Entrepreneurs DNA | The book

The special traits and capabilities of entrepreneurs

The startup world is growing at phenomenal rates across the globe. Opportunities are plentiful and there is so much to innovate and improve that almost all founders have a huge chance to get their business take off. Yet less than 10% make it – and with the growing number of startups the success rate declines. People learn to read, write, calculate, learn about history, biology and philosophy. Yet, there is no general school that teaches what entrepreneurship really means, how an innovative idea gets created and how such innovation is successfully brought to market. The author, a five-time entrepreneur, is not claiming to have an all-encompassing answer – but tries giving insights from very different entrepreneurial experiences as well as a recollection of working with nearly 1,000 startup founders.

This book is about what the most amazing founders did or do to build a disruptive, global, billion-dollar company in less than a decade – no matter where they came from, no matter what school they visited and who their parents were. It’s about the traits most entrepreneurs have in common. It’s about breaking rules, ignoring what was or is, and creating a new future.

Enjoy this podcast - advanced Entrepreneurship in 20 Minutes.

Entrepreneurs DNA – A Silicon Valley perspective

While startups are scattered all over the planet, and startup ecosystems in London, Singapore, Shenzhen, Seoul, and Shanghai host thousands of startups, the most innovative companies still come from Silicon Valley. What makes this valley so special? What are the common traits of the best entrepreneurs? What can we learn from top entrepreneurs, about entrepreneurs’ cultures and how can we get the success rate from startups further up?

This book provides deep insights into the entrepreneurial spirit of the best entrepreneurs and explores the common traits of top founders. It shares practices, mindset, cultures, and ways of thinking for every founder to consider.

This book is about building billion $ companies – and how everybody can do it. It is not for those who want to build a small family business, because the author has no experience in that field. It is about the fact that successful innovation is not about the actual innovation but how to bring it to market. The only way to make innovation a great value for a company and the whole society is when it reaches the maximum possible number of an audience.

  • Rationalizing that the gap between top entrepreneurs, making millions or even billions and those who just hope to get there is gigantic. It’s giving all and everything or better looking for a good job.
  • Uncovering the real mystery of the Silicon Valley spirit, its culture, and the way this plays into relentless execution.
  • Exploring the fabric of the worlds best entrepreneurs – and the fact that neither top-class education nor top-level social background, not even the availability of capital makes them special. It is something much simpler, almost magical.
  • Diving into leadership concepts that matter: Thought Leadership, Team Leadership, Market Leadership. How to get there. How some kids got it done a long time before they reached the age of 30.
  • Getting to understand what a real “stellar team” actually means. What needs to be stellar and how to find those exceptional co-founders.
  • Looking at bold thinking, big visions, and how to look at a future that is 10 years out. More so, how to literally create part of that future.
  • Building something from absolutely nothing. Forming and shaping a business concept and finding out how successful it may become.
  • Market Validation, team formation, initial prototyping, and getting the base for a business within 3 months and not needing a single penny.
  • Creating a disruptive business model. What is a disruptive business model anyway and how can you check if it will be disruptive.
  • Understanding when you need to protect your IP, how and when it may be a bad idea to protect it too much.
  • Developing a zero-budget go-to-market strategy. Startups are notoriously underfunded and can’t afford mondaine marketing campaigns. Yet some found ways with little to no money to make a big market impact.
  • Traction, traction, traction. Entrepreneurs will hear that at almost any investor conversation. Building traction is a daunting task to some and the most intriguing play for others. In the end, it is about understanding how to do it, what it really takes and how to build it up from scratch.
  • Growth hacking plays right into the traction topic – yet it has some fine nuances every entrepreneur needs to know. Growth is the ultimate, the most factual, and the most important KPI of all KPIs. Huge growth is challenging but the one challenge that also attracts everybody an entrepreneur likes to attract.
  • Getting funded is for most inexperienced entrepreneurs the number one challenge. Yet there is no reason to give it such a mega priority. Setting the priorities rights makes fundraising a result of the previous effort – not the core of the effort. Is fundraising the main effort – it will never go right.
  • Going global is an essential part of a whole success complex. It’s more than a person’s or a company’s success. Going global is the ultimate economic success of the country one goes global from.

Entrepreneurial success is all about the business you run, not about the product you build. The product follows the business – not the other way around. Top investors invest in people and their business – not in technology and their products.

How the best of the best think, inspire, execute and literally create the economy of a country

For over 50 years, the most relevant technology products came from Silicon Valley. A small area in Northern California. We know about hidden champions from all corners of the world who dominate a small subset of an industry segment. But the foundation of our future technology still today comes from Silicon Valley.

Most of the foundation technology came from other parts of the world. But the commercial success, the success of the founders, the company, and the society this all happened in was and still is the Bay Area. Neither the rocket, nor the transistor, or the first computer, or the telephone, or the Internet or the electric automobile or pretty much any other technology was first developed there. Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and other countries have been the big contributors to the rise of global technological development. But the final product, the production, and the sales of those products have not been conducted in the original countries. The countries are proud of their creators and the creation, but they have absolutely nothing from that success.

Today, companies don’t even have to move to California – they get simply acquired by US or Chinese companies and can stay where they want. The economic rise and technological influence however are vanishing away. Germany let Kuka, one of the top robotics companies go to China. The UK let DeepMind, probably the most advanced AI companies on the planet go to the US, only to name a few.

The US was the first country that fully comprehended the economic value of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for a country. The rise of China and its financial structure shows that they clearly understand that model too and followed the US, in particular, Silicon Valley in many aspects. Most other countries in the world, especially Europe never found out how the US financial concepts work and, never realized the value of entrepreneurship, despite the fact that its massive success during the industrial revolution was built exclusively on those amazing people who built that economy. Just in the last few years, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam turned around and proactively create an ever more attractive environment for entrepreneurs from inside and outside the country.

The author

Axel Schultze is a visionary and very successful entrepreneur. He is a published author, patent holder, was named one of the globally most influential startup accelerators in 2015, won the SF Entrepreneur Award in 2008, chaired the SaaS Channel Committee at the SIIA, was an early adviser of LinkedIn in 2003 one of the first executives authoring a blog, a beta user of Twitter.

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(C) Copyright - Axel Schultze, 2018 - Advanced Entrepreneurship