Start Up Blog

Mindset & Tools

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 30, 2014

Digital Mindset

There’s a whole lot of tools we have at our disposal which didn’t even exist a few years ago. From a business perspective many of them present a counter intuitive option to the ‘Harvard Industrial Complex’. Yes, those established principals of what we thought we already knew about what worked in the market.

Trust the crowd to co-design our product? Are you crazy?

Get funding from future customers with out giving equity? How we going to do that?

Share revenue with content creating customers? Don’t be silly let’s keep it all for ourselves.

Co-opt with our competitors to grow the entire ecosystem? No way, let’s grow our market share instead.

Launch products with lower margin than those they’ll cannibalise? It’s uneconomic and stupid.

When the world changes, what once seemed ridiculous quickly becomes rational. Startups are now redefining what can work in a world driven by cheap and even disposable technology. It turns out having access to the new tools is not enough, we also need access to a new mindset.

New book – The Great Fragmentation – out now!

3D printing is nothing special

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 30, 2013

People who read this blog and know me are aware of my obsession with 3D printing – and the fact that I think it will be bigger than the internet. Recently I had an experience with my 3D printer which was most enlightening. Before I share the story let me share a terrific definition of technology:

TechnologySomething that was invented after you were born.

So I was playing with my 3D printer in my home office when my 3 year old daughter entered the room. I asked her if she wanted me to print her something. Maybe a toy or some jewelry. She replied simple ‘Ok daddy’ and seemed pretty excited about it. Who wouldn’t be, it’s a 3D printer for crying out loud. So we picked one of the bracelets from the picture below, and sent the file to the printer. A pressed the print button and it started printing. I was pretty pumped. 3D printing my little girl some personal jewelry, immediately in my home office. I quickly said “Look, Look, it’s printing it.” To which she replied in a nonchalant manner. “Ok, thanks daddy”

Sure she was excited about the jewelry, but not the process. The process was irrelevant to her, she just wanted the thing.

3D printed bracelet

When the print job was done, I called her back in and said “Look, here it is, I printed it for you!!!”. To which her reply was much like the previous one regarding the process. She said “Thanks daddy” and then put it on her wrist and skipped away to get on with her 3 year old life.

3D printing to her is as ‘normal’ as cars, TV, airplanes, computers and microwave ovens. How can it not be, it was invented before she was born. It’s just another of the thousands of normal everyday thing she is seeing for the time. Nothing more or less special that the other technology in our lives.

But the really significant element is that by the time she is 13 years of age, yourself and every person we know will have a 3D printer. We’ll all be printing things in our homes on a daily basis. And if you think that isn’t possible, let me remind you that every social media channel you currently use today didn’t exist 10 years ago, and we already know how much that changed our social and economic landscape.

3D printing is NOW – get on it and don’t regret you let this entrepreneurial opportunity slip you by.

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The new industrial revolution – Chris Anderson

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 26, 2012

I’ve been a big fan of Chris Anderson for a long time. And he’s done it again. While I haven’t read his new tome “Makers – the new industrial revolution” – if this talk is any indication of the content, it will be mind blowing. Not only is Chris one of the most insightful technology visionaries, he also has a knowing way to explain his ideas with simplicity and conviction.

I’d recommend this talk to anyone who is interested in the future – it might just be the best hour we invest before the end of the year. And this talk ensures we know what’s coming, whiling helping us realise the gravitas what’s already happened. Enjoy!


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The end of Fredrick W Taylor

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 27, 2012

Then:

Taylorism defined our world for the best part of the past 100 years. Even in marketing realms. During the mass media era, we could use tested methods to go to market with predictable success – so long as we had access to the right resources.

Now:

Rapid change and fragmentation is the new normal. While we are half way through planning, someone else will arrive and do it different, cheaper, better and in a way we never quite expected. Both in terms of what they build and how they spread the word.

Therefore:

Our mindset when it comes to startups and business (isn’t everyone in business a startup now?) should be fluid and philosophical. It’s time to drop the template and best practice six sigma bull crap.

It is very hard for a best practice to exist when something has never been done before.

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My mum doesn’t understand

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 27, 2012

For the best part of the last 10 years I haven’t been able to explain to my mum what I actually do for a living. Both with startups I have created and jobs I have had. Probably more so with the paid roles I have had. And this is an important insight into the world today and how we all fit into it.

How my mum responded to various activities I have undertaken:

My blog: Why do you do that? What is it about? Who pays you for it? Why do people want to read about startups?

Startup School: How can it be a school if they don’t get a certificate at the end of it? What curriculum do you follow?

Rentoid.com: Why would people trust strangers with their things? Why would people rent or share stuff when they can just buy it?

Director of Strategy: If you don’t write the ads or make the film at this Advertising agency, what do you actually do? I don’t get it.

Twitter: Who cares about what you have to write? Why can’t you write more than 140 characters? What do you mean people follow you?

In fact, without being disparaging, we need to ensure our mums don’t understand what we do. It’s the best indication that we are a scarce resource in a rapidly changing landscape.

When everyone understands what we do, it almost certainly means there are plenty of people who can do it. And if there are lots of people who do what we can do, then there is less chance we can extract significant value in the marketplace.

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Bigger than the internet – 3D Printing

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 30, 2011

3D printing is really starting to blow my mind. As far as I can tell it is taking the information we are currently living through and making it physical. It’s the missing link. The start of being able to create everything from nothing – ephemeralization. Converting the first 20 elements into stuff, by organizing information, ones and zeros. About 20 years from now, you’ll remember talk about 3D printing, the same way we remember hearing stuff about a connected world through computers in the mid 1980′s. I think it will be more disruptive and bigger than the internet.

In order to just make sure you are across what is happening here’s the most famous Youtube Clip about 3D printing which is from the Discovery channel. In the coming weeks I’ll be posting a large article about all the implications on the world. And before you watch the clip below here is a list of some things that have already been printed by such machines:

Bicycles, cars, tools with moving parts, furniture, drone aircraft and even balls bearings.

It’s coming and it is going to change everything.

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Moving to ‘open’

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 1, 2011

The world is quickly moving to ‘open’ whether we like it or not. Companies that lean this way will invariably do better than those that lean to ‘secret’. It is also important to know that our philosophy can’t be segmented. It is a cultural decision.

Which way is your organization leaning?

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Falling in love with infrastructure

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 4, 2011

Here’s a list of companies who should’ve done something, yet instead, let someone else do it for them. And in being asleep at the wheel, they will never be as powerful (read relevant) again.

Yellow Pages should have become… Google
Encyclopaedia Britannica should have become… Wikipedia
RCA / Sony / BMG / EMI / Warner should have become… iTunes
Newspaper classifieds should have become… Craigs List
Trading Post should have become… eBay
Barns & Noble should have become… Amazon
Industry X could well become… Your startup

The key point is this. The future doesn’t care about your legacy, or how things were done in the past, it only cares about what people actually want. And people don’t care about your existing infrastructure, they only care about themselves.

There’s a million more of these examples out there, and many more to come. The question is which industry will you disrupt because they are too in love with their existing infrastructure?

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