Start Up Blog

The human movement, movement

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 27, 2011

I was really impressed by how some of the smarter Skiing resort operators are using GEO-locating to enable a deep interaction with their customers. What some of the resorts have done is used their new electronic ski lift tagging systems as a social engagement tool. Skiers can register on-line via the resorts facebook page so they can compare how many kilometers, ski runs, hours they do on the mountain for the day, week season and compete amongst friends. It’s even got a nice gaming element to it. It’s a nice iteration taking ideas from the likes of run keeper. You can read more here about what ski resorts are doing to tech-up.

The thing that is clear to me is that there is a human movement, movement. It’s so much more than companies being able to track what people are doing, it’s actually about companies creating forums where we can actually track ourselves. So we can know more about ourselves and change the way we move and interact with others and personally. It takes away the privacy concerns, and moves us into a space where we co-opt information sharing for mutual benefit.

The question entreprneurs and marketers should be thinking about is, how can we help our people track their movement to get more out of when they move. It’s only just the start.

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My family is fine, how is yours?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 26, 2011

I was interested in reading an article in this weekends Australia Financial Review which was titled ‘What worries the rich?’ – Firstly, who cares? Not me. Not because they are rich, just that it is an irrelevant question. We all have worries, and the worries of a particular demographic are no more important than any other demographic. However, in reading one particular persons comments I was astounded at the irony.

The rich person in question was Bruce Mathieson, who has a net wealth of over $1 billion. He said:

“I’d hate to think that I had a lot of money  but my family and everyone around me were unhappy. That would be an absolute disaster.”

For anyone who doesn’t know, Bruce made the majority of his wealth via Poker Machines. Here is a guy who “sells hope, and provides misery” – claiming he’d hate to make anyone unhappy. Is he serious?

Poker machines provide nothing good to society. The only thing that poker machines are good at, is redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich. And governments falsely believe the tax revenue outweighs the cost of the social ills they create.

You might think this is slightly off topic for startup blog. But for me it sent me a clear message about what business is all about. Creating value for all those who participate in the value chain – not one sided value.  If the cost of being wealthy, was creating heart ache for people, I’d rather be poor. In addition, I like to think we are entering an age where wealth creation is more often a result of creating value for society, not by tricking people.

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Gamification is coming…

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 14, 2011

I wrote an article for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Gamification. I plan to extend the thought experiment here with a longer blog entry on it. So in preparation here is a link to the original article:

“Consumers know the score in the ultimate reality game”


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Helping your community

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 11, 2010

Blogger, thinker and all round nice guy Ben Rowe recently wrote a blog entry just for me. There was nothing in it for him, he just thought it would be nice to share his intellectual prowess for my benefit.

How it came about was pretty simple really. Ben wrote a great blog post on the importance of gaming and how it is starting to transcend currency. Within my comments on his post I spoke of how great it would be to think of a good gaming mechanic for rentoidA few days later Ben wrote this blog post with some ideas on how to do exactly that. It’s the kind of commercial world I want to live in. An ethic where people do cool stuff for others without asking, and not expecting anything in return. The corollary is that a a return does invariably happen.

Firstly, an emotional return from doing good. Secondly, a collective return from building community. And sometimes a financial one from those who return the favour.

The question for startup entrepreneurs is this:

What are you doing to build your industry community help and promote others?

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Friends, fans and followers

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 14, 2010

Humans love to count. Here’s a list of some somethings we count obsessively:

  1. Our age
  2. Our money
  3. The value of our house
  4. Salaries
  5. The value of 401K (superannuation fund)
  6. Population
  7. Members
  8. Friends, Fans, Followers
  9. Hits, views, comments.
  10. Market share
  11. Percentage profit
  12. Traffic road toll

Really, we count almost everything. None of us are immune to this human symptom of counting. It’s the ultimate technique for organising and planning, in fact it’s what makes us top of the food chain.

So the question for startups is this: What are you tools are your creating that  your people count and compete with?

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Why iterations matter

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 8, 2009

When it comes to startups iterations matter a lot. They are evidence of the business pulse. They mean we are progressing and building momentum.

But there are some deeper reasons why iterations matter so much. Iterations give us a reason to go back.  To go back to the market ‘our people’ and re-engage in a conversation. It gives us something to talk about,  stimulate interest and demand. To glean feedback from, regardless of who this conversation happens to be with. Our business is essentially a large complex set of conversations, and the changes we make facilitate them.

So who can we go back to with our iterations?

- Our customers who want to know how these iterations help them out

- Our employees who can get excited about the cool stuff they have been / will be working on

- Our suppliers who can get excited about the prospect of more business

- The media want to report on innovation, updates and the industry

Nintendo EvolutionPic via Alex Figueroa

All of these conversations stimulate our business, our industry and ultimately the market place. Our iterations have a much bigger impact than we think. It’s far more macro.

Iterations are social, and we are social creatures. If nothing has changed or improved, then we move on. It is human nature.


Company Mantra – It’s in the game!

While watching a documentary on the evolution of video games I heard the coolest company mantra ever.

It was from EA sports, the gaming company which focused on creating games which closely represented the real thing. More important for startups was how they got there. One of the key developers came up with the internal motto “if it’s in the game, it’s in the game”. This later evolved to be the brand tagline “It’s in the game!”

EA went the extremes to put everything ‘in the game’. Some of these extremes include:

  • Getting the actual TV commentators to do voice overs on the games
  • Licensing teams, sporting organizations brands & players
  • Getting the actual athletes in the studio to get each players exact movements

The result being amazingly realistic games. Amazing games which wouldn’t have been possible without the mantra – a mantra which simply did not accept compromise.

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Mantra is only powerful if we embrace it in every thing we do. EA sports did and went on to be a $4 billion US company with large profit margins.

What is your startup mantra?

steve – founder rentoid.com

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