Make Your Business Fly With Advice From Serial Entrepreneur Joana Picq

Joana Picq's latest venture, Jampp Mobile, was last week named winner of the Mobile Startup Rally at The Next Web’s first ever USA Conference, making us even more excited to announce that she has signed up to advise members of our community as a NextAdvisor in our Business Advice Programme.

A serial entrepreneur in LATAM & Europe and former COO at The NextWomen, Joana is a civil engineer turned tech fanatic. 

Joana is currently a partner at Jampp Mobile, the leading Latin American advertising solution for the monetization of virtual currency on social networks and mobile apps. Operating in LATAM, US, Europe and soon South Africa, Jampp is a mobile marketing specialist that works solely on performance. 

Based between Rio, NYC, Europe and Cape Town, Joana also acts as a Global Ambassador for startup accelerator Papaya Ventures and is an active mentor/advisor to over 10 accelerators globally, including Dreamit (NYC), LeCamping (Paris) and 21212 (Rio).

Previously, Joana worked for 8 years as an International Business Manager; at IBM in Rio, Microsoft in Paris & Munich (incubating acquired software companies across Europe, Middle East and Africa), then VMware in London (running OEM Alliances at EMEA level), before moving to the web industry and becoming an entrepreneur.

She was recently ranked number 13 in the 100 Top Influencers of the European Digital Industry in 2013.

Joana is one of the many fabulous NextAdvisors participating in our Business Advice Programme! If you need some expert input to make your business fly, click here.

We've published a couple of interviews with Joana this year. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Joana on the challenges brought by the mobile revolution ...

The mobile revolution has brought one main challenge - think differently.

You think you or your employees, partners and analysts know everything there is to know about the web, because so much has been tried and tested. But mobile is whole new ballgame. You can launch an alpha product on the web and change it as users test it, but if you do the same with a mobile app your users will delete the app and never download it again - the user dynamics and product cycles are very different. Distribution is even more of a surprise - doing user acquisition in mobile actually gets more expensive with volume, because you quickly exhaust the cheaper channels. KPIs are still very difficult to track and there is so much changing every week, you need to be on top of it all the time, and question how much you actually know often. It is a challenge that makes the life of any entrepreneur all the more interesting, which is why smaller companies are embracing it while the bigger older companies tend to be slow at taking it onboard their product and marketing strategy. 

(Click here to read the rest of this interview)

On whether all entrepreneurs should seek a co-founder ...

I don’t think there are any rules in entrepreneurship, or life for that matter, that fit all. Just as entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, having co-founders might also not be the best alternative to all entrepreneurs.

I can only truly speak for myself, so I’ll give this bit of advice to all the aspiring founders who, like me, are far from knowing everything about everything; know they are not always right, love to learn from other people, and above all, always enjoy the best moments in life even more when they can share them with someone. 

Just think about it this way - nobody is going to argue enough with your stubborn self when you are (potentially) wrong about something unless they have as much to lose as you. Not your friends, not your partner, not your parents, and not even your investors. Nor will you listen to anyone who’s not as familiar and concerned with your business as yourself. So if you go at it alone, odds are you won't be challenged enough when you start heading the wrong (or long) way, or when you are about to miss an opportunity. 

And going at it alone can give you a dangerous fake sense of wisdom - it’s important to have people around you challenging you and teaching you a few lessons when they turned out right.

It makes you a lot more humble and helps you truly appreciate it when you’re the one teaching them something.

And if you get lucky enough to hit milestones of success, then nobody will be able to share that feeling of accomplishment with you unless they are as deep in the business as you, and have given as much of their blood as you.

No matter how much your friends, boyfriend or parents love you, their pride in you does not ever compare to a high-five with your co-founder.

(It’s a metaphor, you don't need to actually high-five your co-founders - I only physically see my partners/co-founders a few times a year, but you get the point). Just as a mother can only truly share the love for her child with its father, with only the two of them finding it fascinating and wonderful that the baby took its first steps, only your co-founder will understand how big of a deal it is when you close your first customer. 

And two minds always think better than one, especially when they don’t agree.

On the criteria entrepreneurs should use when looking for a co-founder ...

It is NEVER, EVER, EVER about the business idea. A business idea is worth as much as a peanut.

A business will make or break based on execution, so you should always pick a co-founder that can help you execute more and better. A co-founder with complementary skills can help you where you’re weak, which is ideal, but don’t over-sweat it. Just like you shouldn’t drop a boyfriend you’re mad about just because he doesn’t check all the boxes, you shouldn’t push away good business partners because you are not fully complementary. 

In my experience it has been more important to have co-founders that share my work ethics and that are always open to change (even, or especially, their “great” idea) than to connect with more technical co-founders (that would be more complementary) or people with seemingly great ideas. After you’ve worked for a few years, in corporate or start-up environment, you can trust that gut feeling - most often it’s not really gut feeling, it’s your brain unconsciously being able to identify patterns in people’s behaviour that show you they mean business and can make things happen. Just make sure you are clear from day one about what happens if one of you wants out, and how much you are willing to invest, both time and money-wise, in the business.

Setting expectations is the number one priority to avoid disappointment.

(Click here to read the rest of this interview).

For more information on our Business Advice Programme, or to apply, click here.

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