Month: October 2012

Read For Growth

So you want to grow your business. So maybe you want help with your business or maybe mentoring. Cool. I/we want to help.

But before we start you have to do some stuff that is important for both of us in the interests of saving a lot of people a lot of time. Don’t want to sound tough but this will really help us both…

Of course if you are a customer or prospect and you just want to pay for consulting stop reading now. You just have to pay for our experience, methodologies, information, tools and of course our time and we will tailor this material for you.

Otherwise read on.

Do yourself (and me and others) a favour –

  • If you have not read the books/blogs below or some summary version of the same then please don’t contact me for mentoring/advice/advisory board roles/director roles etc.Basically there is plenty of the foundation stuff you need to learn first before we could move any discussion onto the next (important) level anyway.
  • If we haven’t met in person or done a proper skype teleconference (which only arise after a good fresh meaningful mutual contact introduction) then please don’t connect with me on linkedin.Rationale here is simple and not trying to be difficult, you see even after deleting heaps I still have 425 linkedin connection request invitations and messages outstanding not to mention emails.  Just because I have a freaky large number of connections on some social media doesn’t mean I am an open networker, I am simple good at being time efficient and pretty well connected. For a reason: To be productive and meet my goals.
  • Understand that my current personal goals are to –
    a) grow a hyper connected hyper successful startup ecosystem in Australia, particularly Sydney and
    b) build my businesses (e.g. Coinr and Cooper & Co) and investments for income and self fulfilment and to help goal a) and to
    c) give my  family (especially kids) the best I can and
    d) live a full life which includes a bunch of other lesser goals like improving the planet in other ways.Note: Helping you with your startup is part of the first goal but time on this is necessarily very limited

However, on a more positive note, if you have read some or ideally most of the material on the list below and have a considered opinion (not a one of trash of insight, sit on it for a few days or ideally weeks) and you still want to discuss the nuances of how it applies to your disruptive innovation then awesome lets rock!

Start by reading my twitter feed which has a lot of the latest thinking and short links to time efficient summaries of these sources. Yes this is me – Peter Cooper is @pc0 on twitter.

Key Concepts (Mandatory)

  1. Disruptive innovation
  2. Why software is eating the world
  3. Lean startup principles
  4. Being An Autodidact Entrepreneur

Books (Very Highly Desirable)

  1. Rework By 37 Signals
  2. Lean Startup By Eric Ries
  3. Innovators Dilema By Clayton Christensen
  4. Inside The Plex By Steven Levy
  5. Getting Things Done By David Allen
  6. The Intelligent Entrepreneur By Bill Murray

Blogs (Good Practice)

  1. Steve Blanks blog
  2. Paul Graham’s blog
  3. Pete Cooper’s blog

Get Connected (Mandatory if you are in Sydney or Australia) – Ideally you should also look at attending/following/joining –

  1. @608Harris
  2. @SydStart
  3. Silicon Beach Australia

Australia – Riding On The Geek’s Back

Time to stop plodding Australia. It is time to go screaming into these amazing tech enabled blue sky opportunities. Forget the resources red ‘ocean’. Grab hold of reality and read on…

Throughout the short but eventful history of Australia we have been often referred to by domestic and international commentators as riding on the back of something, riding on someones coat tails or basically not having originality of thought or independence of action.

I think these commentators are incorrect and purely demonstrating their own short sighted views and lack of context, especially lack of awareness of the unique or at least highly differentiated inventions, businesses, products and services we have created.

These creations have come in turn from unique circumstances not least being the tyranny of distance, scarcity of resources like water, food, population, manufacturing, technology, skills and of course funds.

Frankly these are just excuses.

Any entrepreneur knows scarcity just helps rapid decision making and outcomes.

So we have had our fair share of riding –

Riding on the sheep’s back

Riding on the farmers’s back

Riding on the miner’s back

And of course riding on the coat tails of England, America and more recently China, India or even just ‘Asia’.

Well now it is time for us to be –

Riding on the Geek Entrepreneur’s back

What does this new future look like?

A brand? Like Silicon Beach Australia? Glad our PM finally heard this recently, around 5 years after the term was in wide use in the tech entrepreneur community.

A network? Like NBN? No doubt it will help. No doubt we all want fibre speeds. But how long will it take and what price will we pay both now for implementation and longer term through lack of innovation or competition for this new monopoly. It is taking decades to reintroduce effective telecoms competition after the Telstra (Telecom) monopoly, this new monopoly will cause even greater risks to creative commerce and privacy. It is a little bit like superannuation, an enormous honey pot of data (and value added revenue), too tempting for government to ignore.

A community? Like sydstart, fishburners, silicon beach, and so many others around the nation in every state and territory capital? Probably, yes. But learning to encourage and support these fledgling future economic engines is key. Remove their barriers don’t add to them or ignore them. Lately I have attended a string of political announcements promising awareness but is anyone actually listening and acting? No, they keep quoting an understanding of disruptive technology without having read the book. No, they fund and promote the largest events for   startups which are actually run by millionaires and are only one third of the real thing which is run by real startups and real community.

We need simple changes to –

Enable superannuation funds to invest in startups via simple aggregators run by corporates and industry experts (not ICT experts and not advertising centric digital creative service providers but true entrepreneurial tech startup industry experts – there is a huge difference – despite many common tech skills and some commercial skills).

Enable startups to pay tax only on realisation of the return. For example on trade sale, on IPO, on change of control or on raising of material amounts of capital. This allows employees, co-founders and early enablers (mentors, angels, accelerators like pushstart, startmate and founders institute) to participate in very early stage high risk ventures without being literally killed by paperwork and capital gains tax before a cent is realised. It is only common sense.

Create more pure computer science graduates. All the real innovators from google australia to the tech startups from atlassian to freelancer to fishburners all know this. They are the job creators and export income generators and wealth creators for our nation. Some universities are doing well despite challenges to their business model but dumbing down computer science is the fast track to unskilled oblivion. We need more pure specialists that understand ground up technology (build a new quantum computing capability or ever a smarter/faster mobile phone or phone operating system – but please, please, please – not another programmer of trivial iphone or android apps that doesn’t understand the whole tech stack).

Actively promote at city, state and federal level a national roadshow of our leaders to visit the heart of this community in Sydney not to mention their ‘vital organs’ i.e. peers in each state and understand the transformative power.

Only when each leader at each level understands what we already have and supports it much much earlier in the lifecycle than they currently do and stops talking down our ecosystem (e.g recent comments by senior people from commercialisation australia at conferences and popular media) will we truly thrive.

The good news is our smartest people are going to The Valley and New York and coming back to share and leverage local advantages and natural assets that you don’t have to be a visionary to see or utilise.

The good news is our smartest people are getting funded by truly disruptive funding and community enabling technologies and the people behind them others (like our government, bureaucrats and media) are yet to even comprehend.

The good news is these disruptive innovators are creating jobs while other countries strategies focus on job destroying efficiencies.

The good news is this is being accompanied by social innovation that is transformative.

I hope Andrew Stoner, Greg Pearce, Julia Gillard, Doron Ben Meir, Asher Moses, Peter Grey and a few others get to read this and actually follow the links rather than skim the headlines. I hope these same people stop using the same old excuses and put downs. I hope they stop using the same old examples of ‘success’ that are literally years old (good though they may be).

We are world class in places, lets nurture and grow those, it just takes a little awareness, alignment and encouragement not even much money or much time.

We could be flying on the geeks back if we do it right.


Game Mechanics Are Easy, Here’s How.

Game Mechanics Are Easy, Here’s How. Watch The Video.

I was super impressed by this video from @amyjokim and had to share my notes taken while watching it. If you know who your customer is you can systematically classify them and create appropriate game mechanics to increase enjoyment, growth and retention. Awesome stuff for tech startup entrepreneurs and the basis for great businesses.

Cheers, Pete.

Amy Jo Kim – Video Summary – Casual connect Seattle – Smart Gamification: Seven Core Concepts for Creating Compelling Experiences

Lifecycle Stages

  • Newbie – Oboarding focus, learn the ropes, welcome, goals, progress (not just first visit), what is acheivable
  • Regulars – Habit building focus, keep em coming back, fresh content, fresh activities, engagement, challenges
  • Enthusiasts – Mastery. Priority one is exclusivity. Recognition. Impact. Create ways to identify, empower and leverage enthusiasts.

User/Player Styles (and preferred verbs)

  • Co-operative Verbs – Join, Share, Greet, Gift*, Help, Exchange, Trade, Visit*
  • Exploration Verbs – Explore*, View, Read, Curate, Complete, Collect, Search
  • Expressive Verbs (game play and purchase behaviour) – Choose/Pick, Customize, Layout, Design, Dress Up, Show Off, Comment
  • Competive Verbs (with others or just yourself) – Win, Challenge, Taunt, Compare, Show Off, Beat, Brag, Fight, Pass/Overtake

PERMA – Martin Seligman (Positive Psychology)

  • Positive Emotions – trust, security, discovery, delight, fun, visual pleasure, self expression, social serendipity, staying informed, building trust, not having to worry,
  • Engagement Loop (Progress/Accomplishment>Positive Emotion>Call To Action>New Engement/Task) Changes over lifecycle of course.
  • Relationship
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

Progress Mechanics

  • After you have worked out the journey above, ‘light the way’ with progress mechanics.
  • Habits, Surprise, Addiction
  • Game Aesthetics Evoke Emotion (can be positive or negative)
  • Emotion drives action
  • Sustained engagement (aka Flow) balanced with increasing challenge/complexity (balance between anxiety and boredom) as skills develop. Great design principle for games and education.

A Vision For Australian Tech Startup Entrepreneur Ecosystem

To make Australian tech startup entrepreneurs the most hyper-connected and hence most successful community on the planet underpinned by a diverse ecosystem characterised by healthy competition and to achieve this by leveraging our natural assets. These include –

  • 150 languages on the east coast,
  • cultural and timezone proximity to the most populous regions on the planet,
  • force of law built on a legal heritage older than our country
  • reputation for quality and transparency,
  • relative political stability and one of the world’s great democracies
  • progressive education system and high graduate population share,
  • strong traditional connections to the major economic axis (UK/EU, US, Asia)
  • a remarkable legacy of world class success already, much if not most of which is unknown globally
  • ideally placing our home grown world class events, communities and programs like sydstart, fishburners, silicon beach australia,,  startmate, pushstart, ats, pollenizer and others at the core of this new generation of thought leadership infrastructure

Recognise that our past may be riding the sheep’s back or the miner’s back but our future is riding the geek entrepreneur’s back and do all we can to help them succeed globally by

  • removing barriers to investment by super funds and international investors by implementing simple rule changes and mechanisms to allow them to invest small amounts in new entities
  • removing barriers to sharing rewards with co-founders and all stakeholders everywhere by implementing simple tax changes (deferring capital gains tax until the actual cash is received on IPO, trade sale or majority change of control)
  • actively promoting the diversity of entrepreneurs and recognising the many hundreds who have had success in execution and funding internationally

We can’t be the biggest but we can be the best connected.