Back to blogging

It has been over 2 years since I’ve written a blog post. So I thought I’d get back into blogging by writing about getting back into blogging…

A prologue of sorts.

In the last couple of years I’ve made lists of many topics and experiences that I was hoping to share with friends and fellow entrepreneurs, however I got lazy and busy and they never ended up seeing the light of day. I plan to change that soon.

Blogging is like exercise. The more you do, the better you feel. The more you write, the easier it becomes to write, and so on.

So what should you expect from my posts?

  1. Firstly, I don’t know how often I’m going to blog however I am going to aim for 1 per week.
  2. I spend most of my time working on my start-up so it makes sense that most of the content I write will be focused around start-ups and my thoughts, lessons learnt and experiences.
  3. I want people to learn from the mistakes and successes of my journey (many mistakes, trust me!)
  4. Some of my content might be a bit technical. If its too technical tell me in the comments. I love comments, both good and bad, so comment a lot.
  5. If you are reading this on my Lind Ventures, you can access my medium post here.

A quick update on a few big changes since I last wrote:

  • I got Married to Lori!
  • The start-up that I founded in 2012 (ShopReply) shifted direction in 2014 in a big way. ShopReply pivoted to CalReply. What is CalReply? In short it is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that utilizes the mobile calendar to remind audiences to do stuff by dynamically adding events into their mobile calendars. Marketers are always trying to get consumers to remember “day, date and times” and take action at that time — think events like TV shows, sports, webinars etc. Marketers do stupid things like buy outdoor ads that say “Watch The Voice at 9pm on Sunday” and expect you to remember an ad you saw on a bus on a Monday, and watch the show on Sunday. Nobody remembers that. CalReply marketers publish events directly into the mobile calendars of their audience. It’s 100x better than the status quo. CalReply is used by some of the largest brands in the world including ESPN, FOX, FOX Sports, World Rugby, UFC, NASCAR, MLB, ITV, A+E Networks and many others. I look forward to writing more about this journey.
  • Our team, has grown from two people to nine with offices in Sydney and New York.
  • I now live in New York City

I can’t complain. It’s been an amazing journey.

During this time a lot has changed in how people create, distribute and host content like this.

  • Medium was not around (maybe it was just getting started, but now its a force. Ev Williams is a genius. He has founded three hugely successful products being Blogger, Twitter and now Medium. First time might be lucky, but not three times.)
  • In order to get a blog up and running you had to set up a WordPress account, register a domain name and all of that cost money. Then you had to build an audience. Medium is free and social.
  • LinkedIn Pulse was only available to influencers by invitation. Only people like Richard Branson could publish articles on LinkedIn, whereas now anyone can reach an audience.
  • My WordPress blog was hosted on Godaddy, and there were always vulnerabilities that I had to look out for. Medium solves these issues.

So moving forward I am going to blog on Medium and cross post to Lind Ventures blog or vice versa. I might move entirely to Medium over time. Lets see.

P.S. If there is something you want me to write about or talk about, leave it in the comments!

Shopta.lk

Surprisingly, there are no regular eCommerce industry drinks in Sydney or Melbourne. Sure there are a number of annual conferences, but no regular meet-ups.

Amblique have rounded up their eCommerce friends and colleagues and have arranged a monthly catch-up to fill the void between conferences. The idea is to provide a time and place where vendors, retailers, manufactures and agencies can casually network, share insights and have a drink.

Monthly meet-ups will be organised in both Sydney and Melbourne.

  • Shoptalk Sydney will take place on the first Wednesday of each month
  • Shoptalk Melbourne will take place on the last Wednesday of the month

The first meetup is on Wednesday 2nd May @ The Belvedere Hotel, 482 Kent St, Sydney.

Panelists include Bjorn Behrendt (MD and Co-Founder @ StyleTread), Lisa Powell (Veteran eCommerce Manager for Hutchison 3, Nutrimetics and Apparel Group) and myself.

Meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/shoptalk-au/
Linked In Group: http://linkd.in/shoptalk-au
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/#!/shoptalk_au

I hope to see you there.

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Sean Parker And Shervin Pishevar talk Entrepreneurship

via @leweb

My Amazon.com Wishlist

I try to read as much as I can. I like reading. I read non-fiction biographies and business, marketing and design books but hardly ever read fiction books.  I usually use the Amazon wish list as a bookmarking tool. When I stumble upon a book recommendation online I’ll generally search for the book on Amazon, add it to my wish list and eventually get around to downloading it and reading it on my Kindle or iPad.

You can view my current Amazon wish list here:

http://amzn.com/w/VGMZZME5FO96

 

Interview on Kochie’s Business Builders

This morning Kochie’s Business Builders aired an episode of their popular show around the topic of building a business with an exit in mind. I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago however the episode aired today and is now available to watch online.

Part 1 was mostly a recap of the episode that aired last year:

 

Part 2 was an interview about the exit:

Z Index for Sounds

Musica comprimida  -  Compressed MusicSomeone needs to invent a Z index for sounds. A Z index is a CSS command that lets web designers layer images and website element on top of each other in a specific order. I often have 2 or 3 browsers open each with 10 tabs or more so finding the one playing sound which needs to be paused is frustrating. I think developers should be able to layer sounds on top of each other in a specific order.

If I want to play a video on YouTube and I’m listening to Pandora or Turntable.FM through a browser in the background, I have to find the tab of the browser thats playing the music, pause it and then start the video. Wouldn’t it be great if the browser could detect which sound was played most recently, mute the background sound and then resume it once the more recent sound is finished or the browser is closed?

I’m not sure how this can be done, maybe via browser plugin…

It’s never been done before

The Red-eyed Tree Frog (Litoria chloris) found...I had a meeting with an entrepreneur recently who told me his idea had “never been done before”, and that “this time it’s going to be different”.

I cringe when I hear this because it indicates a few things:

1) It has never been done before because there is no need for it

2) They are viewing the world through a pinhole and choosing to ignore the 50 pound gorilla that is staring them in the face because they are “doing things differently”

3) They haven’t spent 15 minutes searching Google for their competition

Competition is excellent. It validates markets. There are ideas, few and far between, that have never been done before.

Why You Should Blog

I was e-mailed a link to a job description last week from a friend in New York City. The job was for an analyst role at
Union Square Ventures. What was interesting about this job description was that they did not ask for a resume.

Instead they asked for two other pieces of information:

1. Links that will help us get to know youFirst, we’re looking to see links that will help us get to know you. This could be anything from a Twitter account to a blog or Tumblr to a project you hacked together – whatever represents you best. We expect your web presence to represent who you are, not who you think an employer wishes you were, so please don’t waste time sanitising your web presence before sending us there. We get it.

2. Two short videos - Second, we’d also like to hear from you, so we’re asking each applicant to record two short videos answering these questions: “Why are you interested in the analyst role at Union Square Ventures?” (up to a 90-second response) and “Which web or mobile services most inspire you?” (up to a 120-second response) We’re using Take The Interview to collect the video responses securely.

I think this method of candidate selection is useful for a number of reasons:

It demonstrates passion – If you are blogging about your work, that already indicates that you are passionate about what it is you do. To an employer, it is a very good indication of the calibre of a candidate.  Great software developers will tweet and write about software development. Great photographers will have an amazing Flickr gallery and so on.

It shows interest over time – Blogs evolve over time and you can’t fake the frequency of blogging. The frequency and relevancy of a blog says something about a candidate. A candidate who is passionate and disciplined will write regularly. You can see how regularly someone writes by looking at the time period between posts. A candidate who is less diligent will write infrequently, or never at all.

It demonstrates how you think – There are varying depths of knowledge and experience across all subjects. An employer can understand quickly how a candidate thinks by reading what they are posting about. Bloggers often reflect on personal and career experiences providing the ability to understand  a candidates history.

You can’t fake it - The oldest trick in the book is fluffing up a resume so you get through to an interview however the truth is that a blog or links on the internet are a lot more telling than a one page summary of your career.

It makes for a quick application process - If you’ve been writing and maintaining a blog for some time, it provides for a much deeper understanding of who you are as a candidate than any interview or resume could ever hope to convey.

Resumes are boring - There is nothing more mundane than sorting through a load of resumes. Viewing a porfolio, video or blog is more exciting and telling.

It eliminates a lot of candidates - USV is effectively saying that they do not want to hear from you if you dont have a reasonable internet presence. If your communications skills are poor, or you dont write regularly, you are probably not the right candidate for the role in any case.

In the future who express themselves online are going to have an advantage over those who do not  as our online personal and professional brands become a part of the hiring process.

TechStars Reality TV Show

If you’re into tech then you’ll love this. Bloomberg have just started airing a reality TV series called TechStars. TechStars is a New York based startup accelerator similar to Y-Combinator. Think of it as The Apprentice for Startups, or Dragons Den, where the dragons are Venture Capitalists.

It follows a half-dozen entrepreneurs through the TechStars three-month accelerator program. It offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of what venture capitalists think about entrepreneurs and their startups. You can watch the trailer here and the first episode here:

Marc Benioff and Eric Schmidt Interview

This is a great video that all entrepreneurs should watch. A candid interview between Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt.