You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen.

And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make. There are just certain things you can’t make electrons do. There are certain things you can’t make plastic do. Or glass do. Or factories do. Or robots do.

Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.

And it’s that process that is the magic.


- Steve Jobs

About Bitcoins

People tend to forget that the value of a Bitcoin is just how much YOU value it. And since nobody use it for anything really…

There’s nothing new here. It took so many years to build trustfully bank and stock notes. And we had to use gold standard (“étalon-or”) for a long time to build this trust, so that you could exchange at any time your note with a fixed amount of gold.

Because a stock note is just a piece of paper, like a Bitcoin is just an electronic id. It worth only the trust you have in its value. 

People buy Bitcoins because they think it’s a new exotic thing, with huge promises of making them rich. Exactly like people used to invest in the French East India Company in the XVIIIth century.

I can tell you already how the Bitcoin currency will end. One day, Bitcoins will stop being this new hyped thing. At that time early investors will think it’s time to sell and the value will drop. At that point who would be crazy enough to buy a Bitcoin even for 1/10th of the price, knowing that nobody use them for real. Bitcoins will worth nothing else than the cost of the bytes it takes on your hard drive to store them. And you won’t have any government to save this currency.

It’s interesting how people see regulation as a bad thing. Let’s wait for the crash and we’ll then think again to the value of central banks, trust and regulation.

Microsoft new recruiting techniques. Seen in the headers of a Microsoft Skydrive API response :-)

Microsoft new recruiting techniques. Seen in the headers of a Microsoft Skydrive API response :-)

Don’t tell the press about your product, they don’t care.

What a journalist truly want is an article to publish. They don’t care about your company. They don’t care about how great your product is. You must tell them a story.

Sometimes I hear people saying how difficult it is to get press coverage in stealth mode. They say the press always talk about the same, that they have their favorites. Of course it helps to know the journalist, but I think that’s really not the main point.

The fact is, most of the people are interested in knowing details about startups funded by the big names. But It’s just like you don’t care about Nespresso but you do care that George Clooney likes Nespresso. The product is not special, but the story is interesting.

So if I could give an advice: think as a journalist. A great journalist is not the one that copy / paste a Press Release. What a journalist needs is an unconventional angle about the market or something.

What you need to provide are details that will call the reader (like a fresh analysis on your market, or any topic related to sex, money, fame, etc.). If you don’t call the reader, you won’t call the journalist neither.

"I think the tech business is just fundamentally characterized by— Darwin had a term for it in evolution, “punctuated equilibrium”—where the world is evolving a certain way and then bam, it changes completely and fundamentally. You can even see this in the fossil records. Where the fossils progress at a certain rate, and then bam, there is a whole new layer of sediments that looks fundamentally different. The theory is, maybe there was a flood that wiped everything out or some new organism adapted and survived and crowded the old organisms out. I think to make money as an investor in the tech business, you have to find those. If you cannot find any of those ever, I think it is hard to argue that you have a business."

- Mike Maples, Floodgate Fund — Venture Capitalists at Work

Who’ll win the mobile payment market?

There’s a lot of talking about mobile payment these days. Clearly, great companies like Square show how much can still be done with payments. And with many rumors about an imminent NFC-enabled iPhone, mobile payment looks like the next big thing. But watch out! Companies that will success on this market might not be the one we think of.

As any strong innovation, mobile payment is technically challenging. You need to create a secured electronic transaction which is a complex problem to solve, involving financial institutions, mobile careers, manufacturers, operating systems, point of sale IS and retailers.

But most of the big players tend to forget a disruptive technology is first a marketing challenge before being a tech one. You have to identify a market where this technology will be a must have for the consumer.

Why would the general consumer requires mobile payment today? Isn’t he happy with his credit card? Frankly when you check the Google Wallet pitch, it’s amazing how poor the benefits are:

  • You can pay by tapping your phone (vs paying by swiping a card)
  • You can pay on the web with your wallet (wow!)
  • Google wallet shows you deals nearby (You don’t need mobile payment for that, do you? See Plyce :)
  • You can lock your card with a PIN (definitely the most amazing feature here).

So we say the main benefit is to get rid off your wallet. Problem is, before a big 100% switch, you’ll have to deal with both a Credit Card AND your Mobile for several years. How simple is that? If there’s a market for mobile payment, and don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure there will be one, it’s not — yet — for the general use.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to see companies around mobile transaction technologies growing on a very different market. Then, when strong enough, they would eventually move towards mobile payment and disrupt the big players solutions.

Animated with Loopcam for iPhone.


The firms that were most successful in commercializing a disruptive technology were those framing their primary development challenge as a *marketing* one: to build or find a market where product competition occured along dimensions that favored the disruptive attributes of the product.

It is critical that managers confronting disruptive technology observe this principle. If history is any guide, companies that keep disruptive technologies bottled up in their labs, working to improve them until they suit mainstream markets, will not be nearly as successful as firms that find markets that embrace the attributes of disruptive technologies as they initially stand. These latter firms, by creating a commercial base and then moving upmarket, will ultimately address the mainstream market much more effectively than will firms that have framed disruptive technology as a laboratory, rather than a marketing, challenge.


- The Innovator’s Dilemna - Clayton M. Christensen

Bolivia - September 2011

Bolivia - September 2011

Hong Kong - Summer 2010

Hong Kong - Summer 2010