Interview to Javier Aguilar: “The key to identifying a good project is in the people who lead it”.
Javier Aguilar is the head of the consulting firm King eClient and participates in the CleanTech Camp program as a teacher and leader of the Customer Validation workshop. His professional career dates back to the 1990s at Andersen Consulting, now Accenture. His work at the American multinational company gave Aguilar the opportunity to work for big companies and to determine that the world in general –and business in particular– was deep in a digital transformation, and that there were few people and companies who were clear on how to approach this process. Like any good entrepreneur he saw an opportunity, founded his own consulting firm and surrounded himself with a team that, besides working for the firm, had the capacity to start up their own businesses. Currently, Aguilar combines his work as a consultant with teaching, coaching and investing, working as a university professor, adviser for different companies and helping to launch and invest in new projects.
You recently conducted the Customer Validation workshop for entrepreneurs following the CleanTech Camp program. What are the objectives of these sessions?
By nature, an entrepreneur is a passionate person who believes in a project and often “takes the plunge” without having previously tested the idea. An entrepreneur is often governed by his or her own intuition and perceptions. The Customer Validation workshops are very important sessions that seek to provide a methodology and tools to help entrepreneurs validate their project with their potential clients prior to market launch. It is a fundamental element that allows the promoters of any business to continue moving forward with greater strength and security.
What would you highlight about this year’s projects?
I loved the projects and the people who lead them. I came across a very important factor that I consider essential for predicting the viability of a business, which I define as “earthly innovation”. That is, proposals with a very good innovative foundation but which are capable of becoming a reality in a short time. Sometimes we come across extremely interesting projects that lack the capacity or the opportunity to be viable in the short term, since the market is not yet mature enough to incorporate them.
Which sectors do you think have a better future and offer better opportunities?
This is an aspect that is very difficult to determine, since it depends on many factors. In any case, I believe that all those projects that have to do with data management and which are capable of adding value to the information used for decision-making have a massive future. Everyone is talking about Big Data, but there is still a lot of ignorance in this area.
Are there any tricks to detecting good projects?
The key is, without a doubt, the people, the entrepreneur. A good entrepreneur is worth his or her weight in gold and will be able to add value to a model that might not seem particularly brilliant at first glance. Therefore, I have a very real sense that we must look at the people who lead the project even more so than the project itself.
What are the core skills of a good entrepreneur?
I would basically emphasize two virtues. First, entrepreneurs must know how to surround themselves with a good team, made up of people who are equally as talented as the entrepreneur, with different skills sets that complement each other. Starting a business requires a wide range of knowledge and you can’t hope to master them all to perfection. Secondly, they must have a spectacular ability to adapt. The world moves extremely fast and is entirely volatile. Entrepreneurs must know how to take the pulse of their environment in real time and be alert to any movement that may be relevant to their business. In addition, entrepreneurs must be quick and humble enough to make the necessary changes to the course of the project.
Finally, what advice could you give to the entrepreneurs who are following the program?
Advice…not a whole lot. As I said before, I’ve come across very good entrepreneurs, the only thing I could say is that they stay that way. That they keep up the energy, the clairvoyance and ambition that they have shown and that they continue to be unafraid to take risks.