Posts Tagged 'scott middleton'

7 Things I Learnt In Getting To The First Invoice For infome

infome sent out its first invoice the other day. In getting to this point through I’ve learnt a few things, I thought I’d share them:

  • Do something useful. It seems obvious, but it is so easy to get caught up in cool ideas and grand schemes. All you need to do is do something useful for someone. Businesses want more customers and customers want a good deal.
  • Keep it simple stupid. If you’re going to be useful, people need to be able to use you. It’s tough for them to use you if they don’t even understand what you’re doing in the first place. For businesses, “we bring more customers to your door” and for customers “we get you a good deal on lunch”.
  • Get yourself noticed. Placing massive red lunchboxes with our website on them around North Sydney, often accompanied by a glamorous blonde girl handing out discounts, has played a huge role in getting to this point. By making ourselves stick-out, we made people double take, point fingers and take notice of us. Don’t be afraid to be a bit outrageous. (I loved it when I put the boxes next to some suits handing out pamphlets and the suits didn’t even get a look-in from passers by.)
  • Talk, talk, talk. The more people we talked with the more we improved the business model and the offering. Go and talk to someone. Now.
  • Stick at it. It’s easy to hang up the boots when you’re facing a bit of adversity. It’s easy to move onto the next exciting thing. I’m learning to push through these sorts of things, pushing through is leading to rewards.
  • It’s all about the journey. I’ve been saying to myself, I should have reached this point earlier. However, the more I look back, the more I trace my steps, the more I realise that each and every step along the way has been essential in getting to this point.
  • It’s an internal battle. What’s stopping you from getting that next customer? What’s stoppping you from looking at new partnerships? What’s stopping you? Well, you. You are both the greatest asset and the greatest obstacle you have.

These are the things that have stood out the most. I hope you can take something away from them.


The Perfect Gift for a Man

To me, becoming a Man (as opposed to a man) is an endless journey where there is always something new to learn. A Man aligns his actions with his dreams, takes responsibility for himself and others, and moves forward. A Man grows beyond just an awareness and understanding of himself and comes to an awareness and understanding of others; not as things in his world to possess or use, but free individuals in their own world with their own dreams and pursuits. A Man gives the world everything he has got and gives those around him the freedom he hopes to receive.

I am lucky to have supportive parents who challenge me and encourage me to make my own decisions. When I was younger they were worried that I would burn myself on the stove, so Dad turned to my grandfather who said “let him burn his hand, he’ll learn his lesson and be more careful next time”. I did end up burning myself and I certainly learnt an important lesson. That’s the thing about Dad, he makes sure I consider each option (even though he tends to bend his advice towards his preferred outcome) but will always let me burn my hand even if it means picking up the pieces afterwards. I believe this approach has helped me make the first steps to becoming a Man.

That isn’t to say I make the right decisions. Boy have I made some bad decisions! When I was 18 my family moved to Adelaide and I decided to stay in Sydney and move out with my girlfriend with whom I had a chaotic relationship. It was both the best and the worst decision I’ve made. It enabled me to pursue the opportunities Sydney offered however it accentuated the problems in our relationship. Moving out with my girlfriend was a mistake I had to make to learn about people, what I wanted from life (or didn’t want), how to handle myself (or not handle myself), and that its important not to let things linger when a decision has to be made.

The morning after my parents left I was driving up to my new house to go to work and my journey took me under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was HUGE. It struck me for the first time that my decision to move out was HUGE. I started crying. To this day the bridge, to me, is symbolic of tough decisions. It is such an inspirational yet intimidating structure. I love it.

I guess I’ve been lucky because of my parent’s guidance and because I’ve always had a sense of direction. As a kid I learnt how to write software for computers and soon began to believe that my purpose in life was to be a great software developer. I relentlessly pursued my dream and developed a globally available mobile game when I was fifteen. It wasn’t until I took a job as a software developer straight out of school that I realised it wasn’t for me; I enjoyed creating things I believed in. I still believe this and am relentlessly pursuing my dream by running my own business. Whether my dream will change again, I don’t know. What I am sure of is that the pursuit of each dream will lead me to discover if it’s right for me. It’s win-win. It’s all part of the journey.

I’ve had a couple of failures along the way and these have forced me to push my boundaries. I don’t see failure as a negative thing; it forces me to closely evaluate myself and the way I do things. A mentor of mine who was teaching me about sales once said to me “you need to work out what’s in it for them”. This has had a profound effect on me and I’ve learned that when you have an idea but no money, your ability to inspire others is your only currency. It has also opened my eyes to an alternative way of dealing with people in general; I think more about what’s in it for them.

The other night another mentor and friend advised me to “accept that people will always act in their own self interest.” Whilst it might seem like he undervalues the good in people, simply accepting this as fact has led me to form better relationships with people. For years I’ve failed to realise that everyone around me is just trying to get the best out of life, just like me. Once I realised this, I came to see that behaviour that I might consider to be negative (friends not returning calls, people pushing in cues) might just be my misinterpretation of people who are just like me and caught up in their own world. Life overwhelms everyone. Coming to accept this has given me a greater sense of freedom.

Just recently I’ve met a fantastic girl who has given me an even greater understanding of others and myself. She has helped me transcend me and my ego. She challenges my world view and some of the beliefs I didn’t even know I had. Recently, she poked so hard that I came to realise that whenever something goes wrong in my life, I use a coping mechanism where I turn negatives into positives to inflate my ego. For example, I recently failed an assignment and my immediate reaction was “what idiots they clearly aren’t as intelligent as I am” and literally felt larger: my ego + 10. It was only thanks to my girl that I came to notice my habit. By acknowledging it I can now chose to apply it or not.

I’m actually having difficulty writing this next bit. All of these little events along my journey to being a Man have led to one moment. The moment my Dad said “I really think you’ve become a Man.”

I don’t think this is the end though.

This has been written for the Perfect Gift for a Man initiative.

1 Year Of Scott Middleton

I was just showing a mate my blog and realised I’ve been blogging for 1 year and 7 days now.


Reflecting for a moment I ask myself, “what is this blog about?”

It’s to record my thoughts and experiences on life and creating something that gives me freedom and hopefully makes someone’s life a lot more exciting.

Onwards and upwards!

My Pain In The Ass (PITA) Tendencies

It’s hard to admit your weaknesses and failings to yourself. It’s even harder to post them up on the web and make them publicly available. In an effort to reduce my pain-in-the-ass (PITA) tendencies and begin working on removing/controlling them, I’m going to post them up here.

Firstly, I read about PITA over on Leadership Ship @ LeadershipNOW which asks the question What Are Your PITA Tendencies?.

After doing the exercise I wasn’t surprised to find out that, according to PITA, I have a tendency to be high maintenance, stubborn, picky, occasionally inflexible, self-centered, spoiled and oblivious to how others receive me.

Now that I think about it, according to me, that’s what I would say about myself. I’m glad I did this exercise, it bought things further out into the light of self-awareness.

Guess I should buy the book. Until then, I think I might try and attack each tendency and post up my solutions.

Can you be too enthusiastic?

I’m easily excitable and so I get very enthusiastic very easily.

When it comes to new ideas, a new sport, a new type of food, a new concept or even just a new way of eating tuna I get excited. As long as it’s new I’m excited and enthusiastic.

I’m beginning to think that this may be a problem sometimes, especially in sales situations.

Being to “let’s get in there and get it all done tomorrow” just because that’s the way I am may come across to potential customers as needing their business or help. I have recently found that this can be countered if you pepper the enthusiasm with a statement making it clear that you’re happy to take it or leave it, the games changes and it changes almost immediately.

I’ve even had an experienced salesman say to me, “Scott, just be more patient.”

So I’ve got two questions at the moment

  1. Should I tempter my enthusiasm more when many people say it is a great quality?
  2. How do you make it clear to a customer/employee/partner that you can take it or leave it? I ask this because once they see this they tend to be more interested and willing to get involved.

Arnie on Focus

I was watching Pumping Iron featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and, even if you’re not trying to put 10kg on like I am, Arnie is one inspiring guy.

His focus is amazing. He clears everything out of his life leading up to a body building event and focuses only on it. Even to the point where he says he did not visit his father’s funeral because it would distract him from preparation for an upcoming event. I think this is a huge factor in him winning 7 times.

It leaves a tough question in my mind about focusing on studying vs one of my two startups. The benefits of focusing on one and only one are obvious. Perhaps focusing on different ones at different times of the year will still yield some fruit?

Scott Middleton
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