feeling that I want to create something, I still consider myself an intrapreneur even though I don't have a company yet. I never like I tried to start a company one or two years ago, that because of this immigration issues, I couldn't do that. But I try. But in the sense of like creating values, I always consider myself an intrapreneur. It started when I was like probably in bachelor. Like I always wanted to like, since I love tech, I always wanted to be part of it. First I wanted to be part of a scientifically that's the reason why I did my PhD then postdocs, but then I realized that maybe in the sense that Okay, so if you're a professor, you're creating values, like publications, etc. But it doesn't necessarily mean that The things that you're doing are gonna be like practical soon or ever? I don't know, it depends if you're if you're a theoretical physics, I mean, so it is going to be hard to create a value from, like a practical value like a business kind of value from a wormhole studies. But maybe why not maybe like 100 1000s of years later, it depends like, how is the human humanities going to evolve in tech? Yeah, I had this feeling of, apart from my physics or scientific interest, I always want to create a value. So it started that I had some attempts in back in Turkey. So like, I wanted to create a company focusing on solar cells, renewable energies, but I couldn't get any funding from anywhere. So yeah, I think as long as you feel you want to create something from scratch, it means that you have not 100% all the suffering for Spirit for the intrapreneurship. But you have it at some point, like, at some level, you have it partially. Or if you're, if you want to do this for Horrell whole of your life, like professionally, of course, you have the 100%. Ownership spread, because it requires risk taking skill. So, for example, okay, of course, you maybe you want to create values, but you're kinda like, okay, but if I lose my savings, what if I fail? What if I do this, there's something wrong, and I lost, like some something. So if you are not like a risk taker, if you don't like taking risks, you can consider yourself still intrapreneur? What partially, I mean, you have to take risk, you have to be courage. I mean, you have to this is kind of, I don't like to say it like a gamble, because it's not exactly a gamble. It's not something totally random. There are things that can be random niche, based on what, for example, you have an idea, and it has to be the right time. Right? This is kinda like, you can't control it, you it is what it is like, I mean, you have to be there at the right time at the right place. So this kind of stuff like this being lucky is still like not, you cannot ignore it. But I mean, if you have this creativity, skills, and also you like to take risks, you're okay with that, then you have to go for it properly. Right?
Pouya LJ 07:43
Yeah, no, that makes sense. I think I agree with you too, because there is there's risk taking, there's loss of your control. But there's also lots of out of your control as true probably with anything in life. But this this area, specifically more because inherently you're trying to venture in an area that has not existed. Or if you're replicating somebody else, then you're not you're just competing against them, okay, at least it's an industry that is tested, but then you the barrier to entry might be high in that. Others have set their foot straight, like imagine if you want to be now in new Google. Good luck, you have to offer something new, or we're probably not going to happen, right? So for that reason, I think there's so many forces working against you, or out of your control, if not against you. So, so yeah, I agree with you. There's definitely inherently some risks. So you have to have some appetite for risk, you have to be a little bit. Actually, this is why this is why this became an extension of our previous conversation on immigration, because we basically said the same things about immigration, because you're stepping into the unknown, you're giving up a lot of things, a lot of comfort, a lot of support structure that is there, right? And same thing with the being an employee, okay? It's not, it's not terrible. You have a support structure, you have benefits, you have salary, you know, where your next bill come, meal comes from, where it's going to be paid from. Now, you can do that, partially with entrepreneurship, of course, but that inherently means that you're trying to build something and convince others this is something that generates value for them to get them to adopt. Now typically for monetary gains for you. It doesn't have to be as we said, but typically it is right. So so yeah, I agree with you. I think there's there's there's there's that there's the speaking aptitude but then I want to ask you, what else do you think it takes for one to be an entrepreneur? Trying to stay excellent, except for risk taking?
Yeah, of course, like courage. First of all, like apart from the stigma, they're all parallel, like I mean, if you're a risk taker, you're you've means that you also can be courageous but You have to be patient, but at the same time you have to, it is not exactly the patient because you have to really understand and feel when you have to change the strategy, or you have to keep going. That is really a hard problem. I mean, for example, you have an idea. You, you think that this is going to be something important for people. But something happened and people started to not respond it I mean, when you when you release it to the market, like a first product, like proof of concept, well, you can say that minimum viable product, when you ask people to click and use this, and can you give me please feedback, and you can face something like, people don't like it, or people are not willing to give a feedback. And you can think that, okay, this is a moment that should either I should like, change my idea or my strategy, or I should keep going. So you have to understand that patience in the sense that if you're really be sure, and if you really feel that it's gonna work, it has to work in some way, you have to be patient. But if you're patient for something, there's not gonna be anything in future. So it's not gonna be worth anything, people are not gonna use it, whatever you do, then being patient doesn't mean anything, because you're on the wrong path already. So I mean, it does who nobody is going to care how much distance you like, to be on the path, because you're going in the wrong direction. But in the right path, for sure, you have to be patient. And you have to mean also you have to, like, be able to act quickly. So when I was taking this training from this incubator for three months, I didn't learn this directly there. But people were keep saying, if you're gonna fail, fail fast. This is it comes from, I think it was from Zuckerberg speech, or something like that. Maybe I'm just combining some irrelevant stuff together. But somebody said that, from the top, like a well known figure, I guess, because it was like, I remember, it's coming from somewhere like that. But they were in the Silicon Valley, they were saying that if you're going to fail, fail fast, because you have to be really fast if you're going to fail. But you still have need time to like, find the correct path. Other than that, if you're like, like, just keep chasing this wrong path. It's not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen. So it has to be fast. That's what they mean. Also, like, um, the way that I started to learn the details about the intrapreneurship, of course, I was an academic iPhones in academia when I was taking this training, so most of the things were so new to me, still, I'm here. Not saying that I'm an expert of intrapreneurship. I'm not an expert, also not an expert. intrapreneur I'm here just feeling some stuff about intrapreneurship I have some feelings, I'm just expressing them and not just like saying, please, what I'm saying is take it through about intrapreneurs now, I'm just just just giving my opinion about it. But yeah, whatever I understood about it is like this Lean thingy, this Lean Startup i Oh, I'm also reading right now the book and it is kinda like argues about, you know, the, I don't know, you remember that back in the day, like, like 15 years ago, like a starting a business was all about like having the perfect product, almost. If you're going to the market, you have to have it, you have to have the product that is not going to fail, like frequently it's going to fail. So in so rare cases, so everybody's going to have the product and it's going to work like a flawlessly I mean, everybody's gonna be happy today, it's about the change with this concept. With this people are saying is release the product, but it released it in a in such a way that it should teach you something if they're not saying that because they some people are criticizing this idea, then in the market, they're like a garbage products a lot. Of course, if you're doing it like just to release anything doesn't make sense to you, then they're gonna be like garbage products all around. You don't need to really create the perfect product even you don't need to maybe spend lots of times on it. Even like just some brick, stone and wood if you're able to like give the idea with them. have a basic idea, then you can measure the response of people on board. And they can be like, Oh my god, yeah, I like it. I like to have it. Or they can be like, This is good. Let me use it. Two days later, they're like, yeah, it was good. But this feature was, I didn't use it at all. I don't think it's necessarily, although I voted in, you know what, I use this, but I really needed this feature for this. These are the things. And you really have to approach this problem kind of scientifically, you have to have this viable pro minimum viable product, like a Bridgestones woods, for example. But when you're providing this, you have to have correct questions in your mind, you have to design it in that way. Because you're going to focus on not profit at first, you're going to focus on what you can learn from market from because you, your product is not going to be shaped by you, is going to be shaped by the customer. Whatever the idea you have, you can think that this is the perfect idea. You know what, everybody's gonna love it. No bullshit, no, maybe the problem is not gonna work. Probably nobody's going to care most probably, of course, there are some rare cases proven that just worked at the beginning. But most of the time, what I heard from the story is even the people were like, what we thought was this, at the end after those feedbacks, etc, it was it evolved in such a different way. We didn't even like, imagine that, of course, because it's kind of shaped by customer is, you don't know their need. Exactly. I mean, the we're talking about these people, like lots of people, everybody has different needs. But what do you need to do statistically? They need not micro needs, of course, you need to figure out the macro need at the end. And that's what is it is actually like, I mean, of course, I probably oversimplify it. But this, this is kind of like evolutionary approach for business. You're, you're loving your product to evolve with the customer need, your environment is deciding who is going to live who is going to die in I mean, it is going to be customer so customer is going to decide what is going to die. What is going to survive.
Pouya LJ 17:33
Can you so so the name of the book is lean startup? Yes, lean startup. Okay. And do you remember the political the author's name by it?
Sure. Okay, so let's click New
Pouya LJ 17:50
for sure. Yeah, please, just for whatever might be interested to, you know, maybe?
Oh, yeah. Yep. Every price. regrets. Okay.
Pouya LJ 17:59
All right. Okay, so Lean Startup by Eric Ries. You guys heard it here. First. No, it doesn't matter. Anyways. Okay. So. So the idea of Lean is that you don't you don't sweat. Okay. So that's, that's another thing. Like I've seen people get bogged down by the details. Right.
So yeah, you can lost loads of time for that. Yeah.
Pouya LJ 18:22
Yeah, exactly. Let me get the perfect office, let me know. Yeah. Find the best curtain, or the best laptop I want to use.
Yeah, but you know what, because there's stories that people have verb like, months years for the product. And at the end, they realize that this product, people are not going to use it. Imagine that they were they were like, oh my god, he did it wrong, we have to ask first, then we have to build this product based on the feedback. But the good feedback, of course, there will be some garbage feedbacks, you have to be able to like filter and filter them out. Like you have to be careful about that. But at the end you're going to spend your time on something you you know that people are going to use because you have their feedback. So other than that, like you can these like these guys, they six months for nothing. I mean, time is important. Time is precious. And we have to
Pouya LJ 19:24
Yeah. And then you don't get you don't want to get on the right idea too late either. You might have a generally right idea, but then narrowed down what as you said, what the features are, if somebody beats you to it, when you're too late, it's not like you have infinite amount of time in a competitive market. Right. So that's fair. So so that's that's where I guess the Lean comes from, of course, for you to fully understand the Lean part. You need to read the whole book, which is simplifying. I haven't even read the book you at least have are reading I'm not sure we're still here and you're still reading right anyway, so you're still ahead of me but anyways, okay, so So we talked about what it takes to be an entrepreneur at a general level, we talked about some concepts in entrepreneurship. And of course, there is different markets that you, you know, participate in, and different regulatory structures, different financial structures. Like a lot of times, in North America, in general, you end up raising capital through venture capitals, investors and such. Sometimes you fund through smaller means sometimes you raise you take loan from banks, for example. That's generally the pathways for raising money that goes on. And in North America. Of course, different parts of the world might be differently, but more or less will have similar structure. Now, so of course, you have to have the idea, right? Is there a way that you can be in a start something without an idea? I can't, I can't imagine them. But okay, so you have the idea. Now, so the first question is, do I have the right idea at the Grand level? Or don't I? Right? How would you able to answer How would you? How do you think you would be able to answer that, of course, you can ask close family and friends, but they're really probably not the best advisors because they don't want to be your cheerleaders. Typically, we give you not so objective. So how do you evaluate the general idea? Or should you spend too much time evaluating it in the first place?
Oh, yeah, sure, definitely. Why? Because you're going to put some times put some effort on it, if if you decide that like, Okay, I, this idea is going to work. So it means that you're going to take some risks, you're going to spend time on it, etc, etc. So the first thing you have to do is go out there to the market, find the the companies, startups that are close to what you have as an idea, like maybe not exactly the same, but at least there are some similarities, that they're close in the same industry. Or you can think of potential customers, potential companies that can be customers or something like that. I mean, you have to find make some make some market research, you have to contact people, CEOs, I don't know, like HR, maybe not HR sales, maybe if you're planning to sell them something, you have to first before pitching anything, you have to talk to them like oh, like oh, how are you? The I was thinking this? Do you think? Do you need something like this? Or I? I am thinking this? And do you think in future this kind of service or this kind of product tenure help with you? This? Is this is important to be specific, if it's possible, because maybe they don't know it, maybe you figure that out. But you have to show it, I mean, okay, this, do you think you may need this like, in this process, for example, this can make your life easier because of this, this this? For example, it was what how much time it take for you? They can say like five hours? Oh, yeah, this can reduce it to for example, two hours. Either you can first ask questions to find the data need to show them they need it, or the need is already there. And you can discuss about it, but not in a teaching level. Not you're not there at first, during the market research to sell something, of course, you're gonna you need to sell something. But first, you need to contact as much as possible, like people as much as possible. Ask questions like, like a record like this like a podcast like you have, they're going to ask you, you're going to ask them because at the end, if you not make them bored, if you're interested in the conversation, this is going to be Vin Vin it goes into the correct letter in the correct path. Because they are going to if they understand that they are going to use it and this is going to be beneficial for them. It is going to be something good because then you're going to have some feedback maybe maybe you can see the first you thought the need was this but then they they can say something that you need to you may need to change a bit modified. I mean, what I'm trying to say here is you have to go out there first. Go ask as much as possible when I had this idea of microscope like make the microscopy autonomous, just automatic microscopies I even found a cut pool of people from India using microscopies. So we just chat. I mean, on LinkedIn, for example, I send the messages they send me back. My we chat maybe became not exactly very, like close friends, of course. But I mean, we had a conversation a couple of times. So they tried to help me, for example, I had a company in Canada. So they showed some interest on this because they needed something like that. It didn't go well, because we couldn't even start the business. But, I mean, we had two or three meetings with CEO CTO, this service people that they like, really presented what they have there. So they even ask some questions. We need this, we need that. The questions they asked are totally different than the idea that we were like, contacted them. But you know what, that that is more valuable? Because they need it. It is a need my idea? I don't know if there's a need. Now I know that there's a need of from them, right? I mean, this is you have to go first. I mean, this is free. I mean, of course not everybody is going to respond you like maybe on 100, like 1015, I don't know, it depends on your connection that your network. But even one it's going to be can be very important for you. So yeah, you have to go out there and you have to ask, I mean, even though you don't have any idea, like but you you think that for example, I didn't have a specific idea on creating optical computation, accelerators. I was working in optics laboratory. Two years ago in university. I knew it, there is now a big startup in United States called Light matter they are using optic to accelerate deep learning calculations. Deep learning process, really, this they designed it specifically for of course, severely, like a kind of niche for like a deep learning purpose. But you know what? It is a need, actually. Right? If you're increasing the time that it takes for the training for some models within deep learning more than GPU. Mining God ECU has something. And these guys are also like, what they're using is not electronics is optics. So it means that energy efficient, also, you're not creating heat. It was hybrid, of course, you're creating feet. So because your hybrid system, but not totally electronic system, you're still gaining something out of it, reducing the at least the energy consumption, electricity consumption and energy release. So that's yeah, I mean, this kind of stuff, of course. Can change. But yeah, the the answer is you have to go out there first, of course.
Pouya LJ 28:06
Yeah, I mean, think. So the second, you go out there, and you see that you have the right idea more or less. Now, I think the second step is to kind of like, maybe it's even before this, maybe it's I think this is a continuous thing at every step, you have to adjust for it. But I think you kind of also have to have certain, like, manage expectations. Okay, what do you expect to achieve? In what sort of time horizon? And what is your, your fault tolerance? How much are you like, Okay, this is this is the expectation I have this is the hopeful expectation, I haven't this is the minimum expectation I have. And if I'm falling below the minimum consistently, then that's an issue. I cannot afford it for whatever reason, or it doesn't work for me or that. That's where I'm going to call it quits, essentially. So I think those think those conversations to have with yourself and with your co founders, teammates, team members, investors, everybody, I think it's very, also paramount, because a lot of times people just have the wrong expectations. Just that doesn't mean that they're failing, per se, it just means that they're not, they're not, you know, on par with a certain expectation that they created for themselves. Or there's a miscommunication at some potential, you know, people have different expectations. Let's say you got some investment. And then your investment, investors have high expectations. And your expectations to yourself internally is slightly different, then that miscommunication can cause problems when you're not able to deliver to the expectations of your investors. So I think expectation management's and communications, of course, are paramount. And I think this is us. That's why I'm saying it's continuous because I did sees this thing may change, because your idea may get modified to a degree by going out there talking to people. Maybe it gets trimmed, maybe it gets argumented And therefore you have to continuously re evaluate and recalibrate. Okay, so we're coming to the end of the the this episode, I wanted to see if there is anything. So of course, one more thing before we come to the end, of course, the next natural step is execution. And I think you do your market research, you decide that this is viable, you set expectations. Now it's time to execute. And I think this is the part that you don't want to you want to go, you got to go lean, right? You want to go after the main thing, you don't want to get bogged down again, by the details even in execution. So is there anything you want to say to that to the execution stage of this thing?
Ah, I mean, exactly. Oh, yeah. This tricky? It is tricky. Because I, maybe that's, since I don't have much experience it is. I can say, some like, things clearly. But execution step is probably the hardest part of it. I mean, so we we have ideas all the time, right? I mean, you we can think this list, we can go for this, we can go for the What about this idea, whatever that idea, but we are not doing anything because first, we don't have that much experience. Second, we still like we still are living for to pay our bills and our rent. As long as we are able to do that paying our bills or rent I mean, to be able to live. Yeah, then the rest is okay. I mean, you can fail, you can just lose something, you can just start again, you can fail, you can start again. But the barrier is the point is, you cannot go below it. I mean, you cannot go become like, Okay, I can't pay my rent this month. No, it is not. It's unacceptable. So you how are you going to do it? How are you going to survive? You need to eat you need to be able to pay your bills, you at least for your for example, internet to be able to communicate with people on like, for example, social media, right? Yes. I mean, these are like the basics, your as long as you're okay with that, okay, whatever happens, we are not going to go below this, we are going to be able to pay our rent, bills, etc. Then you can like try something you can fail. Because you're not gonna lose by the end, you're gonna be able to eat and survive, and you're gonna find a shelter. Like home, to be able to live sleep. I think that's that's the that's the basic like a base level, like, you can't go below. Right? That's, for example, why I can't be like a more brave than that. Because I can lose I can tolerate to lose my current job, for example, or my current conditions. So because we don't know, of course, like, let's say that you started the business, you raised a couple of millions, 10 million, let's say that you an investor came and just or a company acquired you and you just earn 10 million. Yeah, then I can start to that's what my dream. I mean, I really want to go there and invest money on tech. First of all my ideas, together with other people's ideas, I want to invest all of them. The ones that I think I like and I see potential for future. I think we can also like for the next episode, we can continue on discussing that because there are like, also things that we can discuss probably like, what kind of market or what kind of like, areas that you would like to go and invest on both time and money. So that's my like, that's what I think it like, if you start something and if we like, earn something out of it, then the rest can be the risk. And of course, you're going to fail some of them, but but at the end, you are going to make some contribution to the technology, sometimes science because these some companies, for example, the one that I gave you an example like light metals, like optic computation, they're basically doing science. They're also Xanadu, for example, the court computers like they are developing optic quantum computers that they're doing also science they're publishing continuously. So did today. I mean, the things are not the science and tech are not like just coming up from the universities anymore. Companies are doing that, too. That's why I really changed my idea from being an professor to become an entrepreneur or to dive into the industry. Right? But there are lots of things to invest on still, I mean, invest with not only time time is we have it, I mean, that's what we have right now. But, but in future like, we were gonna, as like, this generation, as like, technology lovers, like a scientific minded people, or like, I don't know, like, whoever loves it to increase or improve people improve humanity in in this path. We're going to do it, we have to do it. Because we are living on a planet and we are planning to go other planets. And one day, we are not going to see that of course, but the sun is going to explode. And this even this, this system, the solar system is not going to be habitable. I mean, so we have to go somewhere else. You never know. I mean, you have to do this. Now you have to invest on this. I mean, for sure.
Pouya LJ 36:34
No, no, I am with you. And actually, one of the next episodes, we wanted to talk about space travel. And so so maybe we'll discuss about that. Yep, no, I guess the time is now. It's always now. For sure, I agree with you. There's a lot of areas of interest in investments, which we also can talk about in the future episodes, as well. Anything that maybe you wanted to talk about? We didn't get to? As of now?
No, no, everything is I think everything is? Okay. Of course, if there are like questions. If if someone is listening to this and have questions can always like comment on the podcast and ask questions that we can discuss. I'm not saying that we are going to answer it, because we are we are right now. This is these are the questions that everybody is as long as they're not convicted, like convinced. Everybody's right. Yeah, it means that you're right. It's your idea, because I can't convince you. So we can discuss, of course, what I don't know. Like, there are lots of things to discuss, of course, some, some can criticize me, by the way. They can say that instead of like thinking about going to space we can focus on like, people in Africa, for example, people are like, they they it is so hard for them to find food. They sometimes like most of the time, maybe they starve they sometimes like they can't find water, clean water to drink, of course, but science and tech, if we boosted it can resolve everything we can find the like a solution for everything for everybody. Not only to go to space, I'm not telling you that even the Clean Water Genie like having a clean water is science. Yeah, we will have to eliminate it. As long as you figure that out like food. You can create food, like farming, it is also science. Okay, it is something old, but we know it's technology. If you if you know how to do it, you can go there. And you can do it. Maybe you can do it free. Why not?
Pouya LJ 38:55
Yeah, this is this is the thing like a two to many main it seems sounds ridiculous. But actually yeah, farming is a is an was is a technology. Same with writing, language, technology, with technology, all of these that we take for granted nowadays. They were all technologies, very advanced technologies at their own time. For sure. Okay. Yeah, no, I agree. And I really like the point you made about comments. Yeah, for sure. If there is something you want us to discuss further on this topic or any topic for that matter? please do leave your comments. And as Stuart said, it doesn't mean that we are right and we have answered, but it means that we can spark a conversation and you can take that thought, go discuss it with your friends and family or in your own podcast. And and yeah, let us know either way. We will welcome your suggestions, criticisms, thoughts into the comment section for sure. Okay. Thank you through for today's conversation too. It was very interesting. I really enjoy Was it? And, yeah, so we'll talk more. We'll talk more on future episodes. But until that time, thanks again.
Thank you get ready. Have a great weekend.
Pouya LJ 40:15
And thank you. We're recording as a Friday when this episode might not be Friday for you guys, but I'm sorry if it's Monday through Monday. Thank you, everybody. Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you on the next episode. Take care
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