Silicon Valley is an $840 billion economy. Replicating it isn’t easy but as we live increasingly online, the digital world now provides an opportunity that wasn’t there before.

Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash

I am a citizen of the world. French by birth, I lived 17 years in San Francisco, and the rest in Europe where I managed different companies in 9 countries. This experience gives me a unique perspective on cultural and business differences.

Every country wants to become the next Silicon Valley. It’s an $840B economy which would make it the 18th largest global economy, bigger than the Netherlands.

For this reason, startups are at the center of political initiatives. Full employment is what creates stability, and startups are the new engine, creating new jobs and new economies. So politicians are…


What we learned with 34 Elements academy

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

E-learning was supposed to be a revolution. However, completion rates have been dismal. Between 2013 and 2018 completion rates for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have declined to reach a concerning 3% to 6% in 2018.

Let’s investigate how we ended up in this situation and what lies ahead.

Learning has always been connected with teachers, the classic one-to-one interaction. A teacher would pass on his/her knowledge to an apprentice. Teaching was first class but did not scale well.

So we invented schools and universities, where a teacher could gather a large group of individuals and create a generic program…


This is a very complex topic, no doubt. This is also a critical one. Positioning is helping potential clients understand what you do, how you compare, what you do best, and why they should be intrigued. It’s about occupying a special place in the customer’s mind where you stand alone and unique.

Without proper positioning, sales and marketing will struggle, everything will be hard, and employees will lose faith.

Most startups do it from a product angle; “my product does this well”, “only my product does this”. Understandably, early on, startups are product-driven, and positioning the product is also positioning…


Going to the market is often overlooked, although it might be one of the most common reasons why investors pass. I will try to give you a simple, actionable recipe to help create a credible go-to-market strategy. Let’s go.

A sound go-to-market strategy involves four elements + one:

Product / Customer / Competition / Channel, and Product Roadmap

Product

The most common mistake is to think that you need a complete product to address the market. Instead, think value not product. What matters is to deliver some kind of value, not a full-blown product. …


Investors are often keeping things close to their chest, and deciphering their thinking is difficult. Most entrepreneurs come out of VC’s meeting with no or little conviction on their impact.

It should not be that way, as every meeting, positive or not, should contribute to the entrepreneur’s learning curve. It is often clear whom the VC does not want; however, picking the winners is a daunting task. That’s why VCs don’t want to say no, and leaving the door open is critical.

I have lived in Silicon Valley for 17 years; I am a General Partner of a pre-seed fund…


Entrepreneurs always look for the right recipe to increase the odds of success.

Steve Blank was probably one of the “recipe” pioneers as he started the lean startup movement. Before the lean movement, I would argue that Geoffrey Moore’s book, Crossing the Chasm, published in 1991, was instrumental in trying to think differently about startups.

Since then, we have created a lot of content, and startup founders have so much to choose from; books, blog posts, podcasts, and software tools are available to plan better and create better startups.

Besides, an entire ecosystem has blossomed to support entrepreneurs, and countless…


I am always surprised by how much the day-to-day makes you blind and narrows the thinking. It’s so bad that most startups will die if they do not accept to take a step back and think strategically.

I would argue that strategic thinking is the one single thing that could change a startup path.

Easier said than done, right?

Let’s look at the way an entrepreneur usually thinks about building a successful startup.

It starts with an idea and building a team around it. Then it’s often all about proving execution, delivering on the idea by producing a product, and…


Our economy has changed. I see three significant trends.

  • A significant number of youngsters, freshly out of school, want to become entrepreneurs. Corporate is not attractive, and the best talents no longer dream of corporate life. That is creating a long-term issue for corporations, but that’s another topic.
  • Likewise, the startup dream is also appealing to older, more experienced folks looking for a new adventure.
  • Finally, we have a growing trend toward the knowledge economy and learning marketplaces. People are sharing and selling what they know and love, we call it “Passion Economy”. Think Udemy, Patreon, and the likes.

We…


Our economy has changed. I see three significant trends.

  • A significant number of youngsters, freshly out of school, want to become entrepreneurs. Corporate is not attractive, and the best talents no longer dream of corporate life. That is creating a long-term issue for corporations, but that’s another topic.
  • Likewise, the startup dream is also appealing to older, more experienced folks looking for a new adventure.
  • Finally, we have a growing trend toward the knowledge economy and learning marketplaces. People are sharing and selling what they know and love, we call it “Passion Economy”. Think Udemy, Patreon, and the likes.

We…


Let’s agree, there is a thin line between reality and hallucination. To be an entrepreneur, you need to be delusional, and small lies are essential to progress in an environment that lacks hard evidence.

Sometimes entrepreneurs start to rely on big lies and distorted facts because facts hurt. Granted, you have to be crazy to start something. Chances are you won’t succeed, and you will fight with your co-founders, you will struggle with money, and you could eventually fall into a depression if you are not mentally strong. So your only option is to be an optimist. …

Pierre Gaubil

CEO @ 34 Elements and General Partner @ The Refiners

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store