UBER HAS ACQUIRED Geometric Intelligence, a two-year-old artificial intelligence startup that vows to surpass the deep learning systems under development at internet giants like Google and Facebook. But as this tiny AI lab slips into Uber’s increasingly vast and ambitious operation, the startup is still tight-lipped on what its technology actually looks like.

Founded by New York University psychologist Gary Marcus and University of Cambridge professor of information engineering Zoubin Ghahramani, Geometric Intelligencespans thirteen other researchers culled from across the academic world. Fourteen of the startup’s fifteen employees will move to San Francisco, where Uber is based, serving as the central AI lab for the ride-hailing company. Ghahramani, the mathematician most responsible for the startup’s core technology, will remain at Cambridge while spending half his time working for Uber. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Uber already runs a self-driving car lab in Pittsburgh after poaching 40 researchers and scientists from Carnegie Mellon University, and it recently acquired the San Francisco self-driving car company Otto. But Geometric Intelligence will anchor a general artificial intelligence lab that explores technologies well beyond today’s autonomous vehicles. This hub will operate much like Google Brain, the team that drives AI research for the search giant, and Facebook’s FAIR lab, which does much the same thing for Mark Zuckerberg and company.

“If you look into the future, there are going to be step-function changes in artificial intelligence that will affect business models and business opportunities,” says Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden, who oversees the company’s push towards technologies of the future and personally drove the acquisition of Geometric Intelligence. “We very much want to be a part of that.”

Oren Etzioni, the CEO of the Allen Institute for AI and a former professor at the University of Washington specializing in artificial intelligence, calls Ghahramani “the real deal.” But although Marcus was previously in residence at the Allen Institute, Etzioni says he was never privy to Geometric’s technology. Nor is the rest of the AI community.

The Amazon Gambit

Whatever Uber sees in Geometric Intelligence, the acquisition is an example of what Etzioni calls “an Amazon gambit.” Just as Amazon transformed itself from an online bookseller into a company that dominates the world of cloud computing—so much so that the cloud may one day be its most profitable business—Uber is transforming itself from a ride-hailing company into an outfit that does self-driving cars and trucks, hardcore machine learning, even flying automobiles. “They’re reinventing themselves as an AI company. They want to join the Big Four,” Etzioni says, referring to Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

Indeed, the Big Four have already built their own dedicated AI operations, in many cases by acquiring startups packed with machine learning researchers. In 2013, Google snapped up DNNresearch and Geoff Hinton, one of the founding fathers of the deep learning movement, and the next year, it bought London’s DeepMind for an enormous £400 million. Facebook hired another founding father, Yann LeCun, while Apple played catch-up with a trio of machine learning startups. Not to be outdone, many other major tech companies—including Samsung, Salesforce, and GE—have acquired their own AI labs in recent months. It’s a seller’s market in the extreme, and Geometric Intelligence has played right into it.

‘They’re reinventing themselves as an AI company. They want to join the Big Four.’

The New York-based startup has all the markings of a company built just for this kind of big acquisition. The company has filed for at least one patent, Marcus says. But it hasn’t published research or offered a product. What is has done is assemble a team of fifteen researchers who can be very useful to Uber, including Stanford professor Noah Goodman, who specializes in cognitive science and a field called probabilistic programming, and University of Wyoming’s Jeff Clune, an expert in deep neural networks who has also explored robots that can “heal” themselves.

Not that Marcus has kept quiet about the technology his company aims to build. Deep neural networks—pattern recognition systems that can learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data—have rapidly reinvented the likes of Google and Facebook. They recognize faces in photos and understand the commands you bark into your smartphone. But Marcus paints deep neural nets as an extremely limited technology, because the vast swaths of data needed to train them aren’t always available. Geometric Intelligence, he says, is building technology that can train machines with far smaller amounts of data.

“There are problems in the domain of language and in driverless cars where you’re never going to have enough data to use brute force the way that deep learning does,” Marcus says. “Either you can’t buy it or it doesn’t exists.” Geometric’s approach could be important with autonomous cars, he says, because there’s not enough data describing the rare situations that lead to accidents. He says the company’s technology is still in the research phase, but claims it can already learn certain tasks using “half as much data as deep learning.”

He declines to describe the technology in detail, saying its proprietary information. But Zoubin Ghahramani, who studied under Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto, says the technology is a hybrid of deep neural networks and systems that operate according to specific rules. “If you combine some of the ideas in ruled-based learning with ideas in statistical learning and deep learning, then you can get the best of both worlds,” he says. “If there is an obvious rule—or even if it’s not so obvious—they will eventually catch on to that, and they’ll generalize to new situations. But they can pick up statistical patterns from lots and lots of data as well.”

Sparse Data

Other companies are working on a similar technology. The San Francisco startup Vicarious makes much the same pitch as Marcus—and is equally coy about what it has actually built. Meanwhile, researchers from Facebook and other organizations have published work on systems that can learn from “sparse data.” “This is suddenly a hot area,” Etzioni says.

But Marcus and Ghahramani, who met as graduate students at MIT in the early 1990s, say they’re interested in other areas of research as well. Their team includes researchers who specialize in more established forms of AI, including Bayesian logicevolutionary computation, and symbolic artificial intelligence as well as deep learning and probabilistic programming. “We did not want to be a monoculture,” Ghahramani says in describing how he and Marcus built the startup. “To solve challenging problems we consider to be AI, we need to bring together a lot of different expertise.”

As its research progresses, the team will work in tandem with Uber’s autonomous car group in Pittsburgh as well as with groups working on traffic prediction in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Now called Uber AI Labs, the team still shrouds its technology in secrecy, but not its mission. According to Marcus and Ghahramani, they will tackle everything from machine vision to natural language understanding. Like Google and Facebook and so many others, the goal is true AI. If they succeed, Uber could become the Big Four’s fifth wheel.

Author:  CADE METZ

Source:  https://www.wired.com

Categorized in Others

For the casual internet user, a quick Google search is often all it takes to find plenty of information on any particular topic.

But for specialized financial research, analysts often find themselves laboriously searching proprietary databases, regulatory filings, and paywalled sources that aren’t even indexed by the big search engines, says Jack Kokko, the founder and CEO of financial search engine company AlphaSense.

That’s why he and cofounder and CTO Raj Neervannan created AlphaSense, which applies natural language processing and machine learning techniques to let users find relevant information in financial documents.

"It started from my first job out of college as an analyst at Morgan Stanley, where I was, as every analyst, going through these huge piles of paper on my desk and trying to find information very manually—nights and days spent toiling through that information and still fearing that I’m missing a lot," Kokko says.

The San Francisco-based company takes in information from thousands of licensed data sources, as well as public web sources like news reports, and automatically processes them to extract meaning on a sentence-by-sentence level.

"When a company’s talking about building a semiconductor fab in Shenzhen or just production growth in China, those two mean the same thing, even though the words are very different," he says. "We have clustering algorithms that are able to understand that those topics mean the same thing."

That lets corporate customers search for information on esoteric topics and find results substantially faster than they would by looking for the data by hand, or with the individual search engines built into specialized databases. AlphaSense says it counts more than 450 companies as customers, including financial services firms with a total of more than $3 trillion assets under management.

In one case, Kokko says, representatives from a big Wall Street firm receiving a demo from AlphaSense tried searching for information on an obscure corner of the Japanese electric power industry, and happily discovered their firm had already researched the topic.

"Our system found a whole bunch of research by that top firm on that topic that even that firm themselves didn’t know about," he says. "You can’t rely on people to know everything about their own internal content or the content they produce, let alone thousands of others that are offering and producing content."

For Kasandra Davis, a senior manager in investor relations at Applied Materials, which supplies tools to computer chip manufacturers, AlphaSense’s tool makes it easy to search for information on the semiconductor industry—and quickly organize information about what the company’s own executives have said at conferences on particular topics without laborious searches through individual transcript files.

"I would have to go into the transcript of each one of those conferences and search for those words," she says. "You can imagine what that would have been like from a time perspective."

And, she says, she recently used the tool to locate information comparing video sizes for ultra-high-definition TV versus virtual reality. That's something that was hard to find through a nonspecialized search engine.

"I did use Google to do that search on VR file size versus HD file size, and I couldn’t find anything to do [with] the comparison," she says.

To ensure the tool continues to find relevant information, AlphaSense uses a mix of completely automated clustering processes and human-supervised machine learning, says Kokko. Company experts can tag sample content to train the search engine to understand, say, when a report is expressing positive or negative sentiment, and when it’s talking about the past or making a prediction about the future.

"We constantly refine and have the algorithms get better by comparing to what humans are doing," he says.

Part of what makes processing all those documents practical is the rise of on-demand cloud computing services, letting AlphaSense activate servers to churn through documents and run those statistical models only as needed, rather than build a huge data center of its own, says Kokko.

"Before Amazon [Web Services], we really couldn’t have done this: The processing capabilities would have required a very, very big company’s resources," he says. "Now, we were able to start small with a startup’s resources just focusing, using computing resources for minutes and shutting down, launching and shutting down thousands of machines, and being able to afford it, instead of owning those resources."

And for better or worse, he says the search engine similarly lets its clients do research they couldn’t have previously done without hiring scores of human analysts.

"We’ve got some one-man shops that can do the work of 20 analysts that they don’t have to hire," he says. "Or, they can actually just elevate the level of research that each person can do."

Source : https://www.fastcompany.com/3062489/mind-and-machine/this-ai-startup-wants-to-automate-your-tedious-document-searches

Categorized in Internet Search

In many ways, it was a match made in heaven. Mitchell Hashimoto taught himself programming at age 12; Armon Dadgar started college when he was 16. You get the picture.

The two met in the University of Washington's computer science department in 2008. Dadgar says he knew immediately that his future HashiCorp co-founder had a genuine interest in computer science. Many of their fellow students, says Dadgar, set their sights on careers with Seattle's Microsoftand Amazon, and saw programming as a means to a relatively lucrative end. Only a handful were truly passionate about the field. "Mitchell was one of those people," says Dadgar. "It was exciting for me to meet a peer who was like this."

In 2010, while the two were still in college, Dadgar emailed Hashimoto. "Hey Mitchell, I was wondering if you would be interested in launching a startup?" he wrote. Hashimoto's reply: "Armon, ah, you don't know how long I've been waiting for an email like this. If I were to enumerate my goals entering college, the top of my list would've had 'find co-founder(s) for potential start-up.' "

But the duo's venture wouldn't materialize until three years later, after Hashimoto had convinced Dadgar to accept a position at mobile advertiser Kiip. Hashimoto had started at Kiip in the fall of 2010, where he continued work he began in college on Vagrant, a tool that creates virtual environments for the development and testing of software. He left Kiip to found HashiCorp in late 2012 and Dadgar joined him as a co-founder in the summer of 2013.

Today, their data-center management company, which has seen a 300 percent increase in revenue over the past year, employs 35 people. HashiCorp's DevOps software serves as the interface between infrastructure development and product development. Hashimoto and Dadgar use the metaphor of the power grid infrastructure to explain their tools. Think of an app as a toaster, and HashiCorp's services as the transmission lines that carry power to the toaster--except, instead of connecting electronics to electricity, HashiCorp helps the internet of things stay connected to the cloud servers that keep products and services running.

CTO Dadgar describes CEO Hashimoto as someone who can disappear into a void for weeks and then come out with a solution to a complicated problem, which he can express in two clean sentences written neatly in his notebook.

Vagrant continues to be widely used by programmers. A plugin for Vagrant was the first offering from HashiCorp, and Dadgar says it helped the company draw customers when it launched.

Dadgar, who describes his strength as the willingness to take risks that move the company forward, insisted on raising capital to finance growth and hire more staff. So HashiCorp raised a Series A round of $10.2 million from VC firms True Ventures, GGV, and Mayfield at the end of 2014, bringing total funding to $10.7 million. That allowed the company to launch additional open-source tools, including a system called Atlas that unites its tools in a centralized dashboard.

HashiCorp's tools are designed to work "on an immense scale," and users include Dropbox, Stripe, Square, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, according to Dadgar. HashiCorp builds for big companies and then scales features down to fit smaller clients. "We sort of over-engineer as a cultural practice," says Hashimoto.

Companies looking for data-center management solutions tend to have two options: all or nothing, says Mark Barnhill, development automation manager for the live-streaming video platform Twitch, and a HashiCorp customer. Either they can opt to buy into a wholesale package, or their own engineers can work through data-center management piece by piece. With HashiCorp, it can be all, nothing, or a general solution with the option of customizing or dropping features. "It's a fairly small company and it's really impressive how much they've been able to produce in a short period of time and with not a lot of people," says Barnhill. "I think it really speaks a lot to the leadership and the talent they have within the company."

Source:  http://www.inc.com/tess-townsend/2016-30-under-30-hashicorp.html

Categorized in Internet of Things

When it comes to startups, if you’re not growing…you’re moving backwards. No matter how good of a product or idea it might have , a business will not succeed without sales. While investing in Facebook ads, capitalizing on SEO trends and writing great content can help bring in sales, your revenue comes from closing big deals.

Closing large deals requires much more than a few cold calls and sales tactics. The deals are bigger, and therefore the requirements and scrutiny are also higher process.

So how does a startup position itself to close deals with the biggest companies in their space? Here is a list of factors that will help you quickly improve your business development efforts and close B2B deals with big companies.

1. Reach out by every means possible.

A warm introduction is the best way to reach a contact but we don’t always have that luxury. Luckily, social media searches can help you get in front of your contact.

Use LinkedIn to search the name of the company and the words that describe the title, role or division of the person you need to meet. Include words like “venture”, “innovations” and “new technologies,” as those teams can be responsible for onboarding new technology. Send a personalized invitation.

Another successful trick is to search for alumni from your university who work at the same company. Ask them for an introduction to the right person or department.

2. Build a product they can trust with their brand.

The best companies cannot afford to tarnish their brand. They avoid taking chances on a product that they don’t trust. You need to pass the “trust” test.

To do this, start with a product of superior quality and value. There’s no way around this. Do not compromise on any part of the production quality or user experience while developing your product.

My friend Andrew Thomas, co-founder of SkyBell and one of the top entrepreneurs in the Internet of Things industry, has closed deals with the biggest brands in their space, including Honeywell, Amazon, Nest and Alarm.com. While positioning their video doorbell product, Thomas found success by over-sharing a commitment to their brand.

“We explicitly stated how serious we regarded their brand and worked with their quality control teams to affirm our product quality.” His advice, “prove to them them that they can trust you with their brand.”

Related: PageRank Is Dead. What Marketers Need Now Is Trust Flow.

3. Ask questions and listen.

Sales boils down to our ability to quickly gain information about the prospective partner and their needs. The best way to do this is by asking good questions and letting your prospect do most of the talking. Asking questions leads your prospect to tell you what they want, how they want it and when they need it. Then you can frame your responses to accurately address their needs. It’s far better than trying to “pitch” them on your product.

It sounds simple, yet produces results. The key is to truly listen to them. Resist the urge to always focus on what you’ll say next. Also, don’t interrupt or speak for them. This helps you build strong rapport based on trust and respect – and helps you be more likable. 

4. Create a vision built on mutual purpose.

At big companies, decisions are made by many people of various authority levels in multiple divisions. Success requires that you not only sell your contact on your product – but that you are so clear in defining a value proposition that your contact can then sell the idea to other key people in their organization.

How do you do this? Co-create a vision built on mutual purpose. Work with your contact to define the value proposition in the present and future – with the most amount of clarity possible. Business partnerships work best when your contact owns the solution as much as you do. 

5. Don’t sign a deal that harms you.

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re working with the biggest companies in your space. The volumes are bigger, there are more users and the orders tend to have more zeroes. It’s harder to say, “No.” This is something that hurt our company badly. We are in the credit card payments space. We landed a major client in our first few weeks of launching our company. We eneded up losing money because we weren't sure of everything we were doing. It almost dragged us under.

Resist the temptation to say “yes” to everything. It will do you no good to over-extend yourself and go out of business, which is common with these types of deals. Sometimes it’s the deals you don’t do that are the best decisions you’ll make. 

Here are some common land mines to consider:

Exclusivity – Unless 1+1 = 3, avoid granting a partner with exclusivity for certain markets, timing, features or product.

Ramp-ups and lead times – Define a ramp-up schedule to pace your delivery of product and define lead times to properly manage your manufacturing. Big companies can “kill you with kindness” by ordering large amounts of product that you can’t fulfill in time.

Consignment – If you have hardware, consignment is rarely a good idea. You want firm purchase orders before you go build large volumes of product.
Profitability – Unless you are funded as a high-growth customer acquisition model, don’t take a loss on product sales just to placate a big partner.

6. Be patient.

Closing deals with big companies can take a long time. There will be many times when the deal loses momentum. Remain patient and keep a long-term outlook. “We all think we're persuasive, but sometimes there isn’t much you can do for a deal except be patient, polite and present,” says Thomas.

While times are slow, you should reach out every four to six weeks to provide an update. Send emails with news, press coverage, awards and anything else that will keep them excited about your product. While this may seem annoying, it keeps them in contact and aware of everything you're doing.

Effective business development efforts bring in the revenue and strategic positioning you need for long-term success. A business development leader must be willing to prospect, handle rejection and keep going. They must create trust with their counterparts and create a vision that results in profitable outcomes for both sides – and then get both sides to act on it. The success of the business depends on it. 

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/277144

Categorized in Business Research

Thank you for joining me for the third segment of The Launching Pad’s Small Steps: Big Leaps series aimed at helping Americans from diverse professional backgrounds embark on successful entrepreneurial careers and thereby revive the U.S. economy. For more information on this series, check out my April 2nd post, and to join this movement to grow the economy through large- and small-scale entrepreneurship, please check out The Startup Stand.

In the first two installments of this series, we have discussed identifying a need in your (broadly defined) community and identifying, utilizing, and developing your talents and skills. The third critical step to launching a successful venture is conducting market research, whether formally or informally.

The potential market for your products or services can be defined as the pool of consumers or businesses who would consider purchasing them. In other words, they have a need that your business might help them address. It is key to clearly define your market before endeavoring to conduct research. For example, if want to open an athletic store, you need to decide if you will cater to runners, swimmers, golfers, tennis players or all of the above as well as if you will focus just on one segment like footwear or broaden to include apparel, equipment and more. Once you define the scope of your potential business and the corresponding potential market for your products and services, you need to determine why a consumer or business would purchase from you rather than a competitor. Do you offer the lowest price? Unparalleled service? A unique product mix not available elsewhere? Before investing significant time and money in actually starting your business you need to find your niche and determine your clients’ willingness to pay for your offering.

To obtain such crucial information, entrepreneurs use a variety of resources to conduct market research. Broad sources of demographic information, such as your local chamber of commerce, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the SBA, provide valuable information to business owners and should be explored thoroughly particularly as you consider where to locate your business (if you will have a customer-facing physical location). One invaluable tool that was made available last September by the SBA is SizeUp. With SizeUp, you can input your business’s industry and city and it maps out your competition, highlighting areas with abundant competition in orange and areas with a lot of potential customers but few competitors in green. Your competitors’ prices and performance are also available which is helpful for new and expanding businesses. SizeUp can also point you to the best channels through which to advertise. The tool will show you areas with the highest annual revenue for your selected industry, and you can tweak the results based on audiences you wish to target; for example, you can use income level and other filters to focus on specific consumers.

Be sure to also conduct your own primary research to get information specific to your particular, unique business and the sub-set of consumers you hope to attract. A few research tools to consider include interviews, surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups, which can identify critical information about the importance of price and certain features as well as the strengths and weaknesses of competitors. For example, before I started my company, Stratus Prep, I held focus groups to determine the market size and willingness to pay for industry-leading test prep and admissions counseling services. This process also helped me identify which specific features were most important to potential customers (such as weekend availability and the unmet need for study space open to students). I then compared the consumer information I gathered to my cost structure to ensure that even after expenses like paying employees, renting space and developing materials, the business would be profitable in the short- or medium-term based on the price consumers were willing to pay. Fortunately, this research paid off as we were profitable within our first four months of operations and have never been in the red since then.

It is important to be open-minded and adaptable when conducting market analysis as some of the feedback you hear may not be exactly what you were expecting and hoping for. You may feel attached to your business idea and wish to change nothing about it, but after conducting a survey maybe you find that customers are looking for a slightly different service or additional features. Do not scrap your idea, but do consider adjustments to accommodate your customers’ demands. Remember that you are just one consumer and likely a slightly idiosyncratic one at that. You want your business to have relatively broad appeal.

A great example of a company which performed such market analysis is JetBlue, which prior to launching, determined that airline passengers cared more about comfortable leather seating and TV entertainment than a hot meal, a first class cabin, and the other “amenities” offered by legacy carriers. JetBlue invested in upgraded seating and TVs and emphasized a relaxing, calm journey at a relatively modest price. The strategy campaign was so successful that other airlines soon followed suit and numerous imitators emerged.

Another example of a business that identified and catered to unmet consumer needs is Starbucks, which turned an everyday beverage into an experience. While Starbucks SBUX +1.29% is known for its quality coffee and other tasty drinks, it is also renowned for its atmosphere, where business professionals, college students, writers and anyone who wants to kick back can set up shop for hours with free wifi and a comfortable workspace. The modifications made to the industry standard drew an enormous and loyal following, which is why today there is a Starbucks on every corner. Starbucks determined what consumers wanted and just how much they would pay for it and revolutionized an industry.

By doing your homework before starting your business, you can be assured that your product or service is properly priced and positioned and you are offering the most sought after attributes. This will make your company a powerful force in a competitive business landscape.

You are now armed with the first three steps to starting your own business and revolutionizing not only your economic future but also that of your community and the nation. Check back next Tuesday for step 4 on finding and leveraging operational efficiencies.

What have you discovered through your market research? Let me know in the comments, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact me via Twitter at @shawnpoconnor. If you would like to be a Startup Stand featured entrepreneur, send me your bio and picture for a chance to be featured in our weekly email and inspire others to pursue entrepreneurship!

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnoconnor/2013/04/23/step-3-for-a-successful-startup-the-importance-of-market-research/#420005ee7596

Categorized in Market Research

Let’s start with the difference between a business partner and a co-founder.

There are no real strict rules here but this is generally how I look at it. A co-founder implies that they started from the very beginning with you. Maybe you collectively came up with the idea. A business partner may be someone that joined at any time, even after the business has already been going.

Usually business partners are people involved with the business on a level that they help make major decisions, and get an equal share depending on how many partners are involved. Co-founder could be the same or could be someone that get less than an equal share depending on their exact role.

Sometimes those two roles can blend and the difference between the two is not really the point of this article, so I will be referring to both as business partner from here out.

1. Don’t become partners with a mirror image, instead find someone that compliments you

A business partner should usually be someone that can do things that you can’t. That way as a team you can tackle more things before you need to go and hire someone.

People often make the mistake of finding mirror images of themselves. I prefer to hire mirror images of myself rather than partner with them. And my business partners are people that have strengths that make up for my weaknesses, and vise versa.

There could be some exceptions in certain businesses where a mirror image of yourself might work, but in my experience that’s usually not the formula for success.

2. Weed out the lazy people that don’t want to work

When you are initially looking for a business partner, understand that a lot of people are all talk. They will talk and talk but never actually roll up their sleeves and do anything. This isn’t always a bad thing, but make sure you know what you are signing up for.

In fact, make sure you spell it out too. Generally people draft up “operating agreements” that explain the roles of each person, whether they get mutual shares or not, and what happens if things go wrong. It’s important to have this for handling disputes. You can hire a lawyer to handle this or go to a site like LawDepot.com and find one mostly pre-drafted.

I’ve encountered a lot of businesses where they didn’t realize until after they started that one of the partners was not the “hands on” type, and in a bootstrapped startup scenario that can be extremely detrimental.

Often times you need to partner with people that will do whatever it takes to succeed, and ready to roll up their sleeves. And if they don’t do anything or live up to their end of the bargain, they are out.

3. Avoid money disagreements by spelling it out ahead of time

Disputes revolving around money are usually the most common. Figure it out ahead of time exactly what the plan is there and who gets what. Make sure that everyone has to work to get paid.

Also decide on how the company plans to use it’s money to grow. Avoid partnering with people that want to pay all of their friends, unless their friends happen to be the best people for the job, and then still be weary.

Make sure to put everything in writing.

4. Be cautious when mixing business with pleasure

I would admit that most people I partner with in business are or become personal friends as well. That’s not necessarily a good thing, it can be both good and bad.

The good is that it can deepen your bond with that person and when things go well, it’s a lot more fun to be working with that person who may now be your friend.

As a friend, you may feel the urge to tell them a little bit more than you would strictly a business partner.

If there’s a dispute of any kind, it can make things messy. If you have opened up to that person about personal things going on in your life outside of business, they can often times throw them in your face later.

I’ve made that mistake many times and opened up to business partners about other things that I was involved with outside of that business, and they came back to throw them in my face.

If you are an entrepreneur that is involved in many business projects, it may not be appropriate to share everything you do with your business partner. It could create resentment or look like you aren’t focusing enough, when in reality it may not be the case at all, just their perception or fear.

5. Handle disagreements before they become major problems

Inevitability you will come to a point where you disagree on something. Having a reasonable way to handle those disagreement is vitally important.

Compromise is the name of the game here. When something is not that big of a deal for you but your partner feels adamant about going a particular direction that you may not 100% agree with but can live with, that’s when you can compromise.

The trick is ensuring that you have a business partner that mutually respects you, so that when you feel strongly about something and they don’t, then they agree to handle it your way.

6. Roles may change in time, have an understanding of what happens if a partner drops out

People lose focus and it’s not uncommon for someone to drop out and do something else instead. Sometimes entrepreneurship is not for everyone and they want to do something else or can’t take the heat of being an entrepreneur. It’s ok, not everyone is cut out for this. I don’t know anyone personally, but some people love 9-5s, having 8 bosses, daily TPS reports, and printers that don’t work to complain about to get them through the day.

The last thing you want to do is pay someone a salary or percentage if they drop out and stop working, if that wasn’t the original intended deal.

7. Having a business partner is not always the right move

Sometimes you don’t need a business partner, plain and simple. A business partner can be a great thing, but as you can see form this post, there are also a lot of things that could go wrong.

If you have enough funding, it may make more sense to start the business yourself and hire people instead. That gives you ultimate control and less potential for disputes or disagreements, since in a 1 man show you are the ultimate authority.

Conversely, if you don’t have enough funding and you need someone else to put in sweat equity with you, then a business partner might be a great idea.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Avoid partnering with a mirror image of yourself unless you have a very good reason for it.
  • Avoid lazy partners.
  • Agree on matters relating to money beforehand and make an agreement.
  • Be cautious when mixing business with pleasure.
  • Be willing to compromise and let your partner be right or do it their way sometimes. Demand mutual respect.
  • Know what happens if someone drops out or doesn’t do their end of the bargain, spell it out in writing.
  • It’s not always the right decision to take on a business partner.

Source: http://www.influencive.com/7-tips-will-help-find-perfect-business-partner-startup/

1. Don’t become partners with a mirror image, instead find someone that compliments you

Categorized in Business Research


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