Archive for February, 2008

Masterclass Series Presents ‘Building a successful e-business’

Last night I attended a presentation by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Realestate.com.au (RE), Simon Baker in Sydney’s MLC Center. You can read the flyer over on BSI’s site.

It was a truely interesting talk that Simon gave. I like short posts so here is what I took out of his talk:

  • In the internet business where you are the “middle man” it’s important to focus on the ones that are paying you. That’s all well and good you say. However, when asked why Simon thought RE has beaten it’s competitor, domain.com.au, Simon stated that it was because RE focused on real estate agents, the people that paid (their customers), and getting the agents to put their properties up and pay for it. Domain.com.au on the other hand spent a lot more time and resources capturing the minds of the end-user. By capturing the agents, RE in turn captured the agents customers.
  • Simplify your products. When Simon started with RE there was over 40 ways of selling the one product, by simplifying and focusing on 1 product RE became easier to understand and sell.
  • Simon was asked “I noticed you didn’t talk about the website, the features of the website or anything like that, why?”. In reply Simon said “And that’s exactly the point.” Beautiful pages, brand new technology is no substitute for paying customers and good reason for people to use the site.

Each of these points sunk home with me because in both of my ventures I’m tackling exactly the same problems.

Maybe this is the time? (Con’t)

The other day I was discussing the anxiety and uncertainty I was feeling because everything was up in the air.

I was then reassured by Adam McFarland who, whilst we’ve never met in person, always sends great support and advice:

Hang in there Scott – I’ve been where you’re at several times (and probably will be there again). All I can say is don’t give up. More than anything else, persistence will inevitably separate you from those who just try once and than give up.

With some strange aligning of the planets or freakish twist of worldly strangeness I read Ben Casnocha’s post Finding the Unexpected: Creative Accidents and began thinking… maybe things are up in the air because they’ve changed and they’ve changed for the better, they’ve changed to continue in the right direction.

Even when people set out to act purposefully and rationally to do something, they wind up doing things they did not intend.

And then I read something on Verve Coaching of extreme relevance whether it’s vision or just plain getting your head down and getting things done with that vision in mind.

When the going gets tough and resignation creeps in, it may seem to you that your vision is dead in the water. It may seem that nothing you can say will ever make a difference. It may seem that the world has rejected your vision completely.

… This is where the discipline of speaking your vision becomes critically important! When you have no external confirmation that your vision is working, no outside indication that the world is accepting your vision, you have to be disciplined about sticking to the game plan! You have to continue to speak your vision, even if it seems pointless.

I’m pretty much settled on the fact that this is all necessary. In fact I’m more than settled – I’m loving it.

Sydney Entrepreneur’s OpenCoffee: Amazon Web Services

This morning the Sydney entrepreneur group for OpenCoffee had a great guest speaker Mike Culver. Mike is an evangelist for Amazon’s Web Services and seeing as I really haven’t investigated Amazon’s new services I decided it would be worth attending.

What Amazon has looks amazing although I’m not sure I need to tackle it just yet. At the end of the day though, it would almost be silly not to take advantage of the scalability and low cost they offer. Mike explained their offering exceptionally well.

This isn’t much of a post, I know, but thanks to the people that organised it.

Maybe this is the time?

Maybe I’m just an optimist? :)

I’ve been working on Don’t Tell (www.donttell.com.au) for almost a year and a bit now. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t given it the full attention it deserves even though I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve also been working on another project for a while now.

I just wish the tires would grip the road. I’ve asked myself a few times this week if it would be easier to just not try to do these things and take the path well traveled. I quickly dismiss that thought, but I’m still left wishing it would all be easier.

On the other hand, perhaps this is all just that moment before everything works? Maybe this is one of those moments you here people talking about where they push on and find victory. I guess I won’t know unless I push on because I know that something will happen just around the bend.

Maybe I’m just an optimist… Maybe I’m just passionate about doing something exciting.

When everythings up in the air

I’m a bit anxious at the moment. Maybe I’m not, I’m not quite sure.

Everything is up and the air. I’m just waiting on a few things to hit the road. Seems like this is always the case at the moment.

Hmmm.

THE most productive week

Last week was the most productive week I’ve had in a long time – even though I’ve only had one operational hand!

I put some of this productivity down to:

  • Having a tighter task list (see my previous post Short, Sharp and Focused)
  • Being able to focus on what I want to do (my start up(s)), rather than tasks that generate immediate income

I put almost all of this productivity down to being away from Sydney in a relaxed environment at my folks place. I don’t know anyone in Adelaide. I’m not really capable of doing anything with my injured collar bone. I don’t have any distractions.

It’s also given me deep thinking time and a fresh breath.  I should break my collar bone more often… except with out the whole breaking of the bones part.

Short, Sharp and Focused

The point of short, sharp and focused training drills is to get you intensely focused on the task at hand (winning a game of football).

With a nudge from Trizle’s How to Complete More Stuff I’ve started applying this method to my list of tasks. I’ve always kept things as small 30 – 120 minute tasks however I’d sometimes let my task list grow too long. Anything over 4 or 5 tasks leads to procrastination. With over 4 or 5 my mind says “That’s a bit to do… I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it…” And procrastination sets in.

So I compose a list of all the tasks I need to do (this could be in the 10s or 100s) then pick the 4 that I need to get done that day.

“Oh four tasks – that’s easy.”

And I’m done by lunch time. Leaving time for relaxing… and getting more done!

Resolved in Recovery

It was simply the strangest thing. Over the past week or so I’ve had my head deep in development mode for a new service to Australians that should be launched tomorrow in beta. Don’t Tell has always been on the back of my mind – it just isn’t moving as quickly as I want it to in the direction I want it to. How can I make it move the right way?

Cut back to Thursday night when I underwent surgery to have my collar bone put back into place by inserting some pins and a plate (I’m now part machine – look out!). Before the operation I’d lost a bit of my interest in Don’t Tell and all my other ideas, I just couldn’t get too motivated. Maybe it was because nothing was really happening, maybe because all my efforts seemed to hit brick walls, maybe this idea just wasn’t meant to work.

I went into surgery at about 7.30pm – 8pm and went under a general anaesthetic. I was knocked out about half way through a conversation with one of the surgeons…

Only to awake in a different room, with a nurse present (no surgeons), trying to finish that conversation! I realised the silliness of this and stopped talking, just lying there recovering and steadying my mind and breathing.

It was at this time that suddenly an entire deal structure, product channel and way of pushing Don’t Tell forward sprang into my mind. The whole thing! After surgery I couldn’t sleep because I was so busy writing everything down.

My enthusiasm and motivation is renewed, let’s see how it all goes…


Scott Middleton
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