URI LEVINE GAVE AN EXTENSIVE TALK ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP AT THE CENTRO CULTURAL SAN MARTÍN IN WHICH HE TOLD OF HIS EXPERIENCES IN TURNING AN IDEA INTO A COMPANY WORTH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
After a long wait enlivened by stories of entrepreneurs, the expected Uri Levine, founder of Waze in 2008 (with two partners), appeared in one of the rooms of the Centro Cultural San Martín – before the more than 200 present – the application of Maps and navigation that became one of the most popular solutions when trying to avoid traffic congestion because it uses the data that users send.
Google bought the application in 2013 for US $ 1 billion and from there Levine never stopped to undertake. Among its projects is the search for cheap flights Fairfly and Feex, which seeks to save money for those looking to invest in funds and other financial services.
Levine is part of what is known as the “Silicon Wadi”, the strip near the coast where the Israeli IT industry is located (from Tel Aviv to Haifa and includes development centers in the Negev desert and the technology park Har Hotzvim, In Jerusalem). This serial entrepreneur was asked why he believed that Israel managed to become one of the meccas of the technological startups of the world, Levine answered that one of the reasons is the loyalty of the employees and that, in part, was based on military service required. “Not that I recommend it,” he said, “but after doing so, at 21 or 22, the young man matured faster and knows how to arm and deal with equipment.”
Other reasons are “a low fear of failure” motivated by the important role of the State, which does not impose a tax on technology-based ventures. “The state,” he said during the conference, “should invest in entrepreneurship to encourage private individuals to do it.” The question to be asked, I say in response to a public question, is “does the state really cares.” Santiago Sena, General Director of Entrepreneurial Development in Government of the City of Buenos Aires and his interviewer at that time, quickly said yes.
During the talk, organized by the Directorate of Entrepreneurs of the Ministry of Modernization of the city and sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in Argentina, Levine gave a series of tips to convert a technology-based enterprise into a millionaire company. The event was attended by the Minister of Transport of Buenos Aires, Juan José Méndez, and the Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Ilan Szulman.
1) “You have to fall in love with the problem, not the solution.” When you fall in love with the product you have, you lose focus, which should be solving problems, he explained. “When you fall in love with the solution, you ran out of the market,” he said later.
2) “Always think about the next venture.” That is, find a new problem to solve when the enterprise in which one is currently embedded is on the crest of the wave.
3) “To start is like falling in love: you try many times until something works.” Then, with the help of a slide, explained that one comes out with many people, until you fall in love with one, then one introduces that person to friends And if the feedback is negative … you have to change your friends.
4) “Choosing the right team is the most important thing.” Levine developed that in talks he had with entrepreneurs, they knew little to begin (“sometimes the first day”) when the team they had set up was not going to work. The reasons: lack of diversity in the team or lack of commitment. And this particular problem, according to him, is the cause of 50% of failures when it comes to undertaking.
5) “If you failed, you have to start over with another venture.” During the press conference, Levine commented that entrepreneurs who start with a second project after a failure are 50% more likely to succeed.
6) “If you are afraid to fail, you will fail.” Fear of failure is a fundamental obstacle when one decides to undertake.
7) “Speaking English is essential. Speaking only Spanish you will not get far. “The language of business is still English.
8) “Entrepreneurs can change the world only if they find the right business model.” The Waze founder commented that one may want to change the world but with wanting it, it is not enough: to achieve this, one has to find a way to monetize ideas for Go ahead, and develop new ideas.