mardi 19 juillet 2011

Tech scene in Madrid

I am currently working on two big projects in the internet sphere.

The first one is quite advanced in its implementation. I am partnering with two other companies from UK and Italy and with complementary skills. It's cruising well and so far a nice experience. It addresses the Earth Observation market, so a real B2B business.

The second one is consumer market and I'm on it with a couple of local Spanish friends. It's originally my idea so I had to explain and convince in Spanish which is definitely good exercise for me. I think everybody is on board now. We're targeting a simple prototype and Business Plan out for September with the intention of looking for private seed funding in Madrid. In a nutshell we are talking about a web + mobile application for doing and planning tourism another way. I believe there is a huge market, in particular with families - I'd be the first user ;-), and it's currently untouched.

Now I have lived for more than two years in Madrid but never really paid any attention to what's available locally. Of course it's no Silicon Valley, but given the general state of the economy here, I'd say it's quite upbeat. There is a lot of passion and creativity and hopefully some investors.

First of all Madrid has this natural connection to Latin American countries. So when it comes to organise events they tend to widen the scope well beyond Madrid and Spain. I have been following La Red Innova for a while now and they do host quality events, that are talked about worldwide. And yes they do include a lot of Latin American guests.

Ready4ventures is another good one to follow. Though not as big, they do come up with nice blog posts and yearly reports. This one is a must read for me and a great source of information.

When browsing, you generally start with a Google, and then it's a tale of link hoping. I came across this event in Madrid The App Date. It shows there is a passionate community. I need to go soon! Then this post, a fascinating story that lead to this collaboratively built map of the Latin America start-up scene. I checked, I even have a neighbor, might go and have a chat with them!

Hasta pronto!

mardi 21 juin 2011

The Social Network

Yesterday night Emmi kindly let us watch a film. She's only one month old and tends to be a handful in the evenings, but not yesterday. So we watched a film - The Social Network - with video on demand, essential for parents that need a bit of agility like us.
The film's good and entertaining, although it felt a bit sore for me as I've been trying to start a business for a year now and without success.
Fact is, I've gone far too many directions to be successful. From B2B consulting, web applications, Facebook applications, mobile applications, Open Source desktop software, I touched a lot of high tech software businesses without really focusing on one long enough to stand a chance.
When you read the tech blogosphere, Techcrunch and others, like I did a while to understand the web market, you really get this impression that success in entrepreneurship is the norm. If you know how to code, have a couple of good ideas and some spare time, you're bound to become a millionaire. Well nothing could be more wrong. Failure is the norm and only a few will thrive and succeed. Why do these lucky few succeed is still a mistery to me. One thing is sure is that quality alone is not the criteria.
Anyway back to the film, now you understand the soreness. Whilst I believe the whole plot and characters are vastly exagerated, clearly the guy is clever and made the right moves. You can be lucky once or twice but to get to that level you need to be smart.

Not so good dady

My 4 year old, the oldest of my three daughters - yes it's tough sometimes - is cheeky. Well in fact all three are cheeky. The other day she was cheekier than ever.
You have to know that they speak 3 languages fluently. They speak French with me, English with their mum and Spanish between them. Yes the oldest is 4 years old. The second one is 3 and the latest arrival is 1 months old - her language skills are pretty limited for now.
They always smile when I speak Spanish.
Anyway the other day, after a moment of silence, the oldest looked at me straight in the eyes: "daddy, your French is excellent and your English very good... but your Spanish uhuh" with a movement of the hand implying I should be ashamed of myself.
Pass me the phone book please, any cheap Spanish teachers out there?