He states that he is “constantly amazed by human resilience shown by small entrepreneurs in the face of incredible odds”. And that is why he aims to tell their stories. Daniel Goh is the founder and editor of Young Upstarts, a small business and web/consumer technology blog that champions new ideas, innovative marketing and entrepreneurship. He has kindly answered HitBarcelona questions.
- In your blog, Youngupstarts, you give your views on “entrepreneurship, innovation and the online space”. How can entrepreneurs make the most of the online space to boost innovation?
It used to be that entrepreneurs needed to rely on very traditional tools and methods - which can be slow, cumbersome and expensive - in order to get the basics of business done. Think of areas like market research, publicity and awareness, or even simple things like looking for the right talents to hire.
For example, an entrepreneur can now use a service in the online space such as SurveyMonkey.com to do basic market research, employ social network sites and tools like Facebook and Twitter to spread word of your products and services, or a platform like LinkedIn to find the right hires for a fledgling company. The idea is to leverage such available tools so that you can get your product or service out to market quickly, effectively and cheaply. The digital space provides entrepreneurs with limitless opportunities. One of the reasons why Young Upstarts regularly features some of the latest online services and digital tools is to help entrepreneurs understand such potential usefulness to their businesses.
- The medium is more than ever the message in the Social Networks era?
Actually I would disagree - I’d say that the medium and the message has always been equally important. Any business, and especially entrepreneurs, need to understand the importance of the various mediums, or platforms, that is most effective in reaching out to their audiences. It is also equally important, however, for them to pitch exactly the right message, at the right time, through such mediums. Many times, businesses tend to get distracted by the “shiny object syndrome” - for example, just because everybody rushes to using Facebook to engage consumers doesn’t mean that your most ardent customers are most active on that platform.
- You also claim to be a “voice of a new generation”. What are the main characteristics of the current entrepreneurial minds? Is there any difference when compared with older generations?
For this question, I’ll borrow from one of the most authoritative figures on this subject, author Donna Fenn of the book Upstarts! In her book, she interviews more than 150 young entrepreneurs from across the United States and highlights how their mindsets differ greatly from previous generations. For example, she highlights the collaborative spirit of young entrepreneurs and their willingness to work with one another. They also tend to be more adaptive towards new technologies, and have a willingness to take risks. For anybody trying to understand this generation and how they approach business, this is one book I highly recommend.
- Do you think an event like HitBarcelona can help entrepreneurs to achieve their goals?
I definitely think platforms such as HitBarcelona are critical in helping the entrepreneurial ecosystem in any country to flourish. One of the problems facing young entrepreneurs is that they can tend to work in a silo. That’s unhealthy and myopic. Participation in events like HitBarcelona gets them to interact with one another as well as other stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as the media, investors and government agencies. Opportunities like this to network and trade ideas with one another are priceless.