Adeo Ressi on the "deadly mistakes" startups can make

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur spoke taxing robots, colonising Mars, Elon Musk and more on The Pat Kenny Show...

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and serial investor Adeo Ressi was in Dublin this morning to launch the new chapter of his idea-stage startup accelerator The Founder Institute in the capital.

Stopping by The Pat Kenny Show, the former roommate of Elon Musk explained the institute thusly:

"It takes entrepreneurs at the beginning of their  journey, really ignites a fire under their rear-end and helps them build a company faster and better than on their own in the world struggling without help...

"It allows entrepreneurs to go through a sequential process that's very structured to build their business and avoid deadly mistakes."


And what are the deadly mistakes you should watch out for?

"In a startup, almost everything you do is a deadly mistake!" he laughed. "So picking a bad name for your business is a deadly mistake.

"Picking a bad co-founder. Picking a bad legal vendor who gives you the wrong advice on how to set the company up is a deadly mistake.

"Really almost every decision that a startup makes in the beginning can lead to their death either right away or in the future. So it's very important in those early days of starting a business that you are considerate and thoughtful about everything you do. And that's why structure is super important."

Ressi also opened up about the faith he has in entrepreneurs' ability to change the world for the better.

"First and foremost, the world has a lot of problems and the big companies are not fixing them," he said.

"Some are. Some are trying. But the reality is people are going to have to wake up and really try to make the world a better place if we're going to fix the problems of the world.

"And the problems of the world come in many forms. So we have health problems, we have governance problems, we have problems with refugees and disenfranchised minorities.

"These problems are not going to be fixed by governments, these problems are not going to be fixed by companies.

"They're going to be fixed by passionate people who wake up everyday and dedicate their lives to making the world a better place."

He argued that it was not "necessarily true" that providing solutions to many of these problems doesn't offer much in the way of a cash incentive for business people.

"I think if you could fix the refugee problem – let's say – that Europe is facing and you presented real options for refugees to come into Europe and find meaningful employment and contribute to society, there's lots of money to be made.

"You have to think unconventionally to make money in some of these problems but that's exactly what entrepreneurs do. They look at a problem from a different angle, bring a unique insight to the problem that wasn't seen before."

Ressi was inspired to establish The Founder Institute following the global financial crisis.

He said:

"Politicians and bankers brought human society to the brink of collapse. And it looks like that's happening again.

"So I've been fighting since 2008/2009 to put entrepreneurs at the seat at the table, to help us navigate our way out of this mess...


"I think entrepreneurs can fix the problems of governments, I think entrepreneurs can fix the problems of social systems that are breaking.

"And now more than ever, people need to wake up, take a stand and try and make the world a better place by creating companies to do so.

"You have robots coming on the market that will replace thousands if not millions of jobs, you have technologies coming out that will save lives and extend life... We're going to be inhabiting Mars within seven to 10 years."

"All these technologies that are coming out are fundamentally changing society. So one of the interesting ideas I heard is taxing robots. Because we're going to need to get some sort of income into government and taxing robots is one way to do that...

"Then you need to look at things like universal income for people to make a wage if robots are replacing their jobs."

There will still be roles for humans, however.

Ressi continued:

"I'm not worried about employment because the world has so many problems to fix that everyone should just take a stand and try and do something to make the world better.

"Make their own job, make their own way in life, find their purpose and try, period.

"If everyone put their mind to making something better that they care about, there would be no employment problems whatsoever.

"There's so many things that need to be made better about the world today that there's unlimited opportunity."

Turning back to the Red Planet, Ressi stated that we will "definitely" be on Mars within a decade:

"I'll tell you why, because entrepreneurs like Elon Musk [pictured] woke up and said 'government's not doing it, I'm going to do it.'

"That's exactly why I think entrepreneurs are in a position to make the world a better place. Because when they set their mind to something, anything is possible.

"And I assure you, I know the plans, it's going to happen...

"Humankind is so focused on each other – this religion or that religion, this region or that region – that I really want humanity to look up and look beyond.

"I see Mars and space exploration as our manifest destiny and as something that can say 'I don't really need to fight with this person or argue over this because I see a bigger picture of us going to different planets, going to different worlds and exploring different things.'"