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The trick to building a multi-billion-dollar public company?

(This is part II of a panel titled "Boost your Startup" which I hosted in London. Part I is here: https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/Zsae2huyi8J ).

Starting a business isn't easy and it's even harder if you start it outside of Silicon Valley. Why? Because it's harder to get money, find talent, build PR, get lawyers who understand what you are doing, etc.

But Rackspace's chairman, Graham Weston did it (Rackspace http://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:RAX is now valued about nine billion as a public company). It wasn't all a bed of roses, though, as he gave advice as part of this panel, given in front of London's top startup founders.

Also jumping in with advice for how to deal with governments and build a business was Julie Meyer, founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital. She was Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. Joining her was Benjamin Southworth, Deputy CEO of Tech City Investment Organization (TCIO), and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

This was part of the +Rackspace Hosting UK Boost your Startup competition, enter your startup here: http://www.rackspace.co.uk/boost-your-startup/

Tips you'll learn here?

How to retain employees.
How to get your company known worldwide.
How to use local resources to build your company.
The trick to building a billion-dollar public company (don't give up).

URLs from the organizations of panelists:

http://www.rackspace.co.uk/
http://www.techcityuk.com/
https://www.sanantonio.gov/mayor/castrobio.aspx
http://www.ariadnecapital.com/

If you think starting a company and being successful is easy, you gotta listen to this panel. 

Hint: there's no trick. It takes a lot of hard work, staying in the game, and not exiting before you become very successful (listen to what almost happened to Rackspace).
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14 comments
 
When are you going to start your business in Spain?

I promise there is a huge market opportunity...
 
Damn good event - glad I made it in the end.
 
I love you mentioned Paul´s comment on building something that impresses "me". (in my case that´s the hardest person to impress anyway) 
 
It's intesting. Thank you.But can I have it subtitled in french.
 
Thanks for hosting the discussion, posting the video and included information. There are a lot of great nuggets of wisdom to be found here for tech entrepreneurs and the investor community.
 
It's interesting about the Tech City initiative, this is what I was working on with the Digital Sydney project. +Gordon Whitehead will probably have more success with Newcastle.
 
Tony, you need to be careful in that the Tech City initiative is a London program and pretty well irrelevant to geeks in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow or anywhere outside the M25.

This was the criticism of Digital Sydney which is fair in my view. In fact I tried to bring in Western Sydney without success and the program ended up largely focused on Surry Hills hipsters writing coffee apps.

For Newcastle, like Parramatta, the message is clear that you aren't going to get great support from the state government and you'll have to do it on your own.

To be fair, that's exactly the same message UK entrepreneurs are getting from their government and is lesson why relying on politicians aping Silicon Valley is a flawed strategy.
 
Great video, I like Julie Meyer comments. What we're doing with Digital Newcastle and Hunter DiGiT is to create an environment and connections for entrepreneurs to thrive in a digital age.And with hard work and some luck we'll build a culture of embracing change and innovation without traditional restrictive barriers of entry. It'll be like San Francisco in the 60's, a city and region of free digital love.  
 
Paul, I agree with your assessment of Tech City and Digital Sydney. With the NSW state government and Digital Sydney, I never had any expectations of support and none has arrived. We're just going to do it, funded by food scrapes, coupons and passion. We believe in our region :) 
 
Correct Gordon - Paul, we just press on and don't expect Government support.  If anything they will come to us for support!  Just keep being disruptive all #kthxbai  
 
+Paul Wallbank noted Paul but I think "being careful" is far from what is needed here. Watch Part 1 of Julie Meyer's talk for how we should be instead.
 
Tony, what I mean by "being careful" is not to blindly try to copy the Silicon Valley models of doing business.

First, it won't succeed as no nation, not even the US, has the resources today to kick start an industry the way the US did with the electronic industry in World War II and through the Cold War.

Second, the VC funding models that drive today's Silicon Valley would take a generation to develop anywhere else and will probably fail. The Irish have learned this the hard way and it looks like the Singaporeans are on the same path.

By the time you've developed that model, the rest of the world has moved on.

This is what I mean by "being careful" – putting your efforts into building things that aren't relevant is just wasting your own and everybody else's time.
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