"Think simple": there are still lessons to be gleaned from this ol’ chestnut

Publié le 03 mars 2014 par Verity Baynton

Marketing Strategy Consultant, Cécile Conaré, has over twenty years of agency experience in developing brands and their communications in consumer, computing and telecommunications areas. Here are her reflections on the selection process of season 5 back in November.

Marketing Strategy Consultant, Cécile Conaré, has over twenty years of agency experience in developing brands and their communications in consumer, computing and telecommunications areas.

 

Everyone was very involved with and passionate about the startups’ ideas

The first very positive point is that we had a great time during the semi-final stage, everyone was highly involved and passionate about the ideas behind the startups, both on the jury and startup sides of the equation. This was reflected in the questions put to the startups during the wide-ranging Q&A and in the opposing views aired by the jury, made up of members from a variety of different backgrounds.

The second pleasant surprise involved the general standard of the startups, but we should emphasize here that at this semi-final stage, with our finely-tuned application system, the wheat and the chaff had already been carefully separated.

 

What it’s all about is the 400-year-old idea – “think simple”, there are still lessons to be gleaned from this ol’ chestnut
There is quite a surprising link between written and oral, it’s clear that the projects that were clear and precise on paper were just as clear and precise in the pitch, and the same went whenever things were not so clear – such was the case for the pitch. This reminded me straight away of the famous line from academic and satirist Nicolas Boileau – “whatever is well conceived is clearly said, and the words to say it flow with ease”. What it’s all about is the 400-year-old “think simple” mantra, there are still lessons to be gleaned from this ol’ chestnut!

 

The icing on the cake – the wide variety of projects

And then the icing on the cake, it would have to be the wide variety of projects – I think we ticked all the possible boxes! B2B, B2C, the whole 9 yards of B2B2C, pure digital actor, connected tools, projects interweaving real and virtual, and all this in industries as varied as job-seeking, automotive, architecture, education, music, to cut a long story short, more than just digital services and social networks I feared would dominate!

The more impressive startups combined an eye-catching range of skills, such as: Clarity and well-thought-out projects; Teams that seem solid for a variety of different reasons: clearly-defined roles, varied skills and expertise, intimate knowledge of the market (…). And finally, teams that had already tested their project in ‘real’ situations.

 

Teams that had already tested their solution stood out from the crowd straight away

The good news is that these days we are simply surrounded by problems, and it’s tempting to tell yourself that you’ve got yourself a good idea to solve them, but the main difficulty (or shall we say THE good idea) actually comes out of the ‘how’ to solve the problem. Thus teams which had already passed the prototype stage, had already done small-scale testing ‘the hard way’, perhaps even in a highly experimental way, and had done the hard yards of trying to sell it, these teams stood out from the crowd straight away.

 

Make full use of each step in the application process to learn important lessons
What I’d wish for all those future CEOs is that they make full use of each step in the application process, whether they be successful or otherwise, to learn important lessons, tighten up the team, adjust their aim, sell their product better and refine their startup even more, because this experience will be useful to them for the rest of their lives. May the wind be forever at their backs!

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