People Watching

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve never been ‘people watching’, then start up blog strongly recommends a session. For a lot of reasons it’s a cool thing all entrepreneurs should do. For one, all our revered entrepreneurs are champion trend spotters. And they spot these trends a long time before they are reported in the Sunday newspaper lift outs.

What’s next?

Go some where busy, go somewhere where there are zillions of transactions, go somewhere sans commerce, go where families hang out, go somewhere singles hangout, look for the subgroups, watch people looking at shelves in stores – guess their decision process, see if this process is the same for all or different for all, see what they wear, see how they move, how did they get there, where are they from, bring a notepad with you and write down ideas, go places you’ve never been before…. Watch people, guess their motivations, view their life in action and then we’ll be the ones gaining life experience…. Just go and watch.


The funny thing about our world is that we are all in it every day, but very few of us are actually paying any attention to it. Step off the stage and become the director. Make it a habit to pay attention to what is going on in our world.

As entrepreneurs and marketers we are lucky. We can do our homework everywhere we go, and our start ups are the key beneficiaries.


How to ‘Pitch’ workshop

Below is an elevator pitch ‘workshop’ I gave for the ‘Agents of change‘ entrepreneurs club of  Melbourne University. The video below is the one of 6 x 10 minute videos. The first (the one below) includes an ‘example’ pitch I did for rentoid – then has ‘alot’ of questions and answers. The last of the videos, workshop 6 – all of which are here has some ideas on great pitcing practice.

It’s kind of long, but the largely due to the discussion afterwards!


Media diet – startup style

As promoted in the 4 hour work week a media diet is a nice way save time. For entrepreneurs a different type of media diet is required.

A business trends diet

Here’s how – avoid all business related articles as they pertain to new strategies & trends.

Here’s why – We already know enough to be successful. Our problem is doing the stuff.

Unless we are just starting in the business world – we’ve heard every strategy and the fact is that most ‘new’ business ideas are simple derivatives of business theories which have been around since the birth of commerce. Cables channels and tech stuff is the worst. Who’s got the time to read 86 posts from techcrunch every day? – not me.

We ought just trust our judgment and make the call that we know enough to get moving…and the rest we’ll learn on the job…. So in the spirit of this blog entry, ignore the articles you were about to read and get back to your stuff.

Inventing the future

Check out this vision from 1969 I found on youtube.


Sure the usability is different, but conceptually it’s pretty accurate – even with the touch screen. It probably seemed fanciful at the time, even ridiculous or pointless. But people with vision created the infrastructure that we rely on today.

Maybe your startup has it’s detractors, it might just be too much for people to comprehend. What you can be sure of is that plenty of the ideas which seem ridiculous now, will eventuate and become part of our everday lives. Our job as entrpreneurs is to ingore the opinions and invent the futre.

Mass customization

Here’s a few categories or Industries which have been revolutionized by Mass Customization:


T-shirts (Threadless & Neighborhoodies)

TV (Youtube & Joost)

Handbags (Elemental Threads)

Journalism (Blogs & podcasting)

Newspapers (RSS)

Job Seeking (Aggregation & feeds)

Book publishing (Lulu)

Tourism (the web in general)

Luxury goods (fractional ownership)

Music (itunes)

Networking (facebook & social apps)


In fact there’s just too many to mention.


But the real question is this: If it hasn’t hit your industry yet, why not and what are you doing about it?

What if email came first?

What if email was invented before the telephone? It would have been viewed as a ‘reasonably’ innovative business tool. Better than traditional mail certainly. Also better than a telegraph message.  We would have become quite reliant on it given the advantages it has over other forms of written communication.


Imagine if the phone came next, after email. Imagine the conversations we would have had as we spread this idea and new product virally…. just stop and imagine for a second what the conversation might have been like the first you were told about ‘the telephone’:


“There’s this amazing new service called a telephone! It’s a killer app. So cool. Each phone can be directly connected to another phone just by dialing numbers. Then, you can have a discussion with the person at the other end – in real time. A live conversation. No back and forth required. No confusion in what the written words mean. You can hear peoples emotion… It’s really great. You’ve got to get one. It’s so much better than email!”


So why are we emailing people when we can call them? Is it but covering, fear of direct conversation, laziness?


Startup blog says. Call first, communicate directly. Pretend the phone is the new technology.