Bill Aulet, head of MIT entrepreneurship, says Mark Zuckerberg is not a good example for startups
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Bill Aulet, the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT, on a recent visit to Vietnam. Photo credit: PR

Bill Aulet, the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT, on a recent visit to Vietnam. Photo credit: PR

Bill Aulet, the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT, recently visited Vietnam to share important lessons and advice for budding startup innovators

Mark Zuckerberg is undoubtedly one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. However, this does not mean that he is a good example for the startup movement, Bill Aulet, the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT, said humorously.

It was kind of a joke when Bill tried to tell young people, who were full-hearted about startups at Hanoi’s Technology University on October 26, that the story that Mark’s simple and great idea of a social network turned him into one of the strongest entrepreneurs was only a “rare” example.

While Bill said that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agreed that “entrepreneurship is a great thing,” becoming a successful entrepreneur is not easy work.

At the same time, Bill, who has been successful with several startup funds and is the author of the book Disciplined Entrepreneurship, said that he was very impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit in Vietnam, adding that, “There are unbelievable opportunities here as it is harder for outsiders to come into Vietnam than to go to Silicon Valley.”

According to economists, with a young population and abundant labor force, Vietnam is in a great place for startup growth. However, the delicious cake has not been for everyone. Some businesses have turned in sweet cookies, while others were burnt in loss.

To help Vietnam’s emerging tech scene, Bill was invited to Vietnam along with five Vietnamese alumni of MIT who have become entrepreneurs and set up the MITFive group, which trains others to succeed in startups. Bill was in Hanoi on Wednesday and in HCM City for another talk on Friday to share some important points about startups and also dispel myths for newcomers.

Learn to hold a gun before starting a war

Not long ago, a lot of people thought luck largely determined an entrepreneur’s chances of thriving. This is not true. Entrepreneurship can be taught, said Bill. He added that there are many courses both online and offline, expensive and free, so if you just take the time to search, you will find whatever resources you need.

Of course there are quick and slow learners and some things take a longer time to learn than others. But one thing is certain: the knowledge you acquire will help you a lot in the journey to become an entrepreneur. Or, it will at least save you from the common, worst kinds of failures.

In short, Bill explained that you should never send someone with no weapons, or with no understanding to war unless you want them to die.

Startups are not a young person’s game

As said earlier, Mark Zuckerberg is a rare case of someone who was successful at a very young age. Data shows that most startup entrepreneurs become successful at the age of 30. The figures mostly indicate that they should have experienced one or several failures before launching a profitable startup.

Of course, no one likes failure, but it is also valuable to startups. If someone takes it too seriously, they’ll become too discouraged, but if they know failure is also one of the raw materials for success, it is more tolerable.

People are key

If you have a good product and a potential company, investors will chase to have you. But things can only run smoothly with a good team.

Thus, you should be very careful in choosing your team since the wrong people lead to unpredictable results not only in bad turnover and time wasted, but also in creating office crises.

His advice is not to select people with the same skills because they are more familiar to you. Instead, think about when trouble comes, it is important to have people that will come up with different solutions.

This post was translated from Geektime Vietnam

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