Start Up Blog

The wood chips

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 22, 2012

In my previous blog entry I spoke about ‘leveraging the wood chips’. Which is an old business maxim on how whatever we do has some kind of externality, off cut or by product which can be leveraged (very often sold) in some way to invent a new revenue stream. And while it may be obvious that many large business have such an opportunity, we also have this opportunity as individuals to realise the value of our wood chips.

Before I get into the what and how we can leverage our wood chips, let me share a couple of examples of well known brands, companies and products which are essentially ‘the wood chips’ – which incidentally comes from the obvious description of what we can do with timber off cuts from some kind of craftsmanship.

Vegemite: Australia’s largest brewers including CUB (now SAB) sell their brewers yeast (a form of woodship) to Kraft foods to make Vegemite from. All my Australian readers will now how big this brand and business is.

Paddle Pop: The Australian stick ice cream stalwart is actually what is called a ‘re-work’. The raw materials are the off cuts from other more premium ice creams in the factory.

Ruby on Rails: Is a software programming language that was developed for the building of Basecamp – a 37 Signals application. Which has now become a general programming language that was released to the public as an open source platform – as a gift.

LPG – LPG is synthesised by refining petroleum or wet natural gas. Liquid Petroleum gas can be used to run cars and heat homes.  At first it was wasted, then it was captured and used.

Infact, many of the startups funds and Angel investing organsations are the wood chips of previously successful entrepreneurs.

My wood chips

In the first instance I took my Marketing skills into the web startup entrepreneurial scene when I launch rentoid.com. While I had virtually zero web and tech skills I made up for the gaps in project management, promoting my work and understanding consumer trends.

After I launch rentoid successfully as a ‘boot strapped’ business – this blog became a source of woodchips where I could further share and promote my ideas as they developed.

My Startup School, was the wood chips of rentoid and this blog – all pulled together as intense weekend where I share all my key learnings over 2 years into 2 days. Hence providing a valuable short cut to others entering the space.

Public Speaking is something that I have embarked upon more recently where I share ideas on business, the digital landscape and marketing. The real reason this is possible is due to the amount of pitching I have done in my own business endeavours. Without realising I became quite a proficient public speaker for which I am now regularly paid very well to do.

There are others, but you get the picture.

We all have some form of wood chips we can leverage and generate revenue from. Often at a higher rate in relation to the investment required to generate them – remember they are essentially an externality. We just need to stretch our imagination to see what they are, and most important let people know we have them on offer.

Happy wood chipping!

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7 Responses

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  1. rookieheather said, on April 25, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for following up on this idea.

  2. Paul said, on April 26, 2012 at 1:10 am

    The phrase “Ruby on Rails” describes a web application written in the Ruby language combined with the Rails framework (created by DHH at 37Signals). Ruby has always been a “general programming language” much like Python or C#.

  3. Geoff Long said, on April 26, 2012 at 9:56 am

    The Shell oil refinery down in Geelong did it for years. While their main product was, obviously, petrol, they also started a plant doing spin-off products for the consumer market such as flea control for pets, dishwashing liquid for the house and all sorts of other things. All petroleum by-products.

  4. Time Billing Software said, on August 3, 2012 at 1:46 am

    So, now I understand where exactly Ruby came from. It all started from and for Basecamp then,

  5. […] get offered money to speak at events. Which is quite exciting. It’s a classic example of the wood chips generating a significant revenue stream on their own.  I’ve recently starting working with […]

  6. […] in the local area and much cheaper than cocoa per kilogram. The presence of mind to turn to the woodchips, in this case hazelnuts, and remarket the brand was very clever indeed. The branding was adapted to […]


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