Scribbles from a note pad

Yesterday I was cleaning the remnants of 2012 from my desk when I found an old note pad. I was flicking through and found some thoughts and ideas I had written down during meetings, while listening to some talks and just reading articles. While many of them are ‘oldies’ I still think some are worth sharing and creating a digital foot print for.

– Being busy is not the same as being effective.

– We should begin every project as if there is no budget.

– 1 billion dollars laid flat in $100 bills would fill a 1 meter deep 1300 meter square space. (Swimming pool?)

– To get a good answer, we need to ask a great question.

– The average Australian has 1 testicle (be careful with averages).

– Get T-Shaped people to work in your business. A broad set of experiences. Arms that reach wide into the world. People that can go left or right. people who are centered and balanced.

– It’s worth asking “why” 5 times if we want to get to the real reason of something.

– There are only 7 major plot lines to a story: Overcome the monster, Rags to riches, The quest, Voyage and return, Farce, Tragedy, Re-birth. Even our startup needs to choose one of these.


The electrician

I know a person who runs a very large electrical contracting business. He has a staff of around 50 people and has been running the business for more than 30 years. He once told me of the story of what got him started. This story is not verbatim, but it is worth sharing here.

‘I remember when I was an apprentice electrician. Everyday in the lunch room the fully qualified sparkys would whinge about how well the boss was doing. That the boss made money off their labour, and that they should go out on their own, take a risk and start their own electrical contracting businesses. But other than the whinging, most of them would never do anything about it. They’d just come back to work everyday and tell the same story of how they should quit their job and startup their own firm. None of them ever did. I wasn’t even finished my 4 year apprenticeship and I was sick to death of hearing the same old story. So I promised myself that I would go and start my own business, fail, go broke and get it out of my system while I was still young. I didn’t really care about running my own business, I just didn’t want to end up becoming a whinger like those other blokes.

So I did. I went out on my own and started. It turns out I became the opposite of those guys in every way. I didn’t whinge, I went out to fail, and failed at failing. Thirty years later I am running a multi-million dollar business. It’s amazing what you can become if you are sure of who you don’t want to become.’


Do you believe?

Mick Liubinskas told me an amazing story about belief when we caught up recently. I just had to share it here.

‘A journalist was sent to Niagra falls to cover a a dare devil high wire artist who had claimed he would walk across the Niagra falls on a wire. The journalist arrived and met said dare devil and spoke to him. Then the dare devil commenced the task.

He completed it without fail and upon return the journalist congratulated him, but then went on to say that he thought it was a fluke. That he thought he was really just lucky, and that he did not believe he would be so fortunate if he tried again. So the dare devil then grabbed a chair, called over his assistant and asked her to sit in it. He then carried her in the chair across the Niagra falls to prove it wasn’t just luck.

The journalist, then apologized, and said that now he really believes. The stunt man then retorted, if you really believe you’ll get in the chair.’

You might be wondering how this story relates to startups or your business. But Mick was telling it in relation to Venture Capitalist and selling ideas. I thought it was a great analogy to share with people who claim they are with you when you feel there is some doubt.