Adam Walker, founder of Local Energy Technologies, gave a presentation this week on his master's thesis topic, comparing B2B and B2C startups. He's analyzing Kauffman data, looking at failure rates compared to other variables. B2B startups have lower rates of failure than B2C startups. He emphasized that with this information, when we see a problem in the marketplace, we should be able to choose at what point in the supply chain to address the problem.
Adam pointed out that most entrepreneurs choose to serve the end-customer rather than look for opportunities along the whole supply chain. This generated a pretty good discussion and one startup shared its story of starting as a B2C company but pivoting to serve businesses when it saw more potential and interest from them.
I find this all fascinating because as My Elephant Brain (and even previously with Fit with Friends), Pete and I purposely chose to go B2B. We both agree that extracting money (and even attention) from consumers right now is very hard so it was a no-brainer decision for us. But I guess it's true that most entrepreneurs do not think this way. The data itself is quite compelling though. If you knew you could lower your risk of failure by making a decision about who you choose as your customer, does it not make sense to do so?
So, B2B. But there's been an interesting development with My Elephant Brain. Check out my "high of the week" below.
Weekly pitch training was moved up a bit earlier in the day this week. I'm not a morning person but I'm at work by 10. Most entrepreneurs aren't in yet so I got a little one-on-one coaching with James, the Pitch Tribe leader, and founder of Marketeer. James is a formally-trained actor and one of those rare, amazing teachers. Every word he says is useful and relevant. I'm surprised more entrepreneurs don't participate in pitch tribe. The skills are not just for pitch presentations. They're also for selling. And you sell every time you open your mouth to talk about what you do. Which is all the time.
I mentored my first Chilean entrepreneurs this week! This pair of teachers is working on providing a tutoring service. They also want to provide a technologically innovative solution to tutors and students. They're still trying to figure out what that might be so I gave them some guidance. It's a bit weird because I certainly don't feel like I have much experience myself but they were really appreciative. I think I provided some value and hope to do it again soon.
This week Startup Chile organized a Christmas party for at-risk children. After the regular fun and games it turned into a dance party and then karaoke. Latin American culture reminds me so much of my own Filipino culture sometimes. :)
High of the week: As part of my marketer role I've been creating profiles on various Startup directory-type sites. Last week I submitted to BetaList. We were published to their newsletter on Sunday. I didn't think much of it but when I logged into our site three days later I found nearly 300 sign-ups. I had a quick look at our site visits and it looks like our conversion was quite high at about 42%. I'll have to dig into this a bit more to be sure, but it was a pleasant high this week. And it also makes me re-think our current B2B strategy. I'll have to talk to these people to see what it is they're expecting and whether they're likely to pay for the service. Exciting times!
Low of the week: I'm missing that Christmas feeling a bit. It almost feels like it's not happening!
Lesson learned: Who you choose as your customer matters. Go for the one that's willing to pay you.
Interesting thing: A bunch of us went to see The Hobbit. I generally do everything I can to stay uninformed when it comes to movies because I don't like knowing the story or anything beforehand. I read the Hobbit a long time ago but I had two unexpected surprises: First, I didn't know it was going to be in 3D. And second, I didn't know it was only part 1 of 3. But the interesting thing? In Spanish, Master Baggins is Senor Bolson. :)