“The Joy is in Making Things Happen”
Reflections of a parallel entrepreneur
"Entrepreneurs are people who have passions and are prepared to make sacrifices for them. If money is your objective, you’ll ruin the business. The joy is in making things happen and the more you do it, the more you learn about the pitfalls and how to avoid them," Magnus Melander, CEO and founder of B3 Connect Computer, said on February 26 on IESE’s Barcelona campus in the Continuous Education session "Parallel Entrepreneurship: A Firsthand Account", which formed part of the Entrepreneurial Initiative Cycle. The meeting was organized by IESE Alumni Association and moderated by Prof. Aninyda Ghosh, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at IESE.
Melander calls himself a parallel rather than a serial entrepreneur because he likes to be involved in many projects at once. At present these range from his company, which he describes as being between a consultancy and an incubator, sitting on the board of a network operator and training a girls’ football team. After working for IBM and Apple, in 2000 he became VC but found that he didn’t enjoy it so he started up some companies.
Timing is crucial, he said. "It’s not hard to figure out what will happen but very hard to figure out when. If you miss the wave, close the company. It’s too late."
Melander believes the Internet has changed the world more than electricity. "It has changed everything, including in terms of efficiency." He predicted that as technology is now so commoditized, governments may take it upon themselves to bring manufacturing back home in order to create jobs rather than outsource.
In this new world, perception is reality. This means that trust is a bigger factor than ever in doing business. If you can’t be the cheapest, he said, you have to be either the first or the best. "You need to test the market from the start, not wait till product is perfected and then go to market," he said.
"People won’t pay for things they don’t use," he added. "This means that products will become services." Products should be flexible and able to evolve, instead of being discarded and replaced by newer models. For example, he said, Rolls-Royce sells airplane engines as a service, depending on how much the airline uses them.