8 Learning Principles To Keep You Ahead Of The Game

future-game-consoleAspiring entrepreneurs who rely only on traditional learning vehicles (teachers, classrooms, and risk-free practice) are doomed to failure in anticipating change today. Either they are never really ready to commit, study an opportunity until it has passed, or fail with tools and techniques from a bygone business era. The Internet and the current information wave have changed everything.

Being a successful entrepreneur these days requires a current insight to a myriad of changes, including many that haven’t yet been integrated into the traditional academic learning vehicles of textbooks and professors. The Internet is the problem, by facilitating constant change, and it’s the solution, by providing an absolutely current view of customers, trends, and best practices.

The challenge is to find the time and initiative to keep up with the information wave, and be able to curate the data into knowledge that must be learned, unlearned, or relearned. It requires an attitude of self-education, versus an assumption that someone else will provide the education. For entrepreneurs, change is the norm, so you have to relish it before you can make it happen.

This required ability is aided by some supportive personal attributes, such as confidence, initiative, problem solving, and determination, but the basic learning principles must include the following:

  1. Satisfaction will come from learning something new every day. This goes hand-in-hand with every entrepreneur’s desire to do things better, and make a real impact on the world. This is a key part of enjoying the journey, as well as the destination. It doesn’t imply any sense of superiority or weakness, but often provides motivation beyond money.
  1. Success requires challenging assumptions and status quo. With this principle, real entrepreneurs start with a conviction that new learning will reveal flaws in existing models, leading to new opportunities. The Internet is the source of data for alternative views, and social media allows direct customer interactions to test these views.
  1. Learning means understanding, far beyond memorization. Great entrepreneurs strive to understand the depth of a customer need, rather than just the ability to recite a longer list of features. Technologies are not solutions, but understanding a technology, in the context of a customer need, will result in more competitive and long-lasting solutions.
  1. The act of communicating and writing enhances learning. The process of documenting what you think you know in a business plan, for the team and for investors, solidifies your own understanding of your new business. With that learning, you are able to more effectively share and market your solution to customers and business partners.
  1. Building a new business is not rocket science. Growing a business is understanding the needs and thoughts of regular people and simple financial transactions, not some complex technology that you might assume you can never learn. With the Internet, you can see all you need explained in a dozen ways in text, videos, pictures, and podcasts.
  1. Learning is nothing more than looking outside your box. Extending your knowledge is like dealing with competitors – if you aren’t extending your comfort zone, you are losing ground. With the Internet, you can quickly test your new business concepts, with crowd funding and social media, and get quick feedback from around the world at low cost.
  1. Relationships are a test of your learning readiness. Building a new business today is all about building relationships with your customers and your team. As an entrepreneur with a new startup, you are the brand, and customers today expect a relationship. In addition, you always need relationships with advisors, investors, influencers, and peers.
  1. Proactively ask for help and anticipate the need to pivot. With the Internet, you can ask for help from normally inaccessible experts, with minimum personal exposure and cost. It’s easy to see how often others have made changes, so your own learning and associated pivots should never be an embarrassment. Avoid the arrogance trap.

No one is too old to learn new things as an entrepreneur, whether you are just out of school at twenty, or just finished your first career at sixty. If you follow the principles outlined here, and take advantage of the pervasiveness of the Internet, you too can be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. A failed startup is the harshest learning lesson of all, and we need to change that approach.

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

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6 CISOs share their game plans for a post-pandemic world

Like all business leaders, chief information security officers (CISOs) have shifted their roles quickly and dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many have had to fight fires they never expected.

Most importantly, they’ve had to ensure corporate networks remain secure even with 100% of employees suddenly working from home. Controllers are moving millions between corporate accounts from their living rooms, HR managers are sharing employees’ personal information from their kitchen tables and tens of millions of workers are accessing company data using personal laptops and phones.

This unprecedented situation reveals once and for all that security is not only about preventing breaches, but also about ensuring fundamental business continuity.

While it might take time, everyone agrees the pandemic will end. But how will the cybersecurity sector look in a post-COVID-19 world? What type of software will CISOs want to buy in the near future, and two years down the road?

To find out, I asked six of the world’s leading CISOs to share their experiences during the pandemic and their plans for the future, providing insights on how cybersecurity companies should develop and market their solutions to emerge stronger:

The security sector will experience challenges, but also opportunities

The good news is, many CISOs believe that cybersecurity will weather the economic storm better than other enterprise software sectors. That’s because security has become even more top of mind during the pandemic; with the vast majority of corporate employees now working remotely, a secure network has never been more paramount, said Rinki Sethi, CISO at Rubrik. “Many security teams are now focused on ensuring they have controls in place for a completely remote workforce, so endpoint and network security, as well as identity and access management, are more important than ever,” said Sethi. “Additionally, business continuity and disaster recovery planning are critical right now — the ability to respond to a security incident and have a robust plan to recover from it is top priority for most security teams, and will continue to be for a long time.”

That’s not to say all security companies will necessarily thrive during this current economic crisis. Adrian Ludwig, CISO at Atlassian, notes that an overall decline in IT budgets will impact security spending. But the silver lining is that some companies will be acquired. “I expect we will see consolidation in the cybersecurity markets, and that most new investments by IT departments will be in basic infrastructure to facilitate work-from-home,” said Ludwig. “Less well-capitalized cybersecurity companies may want to begin thinking about potential exit opportunities sooner rather than later.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Helsinki-based Dazzle Rocks snaps up €6.3 million for its multiplayer mobile game

Helsinki-based Dazzle Rocks has raised €6.3 million in funding to boost its multiplayer online mobile game. The funding round was led by Galaxy Interactive, via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund, and was also participated in by Spintop Ventures, Ken Lamb (Dazzle Rocks chairman and co-founder of Initial Capital), ByFounders, David Helgason, MTG, Sisu Game Ventures, and other existing investors. Additionally, Galaxy Interactive partner Richard Kim has joined the Dazzle Rocks board.

Dazzle Rocks, founded in 2015, describes itself as a bold, curious, and innovative mobile games company from Finland. Dazzle Rocks has been working on the mobile-first scalable MMO (an online video game which can be played by a very large number of people simultaneously) since the team came together and founded the startup. 

CEO Stella Wang has commented that the investment, which was actually closed at the end of February but is just now being announced, will be used to continue developing the company’s innovative social gaming experience in a sandbox world, as well as increase its team to 20 members and add more platforms beyond mobile. 

Although it’s currently nameless, the game in question has been built to be attractive to both Western and East Asian markets, as well as for both men and women. The set-up will be “a persistent universe” which means you can go back to your property and possessions every time you log in, as if you had never left. Users begin with a small plot and can craft furniture, raw materials for buildings, and get materials from other players. Interestingly, there is also dynamic weather, including rain which will help plants grow better. “It’s a player-driven economy,” CEO Wang said.

“We choose a little bit more Nintendo flavor that is easy for both the West and the East to play,” CEO Wang said. “We think we offer a lot more creative freedom than some of the other games, but we also make it approachable for the mass market. People can build things based on blueprints.”

COO Joonas Jokela has stated that the startup is in the final stages of a beta release for Western Markets, which will be followed by Asia. The team hopes that the current pandemic will show the value of social gaming, and they hope to officially launch in the second half of 2020.

EU-Startups

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A 4-person game startup, how should we go about Contract?

I have been planning to create my own game for quite some time now. I have about 2 years experience in background modelling and animation. I can't create the entire game on my own, therefore, I have brought 3 other people in to help make the game. We are planning to make this game for Steam.

Some people are suggesting I go 25% each as everyone will have their own expertise skill/role that contributes to the game, however, I feel I contribute a little more. Here I will mention everyones role also considering it was my idea to build this game and bring together the team.

Me: *Individually selected them to be a part of the team.*Game Story idea, concept, map, levels, etc. .*Game 3D graphics. * Animation. *Background, character, (all) modelling & rendering. *Game effects.

Person 2: *Game Story plan, idea, concept, map, levels, etc.*Character modelling. *Animation (In the process of learning, no experience)

Person 3: *Game programmer (learned 2 years programming college).

Person 4: *Concept Art (Background and character). *2D Art. Very good! Original character sketches are incredible. Top tier Art School student.

How should we go about creating a contract and what do you think is the fair percentage for each member? Why do you think that individual should have a lower or higher percentage?I am only 20 years old, so please any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you 🙂

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Looking for feedback on my first mobile game :D

It would mean a lot to me if you could check it out and give feedback!

If your an android user you can check it out here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.brando224.bounce

Sorry apple users, it costs $ 100 a year to have an app on the app store 🙁

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Video game opportunity

Video games have been around for a while and are only becoming more popular. I’m wondering if there’s a way to profit off of video games as a subject without actually creating one or working for a company of one. Some examples I can think of are skins for consoles, video game themed pins, video game themed figures and shirts, etc. I’m not really a fan of any of those examples because they seem to already have huge competitors in the market and a startup in those specific fields would be a tad too hard to become successful in. Any ideas? Ps. Plan on creating a video game in the future.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

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