Beer is the new wine

I recently had some beers and a meal at a place called Little Creatures dinning hall in Melbourne Australia.

For the uninitiated, Little Creatures is a craft beer which has it’s origins in Australia and has recently opened a flagship ‘dinning hall’ – seen below.


They’ve simply taken this to a new level. I’m not taking about the fact that they have weird and groovy beer flavours, all naturally brewed. I’m talking about the way they take you on a personal journey with their service.

My favourtie was the beer education programme. They have a ‘pony show’ – I don’t think it’s called that, but it is what I’ll call it for this post.

You get a taste in little groovy pony glasses of all their different beers, then choose one you like. One of their ‘Little Creatures Beer Experts’ comes and sits down on your table with you and they explain all the different types of beers. A real sit down for 10 minutes. A rare treat when the usual sitiation is waiting 10 minutes for crappy service in bars and restuarants. They teach you how to taste each beer and the slight nuances of each. They even provide an idea what type of people generally like the different types.


It’s really nice and fun. I even heard the word “sessionable” to describe a beer – They invent some nice jargon to make you feel part of a tribe. Cool.

No need to advertise this little venture. We’ll do that for them….

And this is what cool startups are doing in retail.

Business relationships & startups

Entrepreneurs must build all types of relationships.

  • Relationships with our suppliers and the value chain
  • Relationships with our buyers & resellers
  • Relationships with our staff and business partners / investors
  • Relationships with our audience & evangelists

In fact, when we are small have little or no revenue, the only thing we can do is have conversations and build relationships. These will lead to action and revenue. While having dinner with a colleague the other night, John Colbert of Corporate Edge training he gave me his view on relationships.

He said:

There are two important factors in relationships – frequency & proximity.

How frequently are we engaging the other person? Where frequency, is any type of conversation, communication or interaction.

And what is our proximity to this person? Where proximity pertains to the physical closeness and real world interactions we have together. Do we meet in person? Are we getting to know each other without the use of technology? Simply meeting in the same location?

The more of the above two things we have the stronger our relationships come. If we for a moment think of who we have strong relationships with, we’ll see we have both Frequency and Proximity.

The reality is humans want to deal with people they like, trust and know. This is what relationships build.

So if one of our important business relationships (those listed above) is flagging, maybe we should have more frequent interactions, get closer or do both.

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!


Best Pitch Ever

London Advertising Agency Prima, were pitching for the Ford Motor Co advertising account. This was in the halcyon days of advertising circa 1969.

They decided to do the following:

They dismantled a Ford Escort car. Took it up the stairs piece by piece, part by part and then put it back together in the board room. This was where the pitch was to take place. The people who did this were not mechanics. It was the people who would be working on the Ford account. The creatives and the account managers. The idea was entirely conceived and executed by the people who would be working with Ford on their advertising.

When the Ford people arrived for the pitch. They were flummoxed to say the least. And immediately asked how they got the car in the building?  Given there was no obvious way for the actual car to get in the building, let alone up the stairs!

The pitch then commenced with the Prima advertising team telling the story. Which no doubt included some of the trials and tribulations of dismantling & building a car piece by piece. But more so, showed all the intangibles which ultimately won them the account:

Passion, Ideas, Creativity, work ethic…

And a willingness to stretch themselves as a partner and an understanding of what Ford do, beyond that which any other advertising agency could have.

This is the benchmark. What will your next business pitch look like?

Ahead of their time

Here’s a meme from the Cluetrain Manifesto guys.  It was written some 9 years ago and still rings true. The predictions herein are still evolving today, and yet some corporations still haven’t got it.

Start ups out there; invest 5 minutes with the ideas below, embrace them and you’ll be well ahead of the game.

[slideshare id=7027&doc=cluetrain-28722&w=425]

Why everything matters

Here’s a list of things which actually do matter:


Our diction and vernacular

Our personal presentation & dress code (Doesn’t mean a suit, but to wear what we wear well, have a sense of style)

The way we engage people and treat them

Our smile and attitude

How neat  and organized our workspace is

Being on time

Our posture

Knowing our next steps every day

Making sure our technology is in working order


All these things and others, matter all the time. Not just the day you have to do it right, have the big VC presentation or the day you’re meeting your biggest customer. 


And here’s why – they’ll become habit. Good habits. And when things are habit, they’re performed much the same way – time and time again.


If we do them well when it doesn’t matter, we’ll do them well when it does.