IMVU

“Stop me if you’ve heard this story. Brillantes college sitting in a residence are inventing the future. They ignore the limits. Possessed by the new technology and youthful enthusiasm, build a business from scratch. Its initial success allows them to raise funds and bring to market amazing products hire their friends, brings together a star and challenge the world team ten years and makes some startups, that I was building my first company I remember one time then… when I realized that my company would fail my partner cofounder and I were desperate The dotcom bubble had burst and we had spent all our money tried desperately to raise more capital but could not it was like a scene breakdown of a Hollywood movie…. it was raining and we were quarreling on the street. We could not even agree on where to go, so angry, we separated and took opposite directions. As a metaphor for the failure of our company, this image of us, lost in the rain and distancing, it is perfect. It remains a painful memory. The company resisted a few months but the situation was desperate. At that time it seemed that we were doing everything right: we had a great product, a brilliant team, amazing technology and the right idea at the right time. And we were really doing something. We built a system for university in which they could create online profiles with the aim of sharing … with companies. Oh! Despite this promising idea, we were doomed from day one, we did not know what process we should use to make our product idea into a great company. If you have never experienced a failure like this, it is difficult to describe the feeling it causes. It is as if the world would collapse before you. You realize that you have been cheated. The stories are lies magazines: hard work and perseverance does not lead to success. Worse, many, many, many promises have you done to your workers, friends and family are not going to become reality. All those who thought they were stupid to go on your own would prove they were right. It was not supposed to be going to end this way. In magazines and newspapers, in movies and in countless blogs, we heard the mantra of successful entrepreneurs: through determination, brilliance, the right time and, above all, a great product, you can achieve fame and fortune. There is a myth-making industry that works hard to sell this story, but I have come to the conclusion that it is false, it is the result of selection bias product and the subsequent rationalization. In fact, having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, I have seen how often promising early end in failure. The stark reality is that most startups fail. Most new products do not succeed. Most new companies are not up to their potential. Still, the story of perseverance, creative genius and hard work persists. Why is it so popular? I think there is something deeply appealing in these modern fairy tale stories. Make success seem inevitable if you have everything you need to achieve. This means that the mundane details, the boring stuff, small individual decisions do not matter. If we do, they will come alone. When we fail, like many of us, we have a ready excuse: we had everything we needed. We were not visionary enough or were not in the right place at the right time. After more than ten years as an entrepreneur, I have rejected this line of thought. I have learned so much from my successes and failures themselves and others that all these boring things are what matter most. The success of a startup is not the result of good genes or being in the right place at the right time. The success of a startup can be designed following the correct process and this means that you can learn and, therefore, can be taught.
Entrepreneurship is a type of management. No, you have not misread. We associate wildly divergent concepts to these two words, “entrepreneurial spirit” and “management”. In the background, it seems that is fashionable, is innovative and exciting and the other is boring, serious and soda. It is time to forget these preconceived ideas. Let me explain another story about a startup. It was 2004 and a group of people had just created a new company. His previous company had failed markedly and its credibility was under minimum. They had a grand vision: to change the way people communicate using a new technology called avatar (remember that this was before the movie James Cameron). They were following a visionary named Will Harvey posed a compelling idea: people connect with their friends, spend time online using avatars that provide a combination of intimate connection and safe anonymity. Even better, instead of these avatars have to take all your clothes, build their furniture and all accessories needed for their digital lives, customers can build all these things and sell them between them. The engineering challenge before them was enormous: to create virtual worlds, user content, online system, micropayments generated trade and, last but not least, the three-dimensional technology avatars that could run on any computer. I am also in this story. I am co-founder and chief technology officer of the company, called IMVU. At this point in our careers, my co-founders and I would also make new mistakes. We did everything wrong: instead of spending years perfecting our technology, we built a minimum viable product, an early product that was terrible, full of bugs and stability problems that could damage the equipment. Then we send it to our customers before it was ready. And charge you for it. After the first customers sure, update the product faster than traditional standards dictate, releasing new versions of our product dozens of times every day. We really had customers in those first moments, true visionaries who were the first to adopt our product, and often talked to them to ask for their feedback. But we saw what we were told. their inputs as a source of information about our product and our overview. In fact, we were much more willing to experiment with our customers to meet their desires. The traditional business thinking says that this approach should not work, but it works, and does not need to take my word but can prove it. The approach that we promoted in IMVU has become the basis for a new wave of entrepreneurial thinking throughout the world. It is based on many previous ideas about management and product development, including lean manufacturing, design thinking, customer development and agile development. It represents a new approach to create continuous innovation. It is called Lean Startup. Although written books on business strategy, key attributes of leaders and ways to identify the next great product, innovators are still struggling to implement their ideas. This was the frustration that prompted us to test a radical new approach in IMVU, characterized by extremely short cycle time focused on what consumers want (without having to ask) and a scientific approach to making decisions. Origins of Lean Startup.
I am one of those people who grew up programming computers. My way of thinking about entrepreneurship and management follows a circuitous path. I have always worked in the product development of my business; my partners and bosses were managers or business, and my subordinates worked in the design and operations. Throughout my entire career I have had the feeling of working incredibly hard on products that ultimately failed in the market. At first, especially because of my experience, I saw failure as a technical problem that required a technical solution: a better architecture, better design process, better discipline, goal or vision product. These assumptions arrangements leading to more failures. Then I read everything I could get and was blessed to have some of the great minds of Silicon Valley as a mentor. At that time I became a co-founder of IMVU and was hungry for new ideas on how to create a business. I was fortunate to have cofounders who wanted to experiment with new approaches. Like me, they were fed up with the failure of traditional thinking. In addition, we were lucky to have Steve Blank as an investor and advisor. Going back to 2004, Steve had just begun to preach a new idea: the functions of management and marketing for a startup should be considered as important as the design and product development and therefore deserved the same methodology rigorously to guide them. He called this methodology Development clients and this helped me and guided me in my daily work as an entrepreneur. While I was building the product development team IMVU, using some unorthodox methods I mentioned earlier. If we analyze using traditional product development theories I had learned during my career, no sense; but I myself saw that worked. I struggled to explain these practices to new employees, investors and founders of other companies. However, we lacked a common language to describe and define the principles to understand them. I started looking for ideas that could help me explain my experience outside the business world. I began to study other sectors, especially the industrial sector, from which derive most theories of management. Lean manufacturing studied, Japan originating process that had worked on the Toyota production system, a whole new way to raise the production of physical goods. I discovered that by applying the ideas of Lean manufacturing my own business decisions, with some adjustments and changes, was the basis for a new theoretical framework that would allow me to analyze problems. This line of thinking evolved into The Lean Startup: the application of lean thinking to the process of innovation. IMVU became a tremendous success. IMVU customers have created more than sixty million avatars. It is a profitable company with annual revenues of over fifty million dollars in 2011 and employs over a hundred people in our offices in Mountain View, California. The catalog of virtual goods IMVU, which seemed so risky years ago, now has more than six million products every day and added more than seven thousand, most created by the consumers themselves. Following the success of IMVU, other startups and venture capital firms began to ask my advice. When describing my experiences in IMVU, often I found me with blank stares or total skepticism. The most common answer was, “This will never work!”. My experience was against the traditional thinking of most people, even those in Silicon Valley, and could not convince them. Then I started writing a blog called Startup Lessons Learned and to speak at conferences and companies, startups and venture capital firms, to anyone who would listen. In the process of defending and explaining my intuitions-and collaboration with other writers, and entrepreneurs-ideologues, I had the opportunity to refine and develop the theory of Lean Startup method beyond its rudimentary principles. My hope throughout this process was to find mechanisms to eliminate the terrible waste that I saw around me: startups that manufactured products that nobody wanted, new products removed from the shelves, countless unattainable dreams. Finally, the idea of Lean Startup method blossomed into a global movement. Entrepreneurs began to create groups to discuss and apply the ideas of the method. Now there are communities that practice in over a hundred cities around the world. My travels have taken me to many countries and continents. Everywhere I have seen signs of a business revival.Lean Startup movement method is making entrepreneurship accessible to a whole new generation of creators of hungry companies new ideas on how to build successful companies”14125140_1737533456496185_8600411119943321380_o

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Giovanny Amador
Entrepreneur

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