Marcos Galperín is considered one of the top Latin America’s entrepreneurs. We had the privilege to meet him yesterday at Startup Grind Buenos Aires, where he informally talked about his successes, failures and ambitions.
Failure, failure, failure
One of the most often mentioned words in the Startup world. The question is not about IF, the problem is WHEN. So you have to be ready! It took Marcos and his company Mercado Libre full 7 years to become profitable; they had to make their mistakes to get where they are now. This sounds like a really long time, but he made a truly valid point in this sense – It takes time to create something non-existent.
It filled me with hope and relief hearing this from someone like Marcos. Media is generally full of overnight success startup stories that make you feel like you´re dead if don’t grow 1000% in the first month. Sustainable business is indeed a long-term commitment.
The best product wins
Marcos made an analogy between professional sport and the process of building a business. If you work hard and train every day, you will shine. If your product is the best and you provide user with the best experience, you´ll win the battle. Quite interestingly, I recently read an opposite thought saying that adding value is more important than user experience when launching your startup.
I feel like the two are actually complimentary. If your product does not add any value, people won´t start using it. If you have an awesome product with poor user experience, people will stop using it.
Latin American market presents unlimited business opportunities, according to Marcos. On the other hand, he believes one needs to look at Latin America as a region of diverse countries with different socio-economic conditions and problems.
With the middle class growing every day, Brazil is seen by many as the gold mine of South America. Many Argentine startups focus on Brazil and try to penetrate this very promising market. At the same time, the competition is becoming quite fierce with ever increasing number of consumer focused startups.
Towards the end of the talk, Marcos emphasized the need of focusing on results. In Mercado Libre, they provide flexible working conditions with strong result-oriented culture where people are measured on what they deliver. He also mentioned that contracting people who are not only good but also passionate is crucial for your success. One of his last points, that I personally identify with, was the significance of having a clear focus of growth. There are so many innovations in the technology world that you can be trying something new every day. It is, however, important to always go back your business strategy and say NO to activities that do not correspond to your overall goal.
The views expressed here are our own.