Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Sydstart 2014

Buy Your Ticket To Sydstart Now 2014. That is the year, and that is my goal for Sydstart. 2014 attendees. Wow. Huge. I gave one of the first talks at the first Sydstart way back in 2008 when there was 50 people in a free room at the Australian Technology Park. I’ll always remember the words on the website. “It’s time we put a rocket under the startup industry here.” This year is at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and we want it filled with energy and entrepreurs and geeks and hackers and hustlers and robots and ninjas and pirates. What you’ll get out of going: A day immersed in tech startups. You will see more than 50 new tech companies you never knew existed. You will meet more than 50 people who have energy, ambition and are kindred spirits. You will learn at least 10 new things. You will get introduced to at least 5 new products that you will try and love. You will be amazed at how big and exciting the Australian technology industry actually is. You will hear at least 5 things which will make you laugh. You will see at least 10 tee-shirts with cryptic messages that initially you don’t understand but then laugh at a […]

Focus + Ambition = Flearn

One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to hold both laser focus and huge ambition in their heads, hearts and hands at the same time. It’s not just a challenge, it’s actually an important part of making it a success. I found a great video by legendary radio broadcaster Ira Glass about his lessons around living with the gap between your current ability and your ambition. A comment he makes which is absolutely true for entrepreneurs is that you must complete a volume of work to get the full lesson and close the gap between your focus and your ambition. You can’t just whiteboard it, business plan it, forecast it. You have to do it. You have to put a proposition in front of a customer, get them to say yes, try to deliver the value of your ambition and then evaluate whether you did. Then you can learn a tiny slither of the wisdom you need to bridge the gap. Then you can go and test again. This flearning at it’s best. Yes there will be a gap. There has to be. Stop quoting Steve Jobs about insanely great every time. Yes he got there some times, but he never go there first time. Even […]

Global Sales: Required Reading

Here are some good posts on driving global sales of tech companies: Getting to No When you’re early on, you’ll get lots of people keen to have a chat and hear more. This can be good for feedback, but for actual sales, at some point you need to ask the question. This is why I like breaking up my initial target market into two groups. Group A for research, where you ask lots of questions, get lots of feedback and admit all of your weaknesses and your alpha stage. Group B is for selling (or at least testing selling) where you put offers to them, try and get the sale. Don’t get feedback, be tough, set a high price. Customer Acquisition This will help you really understand life time customer value and customer acquisition costs. Great detail and numbers in here. There is no avoiding this. It’s just plain hard work in spreadsheets and doing it over and over and over. KPI Dashboard for SaaS businesses More great detail here and an actual spreadsheet to start you off. It is really worth spending time to understand why these numbers matter now and in the future. This is the real substance of a working startup. Cohort Analysis Getting it right is […]

Don’t Blame Investors

Bronwen Clune has written some great blog posts on Pollenizer recently but I really disagreed with one she wrote on The GuardianĀ blaming investors for the lack of diversity in tech startups. A good conversation ensued when Avis Mulhall shared it on Facebook. There are lots of important areas in there, so I thought I’d offer my thoughts. Here are Bronwen’s points and my thoughts: Belief one: you can only succeed if you have an all-consuming passion for what you’re doing It’s not ‘only’ but it is certainly helps, and if you have to choose between someone passionate and someone not, then of course you take passion – and investors hold the money. If you’re not passionate you’re not going to know the space as well and you’re less likely to stick through the hard times. Belief two: working long hours separates the real entrepreneurs from the hobbyists Again, it’s not mutually exclusive, you can have ‘four hour work week’ like businesses but any new business, even a cafe or accounting firm takes work to do the job, admin the business and grow the business. If you can do it in less hours, great, more power to you. But most of the time it takes a lot of work for the […]