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Hi, Mike. How are you? Very good, thank you. This week there’s been some goings on in the world of business. I’ve been trolling away on Twitter and found a few interesting things to talk about. First up, we’ve got a tweet from a guy called Jack Butcher, who is an Englishman in New York, to quote the famous song.
And he has a sort of design agency or an online product called Visualise Value. And he’s really good at explaining kind of business concepts visually and things like that. Anyway, he has a tweet that says an observation that he’s made. Most people insist on applying lessons from Litoral trillion dollar companies to trying to make a few hundred thousand bucks on the Internet. What’s true for them is not true for you. And the reason why this kind of caught my eye was this is something that’s very definitely true. When you are looking through Twitter or when you’re looking through social media or just even the mainstream media, most of the information that comes your way comes from large companies to people or departments that have large budgets. They’re dealing with lots of people. Their total addressable market is enormous. They’ve got the money to invest in things like PR marketing. You know, having briefing journalists and doing well, this kind of stuff. So you very much get in the sort of your normal media intake, the lens of large companies and large businesses and strategies which tend to work for them. So when you see an article or a tweet or something like that from someone who’s talking about a way that they are solving a certain problem for the business, then it comes. You’ve always got to have in the back of your mind, this comes to a lens of this is a person who has a lot of resources behind them. And what works for them will not necessarily work for you. Like a CEO or marketing, a lot of CEO advice on marketing advice will be like, ah, if you want to try and grow your YouTube channel, then send out a blast to your hundred thousand email list and get them to subscribe to our YouTube channel. And then that’s a way of bootstrapping the your subscribers on your beat on your YouTube channel. And that’s the way to kick-start everything. Now, that obviously only applies if you’ve already got an email list of 100000 people that you can actively sort of reach out to. If you’re starting from zero zero, that doesn’t apply at all. The same is true of other sort of marketing advice, like if you’re if you want to put together a content marketing plan, then they’ll say, you know, you can create X number of bits of content every month and you can put it out. And you can do. You can pay to Facebook, boost your thing and what. And again, it all assumes that there are people who other people who are writing or producing the content assumes that you’ve got money to put behind some initial marketing that you can just that you you will just be able to lose effectively upfront or that’s a loss leader up front because you’ll make it up down the line. But if you don’t have people, if you don’t have budget, if you don’t have other areas in which you can kickstart your efforts, then that doesn’t work. And I think the point here is, is that that’s that can fail. I mean, I’ve felt this in the past as well. That can feel very demotivating because you’re kind of like, well, I don’t I’m not even. I’m behind even where they’re talking about. They’re talking about starting over here. I’m not even at that point yet because I don’t have the resources or lists or whatever it might be to try and get to that point. And but one thing to bear in mind is you you do have some advantages as a small business over large businesses. And some of those advantages are things like you are able to do things that they wouldn’t even consider doing because it be too small. It wouldn’t move the needle. It wouldn’t be worth their while spending any time on it. They need to if they’re going to invest in any new area of marketing or business or whatever it might be, then they need to produce millions of dollars of impact in order for them to even consider doing it. Whereas for you, you know, you can do things like personally reaching out to people. You can do personal concierge type outreach efforts because you know, you as a user small business that might move the needle with you. Contact them people and turn one of those people into a client paying you a thousand dollars, then that really moves the needle for you, whereas for a large company, that doesn’t do it at all. So that’s doing things which don’t scale. Another thing is, is that business, a large business has to go after stuff in a marketplace which has enough where their total addressable market is large enough that they that they will eventually reach a certain size of business within that market to make a difference to them. Whereas for you, because they got massive overheads and costs, they’ve got lots of employees. They got, you know, lovely glass and steel skyscrapers in San Francisco or New York or something. And. Whereas you have much lower over hasn’t, so you are able to go after Mohnish, opportunities which they wouldn’t even be able to consider doing because it wouldn’t end up being a large enough total addressable market for them to bother with. So that gives you the opportunity to go after smaller opportunities, things that large companies wouldn’t even think of doing. You can move faster than larger companies because your small, agile, even if you feel like you’re not. You are in comparison to, you know, people who have to have 10 meetings a day and people just call in sick and do that kind of stuff. So don’t feel so disheartened by all of this stuff that’s watching over you. So, Marcello, you’ve operated a small business against giant business. What’s your what’s your opinion on this?
Yeah, absolutely. So I think, as you pointed out correctly, that you have certain advantages as a Start-Up. You can go faster. That’s for sure.
And you should really take advantage of it. Yeah, I would say the main warning I will try to raise is just don’t take literally what people are putting out there or just even in books like Business Man, opinion leaders, high profile entrepreneurs. Yeah. I think the classic cliche, you know, do what you love. Don’t pursue money or money will come. Then other classic guan is just be authentic to say what you want. And people will find you. Which is fine. I don’t disagree. It’s just too simplistic. I understand them. They are not. They don’t have. But but fate. Knowing what they are doing. But just oversimplifying stuff. It can be dangerous.
So another thought pattern or thing which often comes up when you’re a small business or when you’ll just starting out like your you’ve got brand new idea or brand new idea for a business or you got a brand new idea for a Start-Up is that, you know, you might have come up with this amazing idea for this business. You probably had a eureka moment in the shower or in the bath or something when you were just there soaping yourself up. And Overson, it’s like being light bulb goes off and it’s like, oh, my, this is amazing. So we change the world. This is gonna make me rich. And so some of the first hurdles you got to get over from that point is you’ve got to go and either, like find investment or you’ve got to go and try and sell your idea or whatever it is that you come up with to some client. And maybe that client is large a company or a much larger company. If you’re doing sort of B2B or enterprise type situation, then, you know, you got to approach someone who’s got far, who’s far bigger than you got far more resources. And the big worry always is that. Okay, well, I’ve had this brilliant idea, but it’s very delicate. Like this idea could be stolen if I if I approach someone with this idea to sort of cheque it out or to try and sell people on it. Are they going to steal it? Is the investor going to steal it and sort of give it to another one of their investors? And that’s that’s a that’s really sort of common worry for people who are starting out in business. And the way they try and sort of secure that or to mitigate some of that risk is that they use and the non-disclosure agreements, which are lead legal documents, which are sort of attempt to protect your intellectual property, the idea that you come up with. Now, different people have sort of different ideas or different thoughts about what’s more important or not was more important, but like the level of danger that’s associated with this, because it is you have an idea, yet your main worry is, is this gonna get stolen? It seems very delicate. And I think we probably made you must probably have slightly differing opinions on this. So. So what do you think in terms of, like ideas versus execution, like protecting your idea and desire? Is that kind of thing?
Yeah, I think especially first time entrepreneurs, they tend to protect more their idea than.
Most likely all 99 percent of the cases. The idea is not the most important thing. It’s all about the execution. And also it’s important, the timing and how you presented the team. So many things too. For a product to be viable or investible viable is one thing. Investible is even more difficult, especially if you don’t have anything to show. So investors like MBBS. So I think probably like trade off would be so. So you think you have this great idea? Just go test it. Test a prototype of that in the market or any market and see what happens. You don’t need to have great traction. But if you don’t have if you got zero, at least maybe you have feedback or something.
But if you don’t have anything at all, then or you have negative feedback then or is or it may be too costly or whatever. So that’s already valuable. And then if if after the MVP you still have something valuable, then yeah, I think most likely you would need to protect it. You should always try as an entrepreneur to to put the NDA. And I think it’s because there’s nothing wrong with it. But you will find that many, especially BSE, these venture capital firms a day won’t sign it because they are also like large corporates or banks. They’re not going to sign it because they don’t want their they’re very you know, they’re either regulated and they are very restricted to what they can sign or not. And then, yeah, they did. They don’t want to be known for just checking if it’s something they could be interested is too much hassle for them and responsibility. Also, they are looking at if they are looking to invest in an industry, they’re looking at several projects at the same time, and that those projects may vary very little between each other. So these are very, you know, grey area, our like mine can for them.
So it’s it’s not something I work, but. So come back to MBP. So if you have not only an idea about a product already, you know, progressed and you have some initial Know-How on this and that, so then it will be more difficult for them to steal it from you. There will be more inclined to support you rather than to start testing or from scratch. There is always the risk and there have been many cases, some people stalling the idea, I think on Twittery, some high profile case.
Again, you can still argue the execution date between the founders, but there are many cases on large corporates. You and dad were founded by a team man. Some of them were sidelined and on others then to control somehow with lots of controversy. So if doesn’t need to be investors, I mean, Facebook as well is surrounded by controversy. Actually, as this brothers that were suing Mark Zuckerberg, they got paid tens of millions or so.
And I think they got some NDA or some Fenian place or they could prove something things some Edam very early stage. So, yeah, I think it’s it’s not uncommon. It’s very rare that someone will steal your idea and do it, because usually the idea is not enough. So you really need to have a very interesting idea. Usually it’s because it’s not because you had this Eureka moment on its own. It’s probably because you saw it or you did an MEP and saw something that was going on.
So it’s I think it’s more likely that they will steal something early stage that they think it’s cos potential lies kind of going to work than an idea on its own. But yeah, you should try to protect as much as possible, but then you shouldn’t be overprotective otherwise. There is this very common case of first time entrepreneurs that they don’t want to tell the idea to almost anyone because they want to protect it. And they want to share it. And if you don’t share, you don’t get feedback. And you will spend. Or you you are inclined to go develope all on your own. Maybe it’s a product that requires a decent amount of investment and you will go all the way on your own just because you don’t want to share it to anyone else. So that’s a big mistake. Yeah.
So you should find a middle ground, healthy middle ground. Definitely. You can do an MVP and be and then try to protect yourself and go from there or just don’t share it with D.C..
So you think it’s going to be risky just trying to find our type of investors? That will be my advice.
Yeah, I. I think that’s. For me, for me, you tend to be in love with your own idea and this amazing, brilliant idea that you’ve got that you think is the absolute bee’s knees. When you do sort of tell it to other people, the feedback you often get is like you feel like, oh, you don’t get it. You don’t get it. But maybe that idea isn’t as great as you think it is. You’re just in love with it a little bit. And it’s quite important to make sure that you sort of get an objective view of how good or bad the idea might be. You know, if everyone’s telling you maybe this isn’t such a brilliant thing, then, you know, maybe maybe you’ve just fallen in love with it a little bit too much. But I think you’re right, like the best mitigation strategies are to, like, just out execute the competition. If you are in a market where there is no other competition and then does that market really exist, you know, if if the idea is good and if the idea is profitable and if there is a market for it, then you will always have competition. So just even if that competition gets the idea from you. Make sure that you’re taken advantage of first mover advantage. Make sure that you’re working towards making good money out there, executing on it, learning the lessons, going around. That decision making that we talked about in a previous podcast is as quickly and as iteratively as possible. Getting around that iteration loop. Improving and breathing. Improving. Growing. Growing, growing. And also, I think the risk of other people actually copying you is lower than you think it is, because humans just aren’t all that great executing on stuff, particularly large groups of humans. So if you have a like a huge you know, if you’ve got a much larger competitor that you’re worried about sort of seeding the idea, then, you know, the amount of meetings and phone calls and arrangements and things that they have to do to even sort of get started on it. Sure, they might have a bit more money to throw at the problem. But, you know, just logistically, they they’re more like sort of giant oil tankers. They will take a far, far longer to sort of turn round and start going in a new direction. So you, as a small, nimble little speedboat, should be out to outmanoeuvre them anyway. So the risk there is lower than the new edition. And talking about brilliant ideas or maybe crazy ideas that require India is something which happened this week, Elon Musk and his company NewLink had a demonstration of how far they’ve gotten in the last year or so. They did a presentation about a year ago where they introduced the product or the idea. And this company is a company that’s doing a brain computer interface effectively. So it’s a while. The full factor that they’re going for is a kind of implant or a chip that they’re going to put into your head with little sort of nanowires that go into your brain. And the idea is, is this chip will be able to send and receive messages to and from your brain matter to help with things like medical diagnoses and sort of controlling neurological medical problems and also sort of more esoteric things like being able to control things with your thoughts and doing things like that. And they demonstrated this with some animal surrogates. So they had some pigs in which they sort of implanted the latest version of their product and they were showing how the product can pick up the brainwaves when the pigs were snuffling around and when it found food, when it hadn’t found food and and things like that. And obviously, there are various sort of like pros and cons of this approach. And I people had some concerns about the use of animals.
People had concerns about, you know, how you’re going to be able to safely implant and remove this in future. There was sort of some criticisms from some people, some neurologists, in terms of what the actual tech, you know, what the capabilities of the tech may be in future.
They’ve obviously sort of done some impressive engineering to get to where they are. But you know how how far this kind of thing can go. What what was your thoughts on the on the presentation, on other products?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to the book, one of those tips. So, yeah, I think it’s it’s great. I think we need more of those chops. We talked before on previous podcasts that those guys, you know, with I think he’s now the top five richest person in the world. Like worth a hundred billion. So he should put those massive resources towards innovation. I’m not sure how far he would go with this, but I think. Originally, he wanted to do it. He was very outspoken on the dangers of A.I. and there are many dangers. So there was a danger of A.I. super giant oceans outpacing humans and therefore getting rid of them because they were a threat. Or that’s more like apocalyptic on a less intuitive but another risk, which is, I think, very a fair risk, is that if they’re if someone builds a very sophisticated A.I., it will have like concentrated power, let’s say, a government or like a Google or what whoever does like a selected group of people that, you know, somehow do a breakthrough and they can start trading in a stock market or due to indecent that done influencing people. So that that could be a problem. So initially, he was in open eye trying to decentralise that concentration of power.
And now with this, he’s basically trying to take a shortcut. I think he is he now realised about this backlash, PR backlash or, you know, that is common. So he’s saying conveniently that they are objective or the problem to solve these allied severe medical issues or important, make our problems something like health problems. Which is fine. And it’s very noble pursuit. So even if they just accomplished that, it will be great. But I don’t think they will stop there.
I don’t think he built the company for that alone, which is more inspiring at the same time. So definitely he wants to go beyond that. He wants to enhance humans. He wants to accelerate the path towards artificial intelligence as well. And I think it’s I mean, I think it’s inevitable, put it that way. So also I’d say so given.
If you think it’s inevitable, because if you think you see this session, we could grow into as well. So at some point it will happen. So saw our rather have someone like Elan desaturate trying to democratise, democratise and make it accessible as well. So he was asked in the Lifestream, you know, how much we cost. And he’s really trying to bring down the cost. Also on the risks on on the surgery day, there are not only they build these coincides to which they improved dramatically from last year as well.
So they do care about aesthetics and how it integrates with the body and they will keep improving that. But they also build that robot for the surgery.
So everyone can help. So. So that will reduce the cost due to automation and everyone can get the same treatment, which is, I think, fair enough. So he said that he was confident that the cost could drop to a few thousand dollars. So that’s comparable to some Apple products like consumer goods. So Anapolis, if you think I believe the largest company in the world does because many people buy the products. So I would rather buy an enhancement like to communicate with computers directly than an iPhone.
I think you will you will need more iPhone or like P.c.
I don’t know. So, yeah, I think it’s it’s great. I think we need. I don’t think that will be the only company trying to do the same. So you will inspire, you know, our new branch of research and science. Yeah. With regards to animal protection out there, they’re trying to do the right thing. And he also put it he put the three little pigs actually, as he called it, too, so he can show they were in good health.
And, you know, science has been progressing over the years, trying first with animals like mouses and so on. So mice. So, yeah, I think that’s natural. Yeah. So as long as they are not, I think other industries are treating animals the worst. So yes. Yeah. I think also they are trying to do the right thing.
They are being very we were talking before about the NDA. So there they are. He took the same approach with test as well. But they take these very. Public high profile approach. And I think that benefits the whole ecosystem a lot. They show a decent amount of details on how they are doing. What are the plans and all the technology behind all their efforts? And I think that’s very important because usually those kind of companies to try to protect their patents as much as possible and then go take charge as much as possible as well. They want to maximise profits and shareholder value. I don’t think is what he’s looking for. I think it’s a great, great venture. I’m highly supportive. And yeah, I’m impressed as well. But I think it’s still early stage. Once you are showing how I was impressed, how small the device was, I think that was important. But then. Yeah. I mean, you can’t they could get some data, but they’re a long way into making a breakthrough on having any practical implementation yet. So I think other type of nonintrusive devices can get the same or more accurate data from the brain activity. Now, those helmets, they were full of wires they put on you.
So it’s not as aesthetic, but the science was there. So now the challenge would be how that probably connects, how you interpret that data and how can you manipulate that. Now, parts of the body to restore like movement or whatever. If they get there, it will be that that will be a great victory for everyone. Yeah. Human dataset.
Yeah, I think I mean, even like I don’t have an opinion on the approach because I don’t know anywhere near enough about, you know, neurology or any of that kind of stuff to be able to comment on their particular engineering approach or the angle they’re coming at it from. But I think that I think that’s almost unimportant because, you know, he’s or they as a company, you know, are not doing this just because they’ve sort of woken up one day with a sort of a crazy dream about, you know, the way they’re going to do it. They’re you know, they’re engineers, they’re scientists. So they’ve got an approach. And but the most important thing, I think, is that they are trying to commercialise the science, meaning that even if, you know, this is this is the equivalent of the MVP. Right. Of your own products. If you’re starting a company, it’s like, okay, what’s the simplest useful thing that we can bring to the market? Because then the market forces will then help iterate and improve. And, you know, take this from something that’s very simple and very low fidelity up over time. You know, that, you know, once this starts generating revenue, when it starts producing results, when competition comes into the market, when more research and development dollars come into the market, then we can be able to Persian. And, you know, iterates was a much better investment, better thing. I think the way to think of it is as at the moment. The implementation. If you compare it to cameras, for example, you know, when cameras first started, you know, when the first camera was invented, ends of the eighteen hundreds or whatever it was, you know, it was like a pinhole, you know, in the front of a very dark box on some film. And you could sort of just about make out some black and white blurry something, maybe to the point now where, you know, you’ve got digital cameras which can take a giga pixel or péter pixel images of, you know, entire cities down to like the craziest, lowest extremity. And that is all being driven by, you know, each stage has been useful. People want to the output of that technology at each stage is been commercially viable. People have been willing to pay money for it. And it’s that interest in the market and the profit that’s been available in the market does sort of driven the thing. And so all it what it requires is someone to sit there and to take the initial practical engineering investment of saying, OK, wait, what we think this thing should, would and should exist. There’s a little sort of bump you’ve got to get over to get it into the market in the first place. And we’re willing to do that because the opportunities for us as a business is that, you know, it’s a platform play right in the same way as we’ve been talking about vertical integration of all of these companies. And as you mentioned, with Apple, it’s like if you own the technology or if you’ve if you’re ahead of the competition in terms of producing technology, which is a platform for a whole host of other businesses and opportunities to occur. So if you’re Apple on the iPhone, you can charge your 30 percent tax for everything that goes with the iPhone. If your neuro link and you’ve got that down, then you can, you know, presumably charge some sort of platform tax for everything which gets done on that platform, be it medical, be it business, be it whatever it might be. And so it kind of it makes us debate. So, yeah, I’m very interested. It seems to me like it’s, you know, early stages. I’m with all this kind of stuff. But yeah, they’re showing progress and stuff happening. You know, he he he wouldn’t be in it if he didn’t think that there was a path to, you know, some glorious future down the way where, you know, yo, yo, you land on Mars, then you got to sort of create a control, a mind control, a fleet of tunnelling robots to sort of build underground cities on Mars, which I’m pretty sure which is where he’s going with all this.
Yeah, yeah. Actually, he feels very frustrated because he’s very plonking on these are on there.
They’re very limited bandwidth we have currently with computers.
So you are limited by the speed of your fingers basically onto how to type or maybe. Yes, speech recognition is not as efficient yet. So if you can control lie wirelessly your faults directly between you and humans or especially to machine.
Yeah, I mean, definitely there is a very useful case for that.
So they don’t need to test the market for that is just increasing bandwidth. It’s like it’s a natural step. It needs to be done. Yeah. And hopefully it’s done inclusively, like you make your own explorer as many people as possible. So I think if if if someone can do that is key is one of these personalities that can combine the technical expertise and have enough money. So just to don’t care about their you know, he doesn’t need to respond to shareholders. It’s not a CEO. He’s an inventor or entrepreneur. So, yeah, he’s doing cool stuff for for humanity. I think so. Yeah. Kudos on a non a modern day Edison. Yeah. Yeah, probably. But in contrast to every song who profited a lot from patents. So it’s it’s so he made his notary public even with Tesla. So and also he’s trying to have like a practical impact on the global scale and even at our race scale, going to other planets and so on. Brilliant guy. Yeah. I think he should not lose his mind. Moving forward. Keeghan, the main problem, probably too crazy, but so far so good. Yeah, keep going.
So as a as a throwback to our previous conversation that he’s confident that a side company can now execute the competition and doesn’t have a need to protect his ideas.
Also, he was saying, like Gundy’s MBP, as you said. So it’s all there.
Nanowires were like 100 times better than any other comparable product out there. So he just go. He quickly knows that the crunch exists, but goes on create something a hundred times better. And then the next version is like 50 or 100 times better than that. So that’s how you get ahead of competitors as well. He also said he started working early with FDA and he said, well, like exceeds by far the safety requirements.
So he doesn’t, you know, try to meet the thresholds and then maximise profit. He just goes for it. And I think that does great. That drives innovation.
Absolutely right. We’ll leave it there. Thank you very much listening. We’ll be back next week with some more nuggets of knowledge. In the meantime, please cheque out our YouTube channel, which is where we post this and our other podcasts. You can search for a net workers two words where you can find the link in the show notes of this podcast. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into all things entrepreneurial, including more detailed information, help mentorship and courses, please cheque out our Web site, which is at networkers dot com.
See you next time. Mike.