Are you ready for our brand new LeWeb Startup Tour? This series of afternoon and evening meetups this fall will be brought to you by HandsOn.TV and hosted by Rodrigo Barros. But who exactly is this Brazilian entrepreneur who now runs a successful Silicon Valley business? We asked Rodrigo to tell us more about himself and his experience, and to share some tips for the Startup Tour contestants!
Rodrigo Barros started his career early on as a soccer player, a very enriching experience that gave him the opportunity to travel to the US, but also to Europe. Moreover, it taught him the value of a team when it comes to competition, in the sense that you have to deal with different people’s expectations but constantly share the same goal – at the time, it was simply “where the ball had to go”!
After returning to his home country, he started a career as a TV host in a Business talk show that became one of the most important talk shows in Brazil. He also started publishing a magazine after a year. With the intention to help develop the country side of Brazil, he then bought several tech companies, and launched a video agency in São Paulo. In 2013, he moved to Silicon Valley to start HandsOn.TV, a video platform for entrepreneurs that would allow him to “evangelise entrepreneurship around the world” and be there for startups looking for advice.
From his Silicon Valley experience, Rodrigo has learnt at least four lessons:
– “When you fail, you have to learn from it”: startups have no choice but to learn fast from their mistakes – “you have to have a Plan B”. “As an entrepreneur, I’ve lost money and I’ve learnt a lot”, he further says, and strongly advises contestants to have a clear plan of action – in other words, to know what their public, their product and their expectations are.
– If you want to change a culture, “you need to change people’s mindset first”. Then, and only then, you’ll be able to affect the world on a much larger scale.
– “Focus on the product”, and not on the business: what your consumers want is first and foremost a useful and well-conceived product that excels at what it does.
– “To share is to learn”: great ideas don’t come out of nowhere! The more life experiences and inspirational moments you have, the better for your startup. Don’t isolate yourself!
As for the pitching tips, Rodrigo wants to make it clear that “consumers now define who’s going to win”: the very nature of entrepreneurship is changing, and any startup should therefore have “a purpose” – “what will make people come and buy your product” – and “values”. These fundamental elements must be present in any pitch, as they are what drives a company. Obviously, every pitch should also show how a given issue is tackled.
Last but not least, Rodrigo would like to remind all contestants that they will also be judged on their attitude on stage. There are no “tricks” here, just two tips that the entrepreneur advises contestants to follow:
– “You need to understand what you’re doing, what your audience is, what your product is about, and show that you’ve learnt from your own failures.”
– “Talk as if you were talking to people you already know”: it’s the only way to not be nervous on stage.