Archive for category Entrepreurship

Who makes the best entrepreneur for start-ups? A composer, conductor or lead musician?

ConductorMy favourite entrepreneurs are people who start with a blank sheet and pursue a vision until it becomes a reality.  Music composition ranges from 15 second advertising jingles to orchestral pieces with several movements.  Entrepreneurs who get my attention create something of substance capable to capture an audience’s imagination and transport them to a different place.  A vision capable deliver a transformation.

The challenge with startups is in the beginning team is small and the entrepreneur usually needs to play more than one part.  Not only must they hold the vision, they also need to orchestrate the team effort as well as play some of the instruments.

Occasionally an entrepreneur can conduct the performance well past startup phase but if the orchestra is of any significant size, that requires a combination of skills which is rare.  Better for most entrepreneurs to stay custodian of the vision and let someone else get the most from the team.

Being a lead musician takes skill and continued effort to stay sharp.  A wise entrepreneur understands they don’t have the skills to play all the instruments to perfection.  Best to hire players who excel in their particular discipline.

As I reflect on where is going I see my most important role as the composer.  I can see a future where location based marketing makes precise deliveries of relevant offers to the right people at the right place at the right time.  The DoWhat composition is only partly completed so far and there are more movements under construction.  Perhaps I can conduct as well as compose for a while, but my ultimate passion is to see the orchestra perform to its ultimate capability.  Who conducts is not that important.  And whilst I know enough to keep the musicians honest I cannot afford the time to be a lead musician as well.


No Comments is to local products what Bilbo’s sword is to Orcs

Bilbo needs a sword that glows blue when orcs are nearby – very handy when there is something he needs to pay attention to but can’t see.

OrcSword is a digital marketing platform which makes a precise connection between consumers and suppliers of products and services based on known location and specific interest.

Just like the orc sword, DoWhat will alert mobile consumers to local products of relevance. Your business may not be visible but consumers with DoWhat in their pocket will at least know you are nearby!

A key difference though is the orc sword only helps Bilbo and not the orcs. Businesses trading locally can use DoWhat to deliver promotional offers to the most valuable of prospective customers – those who are nearby and known to be interested.

Register as a user at today and:

  • If you operate a business trading locally create or claim your listing, describe your business by connecting it to one or more detailed search categories, then define promotional offers to be delivered to mobile consumers who share an interest in the same category and locality.
  • If you want to know when nearby businesses are offering products you care about, save searches spanning your favourite search categories and localities.

You can read more about DoWhat at

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If you are under water it is wise to swim towards the surface

Being slow to acknowledge we are wrong comes naturally to most of us.


I see this when helping start-up companies which are struggling to achieve traction. Their response to poor results can be to work harder hoping to go faster in the same direction. A fixation on current strategy can end up concluding a lack of effort is responsible.

Don't just increase propulsion if you want to change direction. If your venture is heading towards a cliff the last thing you want to do is speed up. If you are heading the wrong way going harder just creates a bigger problem faster.

In fact slowing down and tweaking direction until you see results is essential before applying the after-burners. I prefer this approach to the “pivot” theory espoused by some investors. A pivot “a whirling about on one foot” is a drastic change of direction which is hard to execute and often less appropriate than making a number of smaller, controlled and measured changes. Appropriate if you are heading in completely the wrong direction but hopefully that is not the case.

Turning on the afterburners only makes sense once you are confident of your direction.

Effective velocity is about setting direction first and applying power second.

So if you don’t like the direction your venture is sailing, pause and consider a change of direction before going faster. Especially if you are already under water and wondering about how long you can hold your breath!

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What sort of fish are you?

imageThere is more than one way to catch a feed – or start a new business.

Consider the salmon swimming upstream driven by an internal compulsion to explore around the next bend and up above the next waterfall.

How different from the trout lurking in the eddy behind a rock mid-stream waiting for something edible to swim by.  Less adventurous but no less effective.

Or the cod swimming along the bottom seeking the dregs which might have settled from someone's dinner consumed at higher levels.

Or the moray eel hidden in a hole waiting for something to swim by.  Even more energy efficient than the trout.

How do you see yourself?

For me the salmon is the fish which most resonates with my life as an entrepreneur.  A wise person once asked me whether I'd still swim upstream if I knew there was a bear waiting around the corner.  The honest answer is I just cannot swim in that direction.  The bear doesn't stand a chance to catch every salmon and success is just around the corner.  The first time you will see me heading the other way I'll be fully expended, upside down and going out with the tide.  I just have to swim upstream and find the pool I see in my dreams.

But I recognize each has a role to play and each can be successful. Just as there are many different kinds of entrepreneurs.

Make sure your team is comprised of species who share the same viewpoint about risk and reward!

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Criticism is very much easier than creation.

I read this today reading Edward de Bono's book "How to teach your children how to think".

Very true in my experience.

As an entrepreneur the challenge in the early stage of a new venture is to find like minded co-creators who can help transition a conceptual solution into something tangible with traction.

For every co-creator I meet there must be 20 or more others who are limited to contributing viewpoints from the sideline rather than from becoming immersed in the process of giving birth to something new.

So when faced with someone expressing a fresh idea, let's focus on channeling our brainwaves into considering what it might take to make that idea successful, rather than the reasons why it might fail.

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