Silicon Valley Is The Ultimate Entrepreneur Coach

In response to Jess Gardner’s article in last week’s BRW magazine, I was invited to pen a Letter to the Editor. It was published today. Here it is in its entirety:

Silicon Valley is the ultimate entrepreneur coach. It is synonymous with two core tenets for entrepreneurial success: focus and accountability. Palo Alto’s adrenalin-filled atmosphere focuses the minds of entrepreneurs.

For those who get funded, their investors hold them absolutely accountable.

Silicon Valley is also a state of mind. Being an entrepreneur there garners immediate respect.

Palo Alto was ground zero for the hippie movement and this points to its transformational role. It has reinvented itself a multitude of times as technology trends have shifted.

Within this transformational state of mind, Steve Jobs created the world’s most valuable company. Check in, and be an entrepreneur.

Not too long ago, Australia transformed itself into a sporting nation. From paddock to Olympic podium, we stand proud as a nation.

Jessica Gardner’s article points to a country ready for another change.

A generation aspires to be entrepreneurial but is also asking itself hard questions. The start-up scene in Australia is shifting but still resembles a cottage industry.

It’s time we focused again. It’s time to hold ourselves accountable and to transform into a nation of entrepreneurs. One focus, one nation, working together we can do it.

Check in, and be an Australian entrepreneur.

 

Silicon Valley Beckons, But (Some) Aussies Prefer A Blended Approach

One of the most balanced articles I’ve read on the “should I stay, should I go – to Silicon Valley” debate was published today in Business Review Weekly.

Well done Jess Gardner – solid research.

This part of her article resonates most for me and it’s solid Cannon-Brookes advice:

Atlassian’s path shows it is possible to build a successful global operation from scratch in Australia but Cannon-Brookes says the company has also benefited from a blended approach. He has spent about two years in total, out of the past six, at Atlassian’s San Francisco digs (the company also has an office in The Netherlands and developers in Poland).

“I would definitely tell them [start-up founders] to spend time in the US,” he says. “It doesn’t need to be a pitchforks at 20 paces kind of a thing. We definitely gain as entrepreneurs, as a business, a tonne from having spent a lot of time there .?.?. I’ve learned a lot but that doesn’t mean that I don’t bring those learnings back and apply them down here and vice versa.”

Entrepreneurs: Be inspired, travel and do great things!

His point is that in the early stages, entrepreneurs shouldn’t regard the decision as a prerequisite step on the start-up path.

China Takes Over The United States

I started blogging in 1998. Yes, it was a little different than it is today. We had to do all the backend coding ourselves as there were no blogging platforms.

However, up until today one thing had remained constant. Far and above any other country, the United States had dominated the traffic to my blog posts. In fact, compared to any other country it had been at least a 10x difference.

Today this has changed. Over the last 6 months I’ve noticed more and more traffic coming in from China. And now, today, for the first time in 14 years of putting my thoughts out there, China traffic has pipped the United States.

This reflects the growing reality that China, and the Asia Pacific region in general, is entering a phase of web domination. It will be most interesting to see how this changes the way we interact with the web – will factors like trust, privacy and openness shift on the web, how will such shifts affect offline behavior patterns?

In any event I welcome my friends from China and look forward to interacting more with this region!

Photo credit: Shreyans Banshali

The Rise and Rise of the Age of the Entrepreneur

As Mark Hawthorne points out in the Sydney Morning Herald today, entrepreneur used to be a bad word in Australia.

Much has changed and as I wrote in my last post, entrepreneurial fervour is at its zenith in Australia. But not just in that country. We are seeing massive increases in activity in many parts of the world – Africa is on fire, China is booming, Malaysia is massively supportive of the entrepreneurial culture and even countries like Singapore are raising the entrepreneurial bar.

I’ve been in business for 30 years, the first 15 saw me get to the point of being a corporate lawyer in a multinational, the second 15 have been a living, breathing, hell of an entrepreneurial ride and I’m very grateful to all those I’ve interacted with along the way for making it such a blast!

I don’t want to dampen anyone’s entrepreneurial spirit, but choosing this path is not always roses. You will have massive moments of doubt, you will open an empty wallet, you will face naysayers along the way, you get the picture. I’ve not only seen all these aspects personally , but also in my work as an executive coach and entrepreneurial mentor.

However if you achieve the entrepreneurial triple helix of Focus, Accountability and Balance (FAB) then your journey will be a far more enjoyable one, be more likely to see you achieve your goals and arrive at your destination in one piece. I’ll be writing more about the FAB triple helix in a future post, so stay tuned.

ASIC Pours Cold Water On Crowdfunding

Australia faces a particularly acute dilemma. Entrepreneurial fervour is at its zenith. However, sources of funding for such activities remain in short supply.

In other parts of the world, solutions are being found. Crowdfunding is performing a critical role in democratising funding for interesting, creative products that may have had difficulty getting off the ground through more traditional forms of financing such as bank loans, angels or venture capital. The United States is embracing this by passing legislation to empower such activities.

But in Australia what do the regulators do? They issue a warning that crowdfunding could lead to fines and jail time?

Brilliant marketing move! If crowdfunding wasn’t already on every Australia entrepreneur’s mind before, it sure is now.