Bill Gross has started more than 125 companies. The first one, involved a PanAm back-pack and candy bars, which he sold at one cent less than the price asked in his school’s cafeteria. Gross therefore has a wealth of experience from which to drawn on. However, he also analyzed factors for success and failure across 250 companies to share best start-up practice with DLD15 participants.
Among the companies with the greater success he examined, are AirBnB, Instagram, Uber, YouTube and LinkedIn. Among those who failed despite high expectations are Flooz and Friendster.
The top five factors that have an impact on a start-up’s success are: timing; team; idea; business model; and funding. Timing matters most, counting for 42 percent of success probability. The reason why this factor is so important, is that it doesn’t matter how great or well executed an idea is if it isn’t communicated well. AirBnB, for instance, was an idea that had been tried before - but it took off when it did because is was launched when the recession hit, and people needed to save money, or were willing to rent out a room for an income supplement.
Gross said now is the great time to launch a business, because reach and opportunity for communication impact are higher than ever before.
His advice for anyone eager to try: look for ideas everywhere and follow your passion; test your idea; listen to customers and implement what they say; build a team with a complementary skill set; and “stick with it”.
Bill Gross ended his talk with a Schopenhauer quote: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident.”