To the West

I wanted to share this keynote speech by Paul Graham of Y-Combinator, apart from being a very entertaining speaker at some point during the talk he makes a brilliant and very revealing statement:

”a vision is more a general direction than a precise point in space, when Christopher Columbus left Europe he only knew one thing: to the West”  

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Cardboard Viable Product

I was having a Skype chat about startups with the Melbourne based entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and whilst explaining why I needed a good chunk of cash for an MVP he had a brilliant remark: ”why not make it out of cardboard? poke a hole into it if you have to and say: here it is! this is where the hole goes.”

Box with wheels lol  That simple though inspired me to create the ”cardboard viable product” and although it’s not really of the cellulose variety it does represents the absolute bare bones effort, something that you can put in front of a potential investor and say: here, this is it!  – the CVP shows I’m serious, I’m prepared to build things in a sub-optimal aka ”real world” scenario, bootstrap 101.

 Do it anyway, do it out of cardboard if you must, a week and a couple hundred bucks later I’ve already created an overarching framework onto which the product architecture can develop. I got a good feel of the challenge ahead, and in the end that is a huge step forward…


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Imaginary Walls

I was contemplating ways of moving faster with my startup the other day – it’s a lot of planning like in any project, a lot of forward thinking which you know…is good & all – that’s how stuff gets done except when we over-do it. One of the things I tended to do during #SAMP is something I call forward thinking overkill, I started imagining problems that were far off or simply not there, then proceeded to spent resources getting that ”waste-a-tron2000” just so I could climb walls that were not there, they were imaginary, just like the problems I was ”solving”.

So now as a safety check I came up with a quick trick called ”self-imposed tough love” in which I question my activities in a 3rd party fashion – what is this Raul guy doing? did he really need that $60 wrench? why the heck is thinking about XYZ at this early stage? oh boy that sure took long,  he could have moved faster.

It may be silly, but this 5 minute piece of work is what clears out the pixie dust and keeps my mind from seeing things that are not really there because after all…”it is not the spoon that bends, it is only your mind.”


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The Startup Butterfly Effect

   I was thinking about an article I came across a long time ago, in which a new employee at a detergent company was tasked with designing a better soap nozzle that would increase production and much to his surprise a whole room filled with engineers only managed to crop up 10-20% improvements over current design. Having a background in evolutionary science he wondered…could he make the nozzle design ”evolve”? could random changes really be better than a dozen PhD’s?

   45 random iterations or ”mutations” later he had a nozzle that was not 50% nor 80% but was performing a full 100 fold better!!! and the trick is…nobody knows why! yes, that’s right, to this day we don’t know what makes it so damn good and no engineer could have ever conceived a shape this odd for it.

  Working on the #SuperAwesomeMicroProject aka full size lego car I had a similar challenge which sounded like this: make an engine out of tiny plastic pieces that can move half a ton of stuff down the road using nothing but air . So just like the soapy PhD’s I went at it, spending months and months with a slide ruler drawing up mediocre improvements.

   This is the model I was thought, this is how you’re supposed to do it, right? WRONG! changing my work model to rapid iteration, hack & slash, trial & error is the only reason that lego car ever got built, it simply would have been impossible to get the 100 fold improvement otherwise. The car was evolved into existenceevolution baby

   So what do detergent nozzles, lego cars and startups have in common? they are all made up of unpredictable elements and operate in an environment governed by chaos theory, if you want your company to survive and succeed you must evolve. The big don’t always eat the small but the fast always eat the slow.

I leave you with this 2 questions:

  •  How do you implement iteration at every level/stage of your startup?
  •  How far can we push the model before it breaks? how fast can we evolve? is there a breaking point? a kind of entrepreneurial singularity?



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The smallest first step

   This is my first post ever, the smallest step on a long journey and exercise in concentrating, focusing and re-evaluating my often chaotic thinking & crazy ideas.

But first…

   A little bio – My name Is Raul Oaida Mihai, I was born in 1993 in Deva, Romania now…I would be expected to tell you about some pivotal moment in my life, an event that sparked my interest in science and set me on a path to where I am now but the truth is that I was always like this, always tinkering, making, testing, planning, dreaming.

   Working my way up from small wooden contraptions starting in elementary school, I’ve done a fair share of diverse things whether it was: steam engines, model airplanes, websites,electronics, getting my pilot’s license, rocketry, jet engines,nuclear fusion devices, suborbital space rockets, jetbikes, launching things into space and life-size lego car powered by lego engine that works on air.

   Ok…boring bragging over, moving on to important things…

   Why do I get up in the morning - For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of flying into space, although my life-goals go way beyond that, a good way to synthesize them is ”at the crossroad of spaceflight and trans-humanism”

  What will this blog be about? -  Simply a documentary on my journey through the business/technology environment, technical minds though, are notoriously bad at storytelling so with this caveat in mind please bare with me as I struggle to regurgitate ideas, lessons and interesting stuff in a coherent fashion.

Let us begin…


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About me

Raul OaidaInterested in business, science & technology    

- busy building my own spaceship -

Maker of: Space Launch, JetBike, #SuperAwesomeMicroProject

Raising capital for my startup, ideas in: 3D printing, drones, web of things, hoverboards


Twitter: @rauloaida  Email:  Mobile: +40721004077


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