Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Very Impressive Young Startup Guy

Yesterday at the Muru-D launch which is my big, new, crazy, challenging step in life I saw a very young guy amongst the crowd of industry regulars and Telstra suits. He looked about 15 (turns out he was about 16 (correction: He is actually 15… going on 45!). I ended up saying hello to him and was very glad I did. His name is Nathan Feiglin and when I asked him what he does he said “I’m building a startup.” Awesome. Not “student”. Being late in the day of the launch I got right to it and gave him my Hacker Hustler test. When I woke up this morning I had an email from Nathan with a URL in it. Excellent. As a big bonus Nathan sent me a linked in request. Very impressive. Plus, he runs a news site about tech stuff. Fantastic. http://techu.com.au/ So here is his startup; http://hotdeskr.com/  It’s a good start, but this business could absolutely be done with a manual, concierge product. The wizard of oz approach. Find 3 offices that have spare desks. Put them up as blog posts. Start. But, regardless, it was great to see such a young guy getting stuck in, doing it and turning up to events like that. Well done Nathan.

Hustler Hacker Test

I have a particular way I test to see if people have what it takes to do startups. When I meet someone who says they’d like to work on a startup I ask them to send me a URL to their idea in 24 hours. I try and clarify that I’m not after the full business or a working product. Just a URL to something. This shows me a couple of things. How do they articulate their idea to customers. Not pitching it, actually trying to sell something. Can they actually put together a site in 24 hours. There are 50 services that let you create a free site, blog, landing page. Launchrock, WordPress, Squarespace If they’ve been tinkering on it for a while but haven’t got anything out to the public, do they have the courage to finally share it out. Most people wait too long to put something out there. Response to feedback. They came to me for some thoughts, and I gave them some advice and they took it. No matter how small. It’s the start of the track record of execution. Some of the different responses I get: “But I’m not a coder?” – you don’t need to be. If you have to wait on coders […]

No Exit Strategy

There was a dinner last night of a bunch of great tech entrepreneurs last night and as hoped the conversations got quite fiery with a big topic being how do Australians approach exit strategy. I’ll get to that in a second, but I wanted to first share an amazing moment that happened at 11.30pm. There was only six of us left at that point – Matt Dickinson, David Kowalski, Oliver Palmer, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Dean McEvoy and me. Oliver said, as a closer to the event “Well, let me know if I can help you guys with anything in Singapore. Immediately Matt, Dean and Mike said “What about Tutor On Demand?” which is a company that went through Startmate which a few of us indirectly have tiny fractions of equity. Their first thought was how they could help someone else. That really typified the attitude that makes this industry great to be a part of. So, back to exit strategies. We were all throwing our 2 cents in about how we can help grow the ecosystem and the conversation went a bit like this. A: “ESOP and lack of Series A is really hurting us.” B: “Yeah, I don’t like that excuse. We’d have more capital if we had more founders […]

My Entrepreneurial Journey

Yep, I’m blogging again… hopefully more regularly. I loved this post about the paths of successful entrepreneurs. The Wild And Crazy Careers of 5 Self Made Millionaires  with this awesome infographic; It tells the reality of 10 year overnight successes, many failures on the road to success and that everyone is different. Here is my journey: 18 years old – Dynamic Realm: Sold computers and coax cable computer networks to local businesses. Profitable. 23 years old – Dynamic Realm: Sold websites to Australian companies. Profitable. 24 years old – eCoast.com.au: Built business databases for governments. Went bust in dot com crash. 27 years old – worked for Kazaa. Left when it became a lawsuit. 33 years old – started Pollenizer with Phil. 24 years old – Pollenizer starts Mogeneration (now called Oomph) with Keith Ahern and Tom Adams. Going strong. 35 years old – Pollenizer starts Spreets with Dean McEvoy. Sold to Yahoo for ~$40m in 13 months. 36 years old – Pollenizer starts Wooboard.  Going strong. OK, so I’m no billionaire but I’m really really OK with that. I’m loving my journey. What’s yours?

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