DO! Goes USA 2018 - DAY 7 & 8

We're extremely proud of Tibbe and Maté, for greatly representing Planet B, Ghent University and Belgium at the Global Entrepreneur Challenge here in Virginia Tech. They might have missed out on the grand prize, but they've gained a tonne of experience, met people from all over the world and continue to put Planet B on the map in an inspiring way.

The organizing staff came up to us after the announcement and told us that Tibbe won the award for most enthusiasm and energy, but that shouldn't come as a surprise if you know Tibbe. People are calling him the pitch rock star here.

A big thank you for all the support back home, and once again congrats to Tibbe and Máté for their accomplishments!

You can find a first short video from the event at Virginia Tech here. If you want to find out what the winning team presented, you can find more information on their website here.

Lastly, some of the learnings from the past days:

  • You're always competing, even if you can't 'find' any direct competition. Ask yourself: "how do my potential customers currently solve that problem?", because even if there seems to be no competition, you're always competing for the current way people handle those particular situations. Be aware that, even though your solution might address a pressing problem with very few or no direct competitors, it'll come down to how much hassle your potential customers think they'll have to go through to change the way they solve that problem. You might have come up with a revolutionizing solution, but if it costs more time or energy to change and understand that solution, people will simply stick to the way they've been handling these problems. User-friendliness, intuitiveness and ease-of-use are the answers.
  • Being first to market is very often a competitive advantage, but in the case of disruptive technologies and innovations, this could effectively lead to another company outracing you because they've learned from your mistakes. Disruptive innovations take time for people to trust and adopt, and it's not always the first one that wins, but the smart one.
  • Competition is healthy because it goes to show that your business is in a way validated by those competitors, otherwise they wouldn't compete. At the same time, this results in much more awareness for your concept, which is good for your own business. Find your unique differentiator so that you capture the right niche within that market, so that you don't have to worry too much about the competition.
  • Entrepreneurship is a mindset game. Part of that mindset is to be scared about your own idea, because if you're nervous you can become hyper-focused and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Use that emotion to drive you to achieve what you set out to do. A real entrepreneur is never satisfied with the status quo.
  • Know the difference between actionable metrics and vanity metrics, so you can focus on what matters. Eric Ries from The Lean Startup even states that vanity metrics are dangerous. If you want to find out more about the difference, here is a nice blog post that explains what you should really focus on.

Aaaand some quotes:

  • "The ability to forget is a prerequisite for an entrepreneur"
  • "Do it or don't, but there is no such thing as to try"
  • "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it"

Read some of our previous learnings here!

This was the last of our updates, as it's time to return home now. Thanks for reading!