Design Help Needed

I’m currently working on 4 new startups….. With various co-founders. One with my wife (launching soon) and 3 with a mate of mine called Gus.

I believe one of these startups will be pretty big, I’m just not sure which one yet. Yes, I know I’m suffering of delusions of grandeur, but if we didn’t believe things could work out for us, then why get out of bed each morning?

What are they:

  • A surfing technology startup – We already have Alpha tested with great success. (iOS)
  • A world first crazy interesting e-commerce opportunity – this has global viral potential built into it. (web & iOS)
  • Gov 3.0 – taking democracy from indirect representation to direct populace decision making. (iOS)

What we currently need is someone with UI & UX design skills (mobile and desktop) to help the visual side of the development process. If this person can code that would be an advantage, but we are really after the design guru as we already have a back end team in place.

We want the same person to work on these 3 design challenges with us. We figure it is about a months work. So we would hire this person for a month with a total project fee for the 3 outcomes we are after. We’d like the person to be local (In the Melbourne area) but this is not Mandatory. It could be a nice opportunity for a gun designer student to build their portfolio, or it might be something a more experienced person who can knock over in a much shorter timeline for the same fee? We are open to people’s ideas. But rad small screen design is the key…. We are open to peoples proposal’s on how / where / why they want to work with us.

You’ll get to work with two radically nice blokes (me and Gus) and get some good startup science into your brain as a bonus. Oh, and you might be part of something that goes viral and big. I should know I’ve had my fair share of stuff that got global attention!

Hit us up on Twitter me here: @sammartino or Gus here @gusbalbontin

Giddy up.

One thing in tech every business or entrepreneur with global ambitions should remember

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While only 39% of the global population currently have access to the internet, 73% of the global population (5.2b people) are already mobile phone users.

This means that the majority of the adult population will never use a desktop computer. They may never use a laptop. And that their world will inevitably be a small screen, wireless one. With the law of accelerating returns on our side, we must assume that within probably 2 years, all of these phones will become smart phones, and the number of people with them over 90% of the population. Already, many mobile subscribers are still yet to have access to running water, indoor plumbing and other technologies we’d falsely assume ought to come first. The order of things in the past, is not always the order of things in the future.

If there was ever a case for a business strategy which is So Lo Mo Me…

Social / Local / Mobile /  Me (as in the end user)

… then that time is now. Add to this the change of the Google search algorithm to mobile friendly and the pattern is clear. The small screen rules, even if it seems to be growing!

If the aim in business is to go global, it’s more important than ever to be mobile oriented, as the developing markets we seek to enter know of no alternative. Mobile is not only first, it is the only. If you want to see the state of the internet which includes these stats and more, I can’t recommend highly enough the annual state of the internet report by Mary Meeker – here.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

This is still everyone’s favourite radio station

Ghetto Blaster

It’s not Rdio, Pandora, Spotify or iTunes – it’s still Wii-Fm.

What’s in it For Me?

I was reminded of this fact just the other week. I was talking to someone before I delivered a keynote speech. They told me they’d like to stay and listen as they needed a speaker for an upcoming event. We had a great chat, and exchanged details. After the talk I gave I never saw him, but to my surprise he sent me a text saying: ‘Great talk Steve, I’ll be in touch this week.’ A few weeks later I still haven’t heard from him. But because it was about me, it kept popping into my head every now and again. That’s cool, as we all know these type of conversations happen every day… we all have good intentions during such conversations but sometimes the day to day deadlines get in the way of opportunities.

I was clearly thinking about me. I was tuned into Wii-FM.

But just a few days ago, I was cleaning out my emails and I came across a number of things I’m yet to follow up on. Opportunities for others who are still waiting on me. So while I forget, I’m certain it pops into their mind and they’ll be saying – “Gee, Steve never got back to me on that. It’s a bit disappointing he has’t followed up.” It’s not that I don’t want to follow up, I just haven’t. And just like me, they’re also tuned into Wii-FM.

But have no doubt they are also are guilty of same thing. We all are. We all have our ‘oops forgot’ list. It’s no ones fault, we are all programmed to think about our world first, it’s a basic survival instinct.

For every opportunity we are waiting on, there’s probably more we can follow up on. We shouldn’t be ashamed if what seems like too much time has passed to actually do it. It’s better than never doing it. Maybe we can start the belated conversation with this little story, admit we are all human and start afresh.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

The 2 things people who sell information for a living must remember

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1. No one will steal your ideas: Those that could steal them successfully never do it, while those that need to steal your information, rarely get traction.

2. Insights of themselves have little value:  There are two types of insights. (A) Historical philosophies – these never change, just the packaging does. And there are (B) New insights – which you made up. But these are like milk… they have a very short expiration date. In any case it is the way the insight is served up (just like the commodity milk) that decides how much value is created.

While it’s tempting to think keeping secrets will protect us, all they really do is reduce the chance of more value being created by those we interact with.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

Inverse goals & why you should set some


After about 15 years of doing work I liked in environments I didn’t like, I set myself some inverse goals. Inverse goals are the things we desire as a price of entry, as opposed to things we’ll acquire after the work is done. We might even call them unusual requirements for happiness regardless of monetary outcomes:

  • Not to have to shave everyday. (it really hurts my skin).
  • To be able to work when I feel like it, not 9-5 like the 200 year old industrial era said I should.
  • To wear whatever clothes I feel like, and not a uniform designed by someone else.
  • To be able to avoid peak hour traffic.
  • To be mobile and not stuck in the same location day in and day out.
  • To have my worked judged on its merits and not by my political performance.
  • To be able to actually read while working, without people judging this behaviour as flunking off.
  • To let the weather determine whether I work during the day or during the night.
  • To work in environments were I could be myself, and not a clone drone .

I literally tried to do work and be involved in businesses which would allow this kind of lifestyle. I feel like we often get things like this back to front. We aim for some kind of mythical economic success after which we’ll shape our lifestyle. But if we reverse the goals, we can have immediate success by first shaping our existence and then our economics around that. Life best lived, is life by design.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

What I always tell door to door sales people might surprise you

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Whenever a door knocker comes to my home to sell me something I probably don’t need, or already have – like electricity, I always tell them the same thing:

Congratulations – you’re going to be rich!

Yep, I give them praise for what they are doing (one of the most difficult jobs there is). I then go onto tell them about how the skills they are gathering will give them a massive life advantage in any developed economy. I remind them what these skills include:

  • Dealing with rejection. (Yes, I politely tell them I am not going to buy upfront)
  • Learning how to sell to a stranger.
  • Learning to sell products which are homogenous, boring, commodities & even unwanted.
  • Learning how to talk and pitch – their pitch time is at most a few seconds.
  • Understanding body language.
  • The power of persistence.
  • How much courage they have and their willingness to work (I’m guessing it’s job you only take out of desperation)

There’s more but you get the picture.

Most often they are pleased I’ve noticed this, and sometimes the hardworking sales person doesn’t even realise what a terrific opportunity this ‘horrible job’ turned out to be. I tell them it only gets easier from here. And if we happen to get into a conversation I give them some tips on selling, recommended some great sales trainers they can listen to; like Brian Tracy and Jim Rohn, and even some books worth reading. Lastly I explain to them that all CEO’s simply have to be Sales Rain Makers.

Even when we choose not to buy, we can still create some value for the seller.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

Secret life success ratio no one talks about

Go Giver

We are told a couple of things in life. The first in the capitalist economy is to go out and be a Go Getter. We’re told to take what’s rightfully ours. To accumulate as much as possible and generally try and have more and be better. It seems now that social media tries to push this idea further. We are not really sharing our posts, we are pushing ourselves. Trying to see if we can get more recognition and kudos for what we know, what we saw and sometimes what we made. It’s not very giving, it’s really more an act of taking. Taking other peoples time and resources for our own benefit. We are being go getters…  It’s not our fault, we got indoctrinated to do it.

What if we flipped it? What if we took notice of how much we gave, rather than how much we get? And I’m not talking out our mythical ‘post success period’ some time in the future when we share our money with charities and altruistic venture. I’m talking about right now. No matter what our economic status. And here’s a simple life hack to do it.

Keep track of your give to ask ratio. Try and make it 10/1. Help others 10 times before you ask for help. It makes life a whole let better for all of us. The cool thing is when you give help and resources to others 10 times as often as you ask, when it’s your turn, you generally only have to ask once.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.