Start Up Blog

The lifecyle of awesome

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 18, 2012

As far as I can tell the life cycle of awesome is in perpetual decline. Every day we all get sent something that’s awesome. Something that’s great. Something that’s shareable. and every day we make a judgement. A decision whether this piece is worth sharing. There are so many things to share, and so many places to share them, that the stakes get higher and higher for what qualifies – it has to. Which means that when we see something amazing, it’s only amazing for a little while. It means the window is very small and getting smaller.

Today I saw something awesome. A simple video projection come moving art, come installation, come viral video. It was very next level. In fact the guy show sen it to me (Rohan) said it was ‘off chops’. You can see it below. But what I’m really wondering is, for how long can we keep going to the next level until there is nowhere left to go?

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Validation of Awesomeness

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on December 7, 2011

It’s pretty disappointing when you come up with a great advertising idea, new website or app – only to be shown one just like it. To learn that it has been done already. It’s a bit deflating in fact.

Unless we purposely decide to flip it around.

What we ought do instead is a create a list of the ideas and projects we arrived just a little to late on.

The list should be called the: ‘Validation of Awesomeness‘ list.

On this list is all the things that you thought of or started independently, just not soon enough. In fact the longer this list gets the happier we should be. We should be happy if it is long, because it proves we are on track. It proves our brain is cranking, we are on the path to getting it right. And eventually, we’ll have a fresh idea that we can take to market and get our own share of awesomeness. It proves our creative prowess. The list tells us it is just a matter of time. In addition it just might gives us the confidence we need to get it to market quickly.

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How to decide

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 19, 2010

A colleague sent me this quote that I just had to share right here on startup blog. Henri Federic Albert said:

“The man who insists on seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.”

And that is what we must learn to deal with in growth businesses – uncertainty. Our ability to decide based on a intuition and our personal world view is becoming a rare asset. It’s what we must move towards in a world full of data, but very little meaning. The other benefit decisions give us is real world feedback. If we get it wrong we can cross it off the list and move onto the next idea.

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The art of iteration – coffee

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 17, 2010

Iterating in business is an art form. It’s how we grow and find a path to establish the features that matter. It’s not about more, it’s about finding what works, which means that as we morph and change, certain features must be sacrificed, left or or purposely cut off. Nature exemplifies this. Nature takes time to roll out new features, and is well prepared to sacrifice old ones which no longer pay their way. Nature takes years to develop the perfect mix, but is in a constant state of evolution.

The coffee market has been one of the most interesting category evolutions we’ve seen in the past decade or so. Especially given the drink has been around thousands of years. What’s most interesting is that it was a commodity market at brand and retail level for the largest part of the past 60 years. Granules in a tin which one mixes with boiling hot water. Large brands then competed on price with occasional soapie style advertising.

Enter coffee culture and in 15 short years everything has changed. Coffee isn’t coffee anymore. Coffee is latte, coffee is short machiato, coffee is espresso, coffee is arabica versus robusta. But it evolved slowly, and the latest trend in coffee drenched Melbourne is cold dripped coffee. The point for startups is simple: we can’t go from Nescafe blend 43 straight to cold drip coffee. We have to take people on a journey with us, chapter by chapter. Shown below is another photo essay of  a coffee haunt on little Collins Street Melbourne called Sensory Lab.

The question for entrepreneurs is what industry can we invent a journey to take people on?

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When we get big

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 1, 2010

There are many things we’ll implement when we get big enough. When our footprint is big enough to deserve the investment of the bigger, game changing idea. When we achieve X, we’ll implement Y.

Maybe we ought implement Y now and skip X altogether?

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the cool thing about blogging

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 5, 2010

I’ve had to very quickly pull together a social media straetgy for a project I am working on. The timeline I had was a few hours. I’m certain that only due to the fact that I’ve been an avid blogger for a few years was I able to meet the deadline. Blogging creates great habits. It forces us to consider our chosen topic deeply and regularly. (startups & marketing in my case) It forces us to respond to our ideas quickly, to trust their value and publish them anyway, before tomorrow comes. It’s a personal newspaper and our readers want to know what’s new everyday. They’re not looking for perfection, but inspiration.

Whatver we do, are interested in and regardless of our industry, blogging is a must for those of us wanting to get better and faster.

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Startups and Standups

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 16, 2010

Listening to an interview with Jerry Seinfeld he said something which sounded like good advice for Startup Entrepreneurs.

Here is what he said verbatim:

“Your write and you write, and you don’t know if it is any good. You have to get up in front of an audience to find out if this is any good. You always have to try things, and the audience kind of writes the act for you in a way. They say, keep this, get rid of that. And you use them as a judge. They are the judge.”

It seems success in most enterprising professions are about being guided by your audience or customers. Testing, refining and constantly iterating.

Startup blog says: Real market feedback, is the only way to test any written plan. It beats research every time.

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When technology makes you obsolete

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 12, 2010

I once heard an interview with drummer Rob Hirst from the rock band Midnight Oil. It was in reference to one of their most critically acclaimed and best selling song, Power and the passion. Rob was asked about the infamous drum solo in the middle of the song, which not only doesn’t sound indulgent, but fits the rhythm and meaning of the song. What I find most interesting from an entrepreneurial perspective is how it all came about, this is what Rob had to say:

“It was 1982 and drum machines were entering the music scene and replacing drummers very quickly. They were cheaper and more reliable. It was a time when drummers were throwing themselves off cliff tops. Rather than fear the technological advancement, I thought it might be better to embrace it.  I wondered how I could use it to supplement what I was already doing to make it better. So for the Power and the Passion, I decided to have a drum machine playing in the background on the entire track. By doing this it freed up my arms and legs to add some color to the song, and ultimately allowed for the drum solo which is often sited as the catalyst that makes the song so great.”

The story above is one for all the Luddites out there. for the technology fear mongers, and those who worry about being replaced. The truth is, we should be happy when technology replaces labour for the simple reason that it opens the door to creativity. It opens the door to opportunity, for a better use of our time and resources.

You can watch / listen the drum solo at 2.35 minutes on the clip below. Be sure to listen for the drum machine track quietly providing the beat underneath.

PS – the smashing sound at the end of the solo is a florescent light tube Rob brought into the studio for  a dramatic industrial effect, not a pane of glass. Awesome.

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Feature Creep

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 11, 2009

The art of adding features to any product or service is this:

Those who need or want the new features can find them easy.

Meanwhile those who don’t need or want the features don’t even notice them. They are invisible.

Sounds impossible to do, but I think the team at twitter are doing a pretty good job of it. The way I’d try and achieve this would be by making sure the visual structure doesn’t change, and the sequence of events to use it is not interrupted.

shhh – here comes the controversy.

Twitter Lists – inauthentic

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 30, 2009

If you’re on twitter you have probably noticed the new addition of lists to your feed. Which is the ability to create and follow lists of specific people. Cool idea, which many twitter clients like Tweetdeck had implemented a long time ago. What is not so cool, is the inference that it is purported to only be available to a limited group. If you look at the screen grab below (highlight in orange boxes) you’ll see such claims.

twitter lists interface

I understand why they’ve used such language; to make users feel exclusive, and to essentially make people tweet about it – the antithesis of what they claim to want. But I’m a bit disappointed that the crew at twitter would use such low ball, inauthentic tactics. I say this because everyone I know with 10 to 10,000 followers has been invited to lists.

Startup blog says – stay true.

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