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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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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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The true product of an entrepreneur is not the solution, but a working business model. The real job of an entrepreneur is to systematically de-risk that business model over time. Ash Maurya / Spark59 Experiment-based entrepreneurship can de-risk a business model and deliver startup traction faster than feature-driven product design.  Through this way of working, entrepreneurs define models for how they think their business works and then run experiments to test whether the model works in the real

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Mentorship has become a vital part of startup practice. As startups expand into all parts of life, they need mentors from every field to help them learn fast and deep enough to make it. Mentorship is a science. There is more to being a mentor than showing up and telling founders what they are doing wrong. I’ve been mentoring startup founders for more than 10 years now and I have stuffed it up too many

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Last year we published Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Stuart Hall's brilliant blog series, An App Store Experiment. He posted a final update this week and Stuart has kindly allowed us to republish his learnings and complete that loop for the Pollenizer audience. It is amazing to think that something which started as a 6 hour experiment could lead to so many valuable lessons learned. This really is a case study in startup science and story-telling! If you need to catch

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In 2012, the Startup Genome Project made a massive contribution to how the world viewed startups. Three years on, with the fast paced nature of startups, it’s no surprise the data is out of date and requires a major upgrade. Today, we are launching the survey for 2015, across Australia and New Zealand, and hope to serve every pocket of this region ensuring local startups are represented. Where will we rank in 2015?  Why is this

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Over the weekend one of my Twitter friends sent me a DM... ... which directed me to this article:  "The concept behind This is deceptively simple, and if you’re the kind of person it’s meant to appeal to its allure should be immediately obvious: It’s a link-sharing network where every user is only allowed to share one link per day. That’s it. There are no bells and whistles. There isn’t even a mobile app yet. Yet

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Build Measure Learn

"First and foremost, scientists build models. They run experiments to validate those models" - Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean In last week's newsletter I talked about tracking our own experiments more closely in 2015, and offered to give feedback on whatever experiments our readers were running at their startup. As with all experiments, there were some key questions I wanted to help answer: What are you trying to learn from this experiment? Is this the best

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Reclaimer

The mining and construction boom which has powered Australia's economic growth over recent decades is waning.  The digital revolution and innovation will be crucial to our future, but what does the narrative connecting our old economy and new economy sound like? Being based in Perth and heavily involved in the local tech community, I have long drawn a parallel between mining companies and tech startup companies. A junior explorer company begins with a hunch - there is something of great

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JTBD

When we mentor our teams, one problem that typically arises is the definition of the “what”, given that in software, one could build close to anything imaginable on the planet. So we press them to ask the following: in your business, what kind of job is the client hiring? We don’t usually think of it this way, but believe me, it’s an extremely powerful way of explaining not only what we deliver, but what the

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Ugly Baby

In parents' eyes, their baby is the most beautiful creation in the world. The same is true of almost every startup founder. Towards the end of a catchup with one of my friends just before Christmas, he explained to me what he calls "ugly baby syndrome". We are never going to tell the parents of a new-born child that the apple-of-their-eye is anything less than beautiful, but when it comes to creating a new business

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