Monday, 23 Apr 2018
Business

The eight tips of the Waze founder to create a million-dollar company

The entrepreneur gives some details about how a business model can have high impact. Talk about internationalizing ideas.

After a long wait enlivened by stories of entrepreneurs, he appeared in one of the rooms of the San Martin Cultural Center – with more than 200 attendees – the awaited Uri Levine, founder of Waze in 2008 (along with two partners), the application of maps and navigation that became one of the most popular solutions when trying to avoid traffic congestion as it uses the data that users send.
Google bought the application (which was born with the name Freemap) in 2013 for US $ 1,000 million and from there Levine never stopped undertaking. Among its projects is the cheap flight search engine Fairfly and Feex, which seeks to save money for those looking to invest in funds and other financial services.
Levine is part of what is known as “Silicon Wadi”, the strip near the coast where the Israeli IT industry is (it goes from Tel Aviv to Haifa and includes development centers in the Negev desert and the Har Hotzvim technology park, in Jerusalem). This serial entrepreneur was asked about why he believed that Israel managed to become one of the mechs of the technological startups in the world, Levine replied that one of the reasons is the loyalty of employees and that, in part, was founded in military service required. “It’s not that I recommend it,” he said, “but after doing it, at 21 or 22, the young man matured faster and knows how to put together and deal with teams.”
Other reasons are “a low fear of failure” motivated by the important role of the State, which does not charge tax on technology-based ventures. “The State,” he said during the conference, “should invest in ventures to encourage the private sector to do it.” The question that needs to be asked, he said in response to a question from the public, is “the State really cares”. Santiago Sena, General Director of Entrepreneurial Development in Government of the City of Buenos Aires and his interviewer at that time, quickly said yes.
During the talk, organized by the Entrepreneurship Directorate of the Ministry of Modernization of the city and sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in Argentina, Levine gave a series of tips to turn a technology-based enterprise into a million-dollar company. The transport minister from Buenos Aires, Juan José Méndez, and the Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Ilán Szulman, took part in the event.
What are the tips?
1) The first is almost his mantra, so much so that he has it printed on many shirts (which he said change every day): “You have to fall in love with the problem, not the solution”. When you fall in love with the product you have, you lose focus, which should be solving problems, he explained. “When you fall in love with the solution, you run out of a market,” he said later.
2) “Always think about the next venture.” That is, find a new problem to solve when the venture in which one is currently involved is on the crest of the wave.
3) “Entrepreneurship is like falling in love: you try many times until something works.” Then, with the help of a slide, he explained that one goes out with many people, until you fall in love with one, then one presents that person to friends and if the feedback is negative … you have to change friends.
4) “Choosing the right team is the most important thing.” Levine developed that, in talks with entrepreneurs, they knew shortly (“sometimes the first day”) when the team they had set up was not going to work. The reasons: lack of diversity in the team or lack of commitment. And this particular problem, according to him, is the cause of 50% of the failures at the time of undertaking.
5) “If you failed, you have to start over with another endeavor.” During the press conference, Levine commented that entrepreneurs who start with a second project after a failure have a 50% higher chance of success.
6) “If you are afraid of failing, you will fail.” The fear of failure is a fundamental obstacle when one decides to undertake.
7) “Speaking English is fundamental. Speaking only Spanish, you will not get far. “The business language is still English.
8) “Entrepreneurs can change the world only if they find the right business model.” Waze’s founder commented that one may want to change the world but with wanting it, it is not enough: to achieve this, one must find a way to monetize ideas in order to move forward, and be able to develop new ideas.

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