“Most companies in Spain were not prepared to send their staff to work from home”, but working from home is possible. We start the week with an interview in TVE with our CEO, Bernat Farrero and our Operations Manager Meritxell Viladomat, explaining the current WFH situation. Many companies have realized that working from home is possible and will cut in corporate offices. For those employees unable to work from home, Itnig offers coworking space with very affordable fees!Continue reading “Working from home is possible”
Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs and Tech Lovers
Podcasts are a great way to discover new subjects and new people. Whether you are a tech lover or an entrepreneur, bellow you will discover podcasts for entrepreneurs you should – without a doubt – listen to.Continue reading “Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs and Tech Lovers”
Product Design Journey — From Terrassa to the Valley
Designer, Investor & Friend Marcos Medina tells us about his journey from a graphic design school to working at startups in Silicon Valley and now moving back to Barcelona.
Continue reading “Product Design Journey — From Terrassa to the Valley”
Albert Domingo between Services & Investment on our Podcast #40
On itnig’s Podcast #40 Albert Domingo, CEO at NexTReT and partner at itnig takes us on a journey through his experiences as business creator but also investor and shares his point of view on project evaluation with us.
Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Juan Rodríguez, CEO at Camaloon speak with Albert Domingo about his experiences and learnings and his advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.
I would like to start telling the story about how we met Albert, our first investor at itnig. This story is closely linked to my own story as Bernat. While I was studying computer science at university I did a three months internship at NexTReT, a software company from Barcelona, Albert’s company.
I realized this was not for me and later set out to create itnig. When at itnig we decided to start our own business, I knew we needed funding but I had no idea where to go so I thought about my internship and went to see the founder and director, Albert Domingo. During my time as intern I had never met him but with this idea, very far from reality we eventually got to know each other. Albert Domingo told me very nicely that NO, he was not interested in investing but however we improved and improved the business plan and idea and eventually got to partner up.
This company was Camaloon, Albert invested and told people in his network about it and we were able to close a funding round with 12 partners.
One thing that Albert told me will always stay with me. It grounded me:
When I invest, I am sure about one thing: If I loose my capital, the entrepreneur looses his health.
He told me this very seriously, I got scared but more than anything this sentences has marked me. 7 years later his words are still in my mind — His message was very clear. Commitment and dedication are very important for Albert.
Albert, what is your story? What did you study and how did you create NexTReT?
I studied engineering and then worked in two companies, the last one in network solutions. When at this time, I made propositions of improvements I did not get very far. I decided to set out on my own, reached an agreement of 5 years with my university and this helped me get to met really good professionals. In 1993 there was a huge crisis in Spain and I was still able to reach new clients so I thought to myself: ”If I can do this now in this time, imagine what this could mean in a good economic time in Spain.”
This was the beginning of NexTReT. Our first client was Esade, then an ex-professor of mine moved to La Caixa, later we reached an agreement with TV3, and so step by step we reached a good client base offering our services in informatic systems and infrastructure. Our promise to the CEO is that their information technology will work, no matter the time of day.
Progressively the company grew, now we are 12 partners.
When I met people interested in creating their own business, I was always ready to help. Share my own experience. I like to share and to add value. That’s how I started to get involved with entrepreneurs, because I think there can be many things to start businesses. In 1999 I got involved in a project doing my first investment.
I have invested in many occasions but for me the investment is consequence of sharing. The order is: Getting to know somebody, and only when I feel good about somebody and trust this person, and I see that the person is committed (it’s not about leading an unhealthy life) we can take a step further into investing. Commitment is fundamental.
Commitment is fundamental, in all things in life.
If a person is not committed, no problem, but there won’t be an investment from my side. For me the first thing I look for is mutual trust, then I need to believe that I can add value and lastly the entrepreneur has to see me as adding value. However, investment is my hobby. my life and work is NexTReT and investment is my hobby.
You say you look for entrepreneurs who are committed to their businesses and don’t just leave their projects. Do you believe that there are some occasions when you see that it goes no further?
Yes, of course. There are times when it does not make sense to pursue. You need to know how to loose and when to stop. Right now for example I am in a similar situation with a great entrepreneur from Valladolid. I told the kid you need to stop. You gave it your all. You did the possible, we have lost the project and the investment but you need to stop and dedicate your talent to other projects.
There are two Albert Domingo — Albert Domingo from NexTReT and Albert Domingo outside of NexTReT. You say investment is a hobby to you but you dedicate a lot of your time. How do you organize your daily life?
My daily life evolves around NexTReT but of course I always manage my calendar myself. I have my family, my hobbies and organize my life around it.
AT NexTReT we have a General Director, we have a clear organizational structure and the business already works very smoothly. I maintain contact with our clients — that’s where I see my contribution.
What companies are you involved with now?
I don’t need to mention itnig’s startups right? To come back to the beginning of our conversation actually: I don’t remember having told you No but I do remember how we met.
Bernat was a kid who told me he wanted to create a business to sell buttons online. I had never bought buttons but he seemed to be a good kid.
Yes of course I am involved in other companies.The last project for example is a company that automizes vending machines, the decision was very quick, I liked the entrepreneur, it’s an innovative idea and a partner of mine is involved.
What is your advice to an entrepreneur who is looking to talk to you? What are you looking for in a project and in a entrepreneur?
I might not be in line with other business angels but for me, personally, I have a kind of order of what I look for.
First, there needs to be trust, I need to see brilliance in the person, I want to share in the project with other people and lastly I look at the project where I look for potential, a clear market and past accomplishments.
If somebody has a clear idea and wants to share it with me, I am happy to listen. If you look for it you will always find time.
Listen to our podcast to learn more about Albert Domingo’s journey and his perspective on investment and entrepreneurship. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.
Podcast #31 Talking about Cambridge Analytica with ex-Facebook team member Antonio García Martínez
In itnig’s Podcast #31 Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial speaks with Antonio García Martínez about his past experiences designing ad-targeting products at Facebook and his perspective on the current Cambridge Analytica controversy. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.
After a doctorate in Physics, I started working at Goldman Sachs as Quant Analyst in 2005. It was the time of the financial crisis in the US, an economic apocalypse. I thought the only thing that might survive after this crisis is the technological sector.
So I became a Research Scientist in an online advertisement company, a niche in the tech sector. There I got to know my co-founders, we applied to YCombinator and went through their Bootcamp as a startup. During this time, all problems that can occur happened to us. After 10 months Twitter bought us in a so called Acqui-Hire, when they buy a company but what they are really after is the talent and to get the founders and employees on board. After a bit of drama I went to Facebook.
At Facebook, my role was that of a Product Manager of ad-targeting products. At this time, in 2011, the whole team at Facebook were 20–25 engineers and 5–6 Product Designers. We all fit in a meeting room. However, Facebook had about 1 billion users and even with almost non existing business or monetization model the revenue was high. It was the time Facebook would transition from a startup with a crude business model to what it is today.
I was involved in product development for things such as the Custom audiences. With the IPO Facebook went public and started to turn its focus towards monetization models. These two years of developing products are what makes Facebook money now.
What is going on with Facebook now in terms of privacy?
The Cambridge Analytica crisis comes from the Facebook platform. You probably all remember the time when you could login on Spotify through your Facebook account and would receive some kind of spam to your Facebook profile. Facebook decided to take this step of creating a platform to make an integral product that could span and connect different sites. However, this was not a good product, a fail, as in the long run nobody was using the Facebook platform. As a user, you would use Facebook to log in, some of your personal data are shared with the product you are logging in to and this data might be used.
There really is not much Facebook can do to regulate the data flow and what happens with this information once it leaves the Walled Garden of Facebook. And that’s basically what happened as researchers at Cambridge University created a psychographic model, an app which by asking questions tries to make a psychological assessment of you as a person. They were creating a five dimensional graph based on the big 5 personality traits (Ocean — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) and projecting the user’s personality in five dimensions.
Through a model they then correlate this with your political views, eg. pro Trump, pro immigration.. and combine your psychological profile and political stand with Facebook’s ad platform to be able to find a person on Facebook and specifically target advertisement to the believed preferences.
Obviously the story has some James Bond badness, researcher, an almost hidden secretive company, financing Breitbart, Bannon’s involvement as editor — It’s a compilation of different elements that makes this story.
If the problem was that Cambridge Analytica breached the terms of service of Facebook, why did Mark Zuckerberg hide?
This is a bit curious. I think it’s simply because Mark Zuckerberg is not the most social person, he’ll do a Q&A internally and answer all kind of questions but externally he seldomly shows his face.
The problem is the perception, not so much the actual impact it had in the elections but the perception of it.
What about Fake news?
I think fake news is a real problem but it’s hard because there is no obvious solution. Compared to ad content, organic content is much harder to control. People are used to having a Feed of content optimized to their likes by default. In the US a lot of media consumption happens through Social Media, that’s hard to change. Two months ago, Facebook made a change to the Feed, giving journalistic content less importance and in a way bringing the old Facebook- between friends- back again.
This reminds me of the last podcast in which we spoke about cultural fit. You once told me about the employee handbook, the little red book that you received at facebook. Can you tell us a bit about it?
In my book, Chaos Monkey I talk about it a bit. During the interviewing cycles, somebody will always ‘there is no cultural fit’ and this can be some hidden part of racism, sexism…it might mean ‘the candidate is not like me’. T
In regards to the Little Red Book, it was born in 2012 out of Facebook’s fear of converting into an old, structured company. Worried that they would not be able to keep the agility and aggressiveness of a startup, the Little Red Culture Book was one way of fighting against the corporate ageing that might creep upon us as an organization.
On the last page for example it reads:
If we don’t create the thing that replaces Facebook, someone else will.
That’s the tone of the Little Red Book, I still have one copy actually.
If you want to find out more about it, we recommend to read Antonio’s book with many more anecdotes from his time as Product Manager at Facebook: Get the book here and listen to the whole podcast on Youtube.
Listen to our podcast to learn more about Antonio García Martínez takes on Silicon Valley. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.