A fresh website for a new adventure

There are times in your life when you just know you need a change. A change in job. A change in house. Maybe a change in town or country.

Change is good. Change is all around us. Change is the only constant.

Three years ago, standing in front of a UWA graduating class at Hackett Hall, I implored those sat before me, at certain times in their careers and life, to go ‘jump off a ledge‘.

At the time, I had left my previous job with no job to go to. Within a few weeks I chose to spend an enjoyable three years working for a federal government fund that helps startups and new innovations commercialise.

I learned a lot in that job, met hundreds and hundreds of local innovators and entrepreneurs. Within them I selected 9 to Canberra for money, and 6 returned with funds ranging from $300K to $600K each.

For these six, it was a game changer. As much as it was fantastic to see them funded, it’s been even more amazing to watch them commercialise and take off. I’ve kept in close touch with all of them since.

For the others I met, it was a pity I could not spend more time with them. If they weren’t going through the program, and were not suitable, eligible or competitive enough, I had to drop my interaction with them.

There were many I felt I could have helped. Now I can.

As I am out again, on my own, having jumped off another ledge, I am looking to choose who I work with, and what to do. Not have it chosen for me.

I think I’ve reached the age (closer to 60 than 50) that I want to spend time with interesting organisations and great people, where I can add value.

Damburst

So, my trusted Damburst blog (this site) has had a refresh, thanks for the efforts of a wonderful local designer, Ana O’Brien, who whipped it up in a couple of weeks.

The name ‘Damburst‘ came to me three years ago shortly before that UWA speech. I was walking in the Northern Territories on holiday with my family, and the line ‘better you burst the dam before the dam bursts on you‘ came to me.

I liked the ring of it. The domain – damburst.com.au – was available, and the metaphor of pressure building up on the dam walls for years and years – unnoticed – before a small crack brings the whole thing crashing down was apt.

Digital disruption is like that. The incumbents (be they a newspaper, film company, DVD delivery business or postage service) can still look like solid businesses for many years, while at the same time their market is being eaten away from under them.

One day they wake up and the whole thing has seemingly disappeared. Tip – don’t let that happen to you! Keep looking, especially if things seem to good to be true. They usually are.

So I am looking to assist companies that are serious about dealing with, and taking advantage of, digital disruption and transformational forces.

The aim of the site is to try describe who I am, and what I can do for organisations. I would like to develop a classic ‘portfolio career’ where I do a bit of everything, have perhaps half a dozen clients on the go that I am working with, sit on some boards, and do the odd speaking engagement.

We’ll see what pans out. At the moment, I have enough work lined up for the next couple of months already, I’ve already been billing clients, and have half a dozen I am working with.

I’m back writing for Business News (a fortnightly column on local startups) as well as full on managing Startup News and co-hosting the Startup West podcast.

I had made a couple of angel investments in local startups, and I will be working more closely with them. I’ve also joined 808 Ventures as a venture partner. Funding potential scale ups is part of what I want to do. The levels of capital for early stage tech businesses in WA is still woeful.

Digital. Strategy. Advisory.

I have kept what I do deliberately broad – some of my clients are single operator startups looking to commercialise or tech businesses entering a new market or raising money; others are ASX-listed tech businesses seeking to explore some new options; others are local councils wanting for a report into something or other…

If I can help you, or if you know of some one or some organisation I can help, do please let me know. I have seen everything in the tech/businesses and digital space these past two decades. Read the books. Got the DVD. Worn the T-shirt.

My approach is to have a chat with the owner or CEO, see what gaps I can fill, and get in there and roll my sleeves up.

I’ve jumped off the latest ledge. Let’s see what’s out there…

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About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business aussiehome.com, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran reiwa.com. In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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