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Alena Eager

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There’s never been a better time to be in digital healthcare. It is the most dynamic entrepreneurial field that exists today. The first half of 2021 ushered in record digital-health VC funding and a growing number of healthtech IPOs. There is a hunger for science and a receptivity to medical-related innovation, and we’re finally at the precipice of the long anticipated transformation in American healthcare.

I’ve learned many lessons on my journey to becoming the head of a digital-health and image-management cloud-software company, and I hope I can help aspiring entrepreneurs explore this exciting field. Here are four lessons I have learned. 

1. You are part of the care team, even if you never actually see the patient

When you are a digital-health entrepreneur, you have to see yourself as an extension of the medical care team. Unlike a lot of other digital businesses, you’re really focused on improving outcomes for the patient, even if you’re not directly involved with the patient or consumer. You may not see them, but somewhere, there are patients whose treatment and recovery may depend on your product or service. You’re working to help people, first and foremost. That’s the mission.

That means it’s very important to prioritize responding to the needs of care. For example, I was once working with a physician at a large organization, behind-the-scenes, on the IT side. This physician needed help receiving an image to undertake an urgent diagnosis. The image was an extremely large file difficult to receive, and our team helped the physician make the transfer in record speed. It wasn’t about the business, and it didn’t have anything to do with a contract. It was just about working together to get something important done. 

It was a moment I think that person never forgot, and that spirit permeated the institution. I think our company was looked at in a different light because they believed we would remain steadfast when the going got tough in helping a patient.

Related: These 5 Careers Could Be the Future of Healthcare

2. Have patience; innovation in healthcare can be a slow process

You have to be patient — it takes a long time for entrepreneurs to innovate in healthcare. The mantra in healthcare is “First, do no harm” while the mantra in entrepreneurship is “Move fast and break things.” Two very different philosophies. A big part of your job is reconciling them and finding a way to bring innovation into a mindset that above all wants to inflict no harm on patients. That’s the sacred Hippocratic oath, and you need to figure out how to innovate in that type of environment. 

Patience is a key requirement to making that happen because safety must be accounted for throughout the process, and it can’t be treated as an inconvenience or afterthought. Innovation requires a lot of trial and error, but a healthtech entrepreneur must ensure that the “errors” are worked out in a safe and responsible way. That can take time, so patience is more than a virtue — it’s a necessity.    

Related: Why The 21st Century Cures Act is an Innovators Dream

3. Be humble — you are serving a larger mission and working with very skilled people who you depend on to fulfill that mission 

In healthcare, you are working with extensively educated people who are highly technical and highly trained, and you have to respect that. You may have a lot of your own experience and know-how to bring to the table, but understand that many are highly specialized with sophisticated workflows of their own. 

Medical and healthcare professionals are used to holding people’s lives in their hands, and they have extraordinary healing skills. As a healthtech entrepreneur, you’re coming in to partner with them, and you have to figure out how you can help them achieve those goals. Always try to show a collaborative spirit and understand where you fit into the partnership. Showing humility and a willingness to service others helps a lot.

4. Be prepared to prove that what you are providing is essential

The incentive systems inside of healthcare are to have fewer applications, not more, so you need to be offering something essential. They are focused on treating people and not necessarily interested in “fixing” something if it doesn’t appear to be broken. If a system or technology they are currently using seems to be working well enough, they are not likely to want to make a change — especially if it’s a digital-transformation change. 

Related: 5 Digital-Health Trends Here to Stay for 2021

In my area of focus, there was an interoperability problem with large data types, creating a niche — a real opportunity to address a gaping need. Hospitals and doctors were still manually transferring data files on CDs (compact discs) because there was no other option. If it was a large amount of data, they would literally put it on a server, load it on a truck and drive it somewhere. We found a way to transform that kind of workflow, but even then, we still had to fight the resistance of those who didn’t want more complexity and felt they didn’t need a fix or more applications. 

We had to be laser-focused on explaining to people why this was an essential gap that they had to fill. Ultimately, we were able to capture the attention of the innovation teams at big institutions who recognized this as a critical gap, but before that, we weren’t afraid to start out serving on the margins. We were able to find physicians who were trying to solve those problems themselves outside of the dominant healthcare institutions, and we would work with them. 

If you can prove to a clinician that she is going to be able to accomplish something that she couldn’t do previously without you, then she can go to a decision-maker at the institution and say, “We have to have this to expedite processes that will improve patient care,” and then it comes full circle.

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How many times have you thought, “This is a great idea!” only to find that a dozen other people have had the same idea? With a seemingly endless stream of new products, services and solutions entering the market, it might feel impossible to make your dream a reality.

The truth is that nearly all startups will fail, not because they had the same idea as another brand but because they can’t prove that they matter more than the competition. Standing out is the name of the game. 

In a market where everything has already been invented, you need practical strategies to help you succeed where others have failed.

Related: The Most Important First Step When Starting a Business

1. Find the overlap between your passion and market demand

If you’re not excited about your product, then you can’t expect your target market to care either. On the other hand, simply being passionate about your product isn’t sufficient to make it a success. You need a balance of personal dedication and public interest. 

Remember, just because you’re excited about your idea doesn’t mean it will work. Before you invest time, money and effort, try this: First, make a list of fields and topics that you’re passionate about. There’s no limit here, so include everything, even if you think it’s silly. Next, explore the market demand for each listed item. Keep in mind that you’re not looking to create something nobody has ever thought of. You’re looking for a niche or a fresh angle. 

For example, let’s say your idea is to make coats for dogs. Well, dog clothing is a pretty saturated market, so your mission might be to find a niche within the dog-clothing market that people would be interested in paying for. Maybe pet owners wish more coats had comfortable ear coverings for their dogs, but there aren’t many options available. There’s your in. 

2. Shore up your weaknesses. (Trust me, you have some).

It’s hard to turn an honest, critical eye onto your ideas, but you have to if you hope to succeed. What are you lacking? Where are the weakest points in your plan? Will people care enough about your idea to pay money for it? The best-laid plans almost always have blind spots and oversights, so before you move forward, it’s wise to approach your idea from every possible angle. 

For the most helpful feedback, step outside of your immediate friend and family circles. If possible, float your ideas to successful entrepreneurs and mentors. They will be brutally honest, and they’ll often help you think of potential roadblocks or problems that were in your blind spots. If you take this feedback seriously, you’ll be able to shore up your weaknesses early on and avoid catastrophic pitfalls later in the development process. 

3. Do the “little things” better than everyone else

Just because you aren’t inventing something brand new doesn’t mean that you can’t still offer novelty! There is always room for improvement and innovation, so you just have to find those “little things” and decide how to do them better. 

Let’s go back to the dog-coat business plan. Maybe you’ve done your research, and you noticed that there’s an opportunity to offer extended sizing, better fabrics or more personalization options than the competition. On an even more nuanced level, maybe you’ve figured out a way to offer more streamlined checkouts or do virtual try-ons via your website. 

The point here is to find creative ways to gain an edge in the market before you jump in. Innovation doesn’t have to be limited to your primary products and services. It’s the little things that will recommend you over the competition, and this can be the difference between success and failure. Many startups fail because they don’t pay enough attention to customer needs, so this is a worthwhile investment of time and effort.

Related: 4 Ways to Pull Ahead of Your Competitors in Business

4. Listen to your investors. (Especially if they’re critical).

If you’re at the investor stage of your plan, then it’s important to pay attention when they speak. Think of your investors as mentors who believe in your idea just as much as you do. However, investors also have a quite literal stake in the success of your idea, and they’re less emotionally invested than you. This, plus their business acumen, gives them a better perspective on your venture. 

Investors may not always have positive things to say about your concepts and the next steps of your plan. Rejection stings, and criticism is hard to hear, but getting this kind of informed feedback is invaluable. You’re getting a free chance to go back to the drawing board and make a more solid and detailed plan of action before you sink time and money into your venture.

5. Focus on unconventional ways to explore the bigger picture

Premature scaling is a proven way to fail spectacularly. This doesn’t mean that you have to think inside the box when it comes to growth, however. There are other ways to increase your reach and work toward a larger purpose. 

Many consumers across the globe prefer to buy from a brand that aligns with their personal values and believe that companies they support should be trying to make the world a better place. 

Looking for avenues to increase your social impact and define your brand values is a simple way to explore the bigger picture and cultivate trust, loyalty and continued interest in your company.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Purpose-Driven Businesses Can Help You Find Better Hires, Mentors and Investors

Trying to be “first” in most industries is a recipe for disappointment and disaster. To succeed, you need to pivot your thinking toward how to offer your product or service in a way that’s different or better than the competition. Balancing unconventional thinking with practical solutions is the key to keeping your startup from fizzling out. 

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The woolly mammoth was last seen roughly 10,000 years ago, during the Ice Age. Can bringing it back help cool our warming planet now?

Courtesy of Colossus

That’s the bold idea put forward by Colossal, a bioscience and genetics engineering company that launches today — and is backed by Harvard University and some of the world’s most forward-thinking scientists.

Fighting climate change with mammoths may seem crazy, but it has decades of research behind it — including the work of George Church, Ph.D., a world-renowned pioneer in genomics. Church runs a lab at Harvard and has been exploring how to genetically re-engineer the woolly mammoth using its closest living relative, the Asian Elephant.

The reason is this: One of the greatest threats to the earth is the melting of the arctic permafrost and its massive release of the greenhouse gasses that are stored safely in its freeze. When the herds of woolly mammoth and other animals vanished,  that area became  covered with a forest that keeps the earth warmer. Church is betting on the idea that a resurrected population of the mammoths, if let loose in the arctic, would chomp and stomp down the bush and trees, exposing the earth to subzero temperatures and allowing the tundra’s original grasslands to grow back. That ecosystem, maintained by the large creatures, would then effectively sequester carbon, rather than allowing it back into the atmosphere.

In the process of reviving the mammoth, Colossal says, it will also develop technologies that can help people and the planet in a multitude of other ways. “We’ve found a way to harness CRISPR’s power for species de-extinction,” Church says. “However, gene editing has the potential to impact all aspects of life — from animal de-extinction and ecosystem restoration, to disease prevention and creating more sustainable human bodies.”

And of course, humans will be able to reunite with one of our most romanticized extinct animals — that shaggy creature with magnificent tusks that swoop like a double staircase.

Although Church has been doing this research for years, it wasn’t until a big-thinking Texan serial entrepreneur named Ben Lamm came along that   anyone created a company to put it into practice.

Lamm has founded five previous startups, and his most recent, Hypergiant, is working on carbon-gobbling algae reactors, satellite constellations operated from a mobile phone, and internet service to Mars. But in May of 2021, Lamm stepped down as CEO to co-found Colossal with Church and three others, because he was so compelled by the radical approach to fighting climate change.

Will this zany woolly mammoth idea work? What if they can’t scale a population big enough to cut down the forest? What if their proxy species causes unforeseen repercussions? What if the cost is prohibitive?

But what if … it works? Lamm says it’s worth taking that moonshot. Here, he discusses the wild new enterprise and some of its implications.

 

Tell me about the jump from Hypergiant into a Colossal. I do note a similar vibe in the name.

I like big things [laugh]. And I think the brand should represent the mission of what you’re doing. Woolly mammoths are not small and this undertaking is not small. 

So yeah, I was familiar with George’s work, and then about two and half years ago I read this article on his desire to bring back the Woolly Mammoth. And I thought, well, that’s a cool idea. But first, can he do it? And then should he do it? So I started reading other articles about Pleistocene rewilding and how we can return the arctic back to grasslands, and about genetic rescue and species preservation. Between now and 2050, it’s projected that we’re going to lose [up to] 50% of all biodiversity on earth — and how can you genetically catalog that? So I just picked up the phone and was like, “Can I speak to Dr. George Church?” 

You personally called or had your assistant call?

No, no, no. I called. And we talked. I didn’t sleep that night. And within two months I was at the lab. What I found was that all the hard science had been solved. To achieve the goal was really a factor of funding. So we started a plan.

When you talk about bringing back the woolly mammoth and other extinct species, the idea is to tweak the genomes so they can survive in a new habitat—and even use the same techniques to help species on the verge of extinction overcome what’s killing them off?

Exactly. 

Colossal has an exclusive license deal with Harvard. Was that hard to negotiate?

We worked on it for quite a while. But in the end, we were able to secure exclusively on the technologies around de-extinction. We also entered into sponsored research so we have an ongoing relationship with the Church lab continuing to innovate on some of these technologies.

What’s the estimated cost to get to woolly? I would think the $15 million you have raised wouldn’t go very far. 

This is just a seed round and we have enough capital to get to viable embryos. But we will go out and raise a Series A at the appropriate time. The capital that we have raised so far wasn’t the traditional Sand Hill roadshow. We’ve been very selective. We’re going to build a lot of technologies that we think can monetize over time, but you need to have the right type of investor to focus on that. And I think we did a really good job of pulling together the Thomas Tulls and the Richard Garriotts who really support the mission and the science. 

Fair enough, but, if you had to ballpark a cost? 

George has been working on this for years. Understanding the trait verification that creates the shaggy coat, the distributed fat, the cold tolerant hemoglobin, and the small ears of a Woolly Mammoth — all that work’s been done. But genetic engineering is expensive. We don’t have a hard estimate on how much it costs to make a mammoth, though we’ve got some good ideas.

And how long do you think it will take? 

Our goal was to have our first calves in the next four to six years. And it takes 18 to 22 months for the gestation of an elephant as we know it today. Then it takes about 13 years for an elephant to reach sexual maturity.

What kinds of commercial applications are you imagining?  

I think of us as similar to the Apollo Program, because many incredibly valuable and monetizable technologies come out of that — like GPS and the fundamentals of the internet. With Colossal I think we’ll develop some really strong advancements in being able to edit genotypes and phenotypes, for example. Also we’re working to figure out whether we use surrogacy or artificial wombs. So we’ll have a de-extinction toolkit that we can also use to preserve species that are critically endangered, which goes under the umbrella of thoughtful, disruptive conservation, which is a big mantra of the company.

What’s to stop bad actors from using some of these technologies to tweak a species into some kind of monster? As a company, how do you deal with those concerns? 

As long as we’re transparent, people can hold us accountable. Our scientific advisory board includes top scientists, top bioethicists, top conservationists. You know, genetic technologies like CRISPR have so much opportunity to advance the world—from better crops to curing genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia. Hopefully our focus on the Woolly Mammoth will also be an inspiring story that brings more awareness to conservation and climate change around the world.

What other species are dear to your heart?
The Sumatran Rhino and the Tasmanian Devil are two I’d like to save. People think of Tasmanian Devils as Looney Tunes and guys spiraling around in a tornado, but they’re actually these feisty, cute little creatures. And the species is being attacked by inbreeding and diseases.

But I have also really fallen in love with the Woolly Mammoth. Like, we should be so lucky that 10,000 years from now, after we’re gone, we’ll be adored like this creature that no one’s ever seen.

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The Madrid Innovation Driven Ecosystem (MIDE) platform, focused on promoting the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Spanish capital, announced the startups that will participate in its third international Bootcamp . In the list of the 16 that make up this group, there are four Mexican startups , whose projects will compete with others from Chile, Peru and, of course, Spain.

MIDE vía Twitter

“This is the first time that MIDE opens the program to the participation of new countries in Latin America, in addition to Mexico, and also to Madrid startups ,” the platform said in a statement.

The selected projects belong to the Health, Foodtech, Fintech, Mobility, Industry 4.0 and Infrastructure sectors.

What is the Madrid Innovation Driven Ecosystem (MIDE) bootcamp about?

Participating startups will enter a free intensive training with international specialists and specialized mentoring from September 13 to 21.

This training is oriented towards growth through internationalization , as the sixteen startups advance in their projects. Ultimately, six of them will be chosen to perform at an open Pitch Session on September 21.

Later, from September 22 to October 8, meetings will be held between the best startups in the program and various companies and institutions, both Spanish and Latin American. The purpose is to connect entrepreneurs and businessmen “to explore synergies and business opportunities,” they explain.

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Mexican pride

The four Mexican startups that got their pass to the third Intercational Bootcamp of the MIDE in Spain are:

  • Agroware. It helps modernize agricultural businesses with user-friendly and user-friendly software to manage management, production, quality control, and traceability.
  • Apphive. Web platform that allows the generation of complex applications, such as delivery platforms with payment tracking, at a fraction of the cost and in less time.
  • Has-IT. IoT platform that allows monitoring processes, reducing losses and improving administration.
  • Logiety. Pioneers in the use of machine learning in the six-digit tariff classification of the WTO harmonized system.

Here is the complete list of the startups that will compete against the representatives of Mexico for a place in the final Pitch session:

Spain

  • COLFEED4Print. CSIC spin-off , dedicated to the manufacture and commercialization of functional filaments for 3D printing.
  • The Most Cute. Leading company in women’s fashion rental.
  • Meep. It offers MaaS solutions that integrate all available modes of transport in a single platform and that allow users to plan, book and pay for multimodal routes.
  • Tantum. Payment platform that integrates the different digital e-wallet solutions in local businesses, online stores, social networks, ecommerce and more.

chili

  • BloomAlert. SaaS platform for oceanographic risk management based on satellite information.
  • Chattigo. It improves the quality of response of companies to their clients through Human Attention and Artificial intelligence applied to ChatBots.
  • Fracttal SPA. Asset maintenance system in the Microsoft Azure and AWS cloud, which allows you to carry all kinds of documentation and traceability of work orders and maintenance plans, information in real time, management of guarantees and documents.
  • Soquimat. Scientific-technological-based company that is developing a smart coating , which incorporates nanoparticles.

Peru

  • Chazki. Platform for the B2B delivery service for those places in Latin America that need to cover last-mile logistics.
  • eBombo. They create virtual activities to enhance entertainment within companies and also manage esports tournaments.
  • Finsmart. Peruvian fintech that unites SMEs in need of liquidity and investors seeking to invest in their receivables (crowdfactoring).
  • FractalUp. All-in-one platform instrumented, flexible and self-configuring in the cloud, responsible from the conservation of knowledge and the identification of talent to real-time supervision.

This bootcamp is a connection initiative of MIDE , in collaboration with its partner TheCUBE and in which institutional partners from the four participating countries participate: the Community of Madrid and the Madrid City Council of Spain; Bancomext and Nafin de México; Utec Ventures, Emprende UP and The Board of Peru, and ProChile of Chile.

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A year of great challenges, that is what 2020 was like for the Latin American economies. The urgent need to innovate to face the crisis caused by COVID-19 has represented an enormous challenge for the countries of the region.

Gabriella Clare Marino vía Unsplash

Facing this reality has not been easy for Mexico, however, thanks to the potential, talent and creativity of Mexican entrepreneurs, innovation became a priority and the main force to maintain a competent and growing economy.

According to the results of the World Innovation Index 2020 , prepared each year by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) , Mexico ranks second among the most innovative countries in Latin America , being surpassed only by Chile.

Out of a total of 16 countries evaluated in the region, Chile leads the area with a score of 33.9 in the ranking , followed by Mexico with a record of 33.6 points and in third place is Costa Rica with 33.5 points . However, the study reveals that Latin America and the Caribbean still continue to be an area with significant imbalances in terms of innovation.

This edition’s report highlights that, despite some encouraging initiatives, public and private investments in research and development are low, and that the use of intellectual property systems is still incipient. Proof of this is that Chile and Mexico, leaders in innovation in the region, do not appear until number 54 and 55 in the world ranking , respectively.

Despite the above, there are satisfactory initiatives that are important and worth highlighting, such as the fact that Mexico is one of the few Latin American countries that has shown growth and managed to improve its ranking compared to 2019 , when it ranked number one. 56 of the ranking .

Regarding the improvement in business sophistication, Mexico ranks 59th, while in creative results it ranks 54th. In the first place, the sub-pillar of knowledge absorption is the one that has had the most growth, thanks to performance improvements in the indicators of high technology imports, FDI inflows and research talent in companies.

In fact, our country stands out internationally for being the world’s largest exporter of creative goods and services , according to this study.

Additionally, thanks to its leading brands, Corona, Claro and Telcel, Mexico ranks 30th worldwide in the new global brand value indicator, with a total of 81 brands among the top 5000 . It is also among the top 10 in the world in indicators of high and medium-high technology manufacturing production, in that of high technology net exports, as well as in the indicator of inputs of ease of obtaining credit.

These results are very promising for Mexico and show that it is moving towards a new economy. And it is necessary to understand that a country with greater strengths in the field of innovation, with more demanding consumers, more dynamic companies, more prepared workers and a promoter government, will always be better prepared to face the challenges that arise and, above all, to remain competent and to continue growing in the global market.

These results are very promising for Mexico and show that progress is being made towards a new economy / Image: Joseph Barrientos via Unsplash

Complete results of the Global Innovation Index 2020

The 2020 world ranking was led by Switzerland, with a score of 66.08, followed by Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Germany and South Korea. The countries at the bottom of the ranking are Yemen, Guinea, Myanmar, Niger and Ethiopia. In the case of Latin America, the best rated country is Chile, which ranks 54th (score: 33.86), followed by Mexico (55th place), Costa Rica (56), Brazil (62), Colombia (68) , Uruguay (69), Panama (73), Peru (76) and Argentina (80). Behind these are countries with smaller and less developed economies, such as the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras and Guatemala.

It should be noted that every year WIPO collects innovation results from 131 countries worldwide. This ranking is structured from the measurement of 80 indicators with which innovation is explored from a broad perspective, which includes the political environment, education, technology, infrastructure, business development and now also the value of the brand .

The report is considered relevant due to the close and positive relationship that exists between the increase in innovation and the development of a Nation. Therefore, the results give the possibility to the different sectors in charge, both public and private, to elaborate the policies to continue working on the evolution and see how the progress of a country in terms of innovation is presented.

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A giant of a man towers over a smaller, weaker opponent. It’s a dramatic mismatch, where the smaller opponent is facing a seemingly inevitable pummeling. This is the classic picture depicted in the tale of David versus Goliath, but as many are aware, this story ends with an unexpected victory. The smaller, feeble-looking opponent, David, uses his slingshot and clever strategy of keeping a distance to do the impossible and bring down his far stronger opponent. 

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that this story bears important lessons for other situations where the seemingly overmatched opponent can use his or her “disadvantage” to win. I was naturally skeptical, but when I founded my own company and achieved success amid several Goliaths, I became a believer. 

Related: How to Compete With Big Corporations and Win

Here are a few key lessons to help you do the same.

Don’t fight on Goliath’s terms

Had David engaged in close-range combat (presumably like every other failed challenger), we would never have heard of him; instead, he used a slingshot. In business terms, this means challenging both the giants’ products and their business models to gain an advantage. Rethinking industry “musts” is critical for paving the path to an unexpected victory.

Disrupting the market by challenging old norms has become the core element of the success story for industry giants like Airbnb and Uber. When the market-leading accommodation providing company owns no real estate and a wildly popular transportation business owns no vehicles, it’s clear that the rules of the game are more flexible than ever.

In the PR-software market, the prevailing model was that long-term contracts were the only sustainable way to do business, and pricing was to be negotiated, not presented transparently. When it came to the product itself, the database of journalists served as the heart of the product, with large teams attentively finding and correcting information.

We achieved growth by offering more cost-effective options with flexible contracts. While larger agencies and companies — which we also serve — will often opt for many seats and preferential pricing via a long-term plan, our flexibility and SaaS pricing model allow us to provide a largely unchallenged option to neglected small-mid agencies, SMBs and freelancers. 

On the product side, we knew we couldn’t support a big team to check every contact manually, nor could we differentiate ourselves by building a database-first offering. Instead, we created a CRM-focused product, one that automated many of the most time-consuming processes for PR pros, from pitch tracking to building data-based reports; it allows us to provide a compelling offering while cutting costs.

Related: How to Compete in a Competitive Industry

Stay nimble

David’s victory hinged on slinging carefully aimed rocks that struck Goliath from a distance. It was the result of a high level of skill aimed at precisely the right area, an almost perfect metaphor for product development when facing bigger competitors. Our team is about 20 people total while competitors have teams of hundreds of programmers working on their products. That disparity has turned into a significant advantage for us thanks to having a remarkably agile team that automates the right processes and develops features that will make a difference.

Paypal shot to prominence in large part due to its skilled team, which developed ways to automate significant aspects of payment processing and risk assessment — with a modest-sized human team to make sure the algorithms got it right. Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, who were part of the original PayPal crew and have gone on to other spectacular ventures, provide a perfect example of this. A core group of agile and competent experts that makes automation the bread and potatoes and human curation the gravy brings far more value than an army of workers who have no algorithms behind them.

While it might not seem like an underdog nowadays, it’s important to remember that Paypal came on to the scene as a no-name entity competing against industry titans like MasterCard and Visa. Presumably, Paypal was at a disadvantage, but the company embraced automation to overcome it and moved more quickly with less red tape and the often conservative thinking that sidelines bloated behemoths.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Are Combining Data and Tech to Compete

Double down on your expertise

David doubled down on his slingshot skills, but it’s another concept that describes one of the greatest advantages that small companies have, the Japanese phrase “genchi genbutsu,” or “go and see for yourself.” The idea is that those who have first-hand experience are better equipped to make decisions or create. 

My personal experience was running a PR agency, and that also happens to be one of our leading sales targets. That’s no coincidence. Unlike more prominent companies chock full of MBA and management generalists, I faced the challenges I’m solving and can understand my customers’ perspectives. No number of focus groups or surveys can make up for experience, and it’s guided our product from automated reports to sharing best pitch times and open rates of journalists across the system.

In business, David doesn’t need to slay Goliath. Most markets have plenty of room for multiple players, and it’s nearly impossible for one platform to be masterful in every way. Yet, embracing the David persona and structuring your solution on your terms, staying nimble and doubling down on your expertise can produce a tremendous advantage.

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There are many reasons an entrepreneur would want to create multiple passive income streams. Some people do this because they enjoy the work and how it makes them feel, while others might try to increase their savings account balance. The following blog post will cover 6 reasons why every entrepreneur should create multiple passive income streams!

Financial Independence & Freedom

It’s difficult to pinpoint how many reasons there are for every entrepreneur should create multiple passive income streams, because this will differ depending on the person.

However, it is easy to see how beneficial having passive income streams really is! People who have these types of investments seem happier and more fulfilled in life. They also sleep well at night knowing their bills will get paid no matter what happens regarding how much work they do or don’t receive.

Not only does it help them become financially free, but mentally as well! There’s something that just feels good about being able to say you’re not dependent upon if your primary business succeeds (and I hope it does!). With this, you can earn money that doesn’t even require your presence anymore.

Many Ways to Create Multiple Passive Income Streams

It’s not easy, but it can be done! You don’t need a lot of money either – you just need the drive and knowledge of how to make this happen for yourself. Once you set your mind on something, there isn’t much that will stop you from making it come true!

There are many different ways that entrepreneurs can go about creating multiple passive income sources. Some of them include:

  • writing an ebook,
  • getting paid by companies to try out their products & services for reviews
  • starting up an online store selling things like clothing or food items
  • blogging about certain topics which get readers clicking on ads;
  • and building an online membership site where people buy access to your information.

More traditional ways of how to create a passive income include:

  • buying real estate,
  • starting an e-commerce store with your own products or services,
  • and investing in stocks or index funds.

If you learn, practice and adapt how to make this work for you, the possibilities are endless!

Creating Passive Income Streams is a Brilliant Method to Invest Money

If you’re interested in how some entrepreneurs could retire before they turned 40, then this next fact might interest you. Many of them had multiple passive income streams!

It’s not always about how much money you make, even though that certainly helps – it’s how well the money is used and invested. If using the extra cash for traveling or buying more things isn’t what someone wants out of life, there are better ways to handle it than just letting it sit around doing nothing.

Building up multiple sources of passive income ensures that no matter what happens with any source (i.e., a sudden loss of income), you still have the others to keep going and fund the lifestyle you want!

Creating Passive Income Streams is Easier Than You Think

If someone has been making money from their job, then they likely know how easy it can be for things like taxes or having bills automatically deducted out of one’s paycheck to make life easier for them

Instead of doing everything yourself manually (i.e., paying multiple bills each month with checks written by hand), there are some extra steps that can be taken to simplify the process even more – such as automating payments so everyone gets paid correctly and promptly.

This example is like when people first learn how passive income works – many people think it’s going to be difficult and complicated, but in reality, that couldn’t be further from how things really are!

Take the time to learn how to create each income stream before diving right into it. Here, video tutorials, mentors, and industry thought leaders will play a crucial role so that you can minimize mistakes.

Improved Mental and Physical Wellbeing

Money isn’t the only thing that’s affected when someone has multiple sources of income. For example, having passive income reduces stress levels while helping entrepreneurs feel more fulfilled with what they’re doing – which can lead to better physical and mental health.

Every bit counts, so even if you don’t have hundreds or thousands of dollars each month coming in already (unlike others), there still might be enough room to add one extra stream here and there until your life changes too!

Remember to keep a positive outlook on life and stay humble and optimistic. And never neglect your personal needs, such as exercising, eating well, and resting. Because you can’t enjoy your money if you’re dead.

Improved Quality of Life

If there’s one thing that people can agree on about multiple streams of passive income, then this would probably be it: everyone benefits from having more money!

If you think about how much energy and effort goes into earning a certain amount of cash in order to pay bills or buy things like food items at stores – wouldn’t you rather have some help along the way too?

Whether working as an employee or running your own business, if your job involves getting paid every month, why not set up ways to automate how that happens instead?

If someone isn’t even trying to add multiple sources of passive income, then they’re leaving a lot on the table in terms of how their life could change – and so much more!

The Best Time to Learn How Multiple Sources of Passive Income Works is Now!

In conclusion, there are many benefits to creating multiple passive income streams. For example, a person can have more money and a better quality of life with less stress. Not only is it easier than you think, but the help available will make it worth your while! Get started today by clicking this link to learn how to make online passive income streams.

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Work with fewer barriers among and across teams and their unique people.

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September 6, 2021 5 min read

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All too often, the concept of diversity rests in a siloed HR department. The idea of diversification is too big for that one silo though — and it’s also too big, and too important to innovation, to be limited by any one set of terms. Just as we consider race and gender, it is also important to consider factors like cognitive diversity and acquired (experience) diversity in teams, especially as part of cross-team collaboration. Un-siloing for diversity requires new ways of working with fewer barriers among and across teams and their unique people. Bringing together wider varieties of backgrounds and skills fosters the greatest shot at the greatest innovation, something known to be directly tied to diversity. 

Related: Why You Need Diversity on Your Team, and 8 Ways to Build It

The problem with silos

Conjuring up an image of a silo, it tells a story: vertical in structure and made for bulk storage of things like a single type of grain, silos are well-sealed to minimize air flow. Too often, work silos are the same, with each silo made up of people who are very alike and serving its one specific purpose, not sharing what is contained within their silo with others. My company has written on the dangers of working in silos, ranging from duplicating efforts and poor information sharing to power struggles, none of which sound like factors designed to yield optimal performance. By contrast, and appropriately for a cloud communications and collaboration company, we find that un-siloed, more collaborative approaches from a variety of employees throughout our departments and at various career levels within our organization have yielded some of our best work. Reading the press, it often feels like we’re unicorns in that regard. For example, when researching for this piece, I came across a recent article about cross-silo leadership that suggests cultural brokers are needed in order to cross boundaries between silos. I submit that if it’s that hard to collaborate in your company, you’re just plain doing it wrong. Throwing out the silo and adding another layer of management to it won’t solve the fundamental problem. Plus, not even the very best management can help broker trust inside or outside of a silo that looks, thinks, and acts remarkably alike. 

Solving for enhanced diversity and inclusion

When considering diversity in a corporate context, oftentimes the conversation centers around hiring and census factors like race, gender, and age. Having a diverse representation of those elements has shown to be beneficial in many ways, including predicting greater levels of financial success. Considerations of diversity in a company don’t begin and end in HR alone though, as matters of diversification also are important to take into account when composing work teams, and not just in those census-defined ways. For example, at first glance, a conference room of 10 people may look optically like the pinnacle of diversity. If that team doesn’t have representation from throughout the company’s hierarchy though, as well as from throughout various departments that share goals — if the table isn’t un-siloed — are our goals of diverse representation truly met then around that table? 

To yield optimal outcomes for a company that values collaboration, projects involving un-siloed cross-teams must not be homogenous, comprised solely of those performing similar job functions at similar stages in their career (which too often means of similar age as well), let alone who even look alike. Yours isn’t an un-siloed company if, by breaking the silo, all you’re doing is spilling the same grain out onto the ground in a different shape; the airflow may be better but chances are nothing new is going to form without adding some other ingredients. For example, hierarchical diversity may occur within a specific department; a manager always meets with her whole team at times. Among teams that cross-collaborate though, who is sent to meetings to sit around the table? Why might it be important for someone who’s junior in one department to be exposed to the thinking of someone who’s an executive in another? Composing teams that include staff from entry-level to upper-management better serves companies with regard to the bottom line as well as to staff retention and promotion — and ultimately to innovation. After all, inspiration isn’t a one-way street. Junior staff can be mentors to senior staff just as readily as the other way around. Some have gone so far as to suggest that top-down management is dead. After all, this isn’t the industrial age anymore; networks of teams are fast replacing hierarchy. 

Related: 5 Ways You Can Create a More Inclusive Workplace Immediately …

The final product of an integrated, un-siloed, diverse organization

To un-silo, companies must not only start collaborating across teams and across hierarchies, but they also need to look around the table at each individual and ask two key things: one, what does that person contribute to growing and innovating the project at hand; and two, what can that person contribute to growing and innovating the other people around the table? The latter is going to matter for the next project, and the next. Unsiloing for diversity means working in a new way that maximizes collaboration among a wider variety of people, product teams, and products. Achieving that level of synchronicity all at once through maximizing collaboration is the pinnacle of un-siloing — truly going against the grain. 

Related: 5 Tips for Dealing Better with Workplace Diversity

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Corporate investment is an efficient way to help meet a corporation’s vision by harnessing the power of startup innovation.

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September 5, 2021 4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bringing innovation to a corporate environment is inherently challenging. Many firms have established research and development or corporate development teams, but not innovation teams. Since corporations have complex organizational charts with any array of divisions and people, it’s hard for any one team to have a complete view of the big picture. Intrapreneurship programs may inspire internal innovation, but this is an expensive and risky model to support.

The nature of corporate venture capital

The popularity of corporate venture capital (VC) has varied over the years. Firms like Boeing and Dell have eliminated their internal VC teams, yet CB Insights reports that big tech companies increased their startup investments from $7.6 billion in 2019 to $16.7 billion in the first eight months of 2020. Google Ventures, Intel Capital and Qualcomm are examples of successful corporate VC organizations. However, it’s a model that’s hard to replicate. According to CB Insights, 80% of S&P 500 companies do not have an internal investment team.

The objective of corporate investment is to help meet a company’s vision by harnessing the power of innovation. Startups are inherently disruptive and are the most reliable source of such innovation. They typically fill technology gaps for the corporation and they might bring access to new customers and/or markets. Investing can be a more efficient way to access such resources relatively quickly.

However, it’s challenging for any corporation to identify which startups are well run and have the right solutions to improve its business. It’s also difficult to put an internal VC team in place because it’s hard to identify smart, experienced people. They are expensive to hire — especially in markets like Silicon Valley — and it’s hard to motivate them to stick around. A corporation might spend millions of dollars to assemble even a small internal team. Once in place, personnel are always at risk of considering competitive job offers.

Related: I have a little extra money, where do I invest it?

Solving the problem

Outsourcing corporate innovation — sometimes referred to as venture capital-as-a-service — is an effective way to find innovation in a flexible and affordable manner. In this scenario, the corporation partners with a VC firm; they agree upon performance indicators upfront and the VC firm is accountable to meeting them. The Wall Street Journal reports that about 75 percent of venture-backed firms in the U.S. don’t return investor’s capital, so it makes sense to rely on experienced venture capitalists to make such investments.

Outsourcing corporate venture capital may be more cost-effective compared to creating an internal investment team. What’s more, this approach allows the corporation to pivot and modify its priorities anytime. The VC firm will adjust strategy and modify its scale depending on the client’s needs.

Since VCs research and build strong relationships, they’re able to identify which startup teams have the right technology and innovation to benefit their corporate partner. Startups — typically protective of their intellectual property — might be more willing to share their technology secrets with a reputable VC firm than a corporation, since they might fear the corporation will take advantage of these secrets without making an investment.  

Since successful startups have no shortage of potential investors, the existing relationships of established VC firms makes it easier for them to secure an investment. On the corporate side, the company benefits from almost immediate access to new technology and innovation, without the headache of establishing an internal team.

Related: The Rise of Alternative Venture Capital

Looking ahead

We expect corporate venture capital to continue evolving over time, with a few firms succeeding and the majority likely struggling to make it work. Farming out investment expertise to an experienced, knowledgeable VC firm with a solid team is often a smart way to succeed in an affordable, less risky way. Doing so helps bring incredible innovation to benefit people all over the world.

Related: How We Can Beat Venture Capital’s Diversity Problem

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September 1, 2021 7 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 1972, Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class at Reed College guided by campus posters he saw after leaving school. The fonts on the posters themselves were artistic enough to get his attention, and he took the class, despite knowing that it wouldn’t give him any credit toward a degree.

Today’s designers and marketers have nearly limitless fonts and creative user interfaces for our digital devices. In a world dominated by ones and zeros, we all owe Jobs a debt of gratitude for bringing creativity to the world of technology.

Without a doubt, Jobs was hooked on the creativity of calligraphy . But there were essential extra elements of creativity that the class instilled in their minds that many entrepreneurs can use to reshape their brand and compete at a higher level.

Creativity: it is a muscle that you can exercise.

All human beings are born creative and have the ability to exercise and develop their creative muscle.

We encourage our children to experiment, express themselves, and explore creatively. Drawing outside the lines is not frowned upon until you sign up for an architecture class.

However, as we begin our journey toward reading, writing, and arithmetic, the outlets for creativity diminish. Without constantly expressing ourselves, such as muscle atrophy, our creative muscles also lose their strength if they are not exercised.

Jobs intuitively knew how to expand his creative muscle when he invested his time in a calligraphy class at Reed. In his 2005 Stanford commencement speech , he talked about his calligraphy class and said:

“I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about how to vary the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typeface great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating . “

Taking a class or course that focuses on creativity, for no other reason besides artistic expression, can naturally turn into creativity for business.

Processes: learn from alternate industries

We learn primarily through our vision. Our minds are visually connected and with tens of millions of images competing for our attention, but we can only process a very small percentage of them.

Do you remember the last time you were going to buy a car? Before deciding on that Subaru, you may have never noticed them on the road. After narrowing down your search, you will see them everywhere. That is our brain that filters the content with our reticular activation system.

Unfortunately, with limited resources of time and visual acuity, we tend to learn only from the leaders in our own industry. I’m pretty sure Jobs didn’t intend to create wedding invitations as a calligrapher, but as he immersed himself in the art of calligraphy , the act of calligraphy opened up creativity in other areas. Calligraphy not only increased his creative muscle, but during the creative process, creativity naturally spread to other areas: computers .

In the book ‘Me, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words’, the tech icon stated: “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough points to connect and end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader the understanding of human experience, the better design we’ll have . “

If you are in the service industry, study best manufacturing practices. This can even be applied to segments within your industry. If you are involved in marketing, study economics or history.

Experiential: turn off the computer

While drawing curves with ink and paper is an important separation of the bits and bytes of the computer world, there is an unspoken element of creativity and muscle memory that is often overlooked.

Handwrite.

A recent study from John Hopkins University demonstrated the power of experiential learning specifically with the written word. While writing by hand follows the path to the extinction of the Dodo bird, because of the ease of a computer keyboard, this study found that pencils and paper shouldn’t be thrown away so quickly. In a study of 42 adults learning Arabic, handwriting helped participants learn the language surprisingly faster and significantly better than learning the same material by typing or watching videos.

Jotting down ideas or keeping a journal by hand has been shown to unlock greater creativity in our minds and in our work.

Flow: turn off your brain

Creativity, like losing weight, cannot be perfected in one sitting. Plus, anyone who’s had brilliant ideas in the shower knows that eliminating distractions opens up their creative flow.

It is very valuable to empty your mind, meditate or take a walk in the woods. We can certainly draw ideas from other works of art, copies, and business models. But modifying an idea is not the same as creating it. There is a clear distinction between evolution and revolution . Both have their place, but the most important advances in business and society do not come from the evolution of an idea, but from the revolution of a completely new way of looking at the world.

Turning off distractions and putting yourself in a cool environment creates fertile ground to exercise your creative muscle.

Being creative, attentive, and curious can unlock the hidden value of your brand. Steve Jobs chose not only the skill of calligraphy, but a whole mindset to think creatively and give something unique.

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