Start Up Blog

Random Sunday night thoughts

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 28, 2013

I went for a run today and some ideas popped into my head. Every time I exercise I get new ideas (to me anyway) – they just come from no where. Non blog post micro ideas today, but possible bigger post ideas tomorrow. Rather than lose them, I thought I’d document them. Here they are:

  1. What goes in and out of our mouth determines how long we live, and how much we earn. The former excludes unintended accidents like being run over by a bus.
  2. People say that you need to be a go getter to find success. I feel like we need to be go givers. It feels back to front.
  3. Luxury is in a constant state of evolution. Luxury is both relative to the human condition and relative to our own circumstances. What I find a luxury at a given point in time rarely endures for me. (my current favourite is sleep)
  4. What we do after 10pm has a bigger impact on our tomorrow than what we do during business hours.
  5. Evolution is a tactical process, rather than a strategic one. Tactics of trial and error executed quickly or consistently over a long period of time yield better results than arduous planning. Most great strategies are written in hindsight to describe what happened, rather than what was planned.
  6. The depth and wealth of the eco system has a bigger impact on the well being of the cell, than the make up of the cell itself does.
  7. When it comes to business management, the hard stuff is soft and the soft stuff is hard.
  8. Time is the biggest investment we can make, because it’s the only one that can’t be earned back. Hence true wealth is measured in time not dollars.
  9. Many great inventions (including the wheel in some regions) started as kids toys. So why do many organisations have fun police on staff? I am now wondering if  there a list of practical inventions which started as kids toys?
  10. Why do so many companies who are under threat from the emerging digital landscape forget the first lesson in economics, the law of supply & demand? Eg: Local Australian newspapers seemed to forget that supply of news is now omnipresent. Price is a function of availability, so people wont pay for average and undifferentiated content.
  11. The two types of investments we can make are time & money, most people never get to the second type because they don’t put in enough of the first type.
  12. We are all entrepreneurs, but some people only have 1 big and important client (an employer). We’d all do better if we regarded all income as a part of the entrepreneurial process than a wage based one.

There were more, but this is all I can remember.

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Random things

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 31, 2012

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of random things I have done during my life:

Take gymnastics classes

Play Australian rules football

BMX race

High board diving

Build multiple cubby houses

Swim in the local river

Learn basic code on a 16kb ram TRS-80 computer in 1981.

Waste all my pocket money on video arcade games (think Galaga)

Water skiing

Mountain Bike racing

Had 9 broken arms (well the same 2 nine times)

Stand up comedy

Surfing

Learn CPR

Do Surf Life Saving (so I could get free beach accommodation)

Live on a farm

Live in 4 of Australia’s 7 capital cities

Collect first issues of magazines ( I have many, it was a weird long term investment strategy)

Poultry farming

Start and sell a clothing company

Build a raft that sank on it’s first outing

Learn to speak Italian

Learn to speak Mandarin

Be a Sales Representative

Be a shelf stacker

A valet parking attendant (still my fav’ job ever… could write a movie about it)

Write a movie script (it’s waiting to be made)

Perfect break dancing (all the while wishing I lived in the Bronx)

Work in advertising

Lecture at University

Eat only frozen food for 6 months (don’t ask)

Your list is just as long as this list. Your list is probably more interesting than this list. This list that we all have tells us a great deal about our desires, our passions, our successes and our failures. It shows how much we know and what we are capable of. If we write it and study it closely it often gives us clues on the things that really mattered, and might just tell us what to do next.

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Tech Pop Quiz

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 13, 2012

Friday fun has been turned into a Tech Pop Quiz. So here is 20 questions on just that – all of which you could find very quickly on-line, but rather than cheat, why not answer them without checking and see how many  you really know.

Leave the answers in the comments section and who ever gets the most will win one of these which I will send via mail to you personally.

Good Luck.

    1. What year was the internet (defined as 2 computers sending and receiving data to each other) first get used?
    2. Who was the inventor of the World Wide Web – WWW?
    3. What year was the World Wide Web opened up to all forms of commerce?
    4. What was the name of the first web browser with a graphical user interface?
    5. What year was the first phone call made from a mobile / cellular phone on a cellular network?
    6. Which company made this phone call?
    7. Name the first commercially available programmable personal computer?
    8. Who was the co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates?
    9. What year was facebook launched?
    10. What year was Moore’s law first promulgated?
    11. Which company invented the first computer mouse?
    12. Which company has a higher market value of these two Amazon or Ebay?
    13. What year was the first .com address registered?
    14. What was the name of this .com address?
    15. What does the acronym NASDAQ stand for?
    16. Does the NASDAQ have a higher or lower valuation now, than it did in the year 2000?
    17. In USD what price did Google pay for Youtube?
    18. What year was Google launched?
    19. According to technorati, what is the number 1 blog in the world?
    20. Who is the founder of Amazon?

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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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Top 10 list – Words redefining business

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 6, 2010

Here’s a little list of words that keep ringing in my head that I feel are changing the way we do business. I’ve written them each with a few thoughts beside them to stimulate your own view.

  1. Gifting - an emerging gift culture started with sharing information freely (Blogs, photos, ideas on the social web). This will start to iterate into a culture of providing actual goods to each other as gifts
  2. Gaming – human existence is defined by counting and gaming. Currency, bank accounts, salary, frequent flyer miles… and now smart phones will turn many brand relationships into games we can play. In many ways it will replace currency.
  3. Real time – the web used to be a repository of information written, found and filed for later retrial. It’s evolving into a what’s happening now forum. With live check ins (four square), live video (Qik / Ustream), status updates (Twitter). This will change they way we buy and interact on a commercial level.
  4. Geolocating – will permeate everything we do, and all the messages we receive.
  5. Community – it took the democratization of media via the web and fragmentation of media channels before we could regain our desire to interact at a community level, not just a consumer level. And we like it. We’ll never let people break down our communities again. It’s a social requirement we have built into our DNA.
  6. Apps – software is now personal. The difference with apps is that they are malleable. We co-create the code as we interact with them.
  7. Screen culture – TV isn’t dead, it’s just changed. It’s now web enabled and everywhere we go. Count how many screens you see today.
  8. Global currency - we now have perfect information on currency and conversions via the web. Our ability to arbitrage is being diminished. It’s only a matter of time before we create a global currency that crosses borders and oceans and automatically adjusts prices of everything we buy to a single lowest global price delivered. This has already happened historically as our world got bigger. First at a tribal level, then state level then national level. The globe is next.
  9. Related revenue – We’ll start making money less from what we actually do (writing a blog? / Google search?) and more from the stuff we do that lives around the edges.
  10. Project careers – Our careers wont be about having jobs, but a number of smaller iterations of projects that interest us. They’ll be higher paying, with breaks in between. This will be more profitable for all parties. Companies wont have the overhead drain of full time staff, and humans wont have the social drain of turning up to a place of work when there isn’t much on. We’ll transform what we do more frequently and fluently, we’ll be projecteers.

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6 things I learned in 2 years

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 1, 2010

Guest Post – Young Melbourne Entrepreneur Josh Moore has shared the thoughts from his young untainted mind!

Here is a list of lessons I have learned from two years in the entrepreneurial community:

1. Networks are everything: The most important thing in entrepreneurship is the people you meet. You will learn more by being willing to listen to others, which compounds your experiences without having to make the mistakes yourself. They can also help you to get jobs more easily, and can recommend you to potential clients. Don’t underestimate the people you meet.

2. Save: Entrepreneurial ventures are high risk. Having a buffer of cash will help cover you when income is bad. I’m in the process of stepping out of an active role in one of my investments as it drained my savings account by $6,500 in twelve months, as it was not paying me enough income and I had to fund the gap with something. Better to have savings to draw upon than to go back into debt.

3: Ignore the bells and whistles: You don’t need a fancy website. Steve’s blog is simple but gets the core message out. Find the core of your business and ignore the rest. If you don’t you may spend too much time and money on things that don’t matter. Don’t spend money on costly legal structures and don’t risk your money on untested markets. Spend time instead and invest money when you know you’re likely to succeed.

4: Have a timeline to failure: If you start doing something, have a timeline for it not to work. If you want to start a little side business on the side to make $1,000 in the next six months, then use that as your KPI. If you can’t reach at least 80% of that milestone then walk away before you invest more time and money into something that is not working.

5: Read: Reading is the only real way to gain an information advantage in your area. An information advantage helps you to be seen as a leader in your industry, and also allows you to make better investment decisions. Never invest in anything you don’t know better than the back of your hand.

6: Personal development: Continue to work on yourself every day. Practice, be willing to try things and don’t be afraid of failing. I wanted to learn about NLP and couldn’t swim, so I took courses on both earlier this year. I write in my spare time to clarify my thoughts and to reflect on what I’ve learned.

What lessons have you learned from your entrepreneurial endeavours? Leave a comment and help the community gain from your experiences.

Top 7 startup tips

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 5, 2010

I was asked to give a list to Tim Reid on a few micro marketing / startup tips for his terrific podcast. I thought they were worth sharing in point form here.

  1. Project management is the key skill (Outsource weaknesses, be blissfully unaware how to do technical things, manage the value chain.)
  2. Think micro (Start small, no tiny. think hyper-local, and expand out from there)
  3. Compound effort (Our labour compounds over time like interest and investments do, social media takes compound effort)
  4. Speed is better than perfection (perfection is the enemy of success, launch review and iterate constantly)
  5. Manage for cash flow not profit (Money in and money out are the only 2 financials that matter, we can’t go broke when cash flow positive)
  6. We’ve got to sell (Selling is a core skill, we have to sell not just to customers but to everyone in our business world, employees & suppliers too, have a sales guru in your team)
  7. Start now (The right is never going to come, stop waiting for it)

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