The best things in life are those that leave you coming back for more, like presentations from one of the coolest guys in the business, Marvin Liao. A former Yahoo executive and a partner at 500 Startups, Marvin is slowly but steadily becoming a crowd favourite at Spark.Me. His presentation revolved around a lot of interesting topics: from startups to digital nomads, and was as captivating as it was entertaining.
Start It Up
First things first, Marvin started his presentation with some pretty eye-opening facts. He said that the average lifespan of a company in the middle of the last century was around 60 years, a lifespan that has since decreased to 20 years recently. As shocking as that might seem, it only goes to show the modern trends in business. It’s true that companies live shorter, but you should never forget the sheer amount of companies today, as well as other, smaller companies these big ones spawn. So in turn, this is actually a turn of events that illustrates the state of the world today: it’s much, much faster than before.
Fast is definitely not a bad thing, you see. If you go back to some of the most famous and successful companies today, like Uber or Dropbox, you can see what the fuss about startups is all about. Startups are a massive trend today, and Marvin says that there’s a lot of good going on for them. Overall, the price of starting a startup has declined a lot in the recent years, and is still steadily declining. Perhaps that’s your chance to start something up and make something that helps people. There’s also a curious trend of a new force on the global market emerging around every five years. The latest big player to come into the spotlight worldwide is, of course, Snapchat, and its valuations and overall worth could be a topic of an entire article, not just a paragraph in this one.
Big Corporations Are Slow, But The World Is Fast
In Marvin’s opinion, the biggest new trend is the shift towards smaller, more flexible companies instead of big corporations. Marvin said that the bigger the company is, it’s slower and “dumber”. That’s due to the fact that small companies are able to adapt to the ever-changing market faster, and with new trends emerging every few years, it’s not hard to see why now is a good time to be a small company, and not a large, slow corporation.
When talking about the possibilities for entrepreneurs, Marvin said that niches are the next big thing. Apart from having to become an entrepreneur for the sheer possibility of survival in the market, you should definitely look into a smaller market segments where you can provide a new, specialized product, be it a service or a physical iteration of something you imagined.
It’s simple, really: if you aim at a smaller segment and perfect a product that fulfils the need of that segment alone, there’s a larger chance for you to succeed and that is in fact what we all want, right?
The Digital Nomad Route Is The Way To Go
Marvin then talked about how there is really an abundance of knowledge everywhere, not just on Wikipedia and books or ebooks. There are numerous ways for you to learn new skills, like Coursera for example, and you should definitely aim to do so to remain on top of your game, thus increasing your chance to get work and be successful. You never know what you might need in life, so it’s a safe bet to study a little bit of everything that relates to your field so you can be more competitive.
Marvin also noted that he’d definitely go the “digital nomad” route if he could turn back in time, and wouldn’t go the corporate route again. He claims that this new way of thinking is great because you can work from anywhere, study from anywhere and run your business from anywhere, which simply wasn’t possible a while ago.
Coming to the end of his presentation, Marvin talked about networking. Even though we tend to take this for granted, he said that your network defines who you are in the business world and that you should definitely look to expand it. Your network can indeed help you do so many great things and you can get the opportunity to kickstart most of your projects if there’s someone in your network who actually knows a thing or two about that.
Lastly, the advice Marvin had for everyone present was to be notable, not credible. You need to find a way to differentiate yourself from others, and that difference can be your edge later on. Your career is a showcase of your personality, and both your network and your education and the things you do in your free time define who you are, so you need to invest time in all of that to be the best you can possibly be.
Fueled by this advice, go out and take on the world, we know you can do it. And don’t forget to keep up with the .ME blog for the latest Spark.Me info!