I’ve just concluded an annual series of eBusiness lectures I’ve been presenting at UWA Business School for the MBA program since 2005. ‘Getting away from the day job‘ to concentrate on the more academic side of ebusiness has always allowed me to think through what I am doing, as well as try to present some practical advice to the students taking the course. As a former teacher, I still enjoy the dynamic of the classroom.
The best bits are inviting local ebusiness leaders into the class to tell their stories. This year, they represented small and large ebusinesses, private and public, old and new. There were some gems of advice from these fellow practitioners, and the class really appreciated their insights.
The Chetty brothers, Craig and Jeremy, made for popular presenters – their infectious enthusiasm for their Student Edge business (now in its 11th year) was plain to see. “Just get out there, if you have an idea” implored CEO Craig, “you have nothing to lose.”
Sam Birmingham (he of Startup weekend, Pollenizer, PhDo and CoderDojo) said of startups looking to pitch “most of them should be pitching to clients, not investors“, making the point that by just getting out there, you learn from your early customers, and don’t have to bet the bank (or other peoples’ money) to do so. In fact, you may not need investors til later, if at all. This gets around the current funding problem that seems to exist among the Perth startup community. It also echoes Amir Bhide’s Bootstrap Financing paper of the early 1990s (by far the best thing I ever read on my MBA) about just getting out there, because only by being out there will you be able to take advantage of the opportunities that exist (which you would have no idea of knowing were out there til you get out there!).
Becky Lee, of startup Virtualiis, and Chris Baudia, GeoMoby, wowed the class with their innovation. Stephen Langsford of Quickflix, Graeme Speak of GoPC and Mark Woschnak of rent.com.au, impressed with their perennial good nature and positive attitude, pitted as they are against major competitors with deep pockets. Marcus Tan of HealthEngine, and Claire McGregor (formerly of Agworld), both shared their experience in ebusiness, and everyone was incredibly giving of their time. These people also give back in huge amounts to the startup community in Perth, running events, talking with startups, having various cups of coffee and being the leaders they are.
Let’s watch their futures with interest. All of them have ‘got out there and done it’. The other road was easier, but they all choose the one they’re on. They, and many like them, are an inspiration. Thank you.