On the Vital Importance of Micro-Testing Business Ideas

I wish that from the start, before starting any business, that I knew the secret of how start-ups successfully become big companies. Of course there are several steps in this process but I want to focus here on where 90% all die: I’ll call it start-up pregnancy, right from the start.

In French, we refer to launching a start-up saying “Je me lance”, which means to throw oneself. And indeed statistics show that the act of starting up is for many a very suicidal one. So how to start-up without killing yourself?

Wanna know? It’s one simple and magic word. MICRO-TESTING. It’s actually crucial in every aspect of life, but let’s focus on business.

Before going full steam on ANY project, micro-testing It’s when you try something as a hobby or side activity with small qualities, or small human and financial investments to TEST if it works in ghetto conditions. And this is one of the key ways to tell apart a wannabee entrepreneur from the high-success-rate serial entrepreneur. Only his “selected projects” are successful. But in the labs behind the scenes they try millions of things, than in great part fail 🙂 Aborting of a project you were working on because it’s unlikely to succeed is very intrinsic to finding those that will succeed.

Micro-testing MUST include observation. It’s vital to measure the effects of the tests you make, in terms of profit, logistics, human resources required, etc…

Micro-test, observe, then go full-steam. Would you climb a 90-feet old rope without pulling on it a few times?

I know it can be tempting to have offices, desks, computers, nice chairs, and all the atmosphere, but invest in that FIRST, and you are dead for very sure. If that’s your approach, you either want to feel like you’re doing something, or other to perceive you’re doing something. Drop it, spend ALL your initial efforts on the fuel and motor of the business, not the shiny polish.

My first start-up was an epic fail. The one thing we all did right was to not bet everything on it, we had other revenues or were still students, so it was fine and we learned a lot.

My second start-up, which became a proper company, is an electronics business. It was micro-tested for about 6 months, and thank God because it took long to take off. By the time I finished my Masters it was a company craving to get my full-time attention.

With this notion of micro-testing, the argument that quitting your job is a tough decision is in most cases an invalid one. Because, the right way to do it, is to not take risks at first, and test things as a hobby or side-project.

Reasons to Start-up (or not) at Your Parents House

In Europe and many parts of the “westernized” world, people usually have a negative view of the young (or not) adult who’s still living with his parents. They’d be perceived as a bummer that just can’t get a job like everyone else and still relies on their parents to survive. It’s partly true for the entrepreneur profile; clearly, an entrepreneur at his parents house doesn’t want to get a job like everyone else! So if you put superficial and shallow judgements past you, being based at your parents house to start-up can be a very clever move, but needs some warnings, which I’ll be sharing here from past experience.

First, should you be in start-up mode at all? Are you really at the stage where you may need to work full-time on a project to develop it fully? I discuss this critical question in a post on the importance micro-testing a business opportunity. But if you ARE ready to work full-time on developing and growing your start-up into a company here are the pros and cons of working from your parents house:

Reasons To Work from Your Parents House

  1. No time wasted around the food issue
  2. Great food
  3. Great company during leisure time
  4. Little or no financial cost, that’s a major one
  5. A social life (or not, depends how much you rely on local old friends)
  6. Great place for introspection over your own life

Reasons Not To Work from Your Parents House

  1. Your Parents, that’s all. This means:

    • Interruptions, usually from a mom trying to get some attention or achieving a daily quota of social interaction
    • Home-sharing Disturbances (people invited, TV, noise…) esp. if your parents are retired
    • Making it clear that you are busy working and not just in your room. You must educate your parents to that because most likely when you spend a long time at home they have associated that to you being on school holidays and vacations.
    • Parents asking you how your work is going, ie. 10 times a day
    • Having your mom or dad pick up a professional call while you were taking a shower, and saying they’re your mom or dad, or saying at 11 a.m. that “Oh, he might still be in bed”. That one is typical and quite funny.
    • Your mom not understanding your joy is when you have finally managed to debug that script and not necessarily trying her soup to figure out if it is or not, too salty…
  2. Social status? Hell no! Give yourself time to start something of your own and you will sooner or later be rewarded with a lot of great things, from personal satisfaction, to financial AND social status. Don’t listen to any shallow social pressure: People like to mock when individuals take initiatives and risks they don’t dare taking. And magically, when you succeed these same folks look at you with respect. If you had better to do in middle- or high-school than increase your popularity, you surely know what I’m saying. Convince yourself it’s the right thing to do and just do it.
  3. Having nothing much social to do on you spare time. Well if your project needs a lot of your attention it’s good. But on your spare time, especially if most of your friends live far from your parents house, you may end up really bored and it can be really depressing. Right away, I’d recommend you reconnect with local life, and do some local activities, register in sports or dance clubs, etc…just as if you were moving somewhere new. But when at “home” it’s hard to develop this reflex. The familiarity of home inhibits you from being in the healthy “social survival mode” that you’d be in if you moved to somewhere completely new. Your brain is a complex machinery. And to succeed in growing your business, hard work is only one ingredient, a healthy social life is just as important.

Serious China Providers Rip-off on Shipping Costs

When you order stuff on Ebay from China for a 1/10th of the price in Europe or Northern America, and that shipping included, you can assume that shipping costs are very low.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Chinese Post or the Chinese Government put a lot of efforts to bring international shipping costs to a minimum so as to encourage exports.

China has had a long history of a high level of corruption and of low quality standards. For the most part it is still true today, but like it has been for the past 20 years or so, there are serious providers that do have a vision on the long-term, favouring a long-term relationship, than a short flash of money.

With the increasing exports, China has been bound to increase its level of quality and trustworthiness to allow itself to penetrate markets like the West where the safety and quality standards can be high.

However, I have discovered that there are tricks that some very serious providers may use, and the most perverse one in my belief is shipping costs.

If you are going to trade with China, KNOW THE SHIPPING COSTS of the shipping company you’re going to use, whether it may be UPS, DHL, EMS, Fed-Ex or other companies.

If you don’t know the prices. they will be happy to charge you 500 USD when the official price at the post office counter is 100 or 150 USD. Besides, these companies that export a lot have cut very good deals with the transporters. So you can assume that the price THEY will pay is somewhere between 30 and 70% of the price that individuals like you and I would pay at the China Post office counter.

If getting things shipped often from China, it is vital that you know the prices.

Websites like http://www.gets.cn provide a price calculator. You will be shocked to see what the actual prices are. We’re formatted to pay more and some Chinese companies will have no regret doing like everyone else: Charging you what you agree to pay. After all they try their luck, if you accept, it’s not like you were not ready to pay that price…

Good trading to you!

Former CEO of Lockheed Martin on Competitiveness of Developed Nations

Today, Norman AUGUSTINE, former CEO of the main US Defense Company LOCKHEED MARTIN, came to give a talk at NUS on the challenges that Developed Nations are facing.

After introducing with the fact that the technological advances recently have suppressed a lot of distance between people, he went on saying that a lot of work in developed nations is being outsourced.

If outsourcing reduces costs for a given company in a developed country, it also means that labour is cheaper overseas, in countries like India or China. Indeed, a good metric to visualize this is to compare the basic salary at McDonalds across the world, what we call McWages. You’ll find a 12-fold difference between extreme wages. So these countries with cheap labour are ferocious competitors. How to compete with them?

He acknowledged that education in the US is a disaster (thank you!!!) and blamed the early grade teachers for not being qualified in many cases. A solution could be to valorize teachers proportionally to their level of performance. However he mentioned the immense power of the teachers union lobbying against such measures, thus putting all levels of competence subject to the same salary and advantages.The current generation is the first in the US’s history in which the kids are dumber than their parents. The US have one of the lowest scores in pre-baccalaureate results, while , ironically, hosting many of the best universities in the world. Moreover, many of the PhD and master degrees are owned by international students, and it is often the case that, at this level, there is more non-US citizen in a class than there is US citizens.

The solution, according to Norman, is to capitalize on innovation by retaining talents in the US. How exactly? Cause having been in Singapore, which has exiting conditions as compared to France, there’s just about NO WAY I can live and work in France again. So I went to ask him directly and his answer was “You retain talents and innovation by offering some sort of prestige to people able to bring innovation. You need to fund what they find exiting“. Coming from him, that answer did obviously not fully satisfy me and I wish he didn’t have to rush for a bus waiting for him…

It is also important to invest in research. It is not easy however to raise funds for that matter since most CFOs of major companies in the US are interested in research that can have an impact in the figures of only the few coming quarters. He suggests encouraging R&D investments by applying a tax that would decrease with how long your assets are held for the research intended. Not a bad idea, although I am interested in seeing what it would yield in practice.

A particularly interesting question during the Q&A question was whether another Moon race could remotivate innovation and create some sort of positive competitition. He is not sure Space Conquest is the way to go but somewhat agreed that the US need a major competitor to fight with, so as to drive innovation as it did in the past.

Manhattan Napping Salon

Neither fundamentally innovating nor world-changing, this business idea doesn’t go however without getting my support. It’s about offering not products or services, but experiences, the meaningful kind.

French Entrepreneur Nicolas Ronco started in Manhattan a napping salon. Now you have an alternative to maintain a flexible lifestyle if your job application for Google was rejected.

For 12 USD, you get to take a nap in a very comfortable long chair, with mood-changing colorful light effects, the music and smell of your choice.

No alarm clock to wake you up, a sunrise is simulated to get you out of sleep in a most natural and smooth way.


The debriefing of the CEO is absolutely right, an insane number of people just lack sleep. Many take pills, or insane amounts of exiting drinks and foods. Very few however realise the critical aspect of sleep in everyday life.

The concept could be widely extended to provide a comprehensive in-town relaxing facility, a sort of second home in town where you can go get a nap, but also take a shower, shave etc… in a nutshell a facility where you can take over the comfort experience that you didn’t have enough time for at home.

Applied Future Prediction : User Interfaces

I want to applause with four hands that I don’t have the speaker in this video.

Dennis Wixon (Microsoft Surface) brings in this video an approach to predicting the future of any technology.

His field of expertise is Human Machine Interaction, but the scientific approach he uses to foresee the coming technologies is really universal.

Select a field, look deeply at the evolutions in the past that brought to the the present situation.

Extract features of each evolution, take a step back and from this extract the essence: an innovation pattern, that step by step lead to different models.

It pulls my esteem for Microsoft a little higher to see such a pertinent perception can exist at Microsoft.

Dennis Wixon | UX Week 2008 | Adaptive Path from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

A key lesson in this speech, is the Digital Equipment Company story. From number 2 after IBM the company crashed to being virtually nothing due to a lack of vision.

This same illness is soon going to hit Ebay to death for sure (unless someone clever pops in suddenly ans shakes that all) transforming them into Paypal only. And how long will Paypal sit down and wait for their turn since it’s the same creative people…

More surprisingly but assuredly later, Google may not remain forever warmly seated on a fluffy throne. They are either not deeply understanding what makes them successful or they are seriously good at hiding their strategic research projects. Google is successful now because it provides the best results to people’s requests, that’s where it all begins. In a nutshell, it is the best CURRENT user experience. Is that however the best possible online information search experience that one can achieve with the current hardware? ASSUREDLY NOT. Is Google heading there aggressively? Well, frankly I wish I knew but that’s the one billion dollar question that will draw the path for their future.

The constance of any person or enterprise in a successful and comfortable position reflects the constance of their efforts to stay up there. The illusion that past efforts are sufficient to ensure sustainable comfort is simply not compatible with long-term success.

Computing in the 21st…year before Christ

Microsoft Research and Microsoft Research Asia organize every year a conference called “Computing in the 21st century”. The subtitle was “New Horizon of Computing”.

This year’s version had no less than 3 Turing award winners (Turing awards are something like the Nobel Prize of computing), the Senior Vice President of Microsoft, and a Managing Director at Microsoft Research Asia and at the same time IEEE fellow (a very prestigious title of one of the largest and prestigious scientific community in the world).

Shall you have any interest in the future of computing, based on this prestigious casting, common sense would tell anyone to cancel everything and just go get your get enlightened by insightful talks.

After an opening session in which Microsoft Research seemed to re-invent Google Maps and present that as innovation, and a remarkable speech reading at the public from officials at NTU and NUS, speech was given to the first keynote speaker, Turing award winner Raj Reddy. Although I do respect his good intentions on giving the poor a chance of education though e-learning, disappointment settled down when he presented a completely obsolete piece of work running on Internet Explorer 4 or 5 (a 1998-looking online library web page included ASF videos and text on various topics).

Later, Senior Vice President of Microsoft, Rick Rashid, mentioned solving the heat problem in data centers by better distributing spatially the processes in the data center so that the hot machines aren’t close to each other, thus using less air-conditioning.He stressed that fact that this was done to preserve the environment. That’s 50% of the computer energy consumed: Data centers, the other half being computers of people like you and I. It’s better to listen to this when you do not know the meaning of symptom-solving or Microsoft Vista 🙂

Later, Managing Director at Microsoft Research Asia and IEEE fellow Hsiao-Wuen Hon really got us discreetly laugh at Microsoft, presenting totally irrelevant innovations such as :

  • image debluring, a topic fairly obsolete nowadays in digital imaging.
  • a tool that tells you which word is more used than another if you hesitate between the two (that’s what EVERYBODY does using the Google number of results as a metric for word popularity and use, it takes a few hours to program from scratch for a graduate student in computing).
  • Gigapixel images. Again that’s very obsolete. Especially of you do that by stitching (=putting together) images taken at different angles. Guess what? That’s what they do. He showed how cool it is to be able to zoom and (unlike in classic images) be able to still get high definition. They innovate all the more by adding ambient sounds and audio descriptions as you flyover different monuments or locations, it also allows advertising because you would see the stores on the pictures by zooming. Waw! This part may have been of interest to anyone having been in jail for the past 5 years thus never hearing about nor using Google Maps.
  • a bilingual search engine that allows inputs in both Chinese and English. It’s open source since I did very complex reverse engineering and am glad today to share this with you: Take a dictionary, take a search engine, shake well, add decoration ( 2 tbsp. of marketing and a whole fancy logo). Tadaaaaaa !
  • A collaborative travel website based on Google Maps (oops Microsoft Map). I don’t really get how on earth they intend to draw the attention of internet users that are just fed up hearing about new collaborative social networking websites.

Finally, a Microsoft speech on the future could not go without showing how cool Microsoft Surface is. Firstly, this system was invented by Jeff. Han and not by Microsoft Research as they claim. Secondly, the technology is great, but what do you do with it that is useful? Jeff. Han designed various novel uses of a multitouch system that do create an added value to government agencies for example. That’s precisely where Microsoft fails by sticking to obsolete and useless examples of use of the multitouch function. A technology alone is nothing, the added value that it brings to people should be it’s reason to exist. Multitouch interfaces and other gadjets are typical of this gap between technology coolness and real-life usefulness.

The Q&A session was a series of people asking questions that the board would answer right away even if they did not fully understand them. You know…when you hear an answer and you forgot the question. And the one answering usually ends with “I hope that answered your question”, and the guy who asked says Yes just out of politeness… If you never felt that you probably never went to school 🙂

To the computing safety, the answer of Turing award winner Raj Reddy was “Charge Emails one cent or penny to avoid spam”. Mhh Okay..

Always look at the bright side, the snack were good and in spite of a tremendous lack of insight, it was comical. Thank you Microsoft Research 🙂

More seriously. Take home lesson:

  • A very good researcher is generally much less realistic and much less in phase with business than any very bad entrepreneur.
  • When someone has a long list of awards in a specific topic, assuming that these people are well-rounded or pertinent about other topics is generally a wrong assumption.
  • Not because you have a room full with 2000 people should you make no effort to bring insight the attendants, especially if your name is big and your conference is named “Computing in the 21st Century”.
  • Not because you work for Microsoft Research does it mean you will work on innovative or hot or possibly marketable projects. All the “innovations” I saw today were all either obsolete (no or irrelevant market demand or market potential) or just mash-ups of what other companies have done earlier and better. Microsoft apparently can afford investing in such useless projects as most of those presented. Is it just investment in corporate image, or are they really adopting a strategy or exploration and risk? If the latter, their projects should really be shortlisted to try and reach something close to the relevance of Google Labs’ projects. Or is Microsoft Research working on really interesting things yet to be seen and does not want to talk about them yet? If so, they should be aware sometimes better to show nothing rather than low-quality contents because that clearly destroys one’s credibility.

How to Write a Research Proposal

While sorting my desk I found back a summary that I had written based on the excellent yet simple NSF recommendations on writing a Research Proposal : Twelve Steps to a Winning Research Proposal by George Hazelrigg.

To a large extent, this advice can be applied to business proposals as well, aiming for a contest or a grant.

Here is an even shorter version:

  1. Show you have researched previous work.
  2. Your proposed research must match with the philosophy or interests of the authority you are sending your proposal to.
  3. Make sure you are eligible for the program.
  4. You must suggest RESEARCH, and nothing like other research-related activities: development, market study, etc…
  5. Propose a detailed plan on how you intend to conduct your research, present the steps, the alternatives, the difficulties.
  6. State clear objective.
    The objectives of the proposed research are
  7. Present the context.
    How does my proposed work fit in/impact other people’s work?
  8. Grammar, spelling, vocabulary: PERFECT.
  9. Be concise, Respect format.
    How much is the reader going to enjoy reading my proposal?
  10. Write for the reviewers.
    What expertise do the people I am writing this for have?
  11. Proof the document before sending it.
    Who can help me read this and point out mistakes?

For step 11 (getting colleagues, friends or family read your document), it is often not done properly. People tend to read the report THEMSELVES so as to avoid imposing a burden on their peers. If you really have no one to help you with this, make sure to keep away from your document for at least 3 days before you look for mistakes. This helps your brain look at the document with a new eye. On the contrary, while rushing to self-proof a document, we tend to overlook the mistakes: the brain assumes it is reading what WAS INTENDED to be written, which is often a wrong assumption…

Back to getting peers to help you: In order to make sure you do not impose a burden on them, BE THERE anytime they need you review anything. We often by default just escape this kind of tedious tasks: What do I gain in this?. Just SAY YES, or even suggest to help before people ask. GIVE TO OTHERS. But do it well and more importantly do it genuinly, i.e. without expecting anything in return. The good side effect of this being that people in your circle of trust will be available for you when you need help from others.

Problem Solving: Problems, Symptoms, and Remedies

When facing what seems to be a problem, we nearly always cure/fix the symptoms and not the core issue itself. Distinguishing symptoms from the problem itself is however quite simple.

Symptoms, a necessary alarm

There is nothing more natural for a person than wait for symptoms to come up so as to identify a given problem. For example, many dentists and doctors will agree that most patients are brought to consult them only after starting to feel pain or see some funny things on them. In the same fashion, you would only fix a car when you get obvious sensible signals that it is not functioning well. On the other hand, how else are we supposed to know? We indeed don’t want to engage in a plethora of preventive actions for everything and that’s completely right. So far waiting for symptoms is fine, but our answer to them gives a lot of room for criticism and questioning.

Symptom-solving, an omnipresent issue

In most cases indeed, the pain, in itself, is not the problem. It is just a symptom of something going wrong in one’s body or mind. More generally, when a problem occurs, what arises to out senses (often unpleasantly) is symptoms. It is necessary to detect the problem. Nonetheless, there is a sad constant in people that is to just get rid of whatever shows there is a problem, regardless of the problem. That is typically symptom-solving, you would be scared to realise how often we do that. Here are a few example of common inadequate problem-solving cases taken in everyday life:

  • Coffee and Energy Drinks
    Symptoms cleared : tiredness
    Real problem : exhaustion, lack of sleep, anxiety…
    Appropriate Problem Solving : Ask yourself why your are tired, get some sleep.
  • Chewing gums and mints
    Symptoms cleared : bad breath
    Real problem : Oral bacteria
    Appropriate Problem Solving : Brush teeth, use tongue cleaner and mouthwash…
  • Face Make up
    Symptoms cleared : visible acne, face scars…
    Appropriate Problem Solving : Cure acne (itself a symptom not a problem !!! the real problem is excessive sebum secretion, which itself could also be a symptom of stress, itself a symptom of your bad relationship with your boss !)
  • Rushing, last minute
    Symptoms cleared : delay
    Real problem : Lack of organisation or motivation
    Appropriate Problem Solving : Question habits, plan, schedule…

It takes one of those unnatural efforts to really wonder what the real problem is when you could actually just fix the symptoms temporarily. It is not to be mistaken with being lazy, but given only symptoms that are annoying, it is very easy for the mind to think of them as problems, “something you don’t want”. Besides this, another reason why it’s particularly hard to get the mindset of appropriate problem solving is that, very often, it is beneficial in the long-term: It’s a long term way of thinking….Unfortunately most people do unconsciously prefer comfort in the present at the price of long but bearable suffering (symptom-solving) rather than big pain and then long-term comfort (problem-solving). Money loans are a typical expression of this human tendency.

Problem-solving and Innovation

The everyday process of entrepreneurs, researchers, consultants and the alike basically boils down to facing problems and having to solve them. The ability to solve a problem is particularly vital in this field because symptom-solving often results in costly expenses. Let’s say you are a major web-based company and your website is running particularly slowly. You either don’t care what’s the reason and spend twice as much in a more powerful hosting solution, or you fix what was making the website slow and eventually move to a cheaper hosting solution because you don’t need much performance any longer.

Besides cost, another focus should be time efficiency and scalability. Fixing symptoms is an eternal process, especially when your hack introduces new symptoms. Also, symptom fixing prevents scalability in that whatever transformation you make of your system will have to include the fix. Worse, it may require to adapt the fix as well… Such a waste of time and resources.

Human Body : How The Pharmaceutics Industry shortcuts Natural Body Control System

Our lack of lucidity in problem-solving is the gold-mine of the pharmaceutical industry, although a branch of it tries to tackle the problems at the very root instead of old school symptom-curing.

The human body has this very peculiar ability to send alerts to itself. These are receivable through the senses for (I like to believe) you to be aware of the problem and of course do something about it. Most engineers know this functioning as control. When having a precise objective, control is the mere ability to monitor the outcome (output) in real time correct the action (input) based on observation (the difference between objective and observation). A typical control system could be an elevator for example. The speed of the motor (input) could be proportional to the number of stairs to go (difference between objective: desired stair, and action observed: where is the lift now?).
You do control all the time without realising. When you drink your orange juice in the morning: the reason why you get some and without spilling it over is because you do control: the angle of your hand and cup is the input, and the flow of beverage is the output.

Look at the body as a control system now. Most of the time when you don’t feel good or have a big big headache, the core origin is very likely to be psychological, and if not many cases are found to be curable using the power of your mind over yourself. Doing the contrary, if you just ask yourself what’s wrong and focus on good things it doesn’t generate any profit. So instead the industry likes to sell you their complete collection of pain-killers. The pain-killer for colds, the pain-killer for migraines, the pain-killer for when you feel sad, the pain-killer for when you have a headache after reading your pain-killer bill… the stomach pain-killer to ease the stomach-ache caused by the tons of pain-killers you just absorbed, plus the 10 extra drugs to cover the side effects of each type of pain-killer… You see what I mean ? That’s big money ! One typical issue in symptom solving, is that by introducing a solution to a symptom, you introduce other problems, or side effects in the case of drugs. And it sometimes it gets to the ridiculous point where people choose to do nothing about their given problem because each solutions brought more trouble overall than if they do nothing.

More powerful than problem solving, problem avoidance

  • Isn’t back care the best medicine for back problems ?
  • Isn’t sleep the best remedy for tiredness ?
  • Isn’t protection the best cure for AIDS ?
  • Isn’t correct nutrition the best supplement for fat management ?
  • Isn’t good diplomatic relationships and constructive discussion and compromise the best remedy for wars ?and so forth…

Are we truly dumb enough to learn things the hard way when generations and generations have done it before ?

When it comes to personal health, today’s society just does not want to bother about being careful on what they expose themselves to. Look at the proportion of smokers, look at the sports people engaging in extreme activities with little knowledge and preparation, look at the massive amount of commonly tolerated junk foods and beverages…Once more, all this is a direct consequence of our inability to weight to harmfulness of things when they don’t impact us in the short-term. The underlying thinking process being that whatever happens (shall they believe that something bad will happen), they’ll just have to take the appropriate pain-killer…

Recession says “Your wish is my command”

I know you just read Recession in the title and just want to run away read something less stressing. Just hold it’s right there!

The fact that there is a crisis, a pretty bad one, is undeniable.


people, and in particular entrepreneurs and venture capitalists (VCs) have bought it so much that they just take it for granted. Before they even have felt any damage or impact on their venture they already accept the fact that things are going to go bad, that it’s going to be tough, and that there is nothing they will do about it.

This conduct is tremendously dangerous. First, the bad things they are going to experience may not even be related to the recession, crisis, crash…call that how you like. The recession is just going to be a pre-maid and commonly tolerated excuse for failure in those whom have a hard time standing firmly and face problems.

It’s also dangerous because it creates a feel of frustration, that coming from the fact you don’t control everything anymore as if there was a supernatural force acting against you.

By accepting bad times before they really occur, you just make them exist out of lack of confidence and pessimism. Whatever you believe in strongly will realize with an incredible accuracy with the depiction you made. All the more if everyone is convinced so. That wave, that picture, that signal vibrates in chorus and the result is out there soon.

So if that thing you picture is Recession (bad times, running out of money, employees leaving for a better salary) then recession says “Your wish is my command”. This sentence will be very familiar to those of you who have read about or watched the Law of Attraction.

I welcome whatever may come with my arms open. May it be a real bad recession or something at last not that bad.

IF RECESSION THERE IS, look at the good side of things ! Speaking particularly from an entrepreneur point of view, if you go through (and with determination you are likely to do so) you’ll be able to face anything. All engineers in France whom went through those 2 years of (extreme hell) preparatory school know something about it.

IF RECESSION THERE IS, be standing out there as the one optimistic in a crowd of people that are less in the mood for getting involved in something new, people less creative, less dary. There is a real opportunity to get an edge over potential competition, and maybe particularly over existing established competition. Those will be the busiest with other things than creating new value: restructuring…which basically means firing useless people, cutting down useless costs, suing your bank, and trying to get the money back from CEOs you overpaid.

IF RECESSION THERE IS, there’s an opportunity for hiring talents. They may actually come from those established companies that suffer more than your intended startup. People with skills and experience would be less picky than in prosperity…prosperity here means when you think everything is going fine but you are wrong. It’s only going fine for those who know it’s going to smell bad soon but whom won’t be affected much : namely irresponsible traders and their irresponsible hierarchy’s management.

IF RECESSION THERE IS, you’ll probably filter your projects through a finest net than usual, thus letting only the most likely to succeed to through.

IF RECESSION THERE IS, there will be problems, giving you new material to think about and maybe to solve. I talked to a conference organizer that was telling me that with the recession times will be harder for him than usual. Companies indeed cut costs. Although his conferences seem to be really insightful, on the short term, ordering a conference is more an expense than something that pays back fast. Right away, my answer was “Why don’t you make a conference using the recession to your advantage and create value for your audience?”. Something like “How to Survive in Recession”. He’s good, I am sure companies would be seduced.

Also, recession has very valuable virtues, it removes a lot of either stupid or costly or useless processes (or people) in all organisations. This will undoubtedly be beneficial after the crisis, shall there be one.

All this is just to say, always think in a positive way, allow in your imagination and brains only the picture of what you want to achieve.

Whenever something bad comes in, hold your feelings (I know it’s hard), find a way to go around it, or at least minimize the damage, and ultimately make that issue act to your advantage.

Whether you think you can or think you cannot, either way you are right.
Henry Ford.