Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | November 25, 2013

Apple next — Google next — Everycompany next

You can built the next Google…

The next Apple…

The next Microsoft…

The next Yahoo or Ebay…

They can all be created by YOU.

And by the way:

You can built the next great company absolutely anywhere — There are no barriers.

You the everyone man, woman, or youngster, can built it  — wherever you are.

You can surely do it… in your backyard or the basement or in the garage or your friend’s loft.

You know You can do it…

But something is holding you back.

Let’s examine what that might be.

Let’s see what Monsters are hiding under your bed and are holding you back.

What could it be ?

Could it be a thought ?

A particularly negative vibe ?

A perception perhaps ?

An omission ?

A common excuse ?

Or maybe a reasonable assumption ?

An assumption that makes an ass of you and me and is a stumbling block that entrepreneurs trip over often and always use when explaining why they are not being able to deliver…

Because they often say this fat one: ” How can you innovate if there is a lack of venture capital in your pocket ? ”

” How can you innovate when there is dearth of venture capital in your country ? ”

” How can you innovate when there is no access to VCs ? ”

They argue ‘ad nauseum’ that because conditions are such and such, and the climate sucks, or the ecosystem isn’t helping; or even that investors are not ready to take a risk  — there isn’t any innovation.

Therefore, they can’t succeed.

Angels, VCs and PE practitioners, are also prone to relying on the same excuses for not delivering greatness in these apparently God forsaken ”VC desert” locales.

Policy makers, Governors, prime Ministers, and Administrators all over the world make the same excuses.

It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy:

Innovation doesn’t happen…

So the feared ”innovation desert” literally ensues.

Access to venture capital may have been a problem in regions of the world as recently as a decade ago, but it is no longer an inhibitor or even an obstacle to INNOVATION.

No matter what the crybabies might say…

This is mainly because the cost of developing world-changing start-ups has dropped dramatically — if not exponentially. With the terrific advances in computing, storage, and sensor technologies, entrepreneurs can now do what only governments and big research labs could do before. Now they can solve big problems, real fast & real cheap.

When Google was founded in 1998, for example, the DEC AlphaServer 8400, a minicomputer with the same processing power the iPad enjoys today, cost close to $1 million. Storage necessitated installing a server farm and rack upon rack of hard disks. It cost millions of dollars to start a technology company. Today, anyone can buy computing power and storage for practically nothing from companies such as Amazon and Google. The iPhone 5S is more powerful than the Cray supercomputers of yesteryear—which the US placed tight export restrictions on. Today we carry supercomputers in our pockets and use them to check e-mail and make phone calls every now and then.

It cost more than a billion dollars to sequence a full human genome a decade ago.

It costs less than three thousand dollars to do now.

Soon it will cost less than a cup of coffee or the cost of dental floss.

Genome data are available from millions of people already — soon this will be in the billions. Anyone anywhere can now write computer code that compares one person’s DNA with another; learn what diseases people with similar genes have had; and analyze the correspondences between genomes and the effectiveness with which different medications or other interventions have treated a given disease.

Your blaming the external conditions for not delivering a Great StartUp to me, is perhaps way too much thinking. Too much engineering going on inside the monkey mind…

Blame it on Descartes if you want to be uber rational. Because Descartes endorsed either the good role of the “minds’ hero” who freed the occidental philosophy from inaction, or the bad role of the idealist who introduced the doubt and the dualism and plunged you right back in passivity…

But the great technical advances are happening everywhere. Look at the sensor-based and sensor driven device revolution. Sensors such as those in our iPhones cost tens of thousands of dollars a few years ago but now cost practically nothing. Five dollars is the cost of Iphone’s microchip… Go figure. These low cost chips are allowing us to build devices to monitor our health—so that we can prevent disease and dramatically reduce health-care costs.

Entrepreneurs are building iPhone apps that act like medical assistants and detect disease; smart pills that we swallow in order to monitor our internals; and body sensors that monitor heart, brain, and body activity.  Sensors are also being used to monitor soil humidity, pressure in oil pipelines, and traffic patterns. These are available to Indian entrepreneurs as readily as to scientists in US research labs.

One device that I recently tested is by Alivecor. The prototype that Alivecor gave me worked with India’s $40 Aakash tablet. It provides the same information as expensive EKG machines do, and the data can be uploaded to the cloud and analyzed by software.

An entrepreneur I know in Chile also built a water sanitization system that can help reduce the incidence of disease caused by waterborne viruses in the developing world as well as in the developed world. Alfredo Zolezzi’s $500 Plasma Water Sanitation System does what even the most expensive water sanitization systems don’t—kills 100% of the bacteria and viruses in water. This device can help save the millions of lives that are lost because of unsanitary water. It could also earn billions in revenue. Zolezzi built this with a small team in Chile—with no venture capital.

Students at Singularity University also came up with some amazing advances. Here are some examples of what they are building today — without venture capital.

Matternet. One team built a drone-based transportation system that can deliver medicine, food, goods, and supplies to wherever they are needed. This is particularly applicable to parts of Africa, where roads either don’t exist or get washed away.

MirOculus. Another team designed and tested a device and method that detect cancer at an early stage, quickly and at low cost, by using microRNA fingerprinting to screen for multiple types of cancer in a single blood test. This paves the way toward a new era in which microRNAs serve as cancer biomarkers.

Lifestock. What if we could “3D print” real meat, slaughter-free, to feed the 21st century, one team asked. The team prototyped a new method for synthetically producing meat that cost 1/40 of current culture methods.

BluBox. Imagine of you could use discarded DVD players to do blood tests and the results were instant. That is what this team did—build a $100 lab on a DVD player. Anyone will be able to do complex tests at home using these devices when they become commercially available.

So, there are no more excuses, because Descartes gave the game away too:  On the famous expression of the ”Meditations” when he defined the “I” as “a thinking thing”, “une chose qui pense” he reminds us that it is also the acting ”I”. But what is a “chose” that thinks? Descartes was always using for a vocabulary adapted to his experiments. That’s why he used the medieval vocabulary used for the concepts inherited from alchemy. In my thinking INNOVATION is a lot like Alchemy, and very often the choice of our own words and thoughts define our reality.

Things are simple:

All it takes to build an innovation ecosystem is a green field where determined entrepreneurs, experienced and helpful mentors,  some research facilities and academic institutions, and a government and society that encourage experimentation and risk-taking. I know that China, India, Africa, and many other regions around the world can provide these ingredients because they have all of that…

Yet why do they fail to deliver?

Maybe the better question is this: Do they have the Human Capital ?

Human Capital willing and able to believe in themselves and put one foot in front of the other and Innovate with a laser like focus, a hunger for success, and crazy entrepreneurial drive?

That’s the sack you need to have to deliver on this promise.

Got it?

Please let me know if you have it and I’ll be there….

Yours,

Pano

PS:

Over the years we’ve built over a Thousand Cool StartUps and hope to built many more.

How many survive is anybody;s guess but for me the fun part is in Starting Things Up.

Shaking up the world and creating Innovation in all spheres of influence: Social Innovation, Business Innovation, Banking and Finance Innovation, ENERGY, Environment, Economy & Politics but above all else Humanity…

It’s the best game there is.

One Caveat only:

You gotta love the game before you jump in it.

Only then You get the Swing of it.

By the way:

You can watch videos from the Singularity student projects here:

http://singularityu.org/graduate-studies-program/2013-team-project-videos/


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