Recent Blogs

How to Build a Pitch Deck – How to Pitch

Here’s a one-hour – Building a Pitch Deck and How to Pitch – presentation I had the honor of doing recently for The Next Society to a room full of entrepreneurs from the MENA region. And, I did this in Milan, Italy which I think is cool as I’m living in Nice, France; and was born in Paris, and grew up and lived most of my life in New York City. It was a real spaghetti bowl of nationalities and stories.

I Hope you enjoy it. Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

And here’s the actual deck from the presentation:

Patrick KEDZIORA – how to build a pitch deck – how to pitch – presentation online

How to Steal Like Steve Jobs – A Presentation In French

Here’s a fifteen-minute presentation on How to Steal Like Steve Jobs that I did in French for one of the local entrepreneur groups in Sophia-Antipolis, a large tech park near Nice, France. It’s a very condensed part of a full-day workshop I do on “stealing” like Picasso and Steve Jobs to come up with the next unicorn and come up with winning products, services and designs.

Please share this and drop me a line.

This video is in French (I speak both English and French with native fluency). I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to record myself doing this presentation in English (I have, I just haven’t recorded it), and when I do I’ll post it.

 

 

Many thanks go out to the folks who’ve done similar presentation who inspired me to spread the word that “the more things change the more they remain the same”.

How to Pick Winning Startup Teams

Here’s a thirty-minute presentation on How to Pick Winning Startup Tech Teams I recently did for a room full of Russian angel investors at the annual Volga Angels conference in Samara, Russia (that’s where the Russians build their rockets) in September 2018. This was my first time in Russia and I also did one of my one-day entrepreneurship seminars at Samara State University – there really were some very fundable ideas in that group!

Please do share this and please do let people know where it came from. Thanks!

I Hope you enjoy it. Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

And here’s the actual deck from the presentation with extensive notes:

Patrick KEDZIORA – TEAM PRESENTATION – Pdf with Notes

Global Entrepreneurship – The Importance of a second language as long as it’s English.

Absolutely nothing prevents you from doing business on a global scale if you only speak one language… as long as the one language you speak is English.

And, yes I can understand if you’re upset that you have to learn a foreign language when you have one that is perfectly suited to you. And, sure English is historically seen as the language of colonists and imperialists. And, perhaps that explains it’s pervasiveness. But, you can’t deny that it is what it is and that you can choose to either accept it or not.

I write this, not for the millions of people who already speak English as a second language (ESL); but for entrepreneurs who aspire to think and act globally and struggle with English.

I started a company several years ago called Kedzoh [http://www.kedzoh.com] with the idea of being a global company from day one. We won a major innovation award called Startup Chile and then won another innovation award called Startup Brazil and then won yet another award called French Tech Ticket. In fact, winning those three awards is how we bootstrapped ourselves with $250,000 of equity-free money. (And that will be a subject of a number of blog posts in the future so keep your eyes out for them.) But, for now, let’s stay focused on the importance English. What did these three programs have in common? Well, all three required that you fill in the application in English and not their home language.

Winning those awards also meant that I moved to Chile for six months which turned into two years and then moved to Brazil for one year and then moved to France – the things you’ll do for free money. In Chile they speak Spanish, which I could get by in when I arrived and in Brazil they speak Portuguese which I did not speak when I arrived. And yet, in both countries, I was able to work with teams of local talent – developers, designers, and salespeople. By this point, I’m sure you’ve guessed that the common language we all used was English. So, for a global, team English is an absolute must.

You’re also probably wondering about French since we won French Tech Ticket. Well, I’m fortunate, I grew up in New York City but always spoke French at home so I ended up speaking both languages with native fluency. The issue in France wasn’t about language but more about culture. But, that will be the topic for another blog.

But what about selling your product or service to clients? Truth be told, I plunged ahead in both Spanish and Portuguese, even though I was no expert in those languages at the time. What convinced potential customers was the fact that 1) I made the effort to speak their language and 2) my enthusiasm for what I was selling was contagious. So yes, speak English but if you only speak English PLEASE make the effort to learn at least some of the local language you’re selling in. Your customers and team members will greatly appreciate it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, the fact that you’re sincerely trying to make the effort means a great deal to people. So, JFDI.

And, as to which language I speak in most countries. It’s mostly English. It’s the one language I have in common with clients around the world and with team members around the world.

But, it’s what I call international English; which means that people may use certain words which are slightly different in their usage than in the US. And, that’s where speaking another language helps in ‘speaking” International English. By being aware of the subtle differences that an English word might have. By not using jargon or euphemisms that will be lost to someone who didn’t grow up in New York City – for example: saying to your team “let’s hit this one out of the ballpark”.

And, perhaps most importantly, grammar is not the most important thing when speaking English it’s whether or not you can be understood. By that, I mean, your accent. Is it so thick that people can’t understand the words you are speaking?  It won’t matter a bit if you speak perfect English if the words you say are simply indecipherable. It’s better that you speak with a light accent (we all have accents, even I do), that you ARTICULATE your words and that you are understood. Speak slowly. Pronounce each word. Communicating is not a speed contest. What matters most is that your listener understands you.

Therefore, If you’re embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, I hope you’ll have your sights set on conquering the world – with clients, investors, and team members. So, I recommend that if you are to have one skill it should be the ability to communicate with the largest number of people possible on the planet and the only way to do that is to speak English. It’s simple, make English among the first skills in the 101 skills of an entrepreneur you’ll need. zzz link.

So, bon voyage, buen viaje, boa viagem, and have a nice trip.

Was Shakespeare an Entrepreneur?

The meaning of words evolve over time. For example, in 1828 England the word “Entrepreneur” was defined as a “manager or promoter of a theatrical production”.

I think this is an excellent bookend to the French definition of Entrepreneur… “one who undertakes or gets things done“.

You can easily think of a startup as a theatrical production. There’s you – the CEO or theatrical manager – there’s your team or your actors, your stage or your infrastructure, your lighting or marketing materials, your script or product/service/code. And, you as the theatrical manager have to bring all the pieces together and promote your play or startup so all the seats in the theater are filled every night.

Moreover, plays are much more similar to startups than you might think. Most plays don’t start as finished products. Most undergo rewrites and improvements. In fact, many don’t even start on Broadway, they start off-Broadway; often in a small town where the play is refined, feedback is sought from customers and critics, and adjustments are made until a final play – or Minimum Viable Product – is refined until it’s ready to move out of Beta and become a full-fledged product ready to be released to the public. In fact, plays will even have scenes and acts change once they ‘ve launched on Broadway.

But with a startup this entire process is speeded up. With a startup you’ve generally only written the first act of the play while you’re promoting the play to fill the house, and as the play is being performed you’re busy writing the other acts of the play while continuing to sell seats to tomorrows performance. And then, the whole things starts all over again the next night.

So what does this have to do with Shakespeare (1564- 1616)?

Well, besides, being a playwright, poet and actor he was also a theatre entrepreneur and part-owner of a playing company, known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, biographers have traditionally described him as not only writing his plays but also concerned about the business and financial affairs of his company and that he “continued to act in various parts, such as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, Adam in As You Like It, and the Chorus in Henry V.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare%27s_life)

Indeed, the 101 hats of an entrepreneur.

THE 101 HATS OF AN ENTREPRENEUR

Being an entrepreneur literally means having to wear 101 hats.

One of my best friends will call and ask me “Which Patrick am I speaking with?”. And, I always laugh because he’s right. As the Founder & CEO of a tech company – Kedzoh – actually being the Founder & CEO is the least of what I do. Most of the time I’m wearing any number of hats. I thought I’d share with you what that list looks like. Don’t be daunted by the list. The ability to learn a new role or ‘expertise’ (i.e. product pricing) is part of what you do as an entrepreneur – you just continuously JFDI whatever needs to be done and learn how to do it.

Here’s my list of the hats I wear from time to time.

  1. Founder
  2. CEO
  3. CTO
  4. Chief Operating Officer
  5. Chief Financial Officer
  6. Chief Marketing Officer
  7. Chief Sales Officer
  8. Chief Liaison Officer
  9. Chief Investor Relations Officer
  10. Board member
  11. Visionary
  12. Evangelist
  13. Product manager
  14. Product designer
  15. Graphic artist
  16. Travel agent
  17. Public relations specialist
  18. Secretary
  19. Filing clerk
  20. Copier jockey
  21. Strategic planning manager
  22. Accountant
  23. Tax accountant
  24. Human Resource Director
  25. Training manager
  26. Hiring manager
  27. Firing manager
  28. Project manager
  29. UX designer
  30. Programmer
  31. Code herder
  32. Logistics manager
  33. Product pricing manager
  34. Cost accounting manager
  35. Excel jockey
  36. PowerPoint jockey
  37. Pitch deck jockey
  38. Pitch person
  39. WordPress jockey
  40. Web designer
  41. Website manager
  42. Photographer
  43. Model
  44. HTML jockey
  45. Paint jockey
  46. Photoshop jockey
  47. iMovie jockey
  48. Final Cut Pro jockey
  49. Product tester
  50. In-house legal counsel
  51. Options specialist
  52. common stock, preferred stock, convertible debt specialist
  53. Negotiator
  54. Domestic sales manager
  55. Country sales manager
  56. International manager
  57. Business development manager
  58. Joint venture manager
  59. Channel sales manager
  60. Technical support (level 1, level 2 and level 3)
  61. Training
  62. Customer support
  63. Client manager
  64. Social media manager
  65. Facebook manager
  66. Twitter manager
  67. LinkedIn manager
  68. WeChat manager
  69. Blog manager
  70. Posting manager
  71. Identity manager
  72. Marketing manager
  73. Brand manager
  74. Blogger
  75. Speech writer
  76. Networking specialist (human networking)
  77. Contact database manager
  78. Contact database input clerk
  79. Editor
  80. Writer
  81. Script writer
  82. Cameraman
  83. Video editor
  84. Sound editor
  85. Production assistant
  86. Production coordinator
  87. Actor
  88. Supporting actor
  89. Director
  90. Producer
  91. Furniture installer
  92. Carpenter
  93. Electrician
  94. Mover
  95. Delivery person
  96. PC and MAC installer
  97. PC and MAC technical support
  98. Software maintenance jockey
  99. Driver and chauffeur
  100. Cheerleader, friend, lover (not the kind you’re thinking of) and
  101. Chief cook and bottle washer

Excuse me, I have to end this post, my second phone is ringing. “Hello, this is Patrick. How may I help you?”.

Part III Becoming an Entrepreneur – ‘Entreprendre’ – The Origin & Meaning of the Word Entrepreneur

Erroll Flynn pirate

By serendipity I can across this origin and meaning of the word “entrepreneur” in some forgotten Google equivalent of Quora named Google Answers. It fits perfectly with what I’ve been saying in Part’s I and II about becoming an entrepreneur:

“The word entrepreneur comes from the 13th century French verb entreprendre, meaning  to do something or to undertake.”

I think that sums it up perfectly!

“By the 16th century, the noun entrepreneur, had emerged to refer to someone who undertakes a business venture. The first academic usage of the term was by economist Richard Cantillon in 1730. For Cantillion, the bearing of risk engaging in business without an assurance of the profits that will be derived is the distinguishing feature of an entrepreneur.” And, that’s an okay definition but it fails to capture the importance of the action the verb conveys: to do something, to undertake.

In short, being an entrepreneur should be thought of as a VERB, it’s all about action; not a NOUN that simply describes someone. I think a more modern definition and update to Cantillon’s should be: someone who does, someone who JFDIs… someone who has a passion to achieve something that is greater than themselves with no regard to being guaranteed any success or profit.

So to go forward in your understanding of becoming an entrepreneur by going back to the 13th century French verb and think entreprendre… to do and JFDI!

 

Part II Becoming an Entrepreneur – The Entrepreneurs Mantra – Top 10 Things You Need

popart 2016 smDon’t you just love all these top 10 lists? Do they even make sense?

Most of the lists I’ve seen all list some variation of: have a great team, find a great co-founder(s), build your MVP, pivot or don’t pivot, get to product market fit, have a revenue model, raise some money, etc…

Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t about any of those things.

It wasn’t until my third company that I really became an entrepreneur. How can that be you say? The fist I started while I still had a regular job and therefore had the cushion of a salary, the second I was a co-founder and we had a modest amount raised and I was drawing a salary, the third I received a small grant and covered my bills for six months. It’s what happened after those six months that made the difference.

I’ll never forget the day I realized the change. I was having lunch and a friend joined me (he’d had a company he’d been working on and had recently closed it). We got to talking and he looked at me and said “You know, you’ve become an entrepreneur.” I looked at him with a puzzled look and responded “What do you mean?”. ”Well…”, he said, “… you haven’t stopped talking about what you’re doing with your business. You’ve run out of money; but, you don’t seem to care. You’re knocking on all the doors you can. You’re doing whatever it takes to keep it going.” And, he was right. I was.

And, it struck me that being an entrepreneur isn’t about having the word ‘Founder” on your business card. It’s about being so passionate up about what you’re doing that you just keep going. You find a way forward. You find the money. You find that co-founder you’ve been looking for. You find those great developers you need. You just f’ing do it! And, you do it every day. There is no boss to tell you to get up and go to work. You are the boss. You get up because it’s what you do.

It’s your mantra: “I do therefore I am”. It’s the mantra of the entrepreneur.

What do you do?

Part I Becoming an Entrepreneur – Je Fait, Donc Je Suis – I Do, Therefore I Am

FranceThe philosophical underpinnings of Descartes’ statement – Je pense, donc je suis / I think, therefore I Am – is the anti-thesis to doubt but omits one important point: it presupposes that one has overcome doubts.

Doubt to an entrepreneur (or anyone esle for that matter) is the single greatest threat we face. Greater than the competition. Greater than any technological advances. For in doubt resides inaction and inaction results in failure “TO DO”.

Everyone talks about MVP and product-market-fit but I’ve seen too many fail because of inaction. Not because they didn’t have the skills but because they just somehow got stuck.

And, here’s my simple solution to getting “unstuck”.

At the top of my “To do” list is the reminder: Just start working on something and 20 minutes later you’ll actually be doing it*. That’s exactly what I did with this blog. I just looked at the blank piece of paper and started writing and in less than twenty minutes my ideas starting taking shape. I didn’t need to meditate (although that’s s good thing), I didn’t need to do any special ritual or have a long list of other things (doubts) completed before starting. I just started.

So take up a new anthem: “Je fait, donce je suis” – “I do, therefore I am”.

It’s really quite simple. Focus on “getting shit done” and JFDI.

 

* Many thanks that that author who’s name I’ve forgotten but who’s idea has stuck with me”.

The Great California Time Myth

IMG_0378I deal in myths all the time in building a tech business (i.e. how easy it is, how hard it is, how you need traction to get investors, how you don’t need traction to get investors…).

But the most frustrating myth I’ve had to deal with is is the myth that being based in California is a great place to do business with Asia.

This is simply not true!

What prompted me to look at this were two things: 1) flights that were are too long and 2) having to either get up at 4AM to make a phone call or stay up until after 10PM to make a call.

So I sat down to do some research and I compared how long the flights are to go from San Francisco to Japan, China and India to how long it takes to go to the same destinations from London or Paris.

If I add up all the travel time from San Francisco to all my Asia destinations it’s 44 hours and 15 minutes.

If I add up all the travel time from London or Paris to all my Asia destinations it’s 31 hours and 15 minutes.

So, leaving from either London or Paris is 13 hours less than if I leave from San Francisco! I never expected that. That’s the equivalent of one trip!

Here’s the data:

Flights From San Francisco to Asia

  • San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan: 10 hours and 30 minutes
  • San Francisco to Beijing, China: 12 hours and 5 minutes
  • San Francisco to Bengaluru, India: 21 hours and 40 minutes

Flights From London or Paris to Asia

  • London or Paris to Tokyo, Japan: 11 hours and 35 minutes
  • London or Paris to Beijing, China: 9 hours and 55 minutes
  • London or Paris to Bengalura, India: 9 hours and 45 mintues

[As an aside, for some strange reason the flight times are exactly the same from London or Paris. I imagine the UK flights speed up so as to make sure the French don’t have the advantage; but there’s probably some better explanation having to do with flight paths.]

So, what about phone calls?

Calling From San Francisco to Asia

  • If it’s 8PM in San Francisco it’s 10AM in Indonesia
  • If it’s 8PM in San Francisco it’s 12PM noon in Japan
  • If it’s 8PM in San Francisco it’s 11AM in China
  • If it’s 8PM in San Francisco it’s 8:30AM in India

So, in order to catch a big time window with Asia I’ve got to start calling them at about 8PM San Francisco time and speak to them until 11PM or 12 midnight California time. This means I have to forget about evening meetings or pitch events in the Bay Area or having dinner with friends.

However, if I call Asia from London or Paris I effectively can make my calls from about 8AM to about 11AM which puts these calls in the “regular” part of a day.

Calling From London or Paris to Asia*
* If from Paris, subtract one hour to where you are calling

  • If it’s 9AM in London it’s 3PM in Indonesia
  • If it’s 9AM in London it’s 5PM in Japan
  • If it’s 9AM in London it’s 4PM in China
  • If it’s 9AM in London it’s 1:30PM in Bengaluru

So, there you have it. A European base makes more sense if you’re speaking to a lot of clients in Asia and if you travel a lot to Asia. Who would have thought?

Of course, you have to live there. So you have to decide: do you prefer roast beef, steak haché or hamburgers?