Last week I traveled up to Shanghai, China to speak at the 10x10 event: bringing in
10 tech “pioneers” to speak for 10 minutes each to a crowd of entrepreneurs. I put
pioneers in quotes, since there were 9 pioneers plus me speaking.
It was a great way to connect with the startup scene in China. The event was sponsored
by Chinaccelerator, an early stage
startup accelerator that has 10 companies in a cohort right now. I met with most of
the 10 companies and was very impressed; most, but not all, were doing mobile or social
media startups. People in the West understand that Facebook and Twitter are banned
in China, but forget that there are local (but censored) alternatives.
The home grown Chinese versions of Facebook and Twitter are booming. The most popular
being Weibo, which is the “Chinese Twitter.” There
are just as many Weibos as there are Tweets and most of the companies in the accelerator
are trying to leverage that. (Just a side note, my Weibo account is: SteveForte.)
Some of startups consisted of only Westerners, some were only local Chinese, and some
were a mix. I am mentoring one company that has a local Chinese co-founder and an
The sessions were great. One of the speakers said that Silicon Valley is about making
money and that China is about acquiring users. While there may be 500 million internet
users in China, most don’t have a credit card and only access the internet on their
mobile phone or at an internet café. I find the similarity in the rush for users in
China to the thinking of the startup and investment community in the USA in 1999 striking.
That said, it is great to see so much action going on.
I did my talk on the “New New Startup Economics” which was about how it costs much
less to start your business today than it did a few years ago and an order of magnitude
less than 10 years ago.
Here are my slides:
Stephen Forte sits on the board of several start-ups including Triton Works. Stephen is also the Microsoft Regional Director for the NY Metro region and speaks regularly at industry conferences around the world. He has written several books on application and database development including Programming SQL Server 2008 (MS Press).