‘Know a little bit of everything’ was one among several nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom delivered Markit founder and CEO, Lance Uggla. On Tuesday 25th November, LSE’s Sheikh Zayed theatre hosted the first instalment of this years ‘Entrepreneurship Matters’ series. Running up until next March, the course explores several facets of the business and entrepreneurial world, and is presenting influential figures in the industry from Mthuli Ncube of the African Development Bank, to Lisa Bridgett of Net-A-Porter. In the first part of the series Lance Uggla sat down with the LSE Entrepreneurship director, Alnoor Bhimani to discuss competitors, inspiration, and technology.
On becoming an entrepreneur:
As the head of a financial information services firm, Uggla noted that becoming an entrepreneur required the following: having an idea and leveraging technology. He also cited sharing the wealth and ownership with great people, as contributing to the success of his firm. a Nowadays, as 12 year old firm Markit itself demonstrates, bricks and mortar are almost a thing of the past; starting a company can be accomplished for little to no cost.
He also mentioned in relation to Markit’s competitors such as Bloomberg and Thompson Reuters, that embracing technology is key: without doing so or being aware of its fast-changing character, you can easily fall behind as a business owner. This strategy is what had enabled Markit to ‘disrupt major competitors’, including Google. He also cited having a ‘defensible moat around the business’ as essential.
In terms of creating a product, Uggla encouraged creating a product which fits a trend occurring within the market. Take the rising popularity of smartphone apps, in accordance with increasing digitisation, as an example.
The role of entrepreneurship in society, Uggla mentioned, is instrumental in creating employment and contributing to GDP growth. The role of governments should be to reduce the amount of red tape which intimidates small business growth. Government needs to be more encouraging of entrepreneurship in the UK.
On presenting your idea/product:
Be imaginative! Powerpoint is outdated – there are so many more ways to present your ideas when pitching. Instead, try bringing your product to life through video or live demonstrations. Keep your competition in mind, and be sure to stand apart from them – in a positive way.
One piece of valuable advice expressed by Uggla, was the importance of surrounding yourself with great people from who you can learn and be inspired from. He also listed customer feedback as a key source of inspiration, as well as reading and staying engaged with current affairs.
Are you a hunter or a farmer?
The role of entrepreneurs in society is comparable to hunters, that is, those who take risks and are willing to brave tough conditions. Such hunters stand in opposition to farmers, representing the majority who pursue comparatively stable careers in the corporate world or otherwise.
A typical day in the life of a market CEO:
The day starts with pilates, and ends with a good TV series! Between those activities, Uggla spends his breakfast in conversation with another CEO, attends around 12 meetings per day, sacrifices his lunch, while juggling a family life. An ordinary day, then.
Advice to prospective entrepreneurs:
Be polite – manners in business are key! Also, embrace technology, share the wealth, don’t give up, and stay tuned to what is going on in the world. Overall, it was a discussion filled with valuable insights.
I hope this was useful!
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