Start Up Blog

The Open Shop

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on December 11, 2012

One of the things I really dig on the web, is how easy it is to self educate from various respected sources. One of my favourite forums is tuning in to at Google Talks. A Youtube channel Google has set up where they share internal education events with anyone who cares to watch. Amazing talks at great cost to Google no doubt, from global thought leaders including, authors, scientists, entertainers, entrepreneurs et al and everyone’s favourite price – zero. While this might seem inconsequential and the norm these days, it is a significant shift from the theory of the firm. I could never imagine industrial era companies (think factories and brands on supermarket shelves) sharing their investment in staff education with the general public. I couldn’t imagine industrial era companies putting their value systems on display via ‘whom they choose’ to come into their building. No, they’d much prefer to make donations to both political parties and take a by partisan view of most everything. In fact, I can’t imagine industrial era companies sharing anything that the competition might see and take advantage or insight from. And they certainly wouldn’t invest in anything that anyone other than their shareholders would benefit from.

While it’s clear that the operating structure of digital businesses is different, let’s consider for a moment the open sharing protocols we witness from leading web shops. The ability of tweets to feed into facebook and vice versa. How Youtube allows the embedding of any video into any website. In many ways it’s like mixed multi-packs of Coke and Pepsi. It’s a fundamental shift in how business is being done. While all companies have relationships with their supply chain, it’s very rare indeed for Industrial era companies to do direct business with their most ardent competitors. We’ve now entered the Open Shop Era – where those who share, and open up certain parts of their back room get the benefit of others peoples thinking and output. It’s hard to imagine business becoming anything but more open, accessible and less secretive. Personally, I feel as though this is part of our species evolution to a form of collective sentience and community based assets.

If companies from the TV Industrial complex want to survive the upheaval, then maybe it’s time they opened up their R&D lab, their factory, and started co-opting with their competitors. After all, isn’t Facebook just a 2.0 Kodak moment?

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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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What I love about gifyo.com

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 14, 2011

I’ve recently been playing around with Rohan on a relatively new site called Gifyo. It’s such a simple idea it has the ‘why didn’t I think of that’ written all over it.

What it does: Gifyo is a social service that allows you to create animated gifs directly from your webcam. Simply capture, create, and share.

It’s like 3 seconds of filming, that makes an ‘Old School’ style gif. Which has a certain quaintness to it. It’s also very cool because it is so quick to do, and it makes people think about what might entertain other users. Just go to their home page and you can see how quickly this web service has caught on. Some other simple yet smart things it has done is create a live feed where every post gets a turn on the home page feed. Sure, this can only last while it is niche enough to feature everyone… but it sure is a good way of spreading the service – everyone loves a little bit of microfame.

We started a little #officedancing meme just for fun.

So for startup entrepreneurs it provides a couple of really cool lessons.

  1. Sometimes really small, in fact tiny ideas are the ones that catch on.
  2. People want to get attention, more than give it.
  3. Retro technology is big. It is fun and creates a sense of simplicity & nostalgia which is very human.
  4. If you love something, others might too. Don’t waste time thinking about it, build it and find out.

I can’t wait to hear my readers next fun, small and retro idea they have launched.

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Our writing really matters

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 26, 2011

This guy put some effort into writing the words that appear on his website. The result of his writing is around 10,000 people shared it with their friends. Read it.

www.alittlebitofsomething.co.uk

The words we publish matter a lot.

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The human movement, movement

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 27, 2011

I was really impressed by how some of the smarter Skiing resort operators are using GEO-locating to enable a deep interaction with their customers. What some of the resorts have done is used their new electronic ski lift tagging systems as a social engagement tool. Skiers can register on-line via the resorts facebook page so they can compare how many kilometers, ski runs, hours they do on the mountain for the day, week season and compete amongst friends. It’s even got a nice gaming element to it. It’s a nice iteration taking ideas from the likes of run keeper. You can read more here about what ski resorts are doing to tech-up.

The thing that is clear to me is that there is a human movement, movement. It’s so much more than companies being able to track what people are doing, it’s actually about companies creating forums where we can actually track ourselves. So we can know more about ourselves and change the way we move and interact with others and personally. It takes away the privacy concerns, and moves us into a space where we co-opt information sharing for mutual benefit.

The question entreprneurs and marketers should be thinking about is, how can we help our people track their movement to get more out of when they move. It’s only just the start.

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Visual Orgy – Retail

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 26, 2010

This is an amazing piece of creative work from H&M at a new retail store launch in Amsterdam. Check it out below.

The same theme shines through again. Creativity wins. The production costs are clearly much less that the creative input. I wonder what other startup brands could use the visual projection idea to make something worth sharing on the web?

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A Collaboration Conversation

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 16, 2010

Rachel Botsman is in town this week as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week but more importantly to spread the good word on her book on the new world order of Collaborative ConsumptionWhat’s mine is yours. Rachel contends that the 20th century was all about Hyper Consumption, while the 21st century will be all about collaborative consumption – and I couldn’t agree more!

In order to bring the uninitiated up to speed we are having a Collaborative Conversation with founders of collaborative businesses. This will include Daniel Noble of Drive my Car, Julliette Anich of the Clothing Exchange and myself – rentoid.com

I really think it will be a great evening with lots of fresh ideas, because to be quite honest the collaborative economy is only really starting. At the end of the forum there will be a Pop Up Swap where anyone can bring up to 6 items to swap with anyone else – so we’ll be crossing the virtual sharing chasm into the physical one.

Click here to get a ticket - and come up and say hello.

Steve.

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Be part of something

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 5, 2010

When I started rentoid.com a 5 years ago I had no idea it would grow into something much bigger. In fact, the entire industry has been written about by Rachel Botsman in her upcoming book “What’s mine is yours“. She coined the phrase Collaborative Consumption to describe what is happening in our hyper connected world. Rentoid is featured in the book and this little video below, which makes me a bit proud.

It’s cool to launch a startup to make money. It’s cooler to be part of something bigger than your startup.

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Worldometers are great

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 14, 2010

I’m really loving the worldometers website. It’s a list of global statistics which are updated in real time

Not only is it a very interesting, but it is a terrific resource for entrepreneurs and marketers alike. No matter what your business you could grab some statistics from it to open the mind of your audience in a presentation. For example:

If in the distribution, health, food business we could present this statistic:

Undernourished people in the world = 1,026,904,563

Overweight people in the world = 1,153,103,026

Which shows that there ‘is’ enough food int he world, it’s just in the wrong places. It’s a distribution issue.

If in the eco energy, or environment industry we could share the following:

Energy used worldwide today = 422,173,999 (MWh)

Solor energy striking the earth today = 39,886,999,999 (MWh)

Showing that we have the 40x the natural resources needed, we just need to harness it.

In fact, the way we could use these statistics is limited only to our imagination. And when we are presenting to audiences, it’s their imagination that we should really be trying to inspire.

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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.

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