By: Kevin Dooley

We are born entrepreneurs. And then we spend the next 12 years at industrialised schooling which quickly whips any kind of creative free thinking spirit out of us. Yes, we learn to conform, follow rules, colour inside the lines, fill in the boxes and get told that the idea of collaborating is actually cheating. Yes, the one thing that makes us such a dominant species (division of labour and skill sharing) is called cheating at

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startup-founder

Startups are trendy. It’s really trendy to say that you are the founder of a startup. It sounds kinda cool and all this imagery of Silicon Valley success infiltrates the mind. Big shiny digital brand names, funky office spaces, and the fantasy of joining the one percent with some crazy 8 figure exit create a strong pop culture interest in the scene. And so we have this gravity pulling us towards starting our own startup.

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Lifespark-logo1

For the past 56 hours, we have been working with 22 teams, to solve the greatest problems facing the city of today. Our hackers are creating a smart city, delivering valuable systems to change how the city of the future runs. Participants come from Singtel's Telco group, and have traveled from all over the globe for the chance to bring their concept to reality. Top teams from tonight's pitching will incubate their startup in at Pollenizer

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Your current idea is good enough. Waiting for a great startup idea is a fool's errand. It isn’t going to arrive, and it doesn’t even need to. Many of the famous and amazing household name startups we know started as something much different to what brought their success. Let’s consider these examples: • Flickr: started out as an online gaming company • Youtube: started out as a video dating website • Twitter: was born out

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Pivot

A pivot isn't just something we say to make us feel like we are a lean, nimble, innovative startup. A pivot doesn't mean we go back to square one and start again. A pivot isn't spinning in circles, looking for a path ahead. In basketball they call that travel. In startup science, we call it a lack of focus. A pivot takes advantage of the lessons we have already learned. A pivot impacts all the assumptions which

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Digital Analog

I love the internet. I really do. Humankind has never been so connected. We can start a business from our spare room, sell something to customers on the other side of the world, and ship them a digital product in the blink of an eye. With apologies to the wheel and the steam engine, there has never been a greater enabler than the internet. As entrepreneurs, though, sometimes we get too excited by this amazing

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Blog

The real value of blogging Ok, I’ll just come straight out and say it: Of all things I have done in my work and career, blogging has by far been the most valuable and had the biggest impact (personal and financial) of all work related activities I have undertaken. Sounds kind of lofty and an overstatement of reality, but I mean this deep down in my heart. Blogging helped me to see and think in

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99 Problems

The other day Phil wrote about The Golden Idea, now I want to pick up on that theme and take the next step down the typical entrepreneur's path - developing your idea into a business plan. For the sake of this exercise, let's call our "typical entrepreneur" Me In 2008... When I first joined Pollenizer I wrote about some of the startup failures and learnings which brought me here: We Be was an interactive social networking platform targeted

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By: Sean McMenemy

Looking at businesses like Facebook from the outside can send a message that it is OK to build something awesome and figure out the monetisation later. Please don't do that with your startup. I have a couple of times, and it is painful. On both occasions we worked very hard on early stage concepts only to discover that it would always be very challenging to make money. Here's how I like to work on REVENUE and COSTS cells

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My life as a theatre director was not that different to my life as a startup founder.  Both lives require me to make something from nothing with too few resources. Both require me to draw on my creativity. In both I get blocked. Stuck. Paralysed. What is the right next move? Is this good enough? In the arts we accept creative block as a challenge to be overcome with discipline and process. In business and

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Weathered Brick Wall

The impossible opportunity On the other side of my time as CTO at Kazaa I was offered an incredible opportunity to be Entrepreneur in Residence for a Silicon Valley VC. Phase 1: I was proud and ecstatic. "Dream opportunity. Build what I want. Wow!" Phase 2: Panic. "Oh shit. I can't think of anything" And there I stayed. I let the need for a golden idea get in my way of starting. I didn't start. Walt Disney

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Yesterday, City of Sydney’s Business 101 was for Tech Startups. We at Pollenizer were there, exhibiting with our friends from muru-D, Hub Sydney, AWI ventures, Fishburners, General Assembly and CeBIT. It was great to see so many aspiring and passionate entrepreneurs out to seek advice, lessons and knowledge. There were some excellent speakers on the stage, including our very own Phil Morle. They all had some exciting stories to share about the environment, the different

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Short-Fuse-Big-Bang-Deloitte

Question: "How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?" Answer: "Let me think, what's your budget again?" ... Or so the old joke goes. But perhaps not for much longer. I have talked about Deloitte's excellent Short Fuse, Big Bang case study a few times; see here and here for example. There is a lot to like about this report, but if there is one thing that stands out to me above all

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trueproperty

The startups that we know and revere shape our mindset on what we ought to be building. Or should I say technology businesses - it’s no longer a startup when we’ve uncovered a business model that works. These big winners in technology give us a sense of possibility. They often started with nothing but an idea, ambition, and talent. Some have gone on to become household names and have even redesigned entire economic infrastructures. These

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One of the seminal business essays is the Marketing Myopia. It was written way back in 1960 by marketing legend Theodore Levitt in the Harvard Business Review. I was recently re-reading it and it reminded me a lot of what we are seeing in the market now as startups disrupt the powerful industry stalwarts. The question the article proposes companies should ask themselves frequently is this: What business are we really in? A big clue

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We recently asked Pollenizer readers to identify the biggest challenge they face everyday with their startups, and the answer was resounding: “CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT” After we shared the survey results in a newsletter, a friend emailed some interesting feedback that has been percolating in my brain ever since: "Problem-solution fit is the biggest problem. Either that or selection bias - those who have problem-solution fit aren't replying." My response: "I suspect you're right… I would suggest

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1. Don’t bother with stealth, head straight to doing Almost all ideas have been done before. If you don’t yet have a product, then you have nothing to protect. You need to talk about what you’re doing from day one or you are losing an early opportunity to get feedback. The best way to get feedback is by doing, not talking. 2. When testing an idea ask people to prove you’re wrong, rather than you’re

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A few weeks ago, Gabe Rivera from Techmeme tweeted this picture. It hit me. It explained super simply something I witnessed a lot in the Belgian and the Philippine Startup Ecosystems. Before I make my point, let me bring some context. https://twitter.com/gaberivera/statuses/479868715039588352 Around 2010, Steve Blank, inspired by the work of Alex Osterwalder on the Business Model Canvas, came with a definition for a startup. It was the right moment to do so. The Lean

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Plan A, Plan B

Here’s what we are told to do: • quit whatever we are doing • go all or nothing • start our startup • give ourselves the no back Apparently this is a key to the mandatory “we must succeed” mentality. It’s probably the worst advice that exists for budding entrepreneurs. Here’s what actually happens: We take the advice above, run out of money, and or steam, and often end up back in corporate cubicle land

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