jueves, 21 de octubre de 2010

Are you ready to change the world?

I have been reading daily about Silicon Valley ecosystem for over a decade. Before the bubble burst, I used to read with envy success stories from garage entrepreneurs and Stanford graduates founding start-ups. I follow several blogs from well-known VCs, serial entrepreneurs, reputed developers and technology journalists from San Francisco area and the valley. In some sense I am more up-to-date with the Valley's life than with Spain's political affairs, although I've never put a foot in California, not even in the United States.

I am telling you this because yesterday I went to an event of Global Business Trip in Madrid that aims to be a facilitator for spanish technology companies in their way to the valley ecosystem. The project, hosted by Fundación Banesto Sociedad y Tecnología, and with the collaboration of ICEX, apparently is doing a great job trying to change spanish companies' endemic traditional lack of global ambition. I went to the event curious to know if at last there is an emergent ecosystem of real tech entrepreneurs in Spain, and I hadn't noticed. Unfortunately few minutes after my arrival I discovered that there isn't and that it will not happen some time soon.

On the bright side, and despite the naive way of thinking (and asking) of some entrepreneurs there, I got quite interesting takeaways. Specially from Carlos Barrabés (who really surprised me) and Bernardo Hernández, our most famous Googler and who seems really involved in contributing to Spain's technology internationalization

First of all, our country needs lots of new entrepreneurs if we want to really change the grounds of our economy. And we also need our companies to grow if we want to compare ourselves to other developed countries. Spain needs several thousand new medium-sized companies, and less micro-SMEs that are closer to self-employment than to a company. This change will take time and Government should take steps to empower people to go that way. In few words, we need more innovators, and most importantly ambitious innovators.

Secondly, there is not much innovation in spanish tech start-ups. Apparently, even Guy Kawasaki has recommended us to stop copying American ideas and to contribute with real innovation if we pretend to attract big investments.

And third, and very important to me, our lack of entrepreneurship culture starts in the schools and ends in Universities. That's the reason why there are more events than entrepreneurs :( In any case, I believe that events are necessary to accomplish a shift. We need at least a first generation of successful innovators that can become the investors of new and more ambitious projects. Just as Bernardo Hernández is doing. We are late, but an important part of Europe is also late. We can still make it.
EuroalertI went to the event really relaxed, I barely networked, except in Twitter, but I brought with me a really important question for the stage of my beloved Euroalert and its mission of creating a pan-european platform for public procurement information services gathering opportunities amounting the value of 17% of EU GDP:.

"Are we ready to change the world?
I must find the answer very soon. And yes, this can be taken as an invitation to potential investors interested in the project.

Do not worry I am not planning to leave to San Francisco sometime soon. That ship already sailed for me... a decade ago. And sometimes I still regret that. But I have not resigned to making a remarkable contribution to the business I know about, although I am based in a territory with poor resources to boost innovation.