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Dr. Robin Kiera: Fail fast, fail often, fail cheap – the best way to learn

Meet Dr. Robin Kiera at the MOI – THE MAGIC OF INNOVATION in Vienna

Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Dr. Robin Kiera: Over the last 12 years I have been working at large corporations as well as start-ups.

During my time in corporations I focus on setting up and leading portfolios of transformation projects. For me it is characteristic to use best practices I learned at start-ups in corporations – especially when adapting agile culture and scrum methods in order to speed up change and increase productivity and efficiency. Over the last years I concentrated on insurances, banks, insurtech and fintech.

At startups I introduce a lot of best practices from the old economy that help to increase the chances of success. Since between 70 and 90% of all new companies fail, in my opinion, it is crucial to introduce the right amount of professional processes and structures at the right time. There are a few business laws that apply to all companies of all sizes, industries and cultures. It would be tragic to fail because you as a startup unknowingly ignore them.

Please tell us about your business?
Dr. Robin Kiera: Besides my passion to support start-ups and traditional companies directly or on advisory boards I just launched my site When I started out in the digital ecosystem it was not easy to select the relevant information from the right people in this overwhelming flood of content. Therefore I try to provide daily news on digital transformation, insurtech and related topics. I also give a data driven overview of top 100 industry influencers, so that it is easier to find relevant content. It would be great if my site would save interested persons time and effort and provide them with an up-to-date overview of industry topics.

In addition, over the last years I have been invited to a lot of conferences around the world to speak about digital transformation. I am happy to contribute to this dialogue. For a lot of industries it’s important that there are people asking the unpleasant questions, keeping on calling out the elephant in the room and proposing innovative solutions. Only when we are honest to ourselves we as an industry and a company have a chance.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
Dr. Robin Kiera: Coffee first! Jogging second. Then I have to confess I am a social media junky. Therefore I check my social media channels before breakfast, react and schedule the content of the day. After that I take the time for a long breakfast with my wife and my little daughter. In the office I plan my day and prepare the content of my meetings (if I have not done it the day before). The day starts with a daily stand up with the team. The morning I reserve for conceptual and creative work and the afternoon is mostly full of meetings, calls, follow-up-work and mails. Regularly I organize after work activities with our team, attend local events or invite befriended companies to tech talks to our offices.

What do you mean: How changed the startup scene in the last years the most mistakes of startup founders?
Dr. Robin Kiera: In insurtech and fintech we see a second wave of start-ups. Pioneer entrepreneurs mostly attacked a part of the value chain of their industry. Now we see new companies – a lot still in stealth mode – attacking the value chain as a whole. We still see a lot of talk about corporation between start-ups and corporates but this truce is going to be over at some point.

I sometimes find it striking that – especially young founders – seem not to ask for help or advice regularly, even though there are a lot of people out there that like to help. I already saw a few promising start-ups fail, because the founder stumbled due to avoidable mistakes.

Which books do you read?
Dr. Robin Kiera: I like to get inspired by people who reached their goals and beyond. Therefore I read a lot of business books such as the Biography on Elon Must by Ashlee Vance or “The everything store” on Amazon by Brad Stone. A must read for all people struggling to save traditional corporations nowadays for me is Clayton Christensens “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Furthermore that I like well-written books on history. I believe that we can learn a lot from history especially in the middle of the digital revolution. Evergreen books for me are “August 1914” by Barbara W. Tuchman and Sebastian Haffner’s “Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918-1919”.

In addition to books I love blogs, podcasts, Youtube Channels and content of influencers I follow on Twitter and Linkedin. I am thrilled that never before in human history before so much knowledge was available for all – mostly free and easy to access. So there is actually no excuse to stay behind.

Where do you see yourself in five years
Dr. Robin Kiera: I’d love to see myself in front of the townhall in Hamburg – waiting to see the players of the Hamburg Sports Club (HSV) appear on the balcony presenting the cup or the championship to the people of Hamburg – for the first time in 30 years.

What 5 tips would you give to startup founders?
1. Fail fast, fail often, fail cheap – the best way to learn
2. Be a role model for your team – every day, everywhere
3. A fish stinks from the head – if something is going wrong – it’s probably your fault
4. People love to help you. Ask for advice, but differentiate between “advice” and good advice. First feels good, second not – only later.
5. Celebrate small successes, because you are awesome and the next s**** is waiting around the corner

Thank you Dr. Robin Kiera for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsaesser is an experienced entrepreneur and media/startup expert. Since 2016, she has served as the Chief Editor and CEO of StartupValley Media & Publishing. In this role, she is responsible for managing the company and providing strategic direction for its media and publishing activities. Sabine Elsaesser takes great pleasure in assisting individuals and businesses in reaching their full potential. Her expertise in establishing sales organizations and her passion for innovation make her a valuable advocate for startups and entrepreneurs.
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