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Tech entrepreneurship is perhaps one of the most complicated. Not only is precise knowledge required for projects, but it must be combined with offering a benefit that the client considers of value.
When faced with the problem of promotion, many doubts arise. How should a technology entrepreneur behave? How to make your brand, your company and even them known as leaders in the sector without dying in the attempt? What happens if I fail?
For Pau García-Milá , entrepreneurship is something he saw as a child when his parents, architects, decided to set up a pizzeria in the face of a real estate crisis that left them without income, so he grew up in the family business. At 17 he founded his first of three companies, eyeOS, which in 2014 he sold to Telefónica.
11 years later, in addition to running his startup, Ideafoster, he has given conferences in other countries and has published four books, however, he prefers to be recognized as an entrepreneur.
“People get ‘CEO’ or ‘director’ and I try to run away from executive positions. I have founded several companies and in the last one I am a partner. “
However, his career has not been without failures and lean times. From the learning that good and bad times leave, he has managed to take it to the field of his personal brand in the following way.
1. Overcome barriers
When he announced at home that he was going to undertake, his parents warned him to be careful. Even friends and family told him it could be risky.
“I think that in an attempt to protect you, they try to stop you. They told me ´you will do it in a few years´ but I realize that there is no good time to undertake, that being 17 years old you have nothing to lose, you can try everything, but you have no experience. With 25 years the same and you know something, you have studied, but you are starting to think about having a family and you are more afraid. At 40 you already have your family and you have your children and you don’t want to risk it. So there is never an ideal time. I think that regardless of the moment, the important thing is that you are sure of what you are doing. “
In the same way, the first 6 years of the company people told them that it was going to fail until they received their first large investors.
“At the company level we had nothing. Every month we were close to having to close the company because we had to kill ourselves to make ends meet but at the project level we did something that was important. “
At the age of nine, something unusual for a startup, she was sold to the most important telephone company in Spain.
“It was fun because we were a very small company but we did a very nice job but very important on a technological level.”
2. Learn from failures without holding on to them
Pau’s second company, Bananity, was founded in 2011. It was a social network based on the big data of passions, that is, the user put places, movies or songs that they liked and the site analyzed them with data from other users to suggest things that you might also like, by making a match. It closed in 2014, after several attempts to keep it afloat.
“It was perhaps one of the failures that hurt me the most because I put not only a part of the savings but the illusion that there could be something here and it closed, it didn’t work for us.”
However, he believes that failure is necessary and even healthy in the process.
“It doesn’t hurt to talk about failures. It hurts me to fail because I know I have not done well, but when it is done I explain it. For me it is very important to explain it, it is like a therapy. After a month I am already thinking about the following, because if something called ‘analysis paralysis’ does not come and it is terrible. “
Like every loss, analyzing it allows you to move on to the next thing but it is important not to hold on.
“I think it is important to close the cycles, turn the page and there are people who do not, but not spend a year trying to learn things. Now it is very easy to say it looking back, because you analyze and say that you were wrong here. In the end nothing happens, it is healthy that a company does not go well and closes. Did we rob someone? No! Did we do something wrong? No! We just made bad decisions that did not go well and it is not a crime. Fortunately, it is nothing that cannot be recovered. It is not health. “
Interestingly, that same year he had, in a period of six months, the experience of selling his first company and closing the second.
“I experienced the best and the worst situation of an entrepreneur: a company was acquired and another had to close, and then in 2014 I founded Ideafoster, which fortunately is growing a lot.”
3. Don’t be afraid to communicate and share it
“In Spain we are educated not to be entrepreneurs but to be workers and civil servants. There is very little entrepreneurial vocation. When I began to speak in favor of people having to start and found companies, there was a part of the people who hated me for that. They don’t like someone young to tell them ‘everyone can be an entrepreneur and it’s good to start companies’ “
However, his taste for communicating, which he brought since he was a child when he wanted to dedicate himself to radio broadcasting, made it easier for him to make the leap to speaker and author, especially in Latin America.
“The attitude in countries like Mexico and Colombia is one of ‘I want to achieve things, I want to earn my living,’ and entrepreneurship there is much to say. Above all, explain from my experiences of success and failure what can be learned from them. “
Pau has published four books: It is all to be done (2008) that he wrote at the age of 20 and was a bestseller, Optimismamente (2011) that spoke of optimism in times of crisis and was not well received, You have an idea (but still you don’t know) (2012) that opened the doors to Mexico and Latin America as an advisor and speaker, and recently You are a great communicator (but you still don’t know it) (2015).
“It was from the idea of mixing what he wanted to do and what he knew how to do.”
4. Capitalize on success
At the time that Pau received the award for “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2011, they began to call him to talk about innovation, at the age of 23.
“I realized that if I took care of this personal brand, they opened the doors to something that I was passionate about and I started writing a blog but I have always thought that this is temporary. Failure and nobody calls me, triumph and they call me. I have a great time but the day to day is here, in the office. “
In the same way, Ideafoster has allowed him to go back to basics, which he finds fun. From having an already developed company to returning to a small office planning from scratch has allowed him to return to his beginnings as an entrepreneur. They currently have more clients outside of Spain than inside.
“We are dedicated to working with large companies, especially multinationals, to create projects within them. In other words, we help them innovate in technological projects as if they were startups. We have a network of 39 companies with which we collaborate that are specialists in many subjects, to develop these projects. We are between a strategic consultancy and a project accelerator. “
5. That communicating does not prevent you from undertaking
Many entrepreneurs claim that they are too busy to give lectures and write books on their success stories and they are right. That is why Pau has set limits.
“I try to make sure that this part does not occupy more than a third of my time. The problem is that going to Mexico for a conference takes four days, so I do crazy things like a 24-hour lightning flight or keep the Spanish schedule to work. “
However, communicating is not an impediment to entrepreneurship, but the free expression of ideas allows the entrepreneur to find allies and support from people to whom those ideas may be of interest.
“The place where there are more ideas in the world is in the cemetery. People who died with their ideas. Of course there is a possibility that the idea will be stolen but it is a scale. Is it better to tell a thousand people and one wants to steal it or not tell it and no one helps me? If I tell a thousand, maybe there will be 200 who want to help me. If I don’t tell it, nobody helps me. “
6. Don’t trust luck
For Pau, effort is key to the success of a company. Believing in the project and fighting for it to succeed has allowed him to undertake time and time again, but he knows that the approach from the outside is different, like when he sold eyeOS.
“After 10 years of not sleeping and crushing me, they told me ‘you’ve won the lottery, you’ve been lucky’ and I tell them: ‘where have you seen luck?’ to keep the company because I believe in it. But when you fail, everyone tells you: ‘I told you, you should have listened to me.’ It’s his favorite word. “
Therefore, the duty of the entrepreneur to take responsibility for his successes and failures instead of leaving them to chance allows him to take charge of the situation, learn when he has failed and know how to communicate the keys to success.
7. Value family
The trips, conferences and interviews gave Pau an opportunity to take a “time out” and forget about the routine, but with the arrival of fatherhood, his priorities are different.
“Before I gave it a lot of importance. Now my life is my baby. Since I was a father, in the end it is a matter of being happy with what you have and since I am a father I no longer need moments to disconnect, I am half an hour with my son and I am happy. “
His childhood experiences with his parents leaving the architectural firm taught him a lesson about family.
“I have a technology company but if it goes wrong I have a family to support, so I go to work in a cafeteria or I will change things. Sometimes things don’t go our way and we have to adapt. He who adapts survives and he who does not, dies. “