Full moon over the Pacific Ocean. A magical compilation of 5,898 photos:
I’m looking forward to seeing how Sydney’s spectacular harbor transforms itself tonite with the #NYESYD festivities. I snapped this picture on the harbor recently.
As the year closes, I want to thank all those of you who have visited this blog: over 1 million visits — a huge month on month increase. I will endeavor to post more regularly during 2013 as there is clearly strong interest in the various topics I curate.
I’m a big fan of Kickstarter as it’s empowering entrepreneurs to come up with a whole range of interesting products that may not have seen the light of day through traditional funding mechanisms.
I’ve personally backed a Kickstarter project called Light by Moore’sCloud. The product is billed as:
Beautiful, intelligent, connected light. Open hardware, open software, endless possibilities for play and delight.
Not only are they developing a fun product, but they are pioneering the way intellectual property is distributed as well. As the team says in their latest update; they are an organization dedicated to sharing all of our intellectual property as freely and as widely as possible.
I caught up with Mark Pesce, the Sydney-based serial entrepreneur behind this project and asked him a few questions:
>What prompted you to build this?
It’s something I’ve attempted several times over the last decades, but only now have we gotten to high-performance (what used to be called ‘workstation class’) computing at an incredibly affordable price point – around $12 in components. It opens the door to entirely new design methodology. And it’s why we’re named Moore’sCloud.
> What is the biggest challenge you face in getting the product to market (not including fundraising)?
There are a lot of subtle UX issues involved in creating a device that has a lot of interiority; how do you present that depth in a way that is not confronting to people without deep technical skills?
> When can I expect my own Light – in the Xmas hamper?
We hope to have them rolling off the assembly line in May.
> Is this the first of a range of products you plan on releasing – what else do you have in mind?
Christmas lights, for one thing. And room lighting. But we see ourselves as getting a toe into the pond of the Internet of Things. We’ll learn a lot that can be applied to other possible forms and appliances.
Thanks Mark! I am certainly looking forward to playing with the product.
They’ve currently got 1,721 backers with $202k pledged towards their $700k goal. 13 days to go – sign on and make a pledge!
I will be Entrepreneur Coach to the teams for the duration of the program. I got to spend some time with them at lunch time and I shared with them my thoughts on the what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and building a meaningful startup. My talk was predicated on my Triple-Helix of Entrepreneurial Success thesis.
I used the analogy of a space shuttle (a rocket doesn’t quite work because it breaks up into various parts and only the top module re-enters the atmosphere). The key motivators, the WHY, is represented by the engine of the shuttle and these are what drive the individuals and the team to take on the challenge of building a new business. When things go pear-shaped, when they are having those inevitable moments of doubt, that is when they should draw on their motivations, which will help them build resilience.
The shuttle’s fuel consist of the core ingredients needed for any startup to be a success – capability, team, market, need and finances. These are what keep the shuttle powering ahead and it is important to achieve the right mix of ingredients to ensure the engine works efficiently and effectively.
The real differentiator is the triple-helix – the operating system of the space shuttle. This is what can put a startup on the path to success. Having all three parts of the helix at work: FOCUS, ACCOUNTABILITY & BALANCE, will ensure the shuttle has an optimized journey and successfully achieves its mission.
Later on in the day I spent a few hours one on one with the teams and was excited to see them working through a range of the inevitable startup decision points already.
Congrats to the teams and I wish them all the best for the summer.
The teams are:
WeSit: A high-tech version of the Babysitters Club that connects a trusted networks of parents with babysitters.
TheBestDay: The Best Day is a social planning tool for the web and phone that makes it easy for a group to agree on a time and place for an activity.
VIC: We have designed a robotic kit that is controlled through common interfaces that we believe will revolutionise the toy market in Australia
Muro: Muro is a context-based photography platform that allows people at the same event to connect with each other through image sharing.
SnapDisco: We’ve built a visual search engine for shoes — shoppers find local stores selling their perfect shoe, businesses pay for analytics.
Don’t Panic Watch co: A watch that watches you. An automatic panic button built into a watch to detect medical emergencies such as falls and heart attacks.
Feedback: Our startup is a smartphone application that allows users to raise money for charity by completing market research surveys on the go
CloudHerd: CloudHerd will be a business that offers value for livestock sellers and producers by providing advanced inventorying systems and auctions that interface with current legal requirements, such as the NLIS in Australia. It will provide the in depth features necessary to move a lot of the inspections and other typical livestock transaction business tasks online.
This article on The University of Sydney website covers a number of activities I am involved in including Incubate and the Commonwealth Bank’s Unleashing Innovation Program.
My favorite quote:
We want to make sure aspiring entrepreneurs at the University have every possible advantage moving forward into their future careers.
It includes some quotes from me on why I see this to be an interesting area:
The next big technology wave looks like it will be an extension of the enterprise software market. Leeb-Du Toit thinks Australia is well placed to be at the forefront of smart enterprise: the development of incredibly fast systems which can process large swathes of data, to drive decisions in real time.
“It will be driven beyond cloud through new computer architectures that can achieve greater man-machine symbiosis with computers doing far more heavy lifting, so that knowledge workers can transform data into action in real time,” he says.
I’ve been advising the Student Union at The University of Sydney on the setup of Incubate, a campus-wide startup development program. This initiative is designed to assist students get their ventures off the ground and will commence over the summer.
The launch event for Incubate is taking place at 5h30pm on the 20th September in the foyer of the New Law Building on the Darlington campus. I’ll be chairing a panel on the innovation shift from Silicon Valley to other global centres. Panelists include Matt Barrie (Freelancer), Nikki Durkin (99dresses) and Matt Byrne (Curicon).
Come on over – it will be a fun event.
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.
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