5 Startup Chile Lessons Learned from My Startup Chile Adventure

Hi, everybody. It’s Matthew Alberto here at matthewalberto.com. It’s been quite a while since I posted. I realize that. I’ve actually been busy, being on the ground, really working hard, working on my start-ups, working on my ventures, trying to make an impact on the world, trying to change the world and make a dent in it, to do something great. It really meant some time off my blog and really focusing on my projects. The projects have been going well, and I think it’d be great to just come back and really start blogging again and to share my learnings, my findings, my lessons, and share them with you.

Startup Chile – The Global Startup Accelerator in South America

This post today is about the five start-up lessons from my Start-Up Chile adventure. I was actually a part of Generation 9.2 of Start-Up Chile and that was one year ago. Right now, it’s actually my one-year anniversary since I was accepted, along with my co-founder, Fufu, for our start-up, PeoplePledge, the medical crowd-funding platform, that aims to change lives around the world and help families with their medical bills. Overall, my time with Start-Up Chile was a great experience. They’re great people, some really driven people from all around the world who wanted to make a difference with their start-up and do something creative and innovative and new. That was something different that I hadn’t experienced before.

Matt&Fufu

In the past, I’d been working on my start-up projects mainly on my own with my co-founders, and often it felt like a lonely journey. This time, being a part of an incubator, Start-Up Chile, which actually is an international incubator, it actually made the dynamic different and it really made me juiced and excited about what I was working on because through the people there you really get pumped. There was great food as well, here in Chile, from the hamburguesas and the avocados and the lovely delicious fruits and vegetables, because they have great produce in the country, not to mention the parties that I attended with the other start-up folks. Just the overall start-up culture in Chile is really great. I am actually recording this right now here in Chile.

I was here in Chile for six to seven months last year. After that, I got married as you can probably see in my previous post, and I’m actually back here in Chile now because, thankfully, we got follow-on funding.

I want to share with you five start-up lessons learned from my Start-up Chile adventure and hopefully it will help you in your start-up journey whether you want to change the world through technology or some other start-up idea that you have.

1) How Startup Communities are Formed: From Down Under to Latin America

So first lesson that I learned is that start-up communities can be formed and created, and I learned how they can do that. Here in Chile, they are actually trying to emulate the Silicon Valley culture and experience here in Latin America, which really interesting is that the country as a whole is trying to move towards that innovation center and that tech industry. Chile wants to be the next Silicon Valley or at least the Silicon Valley in Latin America, and it’s certainly well positioned to do so. It’s one of the wealthier countries in the region. It is part of the Americas, but in the south, and it is a Spanish-speaking country, so being here in Latin America, it is well positioned to be a leader or, as they like to be called, the “Chilecon Valley” of the region.

I was heavily involved in how Start-up Chile was trying to promote start-ups and start-up culture in the region. When we were in the program, we actually were provided with funding of around $40,000 USD, but in return, no equity was taken. We did have to go out into the Chilean community and share our knowledge about technology, about innovation and about start-ups. That was a really interesting experience.

One of the experiences was that we went to a number of major universities in Santiago, the capital of Chile. I shared my experiences about innovation. There was actually as Master’s class for innovation being taught at one of the universities here, and I talked about the concepts of running lean and the lean canvas, how you can innovate and create new products and projects into the marketplace, but you can do so in a lean and scientific way.

I also got involved in other start-up culture-building activities such as attending the Girls Who Code event, which was held at the Groupon office where a talk was given by the Groupon CTO who shared about his insights about building databases. A number of Chilean girls who were interested in technology and start-ups came along, and we helped them with coding their projects. For example, there was one Chilean girl there who wanted to build an eCommerce site, a fashion website, and she needed some help with some JavaScript and some PHP. We helped her along with that. It was really a mentoring experience to carry her along and to give her encouragement and advice on how she can do some coding but also how she can get her start-up off the ground.

Overall, through that Start-up Chile experience, I learned that although Silicon Valley in the US is really prime and well-known throughout the world as being the main hub internationally for tech innovation, I do believe that there are still pockets of innovation and pockets of cities around the world that can innovate too, that can provide a platform for harnessing and enhancing and encouraging entrepreneurship, and they are certainly doing that here in Chile.

Creating a start-up community doesn’t have to be too expensive in the sense that it’s not really about the money where you get all these VCs and angel investors and then that will sort things out in creating a startup community. I think another way that startup communities can be formed is just through the sharing of knowledge and the transfer of technology. We certainly demonstrated that though the activities of going throughout the Chilean community and sharing our knowledge of innovation technology and how we built our start-ups and doing it at a more personal level.

2) Internationalizing Your Startup

Second major start-up lesson that I learned during Start-up Chile was how to internationalize a startup, the pros and cons of it. We started our start-up in Australia, PeoplePledge started there and it was going quite well. English is my native language so coming to Chile was quite nerve-wracking and I was worried. I wasn’t sure what I’d expect. But coming here, it gave me a new perspective on the world, that there certainly are other markets around the world where there is potential for your start-up to grow. Especially in places where, perhaps, there is a lag in terms of the technology that is transferred there. I did see that here in Chile and across Latin America, that there certainly are opportunities for innovative start-ups to come here and bring ideas here. That’s one of the major advantages of internationalization.

It also pushed me to my limit in terms of also the language and the culture, the differences there. I did have to learn some Spanish words and phrases. I’m actually still trying to learn Spanish, but one of the things as well that I learned is that the cultural difference can have an effect on your start-up and that you can’t just cookie-cut your start-up from one country to another country, especially if there are major differences in the language and the culture. There certainly were major differences there between Australia and English-speaking countries as compared to Chile and other Latin American or Spanish-speaking countries. That was evident just in the fact that when I came here with the name “PeoplePledge” and I started talking to a number of different locals and other Spanish speakers, many of them actually had a problem saying the word “pledge,” which blew my mind. I didn’t even think about that; it never occurred to me that that would be a concern.

Now that we’re here back in Chile trying to implement something similar in the region, we are looking into changing the brand and looking at different ways that our messaging and our positioning is put across to the local market.

3) Mentors Will Push Your Startup Further

Another start-up lesson learned from Start-up Chile, my third major lesson is the power of mentors. One of the great aspects of the Start-up Chile program is that it provides you with a ton of great mentors. I was fortunate enough to be part of one of the top 16 start-ups during our cohort. I think there were about 80 to 100 start-ups that came during my generation. Fufu and I, we were really privileged to have been chosen as one of the top 16. As part of that, we were then provided with mentorship. Every single week from the beginning of our Start-up Chile journey, we met with mentors. Actually, every single week we met with our peers, which were called platoons, where we then gave updates about our start-up journey and we also heard their problems and their issues and their updates. We shared back and forth ideas to help them and they would share ideas to help us. That happened every week where it was entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs.

Then, it was every month, once a month, that we met with high-level mentors. The mentors that we got during our time included that chief marketing person for a major retail chain here in Chile, the CEO of a web development and major blog network in Latin America, a venture capitalist and also the co-founder of a major crowdfunding website. What we had learned during that time is that mentors can really push you to dream bigger and to think bigger and to look at your business and your opportunity in different ways.

Before that, we actually hadn’t ever considered dealing with mentors, and this was really the first time that, on a regular basis, we met with them. Every single time that we met with them face to face in a small room at our co-working space, it really opened our eyes and it really got us pumped by the end of it. We would get out of the room and Fufu and I would just be wide-eyed and excited and pumped to get cracking to implement some of the ideas that we had discussed and to move the start-up to the next level so that the next time that we would see our mentors we could then give them another update and then talk about another aspect of the business. That was really exciting, and we really want to take that to where we want to head in the future with the power of mentors.

4) Learn to Pitch Like Other Entrepreneur Greats

The fourth major start-up lesson learned was that pitching really matters. Throughout our Start-up Chile journey, we did a number of pitches. When we first got there during the first few weeks, we did an introductory pitch where each of the start-ups had to stand in front of the others and give about a three- to five-minute introductory pitch or speech about what you do and what you are about. Then a few weeks later, we then had an initial pitch competition, where the winners would then be chosen to then have special mentorship and special attention, which we then got, which helped us get the mentorship. Towards the end of our six-month Start-up Chile journey, we then had the quarter final pitches, semifinal pitches and then finally the finals for pitches. We did all of them. It was really tiring. I admit at sometimes it felt like it was distracting us from actually working on our start-up, but it really helped us hone our skills to pitch and to present our start-up to investors.

Although it took some time to write up the pitch, to make the pitch [inaudible 00:12:06] and to practice the pitch, every time there was a pitch, before it we would always aim to make our start-up better to focus on what really mattered. Those were the metrics of traction. Every single time, our aim was to ensure that our start-up got better and better, and we did that. That’s why we got to the demos, the final demo day, which was really exciting, pitching in front of dozens of venture capitalists and angels here in Latin America.

Apart from the Start-up Chile pitches, we also pitched to Microsoft during one of their app accelerator camps, and that was also interesting here in Chile. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up getting any investment from Microsoft, but it did help with the practice and also to build the contacts and to learn more about their offerings.

At the end of the day, when we finished with the Start-up Chile demo day finals, we did eventually get follow-on funding and that’s what brings us here now in Chile. I really learned that how deliver your pitch, how you synthesize the information, how you focus on your metrics, it really matters in what you say and how you deliver your presentation.

5) Startups are Hard: Most Fail, but Breakout Success is Possible!

The fifth and final start-up lesson that I learned from my Start-up Chile adventure that I’d like to share with you is that, while it sounds exciting and it was adventurous coming to Chile and the parties were great, the people were interesting, at the end of the day, now that it’s been one year since I started Start-up Chile a year ago, I have learned that start-ups are hard. There’s this ideal of start-ups being so cool and so awesome and it’s a great way to make money and you get pumped because you have investors and you have pitches. It is all that, but apart from all of this hype of it being awesome and cool and exciting, I just want to point out the reality of it, and that’s start-ups are really hard; they’re difficult. Now that it’s one year after we started Start-up Chile, I’ve actually noticed that one of the graduates from my cohort, generation 9, a lot of them are no longer working on their startup. Their start-up either died or the founder gave up.

I was talking to Fufu the other days; it’s really exciting looking back on the people we met who were really interesting and the ideas that they had. I’ve talked to some of my friends from my generation and it’s interesting that some of them are now working, some of them working in Silicon Valley, some of them went back home to their home countries and some of them went back to go get a job, some for financial reasons or just some that their start-ups just didn’t work out. They didn’t get enough traction or they didn’t get follow-on funding.

It wasn’t too surprising, and I do remember the acceleration manager of Start-up Chile once presenting and saying that they expect that 90% or more of the start-ups during our generation were going to fail. I thought that was kind of ridiculous, but now looking back on it now, he was actually correct. So 90-95% of them are gone, dead, kaput. It’s kind of sad, but I’m just really thankful that our start-up is still going strong and I’m still working very hard at getting our start-up off the ground.

Even though many of them have failed, I have noticed that there are some other start-ups from my generation that have made it into major accelerators or got additional funding from other sources. I know some that have gone into Y Combinator now, 500 Startups, AngelPad, those major incubators or accelerators in Silicon Valley and in the US or even in Mexico that really matter. That really shows that there are some that actually did get follow-on funding and are still alive and well.

Overall, the lesson that I learned is start-ups are difficult and you cannot idealize it. You really got to put in the work, so you really need to find something that you’re really interested in and are willing to put in 100% of your time and effort.

Those are my five start-up lessons learned from Start-up Chile adventure, and I’m really excited that our team, the PeoplePledge team and I, got into UDD ventures and are now moving on to bigger and better things. We’re back in Chile and we’re hoping to internationalize our start-up, which is really exciting.
Hopefully you can check out more of my posts as I go along. I’m hoping to post a lot more regularly now to share my ideas and to reach out to other people around the world to do something interesting in technology, to get creative and get something started off the ground and to make a difference in the world. See you later. Bye now.

Do What You Love vs Making Money – The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

MoneyHey, everyone. It’s Matt Alberto here. I got a really interesting topic to talk about today. Just recently, I had a chat to one of my mentors, Paul, who really helps me out in a lot of my own business and my life really. He’s talking about the economy, the dilemma of doing what you love versus making money. I guess a lot of entrepreneurs will have to face this as they’re starting a new business. When you start a new business, you have to come up with different ideas and eventually you’ll have to speak with one idea especially if you want to make it grow and be successful.

Figuring Out Your Business Idea

With this one idea, the one that you’re going to focus on, should you focus on the idea that you love because it’s what you love, it’s what you’re interested in, it’s what you’re passionate about and it’s what you love to do. Or should you focus on the idea that you know will make the most amount of money possible. My mentor Paul, he talked about the idea that some people really are called to do something in the world. I mean, it’s this concept where, I mean, you might feel it yourself where you just feel a sense that you’re called to do something.

He talks about if you’re that type of person who’s called to do something and produce something in the world, whether it’s a social enterprise or some other venture that does a positive impact in the world. Sometimes, you may not be totally focused just on the money, it’s something that you love but there’s a lot of meaning into it. It may not matter so much that it doesn’t make money. Overall, I think there are different extremes to this kind of debate. On the one hand, you could just do what you love but Paul talks and says that sometimes doing what you love even though there are a lot of folks and authors really promoting that, sometimes it can leave you really broke.

Focusing Only On Doing What You Love Could Make You Broke!

I think that’s true. your business could fail because you focus just what you want and your needs. It’s a very selfish business when you’re just focusing on yourself and it may not actually be salable or profitable and it may not actually be what the market needs or wants. There’s also the other extreme of just absolutely just focusing on making the money. Even then, even if you are doing that but you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you’re not passionate, it kind of makes you wonder what’s the point of it all.

Paul talks about this happy medium and I think there is that kind of happy medium where you can do what you love, focus on what gets you excited but try and position what you love into a business system that is scalable, that can be profitable and sustain itself as well as be something that you enjoy doing. In that case, it doesn’t matter that you’re not maximizing your profit in that instance because you’re finding that medium and that might be right for you. I think for me personally, that’s where I’m kind of at at the moment. I mean, I’ve had to face this kind of … I call it the entrepreneur’s dilemma where I’ve had to decide with my business idea should I just do what I love or should I focus just on the money.

My Personal Experience in Doing What I Love vs Making Money

Historically, personally, I used to believe that I just wanted to do what I love and I did get into that idea from different books and authors and speakers and I started out doing what I love for me and that I wanted to help people. I started out as an international humanitarian, often times for a very little pay or even in a voluntary capacity. Went to the Philippines and Bangladesh, worked for the United Nations [inaudible 03:51]. I wasn’t doing that … it was what I love but then in other areas of my life such as family, friends and my personal relationship, I found that quite hard because I didn’t have the money to be able to go back to my home, to go to different important family events. It was hard for the relationship to kind of grow and develop if you don’t have the funds.

Then I had to figure out, is there really a happy medium or should I just focus on the money? Back then, I didn’t believe that there was a medium so I just got into the idea of business, involved myself in business books and go into different business mentors that got me involved in creating a business and started getting involved and doubled in different business ventures, many of which I wasn’t passionate about. As I tried different ideas, I realized that the ones that ended up being sustainable were the ones that I actually was passionate about, had skills in and had an interest in.

Do What You Love – BUT Find a Market Need with it

That’s my point of view now. I think there is a happy medium for entrepreneurs and also social entrepreneurs that you can do what you love and make the money. You can do that which you do when you figure out what you love. Trying to figure out different avenues of making money with it. For example, if you love traveling and you also love making a difference. Instead of just traveling around the world, losing money, doing it for selfish reasons, what you could do is create a business system such as the export of [inaudible 05:34] goods in different countries or you could do [inaudible 05:38] through social enterprise or ecological sites around the world or you could even create different restaurants in few locations around the country where you’re at that would benefit local communities.

That’s taking your original passion and figuring out different ideas that could make it sustainable, scalable and profitable so that it does help you make money as well. I think that’s what social entrepreneurship is about. It’s trying to find the happy medium of doing what you love which for social entrepreneurs is making an impact, helping people and changing the world while at the same time making sure that the business system itself is sustainable and that you’re okay as well as an entrepreneur, that you’re doing well. You’re not making yourself broke and taking your family down with you.

Mixing Personal Passion with Business

It’s trying to find that right balance. I’m curious how you’re achieving that balance, that debate, that conundrum, that dilemma. Share your thoughts: should you focus on doing what you love or just making money or do you really believe that there’s a happy medium? Tell me your thoughts and your experience. That’s it for me for today. Bye-bye.

photo by: 401(K) 2013

5 Free Interactive Websites to Help You Learn to Code

The Exemplary ProgrammerHey everyone, it’s Matthew Alberto here, and today we’re going to be talking about free interactive websites that will help you to learn to code online. What’s the background of this and how will this help you? Well, I’ve noticed that a lot of entrepreneurship programs accelerators, incubator; they really focus on making sure that you have a technical cofounder. A lot of angel investors and venture capitalists also want to see if you’re writing up a more technical, or computer or website-oriented style that you do have at least one cofounder who has a technical background.

Learn to Code for Non-Technical Startup Co-Founders

Where does this leave entrepreneurs, and even social entrepreneurs, who want to get involved in the tech space? Where does this leave them, in terms of if they’re nontechnical? I think it’s often a challenge to figure out where your skills are and what you bring to the table. If you are a nontechnical cofounder, a nontechnical aspiring entrepreneur, and you do want to develop your skills in a technical area, in my opinion, you don’t need a formal degree.

Some people think that they need a slur of computer science, or some sort of technical engineering degree like that, but in my opinion, your experience of actually building products, making websites, and having your own portfolio, that’s speaks a lot more volumes to investors. If you can make a product a business, an online one that makes money and you didn’t have a degree, to me that’s more important than having the actual degree.

Free Websites That Teach You to Code Online

Let me share with you some of the interactive websites that have helped me, from my experience. I actually don’t have a degree in computer science, but ever since I was a kid, from primary school even, I would hack around with computers and different websites, creating my own websites, trying to make a few bits of money online. My degree later on was in actually the humanities area. I had an economics and international relations degree, and they do international law degree, and really didn’t have a computer science one. I really had to dig deep and figure out on my own how to program and here are five that could help you, if you’re in the same boat as me.

These resources really help you in certain programming languages that I think were really useful and helpful, such as html, CSS, JavaScript PHP, Python, and Objective-C, which helps you with apps on the iOS and Apple iPhone, and Apple iPad.

1. Codecademy.com

The five free websites, our first free is Codecademy. If you go to codecademy.com, it’s a really great website, really interactive. I‘ve actually used it myself. I finished pretty much all the tracks there. I finished the html, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Python. They also have a track, but I haven’t gotten into that because I’m not really focusing on ruby at the moment. I really recommend Codecademy; it’s great for movies and it’s actually quite quirk and fun. You can actually build some really cool stuff, and they have a community there where you can come share your code, and also work off the code of others. Codecademy, it’s a really popular website, and one that I really recommend.

2. CodePupil.com

The second free interactive website to help you learn to code is codepupil.com. On that website, you can learn html, and CSS. I actually tried it out, but I actually found it really annoying, and the reason why it was annoying was that, unlike Codecademy, where you could say, you’re profile is saved where you’re at, and go on different levels, with Code Pupil, I feel that it’s really for absolute newbies and total beginners. They only really focus on html and CSS, which aren’t really programming languages per se, in more mark-up languages.

I only tested Code Pupil during one of the first two pages, and I just had to stop. I just found it too annoying and too boring, but if you’re a total newbie, give it a go.

3. CodeAvengers.com

The third resource is codeavengers.com, and on that website, you can actually learn html and CSS, as well as JavaScript, and those are their two main tracks. They’ve got two levels in each of those tracks, in html, CSS, and in JavaScript, and from the last time that I saw, they’re actually making a third level for each of them, and that third level should be coming out early this year.

I’m actually in the process of going through Code Avengers, and I actually really like it. It’s quite similar to Codecademy, but one of the main differences that Code Avengers is that they really get into the theme of you being this hero, and bringing missions and doing coding in terms of actually fulfilling a mission, and so it’s very gamified.

One of the interesting themes is that after a certain amount of levels that you complete, they actually show you a pop-up game, a game that pops up, and you can actually play it. Sometimes is actually has nothing to do with coding at all which is a bit random. It’s fun, but after a while, it actually got a bit annoying as well. What I do really like is that gamified slant to Code Avengers, and how they really tried to make it fun.

One thing though, that I’d recommend for them to do in the future to improve it, is if they could make sure that all of the actual missions, in terms of coding, actually link to the kind of theme of trying to code. Sometimes they’re trying to put that theme on their site. It sometimes feels like there’s this disconnect in coding and then the whole hero theme. If they made it more integrated and the coding actually was useful and worked through the theme, it might be a lot more fun.

4. LearnStreet.com

The fourth interactive website to learn to code is learnstreet.com. I actually haven’t tried that myself yet, but on there you can JavaScript and Python, and that’s another great website in the likes of Codecademy and Code Avengers.

5. Programmr.com

The fifth one is programmr.com, and it is spelt P-R-O-G-R-A-M-M-R.com. They have been doing a lot of improvement on their website recently, because I think they also had another very good on their website. It was also programr.com, but with just one M, so you might get confused with that. I think they’re doing a lot of development, but on that website, you can learn PHP and Python. I think they were actually a major competitor to Codecademy, but Codecademy really has come up front. I haven’t tried Programmr yet. I’m going to try it soon, but that’s another free website that you could learn to code.

Other Ways to Learn to Code without a Formal Degree

Those are the five free websites. There are other ways to learn coding online or interactively, and away from a university or traditional college degree, such as watching online video tutorials or reading up on forums, such as Stack Overflow. When I talk about online videos, there are videos such as from Lynda, that’s what they’re called, and many others.

Bonus Website: CodeSchool.com (Paid)

One other bonus interactive website that I have for you is Code School. The difference with Code School and the other five that I mentioned, however, is that it’s not free; it’s actually paid, but it does follow the likes of Codecademy and I’m merely interested to try them out potentially in the future, once I’ve tried out some of the others. I feel I’m more in the intermediate to advanced level now, and I really am looking to advance my skills. I think Code School does into more of the advanced techniques of some of the languages like javascript, html and CSS, as well as iOS.

I think that’s another thing that Code School has above the others that it’s also got languages, such as the iOS language that you can learn, that some of the others don’t. I guess that’s an advantage of paid interactive websites learn to code, because they’re more on the cutting edge. They have an incentive to continue developing and getting more advanced topics, rather than just sticking to topics for newbies.

What Other websites are there? You tell me!

Those are the five, including the bonus paid one. It really depends on what language you want to learn, in terms of which one you’ll use, and what level you’re at, and yet, I wonder what websites you’re using. You can share them in the comments section, and hopefully, these websites will help you be a better programmer, or a technical entrepreneur.
Bye-bye for now.

photo by: illustir

More Entrepreneurs Want to Be Social Entrepreneurs – From Titans to Innovators & now Saviors

Hey everybody, it’s Matt Alberto here and today’s going to be a short one … I just wanted to talk about the entrepreneurial trend towards social entrepreneurship. I’m seeing more and more how mainstream entrepreneurs are talking about social entrepreneurship and getting into the idea; more specifically, the idea that entrepreneurship is moving from Titans to Innovators and now to the idea of Saviors. What does this all mean and where’d they get this kind of idea from? I was listening to This Week in Startups; it’s a video podcast, a really cool one that I often listen to. Often they talk about tech entrepreneurship and they get some really high-end top investors and entrepreneurs around Silicon Valley, who are really movers and shakers in the industry, to have a chat and to share with other entrepreneurs how they did it and to inspire others.

Social Entrepreneurs: An Emerging Trend?

Usually they’ve been in the tech space but more recently, I’ve been seeing that a number of them are moving towards the social entrepreneurship space. A recent talk was with the Mogl cofounder … Mogl founder sorry, Jon Carder. Mogl is this app which helps fight hunger with hunger. It’s an app that restaurants can integrate in a point of sale system. They can use it for their credit card or debit card charging, and 10% of the bill goes to a local food bank and helps fight hunger in the local area. It was inspired actually by Tom’s Shoes one for one business model. But instead of the Tom’s Shoes one for one in terms of shoes, Mogl works with the idea of one for one in a sense of hunger, where you have your meal and you’re actually also helping others in the local area get a meal as well and to fight hunger for them.

The interesting thing was, in his talk, he was interviewed and he shared his story. He gave his insight about the idea that there really is a trend for entrepreneurs to get into social entrepreneurship. He himself, Jon was a successful entrepreneur. He’d already been involved in other ventures, more just in a tech space such as MojoPages among others. He got started in Mogl because after succeeding in tech space and in his other ventures, he wanted to actually do something positive in the world by creating a new venture, that not only made money but made a difference.

What got him influenced was, he was actually sitting in a talk which was being conducted by the founder of Tom’s Shoes, Blake Mycoskie, and he just got inspired with that one for one business model, and thought that he could do a similar thing in the restaurant and food industry. Apart from that, he talked about that trend that really entrepreneurship is moving towards, social entrepreneurship, and not only making money but also doing good. Historically he goes back into the idea that in the past, 50-100 years ago entrepreneurship was really dominated with the idea of Titans, that the philosophy and perspective of entrepreneurship was really about maximizing profits, hardcore capitalism. Top examples of entrepreneurs were people such as Andrew Carnegie who dominated the steel industry.

Entrepreneurs as Titans & Innovators

Entrepreneurs who were Titans in some of these commodity industries like oil, steel and gas, they were the ones who were at the forefront of entrepreneurship. Later on in 80s-90s, there was more of a trend with the concept of innovation and innovators as entrepreneurs, with examples of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with Apple Computer, where they pushed the limit of entrepreneurship and showed that apart from just making money you could use ideas and design, and really great product as a means to change the world through innovation.

Entrepreneurs Today Yearning For Something Meaninful

The Mogl cofounder Jon Carder in his view says that nowadays in where we are right now, in the 2000s and now in the 20-teens, that there’s a entrepreneurial trend towards the idea of Saviors, where entrepreneurs can be a type of savior who can help others, who can actually create organizations to do good in the world, and that it’s not only about making money. The Gen Ys and the millennials of today are looking at business and entrepreneurship as being more than just making money; even more that just doing innovation but making money, creating innovation but also doing good and changing the world, so that there is a social benefit and that the community can receive an impact from the business that you create.

Contemporary Movement of Social Entrepreneurship

I think that was a really great insight that entrepreneurship is moving from Titans to Innovators and now the idea of Saviors and social entrepreneurship. I think it was really cool that it was being talked about in This Week in Startups. I totally agree with this perspective, and it was something that I hadn’t really thought about, but looking at the historical and philosophical movement of social entrepreneurship is really inspiring. I guess with that trend of the perspective of entrepreneurship, it just makes me wonder, where to from here? I guess for you as an entrepreneur or a social entrepreneur and wherever you are right now in your journey, I guess it makes you want to question as well, what kind of entrepreneur are you?

Do you want to be a kind of Titan that dominates an Innovator, that changes the world through innovation or in Jon Carder’s words, a Savior that does good but also does it by making sustainable and profitable businesses. That’s it from me for today. I’ll check you later. Bye-bye.

photo by: acaben

Brilliant Earth Review: 3 Reasons Why I Bought My Fiancee’s Engagement Ring at Brilliant Earth Ethical Jewelry

Hey everybody. Matt Alberto here with today’s post. What we’ll be talking today about is three reasons why I bought my fiancé’s engagement ring at Brilliant Earth. As you know my last post, I talked about at just getting engaged. One of the unique things about the engagement was that I got the engagement ring which was an ethical engagement ring from brillinatearth.com. They’re an online retailer that sells conflict-free engagement rings and other conflict-free jewelry. It’s really fitting for this website which talks about social entrepreneurship and businesses that do good.

Here’s three reasons why I bought the engagement ring at Brilliant Earth.

1. Brilliant Earth Specializes in Ethical Jewelry

The first reason was my fiancé, she actually wanted the ring from Brilliant Earth. The reason why is Brilliant Earth provides ethical engagement rings. How it happened was that I knew for a while that she was going to be the one. Two years ago, I didn’t want to make it too complicated. I might heard other guys’ experiences about trying to figure out the engagement ring. Other family members who, other female family members like my female cousins trying to tell their boyfriends which engagement rings they wanted. It seems like there was a lot of confusion about what kind of engagement ring that women wanted. I felt I was little confused at that and I didn’t know what my girlfriend at that time wanted.

Two years ago, I just plainly just flatly asked her, “What kind of engagement ring would you want if ever I were to get you one?” Serious conversation and she had some time to think about it. She looked online and she stumbled across brillinatearth.com. The reason why was one of the major things she wanted in terms of an engagement ring was to ensure that it was conflict-free. Conflict-free means that the engagement ring or the jewelry involved aren’t linked to conflict or as they say blood diamonds.

Maybe you’ve seen the movie with Leo di Caprio about blood diamonds and how there’s this really unethical industry involving war and conflict and subjugation and all that related to diamonds. She wanted one that was certified to be conflict-free and she found Brilliant Earth to be one of the most reputable company. She showed me one and she wanted hers to be unique so the one she chose was a pink sapphire type ring which was pink sapphire with diamonds. Two diamonds next to them as well.

It was different from the usual diamond engagement ring. Even with the pink sapphire, she wanted it to be conflict-free and Brilliant Earth delivered on that. That was one reason why I bought the engagement ring there. The second reason was in the last couple of months, as I was trying to plan to get the ring, I looked up on the website. I had to do it secretly. She’s always around and I had to make sure that she didn’t see me going online.

2. You Can Get Free Ring Sizers for the Right Sized Engagement Ring

In [inaudible 00:03:29] one of the challenges to try to figure out which ring to get was the size of the ring. What I really liked about Brilliant Earth is that they’ve got a ring sizer. If you’re going to try and get and engagement ring for your girlfriend, they actually send you for free a ring sizer. What it is is it’s this plastic band that you put around her finger and with that you are able to see what kind of size she is. From there, you can order the right type of engagement ring size that’s right for her.

That was really useful because brilliantearth.com, they’re based in Canada but they’ve got an office as well in the US. They’ve got contact numbers and people as well in Australia. They’re doing deals here in Australia but being an online store that was one of my concerns and so my family as well. When we’re planning that was one of the concerns that because it’s an online one, will we get the right size?

With their ring sizer, it was really helpful to get the right size. After some failed attempts to get her ring size involving some of her friends, I also just asked her, “Could you just try this one?” From there we got an estimated ring size. That was useful also because since I’m based in Australia, Australian ring sizes for engagement rings are actually different from North American, US, and Canadian ring sizes. It’s useful to get that ring sizer to get the American sizes.

3. Free Shipping Both Ways for Your Engagement Ring

Lastly, one of the reasons why I got it there was just because of their free shipping policy. If you have any problem, you’re able to send the ring back free of charge and get it resized or even refunded. In our case, even with the ring sizer, I actually ordered just a little bit about a size bigger just so that to get a leeway but it ended up being slightly too big. I sent it back just recently and now just waiting for the ring to come back. That was all done for free. That was great and that was great service. I was really happy with that. They’re being in contact with me via e-mail saying that they’ve received it and should be back with us soon.

Final Thoughts on Brilliant Earth Ethical Jewellers

Those are three reasons why I got the engagement ring from Brilliant Earth. I really recommend it. One of the challenges, I suppose, with dealing with the online store is lack of a face to face communication. There isn’t a storefront but because they’ve been so efficient in terms of their e-mail communication, the phone communication, and the free shipping deal, it’s been really great. I recommend it especially if you like to support ethical jewelry. Check it out. Okay, bye bye.