The real thing: YC and formerly Apple CEO at ETH

EC co-hosted a satellite event of the World Web Forum at ETH today.

Without a doubt, there's many stars on the sky of entrepreneurship. Startups are almost defined to be cool. However, there's still stars shining brighter than all others.

One of those stars is by many considered the prototype of a startup in the first place. John Sculley, handpicked by the one and only Steve Jobs in 1983, had been the CEO of Apple for ten years. Accordingly, his descriptions of his time at Apple led to genuine fascination. As a mentor and advisor for startups, he closely observes the entrepreneurial development. Even though being famous for revolutionizing and powerful marketing campaigns at Pepsi and Apple, he humbly reckoned that marketing was in many cases, simply no longer necessary. Due to a power-shift from producers to consumers, the consumers pick what they desire in a highly connected world instead of being influenced by media and reduced choice, mentioning Snapchat, Uber and Facebook.
His last point was a piece of advice his colleague and friend Steve Jobs had mentioned on numerous occasions:

"The most important things are not those you put in, but those you leave out."

While Apple, largest publicly traded corporation by market capitalization, is nowadays far away from being a startup, Y Combinator represents Silicon Valley entrepreneurship more than anything else. The prestigious accelerator program seems like a never ending source of groundbreaking startups, such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Docker, Reddit, Twitch, 9gag, Docker, Wufoo, Stripe and countless others. What really sets YC apart though, is, how they always remained authentic to and respected among technical people. This was very much the impression Kirsty Nathoo, tonight's guest, CFO and parter of YC, did not fail to maintain. Sharing her insights from the past six years, she emphasized on the importance of the YC alumni network after having seen over 1000 startups going through their program. Collaborations among startups from different batches were happening all the time, no secrets were being kept, prioritizing expanding the pie, instead of slicing it, said Kristy. She confirmed the obvious when highlighting the main difference between the US and (continental) Europe: American overestimation vs. European underestimation. Along the lines, she mentioned that YC had only seen two Swiss founders up to now, which she'd like to change while encouraging all students to apply for future batches. Moreover, she underlined that companies are only required to be in Mountain View during a three-month period, and can return to whatever destination afterwards.

ElectricFeel, Selfnation, Archilogic and Dacuda completed the event by pitching their startups and Ambarish Mitra from Blippar told his moving and steep story of success.

Prof. Püschel highlighted the efforts made and the success had by the ETH Entrepreneur Club and was not reluctant to claim that thriving entrepreneurship should be one of ETH's fundamental missions.

The EC was happy to be involved in such a high-profile event and we're all looking forward to the upcoming semester. Stay tuned!

Kevin Klein, Events

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