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Then vs Now Whenever we have a look at a successful business, it’s easy to admire how all the moving parts, features and services seem to work in harmony to make a great company. Food companies like Nestle have an incredible set of related product formats. Their giant range has similar pricing, similar distribution channels, which provide incredible synergy, scale and financial power. And Nestle is not too dissimilar to Google which has an incredible array of search products: web info,

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watching TV in dark room

The Work Week Reality I remember the days when I was doing the hard yards in a big company. Days were long, and the pressure high. I knew that continuous learning was a key factor to climbing that corporate ladder, and to being someone who could create value in the company. And in times of disruptive change, rapid learning could never be more important. I intended to read as much as a I could to

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." There is some debate over whether it was Charles Darwin who said it or not, but the sentiment still stands. I had another reminder of this literally right in front of my eyes when I visited the optometrist for my regular (ok, once every two year) checkup yesterday. Technological improvements have

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polly post Surfing

Noticing the Patterns I’ve been a surfer for many years. In the time I went from a teenager to  married man with children most of my old surfing buddies gave the sport away. But I’m one of those die hard surfers who still goes surfing winter or summer. For years I would mostly go surfing by myself, which is never as much fun as going surfing with a mate. Half of the joy is in

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SWP

Over the weekend I judged another Startup Weekend in Perth. Everyone was exhausted but still buzzing by the end of it all, with some more great ideas coming to life and countless lessons learned by all those who took part. We see a lot of these kind of events in startup-land. I don't know about you, but I have noticed a few trends of late: People are getting better at pitching. Whether you start your own

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TV interview

Every startup or project I have ever worked on has managed to get ‘free media’. All the way up to TV and even international coverage. There is a trick to it, a formula and it never fails. I’ve even got TV coverage on something as boring as a book here and here. But I also got this startup on TV, and this startup on TV, this project on TV, this project pretty much every news

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In last week's newsletter I shared a little quote from this article: “The more wrong paths you can figure out quickly, the sooner you’ll find the right path.” A few people wrote in to say how much it resonated with them. More interesting, though, was this response on Twitter, linking to a terrific piece by Jason Fried from back in 2009 entitled Learning From Failure Is Overrated. The choice quote: “I don’t understand the cultural fascination with failure being

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I just finished reading Peter Thiel’s new book Zero to One. An easy read full of serious startup insights (worth the effort). But what I couldn’t help but thinking about was how similar it is to many other long standing business strategies. In fact, it reminded me the most Michael Porter’s Five Forces. But before we review these here’s my take on some of what Theil has put forward in his book in simple terms. All of which are spot

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Build Measure Learn

I think this is something that many of us have pondered at one time or another, so today I wanted to share a question from a fellow Pollenizer-er: After doing a round of 15 customer development interviews, 100% of them want to start using the product asap. Two have offered to pre-pay, and one customer has offered to look at funding part of the development (non equity). To meet this customer's needs, we'd need to skip

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Industrial Finance 101 Like many other rules we’ve invented for ourselves, the rules of business finance are a child of the industrial age. The ideologies which fill economics and accounting text books are based on the findings from what worked in the factory era of doing business. Trial and error for more than 200 years of mass production gave us some handy rules of thumb which could guide financial decision making. But when the physical and commercial world changes around us,

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Money

It is something we hear all too often... "I was wondering if you could help me find an investor?" You don't need an investor. You need customers. You don't need an investor. You need to prove that you are developing a sustainable, scalable business model. You don't need an investor. You need to focus on learning as much as you can with the finite resources at your disposal. Sometimes having limited time / money / people

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A student of the mind is ready to test his brain beyond its limits.

Unreasonable Belief + Science Great startup founders have a conflict. In order to succeed, great founders need an 'unreasonable belief' that their business will succeed. They are great at telling stories (to themselves and others) which emphasise the positive over the negative while their fragile new business model gains its strength. Unreasonable belief refuses the possibility of failure to push the business through times when failure is exactly where it is trending. But here's the conflict. Alone, this is also what leads

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pinterest-hook

You did your homework. You have preliminary evidence that your idea works on a small scale, and now you are determined to build something that resembles a fully functional, high fidelity prototype. You hire an engineer to lead product development, and you set a hard deadline to release "the app" in just a few weeks, if not days. But what happens during the design process? You are confused, you don't know exactly what to build.

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Discovering new innovation is now the whole company's job, not a special role for an elite few. The competitive landscape is changing so fast that innovation needs to be in every cell of the company's organism. Innovating requires: The permission to fail The permission to experiment rather than pretend you can get there first time A culture that is comfortable with uncertainty These are the hard things, even for a startup, to give to the people in a company.

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Leadership_lane

I am on a journey of startup discovery. As I learn more about startups and the community, the more intrigued I have become with startup founders. I have supported a number of founders from tech startups, small business and organisations and I am constantly inspired by how they execute at speed within such uncertain circumstances. I’ve come to realise, that behind every great project or initiative, lies the creative passion of an innovative entrepreneur. I

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SW

At Pollenizer we have a different way of doing things. While still in our DNA to dream big, we also put a strong focus in ensuring that we follow the critical steps to get there. Most of the time these come in the form of experiments. They are what drive our decision making process. For us, there is no such thing such as truths, but a set working hypothesis that we are desperate trying to

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The TiE Conference was held earlier last week with the theme of #GoingGlobal. This year, TiECon featured 3 panels with a focus on: Selecting the Right International Markets Building a Global High Performance Team Raising Capital from Overseas Angel Investors and VCs Here are some takeaways from each panel. 1. Selecting the Right International Markets With Evan Penn, Adam Theobald, John Murray and Ian Buddery as host Have the vision of going global from the start. This

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Photo by Chris Brown / https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoonabar/

I recently overheard some advice along the lines of, "If the startup thing doesn't work, you can always get a proper job." Initially I was confused. I’ve never thought of working for or with startups as anything but a proper job. Then my second thought was, maybe it’s because of the way startups are perceived. There's a generalisation that all startups are just this: Or that a startup is just a hobby until the founders can escape

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Leap

Look before you leap. You want to bring your idea to life and begin the entrepreneur's journey, that's awesome. But before you start, think about what you are willing to give up and how you can maximise your learning within the constraint of your finite resources. Maybe it is the time of year, maybe there is something in the water, maybe it is the impending full moon. I don't know why, but the majority of my recent coffee catch-ups

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fernando

One of our new teams is hitting the road to validate their first hypothesis. Fernando Parra is leading our Sydney Lab and gave them this advice. I thought it worth sharing directly in this raw state: best of luck on your interview. This is my advice: Be careful because all validated learning should be coming from *customers*. Experts do have beliefs too! Whatever feels like the most solid idea, treat it as a hypothesis, and

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