Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Longform Reflections

Three essential questions entrepreneurs have to ask themselves

Do you want to learn how to build great startups? Of course you do. Join our mailing list.


Do you want to do good, or do well?

I went to a Startup Weekend where one of the judges asked this question point-blank to a team. They were doing what they claimed to be an e-commerce platform for social good. While that was all well and good—the problem was that it is hard to do both.

As human beings, I think we are all inclined to create as much social impact as possible, and to do as much as good as we can. To me, that’s the basis of human decency.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves though. It’s hard to do either good or well, nevermind both. So many ideas that I have seen fail seem confused on what they are there for.

That creates a host of issues. A team that is trying to get money and creates social impact will always face the conflict between how much they charge, and how much they want society to benefit. The team will split between people motivated by creating good, and those motivated by creating wealth.

A startup wins on a simple idea that it can communicate well. Complicating it by trying to do things that conflict will help nobody. The idea will die and be unable to do good or well.

If you want to do good, consider building a non-for-profit idea that supported by a foundation like Khan Academy is. Be explicit that you are not looking for wealth. If you want to do well, build the idea you want, and make it clear everybody is in it for wealth.

There are ideas that can straddle both, but it takes a skilled executioner to work on those. It’s important here to be honest with oneself before muddying the waters. There are some that can prove me wrong and build ideas that do good, and well—but those will be the exception, and not the rule.


Doing good or doing well with code(love)

Is your idea a community or a commodity?

This is an important question. Is what you’re producing something that will get people coming back, and feeling at home? Or is it something people can use over and over again because they need it, with no emotions attached?

The former has loads of potential. Many of the most successful ideas of our time have come because they assemble communities of like-minded individuals to create beautiful things. Yet it is incredibly hard to make money off of a community because it takes time to build it. This is time that is not well-reflected with return on investment until your constituents fully assemble.

A commodity, meanwhile, can make money for you immediately—but it’ll never have the magic of a fully formed community.

Make sure you know what you’re building. Different paths will have different implications on your business strategy, your need for financing, and your ultimate goal. If you’re building a community, get ready for the long haul. If you’re building a commodity, make sure you sell as much as you can.

View More: http://deathtothestockphoto.pass.us/brick-and-mortar

Community or commodity with code(love)

Build or buy?

This is a decision that you will face at every turn. There are so many ready-made solutions that you can buy rather than build yourself for startups. Each one will accelerate your progress exponentially.

Google Analytics can do your data analytics for you. Zendesk can help do your customer service for you. Stripe can help you deal with payments.

Building takes time. No matter what, nothing is free. You have to determine what your startup is built to do, and what you should build and what you should buy.

A startup that buys everything is not disruptive in the slightest. A startup that builds everything will die under the weight of the time it wastes.

This will be a constant question, something that will follow you all the way to the time where you have to decide whether or not to acquire your first startup.



Entrepreneurship with code(love)

Entrepreneurship is a set of questions. Every minute brings new ones that you have to ask yourself. Part of the thrill of it all is not knowing where the hell you’re going at any given time: in many ways, building a startup is about answering one question at a time in an endless stream.

I’ve been through it enough times to know that these are the important questions for me. What are the important ones for you?


Open Stories

The story behind the world’s fastest growing car classifieds.

This is the open story of Fritz Simons, a co-founder of Carmudi, a startup that bills itself as the world’s fastest growing car classifieds. If this story inspires you to build, join our mailing list.


Carmudi with code(love)

Carmudi with code(love)

1. What is the ultimate vision of Carmudi?

Carmudi will revolutionise the way vehicle are traded. We are combining technological expertise with a passion for cars in order to offer our customers the best possible experience. For us this means making buying and selling vehicles easy, safe and fast. We are only at the start of our journey but we are working extremely hard every single day to get there.

2. How did you achieve your current success?

We are simply faster than anyone else. This results from a combination of being very customer focused and extremely execution driven. We spend a lot of time understanding the market we operate in and leverage everything we learn immediately by making it influence our priorities and goals. At such an early phase of a company, one must be able to react very quickly.

3. How did you get into founding a tech enterprise? What’s your advice in regards to understanding technology and code?

The Internet changes the way people think and go about their lives. As an entrepreneur I can be part of this change and impact people’s life for the better. This is why I ended up in tech and founding Carmudi. Of course, my understanding of technology helps me every day. Get yourself excited about it and spend time to learn from everyone around you.

4. What do you find fascinating about cars personally?

For some, cars are merely a means of transportation. For others they are a hobby and status symbol. Cars fascinate me because they have their own different meanings for different people. I myself am a car enthusiast having dedicated my entire working career to the automotive industry.

5. What are your tips for building a great team and establishing an excellent company culture?

Only hire people you are fully convinced of. This is time consuming but will pay off from day one. Then get every single one in the team enthusiastic about the company vision and product. This serves as the basis for a fruitful company culture.

6. What is special about Carmudi’s company culture?

We all love cars and we all believe in our vision. Everyone wants to make the next step to making car trading better for our clients. Thus, the environment is productive and this is fun for everyone.

7. Where does your drive of being an entrepreneur come from?

It comes from the ambition to make a meaningful impact. To achieve this you have to take responsibility and ownership of what you are doing as well as be prepared to take risks. This is the true basis for entrepreneurship.

Open Stories

A Founder’s Story of Solving His Own Pain

Open stories are a new section of code(love) that focus on the personal stories of entrepreneurs as they build. This is genuine truth and insight from entrepreneurs on the ground. If you have a similar story, let us know at [email protected], and join our mailing list for more!


This story is that of Tamer Rafla, the founder of Hironomy.

Hironomy was born out of my frustration of the broken hiring process. Existing mainstream job boards (e.g. Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) had proven to be ineffective in finding my dream job.

I had to go through endless pages of job postings to only apply to a few where I felt that I had the necessary skills/experience to make a difference. Unfortunately, that was often the end of the road for my candidacy as I was never called for an interview.

When following-up with one of these employers, I was surprised to hear that my application had fallen through the cracks due to the large volume of applications received.

Long story short, I ended up getting that job once my application was looked at in more detail. I am convinced that I am not the only one suffering from this and there must a better way to ensure a win/win for both parties.

Hironomy is that better way. It is a recruiting system that assesses employers’ corporate culture and  also helps in capturing the behavioral abilities and cognitive abilities they are seeking in a candidate. This ensures that employers don’t wade through mounds of applications – only the ones that fit; while jobseekers only see the jobs where they have the highest chances of being called for an interview and eventually hired.

It prevents what happened to me happening to anybody else.

Defining the Future

Defining the Internet of Things in one line

The Internet of Things is a new innovation that is sweeping into gradual mainstream awareness, if not adoption. It’s become a recent topic of some fascination, especially for Google-watchers who are trying to uncover the latest technological trends by following the Internet giant: surely the $3 billion dollar plus purchase of smart home device maker Nest did not escape notice.

Internet of things with code(love)

Internet of things with code(love)

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down to have a coffee with one of the engineers in the field pushing it forward, Jeff Dungan, co-founder of reelyActive. His startup was named the World’s best technology startup last year by Startup World, and he is a visionary in the field.

The first thing Jeff notes is that what we conceptualize as the Internet of Things can be very exactly defined. Devices that communicate with one another have always existed. Harken back to your childhood when you used a remote control to control a toy car: would that not qualify as being part of the Internet of Things?

Jeff says no. The reason why is because the Internet of Things encompasses internet-enabled devices that can communicate with one another, with one very distinct defining trait: they can do so without any direct human input. As your toy car zips around, you are controlling it directly. However, a Nest thermostat can adjust the heat without you ever touching anything.

This is the magic of the Internet of Things. Jeff imagines a world of “smart spaces” where entire houses, and even neighbourhoods could shift to be adapted to you. A house could be heated at the right temperature, with the lights dimmed for the right ambiance, without you ever doing anything but the initial setup.

Smart Spaces with code(love)

Smart Spaces with code(love)

Jeff’s company works on allowing for devices to identify you. reelyActive uses hardware RFID devices to tag you as you move through multiple spaces, therefore allowing for the possibility of “smart spaces” to grow, sooner than later. Already, Jeff is working on realizing a Google Analytics for retail at a low enough cost and without significant friction, perfectly suited for smaller retailers—this was a pipe dream just a few years ago. The world he imagines is coming sooner than later, and it can be summed up in one line.

The Internet of Things is a network of internet-enabled devices that can communicate with each other without direct human input, allowing for the evolution of smart spaces that can adapt to you without you doing anything at all.

The Internet of Things is a network of internet-enabled devices that can communicate with each other, without direct human input, allowing for the evolution of smart spaces that can adapt to you without you doing anything at all.


Interested in hearing more about Jeff’s story? Support my efforts to write about him and other entrepreneurs.