Here's what I learned this week...
OK, I know you're probably at work and shouldn't be reading this right now, but it's been a hectic week, and I've had a great time meeting with startups and innovators all over Perth...
Sure, Perth isn't the world's biggest innovation hotspot, but over the past week I've spoken to founders that have started, or are on the cusp of launching, really innovative businesses around:
1. Virtual reality in the medical field 2. A holographic information display 3. On-line product sales 4. An incubator for high social impact businesses 5. Technology to help people mine safely beneath large water tables.
I'll be doing short profiles and interviews with some of these founders over the next few weeks. It's all supercool stuff and they obviously all have some form of Intellectual Property that needs to be protected, otherwise they wouldn't be talking to me, right? They're from disparate sectors of the economy, but the one thing they all have in common is: they've taken ACTION.
Here's why: Your idea is worthless. Your patent is worthless. Your business plan is worthless. It's only once you have taken action, and receive validation from others, that your idea becomes valuable. It's only then that your intellectual property becomes valuable. It's only by taking ACTION that you can get feedback, can realize that perhaps you're on an unprofitable route, and pivot to something more profitable. That would never happen if you only planned it out in your head. Your mind is no substitute for reality - we're not living in the Matrix (yet).
Am I saying that you shouldn't draw up a business plan? Or play around with ideas? Or file patents for your concepts? Hell no. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that a spreadsheet or a list of clients is going to make you rich - it's only once you've taken ACTION that those things all of sudden become massively valuable. It's only once you have received validation by unrelated people, by people who aren't friends and family, it's only then that your patent, brand, design, copyright, trade secrets become valuable.
Enough preaching. Here's what I learned, saw, and experienced this week:
1. This is the coolest opening scene of any movie, ever created. No, they didn't really crash the car, and they found the original Lambo 46 years later.
2. Turns out I've forgotten how much I love writing. I find writing massively soothing and a form of meditation. This essay about what happened when I chased the money (which should take about 20 minutes to read) is my first attempt at long-form writing for Medium, and I love the interface they've created for content creation. Medium was started by Evan Williams, the same guy that created Twitter and Blogger. So basically he's gone from creating a 140-character platform to returning to his Blogger roots with a long-form writing platform. 3. Here's a concept for the new BMW Z4. For more than a year, we've seen teasers and spy shots of the next-generation BMW Z4 convertible. Shockingly, it shares a platform with the new Toyota Supra.
4. Apart from a massive amount of Tintin comic albums, I've also started reading a great book about angel investing by Jason Calacanis, one of the first investors in Uber, Tumblr, Evernote, and a range of others - basically, you want to be investing where he's investing, if you're into high risk startups. It's called Angel and it sets out (1) what investors usually look for in new businesses (2) types of venture investing - i.e. angel, F&F, VC, etc - and (3) how you can co-invest as an angel. Well written, informative, and to the point, if you're happy with the occasional F-bomb. I certainly was.
5. I've built a new website for myself, the one you're staring at right now (rather seductively titled: carelsmit.com). I did this using Wix, which is a great system to rapidly get a free website going. The more of you that read my website and spend so time on it, the better chance I have of going up the Google page rankings. Wix is cool because it's easy to use and you can pay to have additional features such as a diary system where clients can book time with you, product sales pages, and an autoresponder for sending out automated or bulk emails. I'm in beta with my website at the moment, but let me know what I need to change when you have a minute.