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Find following some notes I took for the UNSW Center for Innovation (CIE) course on entrepreneurship and innovation (STRE2010). It was also recommended by Bart Jellema, founder of Zeromail.com who is facilitating a program called the UNSW Startup Games in 2013 which is sponsored by New South Innovations.

Notes:

Make Meaning in Your Company

Don’t Write a Mission Statement, Write a Mantra

Get Up and Get Going!

The New Business Model

Weave a MAT and Outline Your Priorities

Know Thyself and Niche Thyself

Make a Great Pitch

Who to Hire

Lower the Barriers to Adoption

Seed the Clouds and Watch the Sales Grow

Be a Mensch

Funding Choices

How Do You Find Evangelists?

How Do You Find Soul Mates?

The Career Path to Becoming a Venture Capitalist or an Entrepreneur

Experience Is Overrated

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People that inspire me and would like to meet (Name, what made him/her famous, question I would ask):
1. Steve Blank, creator of lean startup methodology, Question: how can I apply lean startup methodology to my business?
2. Keith Rabois, angel investor in: Xoom, LinkedIn, yelp.com, YouTube, Question: how do you decide what startup is worth investing in?
3. Scott Banister, angel investor in: PayPal, Facebook, Uber, Zappos, Question: what sets apart excellent startups from average ones?
4. Ron Conway, angel investor in: Google, AppNexus, Ask Jeeves, Question: what sets apart excellent startups from average ones?
5. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn; Question: how did you traction for linkedin with so many competitors?
6. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Question: How did you get Wikipedia going?
7. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, Question: what made you decide to give away all your money to charity?
8. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter; What made twitter stand out from the group? How did you get initial traction?
9. Mark Pincus, the co-founder of Zynga; what is your strategy for creating games that people like to play?
10. Kevin Systrom, the head of Instagram; how did you negotiate the sale of instragram to facebook? How did you ensure the right value?

UNSW Startup Games - session 1 - 03The UNSW Startup Games is a skill building program for an elite group of entrepreneurial students of UNSW to develop the ability to take their ideas into reality. The studentare from different faculities including computer science, engineering, medicine, psychology, design, industrial arts, business, and photovoltaics. It is co-ordinated by Joshua Flannery at New South Innovations and facilitated  by Bart Jellema, a serial entrepreneur himself having started tjoos and now zeromail, who has been an active member in the Sydney startup community. He has run the Silicon Beach Drinks for that last four years and is involved in Startmate, a mentoring program which invests in the ideas of Australian business and gives them the tools to take it to Silicon Valley and pitch.

The week before the program started, Bart encouraged all the teams to curate their online presence on their blogs, twitter and especially Facebook. Networking is essential part of entrepreneurship. On the Thursday before the official start, the group met at Silicon Beach Drinks and met with other local entrepreneurs and those just starting out. Apparently this real face-to-face networking is still a vital part of networking for budding entrepreneurs.

The games officially started on Saturday, 6th April in a UNSW lecture theater. Bart introduced himself and gave some background on how he got started. He finished high school but did not go to university. He noted that the smartest people in society are encouraged to enter a profession such as medicine or law, however, he urges smart people to become entrepreneurs so they can change the world.

Participants were then invited to introduce themselves from the front of the class. Bart guided the class to customise the learning outcomes for the program by asking participants to indicate by show of hands who was familiar with different topics. Each learning outcome was written up so that Bart could highlight the essential parts and customise the program depending on where the participants were currently and what they were interested in. Some of the themes included lean startup methodology, financials, finding mentors, incubators, pitching to investors, risk, focus, face-to-face communication, presentation skills, and social networking.

Before the lunch break, Bart asked us to identify people in the startup community (local and abroad) that participants would like to meet. I was assigned Peter Diamandis who runs the X Prize Foundation, an organisation which offers large cash incentive to encourage inventors to solve grand challenges like space flight, better medical devices, and genetic deciphering technology. A current challenge is called “Archon Genomics X PRIZE” which will ward $10m to someone who can build a device which can sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days. The challenges are always specific just beyond our current grasp but if solved with lead to exponential technologies. A previous challenge included an fast and effective oil cleanup method. Peter founded Zero Gravity Corporations which inspires people to work towards space flight – it has actually been covering zero gravity flights since 2004 and Space Adventures which has announced the plan for sub-orbital and flights to the moon. The “Tricorder X PRIZE” sounds like something out of star-trek – it is a small device that would better diagnose and treat patients.  After the break the participants had to give a presentation of what they had found out about their assigned person of interest. Other people of interest included Eric Ries, and Steve Blank.

The next game involved picking two random words, turning them into a .com and then pitching it to the group which was a lot of fun. This sort of drill puts people far outside their comfort zone, they have to spontaneously improvise a business from those two words and pitch it to the group. People were encouraged not to think about it too much and just come to the front to pitch for a few minutes. This highlighted just how much talent and creativity there was in the room. It gave an opportunity for those less confident to shine.

At the end of the day, the group continued to a local establishment for “speed networking”.  We found a quiet spot in the bar and put together several tables. What followed was a cross between speed dating and networking where each person two minutes to get to know the others better.

The program was promoted as a way to build your skills, meet people and have fun in the process. So far the program has far exceeded these expectations. I’m eagerly anticipating what’s coming up next.

I had to write a short piece in my impression of leadership for a recent course at University of New South Wales. I thought I would useful to post it here for myself and others to read. I’ll be writing much more interesting content in the future related to psychology, coding and startups which is my current passion.

By leadership I mean the ability to capture and maintain the attention of individuals and groups and inspire them to achieve individual and group goals. I have come to this definition through my own experience, together with my education in psychology and training.

To engage in effective leadership, one must understand how people think, feel and decide. It is essential to understand the weaknesses and strengths of individuals and find how they can best form groups and teams, how they can form outcomes and goals that are acceptable to themselves, their team and the world at large.

I admire my father when he was in a leadership role. He knew how to give instructions which forced a person to learn for themselves. He would not just tell them the steps or instructions but would give them just enough to make them think and figure it for themselves. He would make minimal necessary suggest at seemingly just at the right time – that would be worth modeling.