StartUp Grinding up North (Oslo) - fireside with Olav Nedrelid of Domos
For those who could not make it to this corner of Oslo's tech hub Mesh just behind the Radhus and a hop from the main shopping street Karl Johan. The Norwegian Oxford street is similar to its inspiration attached to London's Regent street in its exquisite fashion stores and mecca for media. The street itself is owned or dominated by the people, a central meeting place and central to the city. It depicts the country of a purposely egalitarian, equality for all and community central society which artificially protects citizens and local businesses from international market forces through hearty import duties and regulation. Not some where for your new app in a crowded market. There are monopolies here and state run companies yet some of the community, sociality good enterprises and experience enhancing ideologies prevalent in Silicon Valley and other silicon arenas are engrained in the society, state and ethos. From the grow you herb in your old drain pipe kit business to ride sharing business innovation appealing to customers is often an idea successful in other markets yet to be dominated in this market by the international dominate or some societal enhancing, community embracing or environment managing business. This is not to glaze over the business to business innovation with two dominate industries of shipping and oil or what is becoming energy production. There is clear innovation here that is made here and sold internationally. Some of this innovation in shipping is to do with containers and managing them although this events only connection was a question whether containers are the future of operating system management because this was an event about an entrepreneur who has sold two successful international technology business. For those not expert in technological containers it is possible to put all the software one may use to use power point in one container and all needed to run a microphone in another so that they don't interfere and use each other power and there is secrecy. This is similar to shipping containers with one full of pears and one full of chemicals not wanting to interfere.
This event was a fireside chat with one of Norway's entrepreneurs. From a start in Norway finest University of Trondheim to sell his first company in the dot com era to starting in China successfully selling to his latest Domos making wifi and the IoT easy in the household. Having gone back and employed 40% of the graduate from his old school this could be any where and a story of a successful entrepreneur. Although Olav points out the Nordics are different, the US is different, China is different and Europe is different for example the US has strict regulations on financial transaction and this is why most the fintech is happening in Europe. This is one the learnings from this event that regulations, experiences and markets are different in many locations. So finding an idea that cannot be innovated in some dominate location reduces your competition. It seems obvious although is easy to forget. This can be because of regulation, local experience or ability to provide a unique experience and delivery or even local or market knowledge or others ability. This is displayed by Norway's ability to innovate and mass of innovation in shipping. Despite globalisation, a connected world and openness of knowledge
markets or even industries are still different. It is this difference that challenges large corporates wanting to be dominate in distance markets and enter new industries or markets. The attempts of large corporates by finding the future of work is a topic elaborated on in my post Gig economy the future of work or corporate domination. Large corporate want to gain this local experience, knowledge and delivery. This is similar to another interesting answer to the audience question What would you do if your weren't doing this? The answer being setup a Nordics Amazon delivery business of which there doesn't exist. It may seems an over ambitious idea although when you realise that Amazon have limited infrastructure and folks shall demand this knowing what others can have. Isolating an idea or a problem is possible although how to solve it is not obvious. Knowing that the dominates are not going to dominate your idea is an advantage. Olav gives an idea of what he did next after he identified his idea and problem to solve. He realised his expertise which after two successful international business
sales was easier and was being a technical expert in cloud computing. He formed an wide team with many skills. These were colleagues from his MBA and old colleagues. He then gives an idea the first steps of the team. During their feasibility study
Olav says ' I was in the Valley finding out why none of the world expert in cloud computing with access to seemingly endless funding had not solved this problem. ' The others of his team were in markets that they wanted to enter asking potential clients if I built this would you buy it. Having scoped the competition, market and feasibility while having been involved in optimising many cloud computing algorithms his next step is about delivery not an optimised algorithm. Although he repetitively mentions the importance of an advanced algorithm he says ' there is no successful business founded only on the algorithm'. Olav explains that the ability to deliver it to the customer, find a use case where it can bring them an advantage and make it easy to use are the most important to sell a product and be a success. This is inverse to the methodology of those making the algorithm and often a mistake in business and products from them. Having done a feasibility study it is known there is a basic algorithm to do the idea which makes the feasibility of the delivery easier and the next is to elaborate the problem and advance algorithms for it. This is a constant step of finding sub problems and algorithms for them. Olav says himself that when he started he did not know their largest problem and hence advantage of their product which involves delivery of wifi signal congestion management in apartments. The constant question is can it be done or not? The answer is if there is an algorithm for it then optimise it or if not it's something for the future. Keeping exclusive right to that algorithm is difficult then being the easiest to use a product and to deliver the output to customers is even more difficult. Often there is another Company delivering this output to customers. Their ability to get access to, replicate or advance the algorithm is often easy and with that they have captured the market. Leaving the other algorithm right holding company proving the Computational performance, knowledge advancement and performance of their algorithm with little appeal to the market because they don't know how to use it. The advice here is to start with the user and the problem with how to deliver to them which is easy to use with how it is an ability to enhance their experience.
The advice as with many other entrepreneurs is know your competition, market and delivery. It is highlighting that it is not the engine it is the output that is the product. "No successful business is founded on an algorithm it's the delivery of its output."