Start Up Blog

Brand Play

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 2, 2012

I am seriously in love with the Google maps 8 bit – bit for April fools day. So much so, that immediately after I write this post I will be going to Google maps to get my street and suburb (Yarraville) in screen shots in their 8 Bit version. You should too.

And by the way – brands that know how to play are brands that win. Especially in a startup world.

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Entreprenuerial double dipping

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 31, 2012

An important fact that emplyees and entrepreneurs ought remember:

You can’t sell your job.

Yes, we can build personal brand equity, but the revenue and value we create belongs to the owner of the organization we work for.

This leads me to an important factor that we must remember when we set out out on our way into startup land. We get the uncommon opportunity to get twice the benefit of everything we create. Let me explain.

Whenever we make a sale – we get to keep the gross margin. Put it in our pockets as profit. If we do this often enough, and well enough we also usually have a residual amount that we can pay ourselves as a wage. (yes, it is the opposite of what most people think, profits come before wages when we are building a business.) But the real kicker is revenue we create becomes a sale-able asset. We can sell our invented revenue stream. What this means is that for every dollar we earn, that is a dollar that we can sell. It’s a kind of entrepreneurial double dipping. And this is exactly the same thing the company anyone works for is doing by employing people.

The reason we can sell this revenue, is that the average sale price of a company is its annual revenue figure. So $1 in in real terms equals $2 generated.

Startup Blog says – get out there and generate.

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Just make stuff

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 28, 2012

A mini mantra for entrepreneurs:

This is what I am going to do…

Here is why I am going to do it…

This is the result I am hoping for…

I am not asking for permission. I’m starting today. It’s OK if it doesn’t work out.

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The attention economy

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 21, 2012

My regular readers will know that 2 weeks ago I released a video of a Lego Space Shuttle that we got into actual space. Quite frankly I was surprised at how much attention it got both on-line and in mainstream media (TV, newspaper, magazine & radio). It has had over 1 million views on Youtube alone. It really got me thinking about what tends to win attention in today’s connected economy, and although I don’t really know the answer, it feels more like simply joys and personal interest work better on line than commercial intentions or hard nosed value equations.

And while I’d much rather one of my businesses get this amount of coverage – it has lead to a lot of interesting business opportunities and offers. The attention generated has become its own asset. It has become a proof point in the people behind it and so it creates intrigue from others who want to simply do cool stuff.

So the question for startup entreprenuers is this:

What cool side projects can we do to generate attention around, so that our bigger ideas can attract the resources they need?

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An ‘A’ or Fluency?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 29, 2012

If you wanted to learn how to speak French and I could give you a choice to achieve one of the following two options, which would you choose:

- To get an ‘A’ on your report card.

- To be fluent in the language.

Without a thought you would choose the second option. The second option clearly has more value than the first option. Even though the first option, may include the second, neither two are interlinked by default.

It’s an interesting analogy we can use when it comes to business objectives, brand propositions, and why we are embarking upon our latest startup mission. Do we want a number? (the A) Or do we really want thing that the number describes? (Fluency).

What’s also interesting is that speaking any language well is a life vocation, native tongue or otherwise. The achievement is not marked via formal qualifications, and language is most recognised when it has been learned on the street. A lot like business acumen in today’s rapidly changing world. The reality is greater than the certificate.

While fluency might be far too arduous a task for many of us, it’s important to recognise what we are really striving for before we even start.

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10 books that helped me

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 22, 2012

Felling a bit ‘listy’ lately, so here is one of 10 books that really helped shape my life and startup philosophy in the past few years. Of course this list is non-exhaustive and in no particular order.

  1. The alchemist
  2. Purple cow
  3. The intelligent investor
  4. A random walk down Wall st.
  5. 22 laws of marketing
  6. A whole new mind
  7. The clue train manifesto
  8. The cashflow quadrant
  9. The long tail
  10. Outliers

What books have shaped you?

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Big think

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 16, 2012

Lately I’ve been totally loving the Youtube channel Big Think.

Basically it is some of the worlds leading thinkers, scientists, artists, educators et al, giving their views on important questions in a global society. Heavy kind of social, geo techno political issues. Often they are in short soundbites of under 5 minutes. For me it a nice TED alternative for bed time watching on my iPhone, or car listening (also via my iPhone which is streaming it from Youtube) – which makes me wonder is their a Youtube ‘radio’ app – where it streams only the MP3 file? If not there should be one. Gee, I might have to build it myself.

Check out Big Think – it is big awesome. Over.

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The marketing flip

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 8, 2012

Once upon a time brands made stuff and told people why they should want it.

Then: Tell and sell.

Now we need to remember that our people need to be involved from the start of the project to create mutual ownership.

Now: Share the process.

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Why failure is scary

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 17, 2012

While technology and lifestyles has shifted radically in the past few hundred years, the human DNA hasn’t evolved very much at all in the past few thousand. It’s one of the reasons why we are becoming obese. Our bodies are just not designed to have some much access to food, and so much automation and leisure time. Another interesting quirk of our DNA is the fear instinct. An instinct which is totally vital for survival, until a a few hundred years ago. In a pre-civilised world, failure could mean being killed while gathering food.

The problem with the fear instinct is that it gets in the way of us doing our best work in a modern world. It can stop us from proposing amazing ideas, and disrupting old outdated methods. The fear we have is not of death, but these days usually only of embarrassment or financial loss, neither of which will kill us.

This fear robs us of our best chance to make a difference, and generate the momentum we need. The best way to overcome this fear to remind ourselves that the fear we are facing is emotional and not physical. And almost every circumstance, what we are afraid of will not stop us from having a second chance.

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Exposing your ideas

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 11, 2012

Ideas are like organic matter. If we keep them out of view, out of the light, away from external influence, then all we are really doing is reducing their potential. We are taking away the essential nutrition that could make them thrive grow, and bare fruit.

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