Start Up Blog

The people we want to meet

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 18, 2014

The people we want to meet, would probably be happy to meet us too, before everyone wanted to meet them. The problem with the people we want to meet, is really in the timing of when we want to meet them. Because we usually only want to meet them after they have done something notable. It’s not uncommon to read about a lunch with Warren Buffett being auctioned for more than a million dollars. Or for people having a list of people they want to meet who inspire them. But what’s interesting is that no one wanted to meet those people before their fame and success was evident. Yet they are the same person. Add to this that sometimes a persons success is not due to specific, unusual or dramatic insight, but probably more effort and circumstance.

Right now, there is a lot of pre-famous people out there whose advice no one seeks, yet. Right now, we all have friends and colleagues who give great council and thoughts, despite the fact they’ve never fronted the cover of a magazine or featured in a human listacle. Often the people we should want to meet, are the people we already know.

Five for Friday v3

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 3, 2014

Here’s another 5 things that are worth investing some weekend time postulating life, culture and commerce over.

1. Take the marshmallow test for grown ups. An intriguing look at an old study that was done on kids attitudes in the 1960’s.

2. Hey, just print your next car. More proof 3D printing laughs at the internet as childs play in terms of future global impact. This is the 2nd 3D printed car I’ve seen after the Urbee… Sh*t is gettin’ real.

3. Some timeless advice from 1956. Let Earl Nightingale open your mind to the secrets to happiness and success. The best advice in life does not have an expiration date. This is seminal.

4. Wanna get learned? Get your ears around the Econ talk podcast. My fav’ podcast that I’m not in…. actually I never listen to anything I ever record because that would just be weird and sycophantic.

5. The future of technology – don’t ask me, this pinterest page of a search for ‘technology’ has way more ideas. Read at your leisure…

Have a super weekend people.

Mindset & Tools

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 30, 2014

Digital Mindset

There’s a whole lot of tools we have at our disposal which didn’t even exist a few years ago. From a business perspective many of them present a counter intuitive option to the ‘Harvard Industrial Complex’. Yes, those established principals of what we thought we already knew about what worked in the market.

Trust the crowd to co-design our product? Are you crazy?

Get funding from future customers with out giving equity? How we going to do that?

Share revenue with content creating customers? Don’t be silly let’s keep it all for ourselves.

Co-opt with our competitors to grow the entire ecosystem? No way, let’s grow our market share instead.

Launch products with lower margin than those they’ll cannibalise? It’s uneconomic and stupid.

When the world changes, what once seemed ridiculous quickly becomes rational. Startups are now redefining what can work in a world driven by cheap and even disposable technology. It turns out having access to the new tools is not enough, we also need access to a new mindset.

New book – The Great Fragmentation – out now!

Value transfer or value creation?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 23, 2014

There are lots of ways entrepreneurs can make money. Some even have a valid legal status, but with questionable ethics. But all businesses which survive have some kind of value transfer. The real question worth asking is this:

Was there more value in total after we got involved?

If the answer to that is ‘yes’, then we’ve done much more than just make money.

New book – The Great Fragmentation – out now!

2 unrelated questions worth asking

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 3, 2014

Motorcycle ride across asia

The journey we are on is often associated with some goal at the end point. But what if the end point was now? What if we took a thought experiment and pretended the journey was unnecessary? Let’s do that and ask ourselves these two seemingly unrelated questions:

  1. How would you spend your time if you had 6 months to live?
  2. How would you spend your time if you were a billionaire?

I won’t try and answer these for you, but I’m reasonably certain you’ll find two things. Many of the answers overlap, and that many of the things cost very little money. In the end we remind ourselves that the ultimate asset is time.

Ok, I couldn’t resist to give personal answer here: I know I’d want to invest more time with my family, immediate and wider, and do those projects were the business model is fun and not financial. Oh, and all those billionaires we hear about…. they’re probably off on treks riding motorcycles across China. Something which requires very few zeros in a bank account.

New book – The Great Fragmentation – out now!

What we get paid for

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.00.34 pm

What we actually get paid for is all the work we did yesterday, and the day before that, and the year before that. In fact, what we get paid for is the work we did when no one was watching and no one was paying.

What you know vs Who you know

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 16, 2014

I remember growing up having people tell me it’s all about who you know in life and business. I always thought it was kinda weird that it could work in your favour by just knowing people who could help you, especially if you happened to be a fool. Surely domain knowledge mattered more? And here is what I found out, they both have value.

But what has even more value is when we use which ever we have more of to improve on the other. This tends to happen when we learn from those we’re lucky enough to know, or use our knowledge to help whoever we meet.

NEW BOOK – THE GREAT FRAGMENTATION – ORDER HERE!

It’s already been done, or has it?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 14, 2014

As soon as we think of an amazing startup idea the first thing we often do is trawl the internet to see if someone has already built the app, the service ,the hardware device. We want to know if it has already been done. Oft times, we are deflated to find out it has been. But if we have to search, has it really been done? If no one knows about a concept in market it raises a lot of interesting questions:

Did they execute well against the idea?

Is their product good, but the distribution poor?

If the distribution is poor, does that mean the product is actually bad?

If the distribution is poor, does that mean it’s not solving a real problem?

If the distribution and product are both good, are the switching costs too high?

Did the team have the right funding?

If they had the funding is the timing too soon – is the market ready?

The truth is we’ll never be able to answer these and other questions. And so it brings us back to the very first moment of inspiration. We thought it was a great concept and maybe that is enough. We know most things change their shape in the development process anyway. Maybe we should build it regardless of what is out there. Build our version of how things could be. Remembering of course that most fortunes are made with old ideas done better. Property is the oldest business in the world and still to this day creates the most millionaires. Even Youtube, a new kinda business, arrived when there were already over 400 video sharing websites (that we know of).

It’s another reminder our world is big on ideas and small on execution.

NEW BOOK – THE GREAT FRAGMENTATION – ORDER HERE!

How startups can benefit from the technology paradox

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 24, 2014

A lot of the new technology seems to do the opposite of what it ought to. A kind of paradox is emerging where the solution is so good in the short term, that it eventually eats itself. It solves the problem so well, at such a low price ,that the solution gets buried. Buried deep inside a pool of self perpetuating technology.

Omni social connectedness  –> loneliness epidemic.

Mass amounts of data –> lack of useful insight.

Dropping prices of everything we buy –> increasing debt bondage.

Worlds knowledge mere clicks away –> decline in human wisdom.

Private transport for everyone –> longer travel times.

This list could go on, but you get the picture. It seems like we should revisit the tools every now and again to make sure they’re making life better. And it is from this that the new startup opportunities arise. For every tech rush, there’s a new opportunity in fixing the part of it which is no longer working.

Know who will miss you & act accordingly

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 23, 2014

Let’s imagine something horrible for a few moments. Let’s imagine that you die. That something unexpected occurs and your life is over. The plans you had, the lives you’ve touched would all be thrown into disarray. It is incomprehensible to imagine this, our own death. It’s as if we have this built in mechanism to avoid the mere thought of it. But if it did happen, what would happen at the company you work at? Deadlines would be missed. Some stuff wouldn’t get done. Co-workers would be sad or even shocked. Friends we’ve made would be devastated. There’d be a lot of upheaval, but here’s the over riding reality of you dying and if you work for a large company:

You’d be replaced in 4 weeks.

It’s even foreseeable that the process for replacement would begin the same day the news dropped.

Now let’s compare that to what would happen with your home and family. Lives would be devastated and irreparable. You would never be replaced and the pain of the loss would last a lifetime. Young children would be especially impacted. The hole could not be filled be anyone, anytime, ever.

So why is it that we work late? So why is it we put up with corporate bullying? So why is it we continue to work for jerks for career advancement? Why is it we give large portions of our waking lives to a faceless corporation?  Why would we give an inordinate amount of time and effort to an organisation when the ultimate reality is that we are disposable? The next time you have to make a choice to stay late, play the corporate game and over deliver to corporation  XYZ, and choose between the job and the family, maybe you should think about how they’d act if the unthinkable happened. Once you remind yourself of this you’ll know what choice to make.

It’s another reason why we need to listen to the call to run our own race, and create our own future and for independence. The people who deserve us the most, are those who couldn’t live without us.

 

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