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.
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:
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 rentoid. A 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?
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
Pic 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.
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.
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