Cambridge University – Moonshot Thinking at CUTEC


Cambridge University’s CUTEC group were kind enough to invite me to talk today on Moonshot thinking, and to give a Startup Secrets workshop on Building a Compelling Value Proposition. But at dinner last night, I asked a simple of the attendees: “What would be most useful for you to hear tomorrow?”

The answers were pretty universal. So in answer to the requests, below is the outline of my talk and at the bottom are some of the slides and linked resources I refer to during the talk. For those who are interested to follow up, simply post your comments or questions at the end…


Moonshot thinking

  • Background and introduction
    • I’m a VC who was an entrepreneur for 21 years
      • Failed and learned (&still learning) – my many weaknesses
        • Learned more from my failures than successes
      • Learnings
        • Invest in people – the best FIT you can find
        • Self awareness
        • Focus
    • VC for 11 years
      • Invest in people – uniquely qualified
      • Pick a big fight, break something, you cannot fail
  • Pick a Big fight
    • EG: Scarce resources
      • Energy
      • Food
      • … all driven by software
      • Focus – an example from my work on the Future of Cloud Computing
        • The second front is coming and it’s a HUGE opportunity
  • Break something!
    • Break free – of gravity for a moonshot
    • Break out
    • Break through
  • You cannot fail..
    • What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
      • You cannot fail – to learn
    • What are you  “youniquely” qualified to do?
    • What value did you build or add today?
      • Build a Value Proposition class… (see below for class slides – attend later at CUTEC workshops – in LR2)
  • First steps
    • Remember: you cannot fail – to learn
    • If you don’t know what “youniquely” qualified at – learn!
      1. Pick a startup
      2. Do an internship or get a job
      3. Find a mentor
  • You are uniquely qualified to see what’s possible and not just what’s probable.
    • This is a rare time in your life where you can explore without preconception
    • You are untainted by experience and that makes this a very special time to contribute your open mind
    • Be un-dauntingly BOLD

Thank you and please find below a number of the resources I mentioned. I look forward to your comments and questions!