Start Up Blog

10 ‘just because’ projects

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 23, 2011

I’ve been thinking about a few different projects I’d like to do. Which at this stage have no real revenue or business associated with them, other than I find them interesting. I thought I’d list them here to see if anyone has similar crazy ‘just because’ projects. Maybe these fun crazy things are what we should be doing and building, instead of working out what other people want. Maybe the thing that really matters is what we want. Either way here they are;

  1. Take a year to fly to every commercial Airport in the world – without a break. yes, including living in planes and airports for a full 12 months. Document it and what happens for some reason. Find interesting stuff and people. See what happens. Film it. Socialize it on live digital media. Find something no one has ever thought of or seen. Just because.
  2. Live for a year only on food that is grown at home. Vegetables and animals. Cook using only wood and home made ovens. Every bit of food that goes in my mouth I will have grown, baked, killed cooked and created. Document it all. Just because.
  3. Walk around the entire coastline of Australia. Beach by beach, headland by headland. 25,760 km’s of it. Learn something. Document it…. Just because.
  4. Make a short film. Without any false ambitions of becoming the next Tarantino. Just to create. Be part of it. Just because.
  5. Renovate a house. Yes, a totally dilapidated 100 year old timber home. To see what my eye and hands can really make when they collaborate. Build a house my family can live in, be safe in, grow together in. Take time out and do this. A non Grand Design for me and my people. Just because.
  6. Start a cult. Just to see if we can make a positive one. A cult of good. To see if I could lead people in such a way that they live for the cause, but to flip it. To make the cause about fixing broken shit in the world….Like the banking system and the 1%. Just because.
  7. Be a used car salesman. mainly because I think it would be really, really hard. To see how I could sell in a difficult environment. To test my skills, and see what I could learn to take into my future. To be the most untrusted person in the commercial world. To be that guy. The be that guy and see how I handle myself and what I become. Just because.
  8. Coach A little league team. Pass on some skills, about the game, and maybe about life. Teach some youngsters stuff that matters – have am impact on their attitude without them even knowing. See how it feels to help out the people who will inherit our world. Just because.
  9. Live in a tropical paradise. Mainly to remove the myth or confirm it. A place where little money is needed, the weather is always warm and technology and financial growth are irrelevant. Find out out if the picture of paradise is real or perceived. Stay forever if it is real. Just because.
  10. Join a street gang. A real underworld style gang. Think East L.A. Get dirty and down and be part of something bigger than me that is from the opposite side of town. Learn their rules and play by them. Deal, steal and destroy. See if the emotional roller coaster is the same, or different. See if I like it more or less. Understand the plight and political machinations of a crime organization from the inside. Draw the analogies and comparisons to the legal world – find out the truth. Just because.

Sometimes we need to embark on startup projects, that aren’t really startups…. Just because.

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If money didn’t exist

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 21, 2011

If money didn’t exist what would we do differently? Let me first remind us what this would mean.

In this imaginary moneyless it would mean: That we all had enough to eat. That we all had a place to live. That we all have equal access to healthcare and education. That we wouldn’t get paid for our work. That no-one gets paid for the work they do, in dollars at least.

It means that we do in during the day has an entirely different perspective. In this imaginary world it make sense that we choose our line of work carefully. The work itself, becomes the thing that matters.

It turns out that this is also the best approach for a world that does actually have money.

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You’re already an expert!

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 8, 2010

This is a guest post by Jared Shay, who recently decided being employed was for chumps and started walking his own path. He blogs with his brother Xavier about personal development and being awesome at two-shay.com.

The advice “everyone has something of value to give” used to crop up all the time in my morning feeds,  and it used to annoy the hell out of me. It was easy for all those successful internet folks to say it, they were travelling the world with nothing but a back pack and a laptop, or working with people who were at the top of their fields. It was obvious what their value to give was. What could I possibly do that would compare to that? I was always trying to think of that one big idea to set me apart. If I could find that, I’d have it made. I couldn’t find it though. It was my white whale.

You know who else had a white whale? Captain Ahab. His white whale was called Moby Dick and it bit one of his legs clean off. He spent years chasing after the thing so he could get his revenge. Eventually he caught up to big MD and decided to go toe-to-fin with it. Predictably the whale smoked him, and whilst he did get a few good hits in the whole thing makes you wonder—maybe Ahab’s obsession with finding that one big thing just wasn’t worth it. I got lucky. That could’ve been me—dragged into a watery grave by a whale. I realised I didn’t need to find that one big idea, I just needed to take stock of the life I had already and take notice of the things that I spend every second of every day either doing or thinking about doing. Things that I’d been doing so long they had become routine and boring to me, but were totally interesting to other people. As soon as I discovered this I realised why it was so easy for those annoying successful people. They didn’t start travelling the world or turning themselves into experts just to get readers or sell products—that’s just who they were already.

Let’s suppose Captain Ahab was alive today and he decided to forgive and forget all that whale business. He lead a pretty darn interesting life: He grew up as an orphan, began sailing at age eighteen, got a leg bitten off by a whale and in in forty years spent less than three on land. Now just try and tell me that if he started a blog that you wouldn’t want to read it, or that he couldn’t package together an international sailing guide, or fill a venue on a public speaking tour. He wouldn’t need to go out and find interesting things to do. Just from living his life he’d have all the material he’d ever need.

My life resume might not be quite as impressive but it still has plenty of things I can use to provide value to other people. I’m a musician who teaches and performs regularly, a huge personal development geek, and I exercise everyday. I’ve been cooking and eating vegetarian and vegan food for years. I got through a computer science degree without a computer, can juggle, have tutored maths, and have watched more professional Starcraft than just about anyone outside of South Korea. I’ve been doing most of these things my whole life, and that pretty much makes me an expert by default. Doesn’t mean I’m the best, but it does mean I can provide something of value to others.

I stopped looking for big ideas and starting using what I already had. I’d already done the hard work. I started blogging about personal development because I’ve spent years reading and practicing it; I began teaching drums because I’ve played the instrument my whole life; I help people learn to cook vegan food because that’s how I live. One out of these three is already profitable. These aren’t new or innovative ideas, but they’re backed with solid life experience.

Everyone’s lives are filled with things they can use to provide value to others. You don’t have to be the best, you only need to get out there and start sharing what you’ve got, even if you can’t immediately see where it’s going to lead.

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The most important startup

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 16, 2009

I am incredibly happy with the following things:

- My relationship with my family (immediate and wider family)

- The state of my health. I fit and well enough to enjoy, people life and exercise.

- Where I live. Yarraville, Melbourne, Australia. In fact so much so that I evangelize it.

- My house. A beautiful little renovated Edwardian, not big but it’s just right for me and my wife.

- The state of my country Australia. It allows us to practice any religion / or not and live a free life with opportunity.

- How I invest my spare time. I like surfing, gym and mountain bike riding.

- The fact that I am continuing a vocation of learning.  Both in life and academically in my areas of interest.

- The work I do. Running rentoid.com teaching at Melbourne University and writing this blog.

If any of these parts of your life aren’t right. If we are not quite happy with them, no less totally unhappy with them. Then this is the most important startup we can focus on. The start required to change it. Start today.

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Entrepreneurs must change

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 15, 2009

I am a fan of the rock band Talking Heads. Not only their music, but their lyrics. Some of which I find incredibly provocative to this day. Actually – most of them are ahead of their time and almost only starting to make sense to me now almost 30 years on.

One song called Seen & not seen is almost spooky. At no time in history have we been able to transform ourselves like we can now. Both socially and intellectually. As entrepreneurs – that’s our journey. Becoming an entrepreneur is all about social and economic evolution as a person. it’s about unlearning the lessons of school and previous jobs we’ve held. But more so it’s about having a vision and transforming our mind, and maybe, just maybe our physical disposition.

Evolution of Mario

Read these lyrics – and just think about it. I’m not trying to be weird – rather to open your mind.

He would see faces in movies, on t.v., in magazines and in books….
He thought that some of these faces might be right for him….and
Through the years, by keeping an ideal facial structure fixed in his
Mind….or somewhere in the back of his mind….that he might, by
Force of will, cause his face to approach those of his ideal….the
Change would be very subtle….it might take ten years or so….
Gradually his face would change its shape….a more hooked nose…
Wider, thinner lips….beady eyes….a larger forehead.

He imagined that this was an ability he shared with most other
People….they had also molded their faced according to some
Ideal….maybe they imagined that their new face would better
Suit their personality….or maybe they imagined that their
Personality would be forced to change to fit the new appearance….

this is why first impressions are often correct…
Although some people might have made mistakes….they may have
Arrived at an appearance that bears no relationship to them….
They may have picked an ideal appearance based on some childish
Whim, or momentary impulse….some may have gotten half-way
There, and then changed their minds.

This song is worth a listen to as well if you can find it on itunes or the net.

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Quit your job

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 26, 2009

You should really quit your job on Monday. Yes tomorrow today . If you are working for a salary or wages  and have no equity in the business that is.

And here’s why:

You are living someone else’s dream.

You are exchanging the days of your life to build the vision of someone else. You are not doing what you dreamed about as a child.

The reality is this: once you have a place to live and food to eat, the rest is ego. Chances are you are working in a job just to feed your ego. I know because I was this person for more than 10 years. I had jobs I didn’t like – high paying ones, to buy things I didn’t need, to impress people I didn’t care for. It’s a pointless treadmill which the government encourages to maximise consumption, generate higher tax rates and PAYE deductions and enforce control through a passive education process which says consumption equals success. We must remove this idea of the power structure from our minds and remind ourselves that real wealth is defined by the cool stuff we are doing, rather than the stuff we buy.

Quite your job, de-gear your life and do something  of value. To further encourage this process I’ll leave you with one final thought I tweeted a while ago:

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Cheers, Steve

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Magnation – great battle story

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 22, 2009

Last night Sahil Merchant the founder and CEO of Magnation (uber terrific magazine retailer) gave an inspiring talk at the Hive.

It was great to hear a great battle story, and not some story by an egoistical rich guy. A real battle story. His honesty was brilliant, and everyone loved it. Rather than re-tell it – I’ve used the power of twitter and and captured all the tweets with #hivemelb from last night which occurred while he was speaking in real time. It’s very interesting to see what caught peoples attention.

Read bottom up to see the tweets in order of occurance.

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