Saturday, May 31, 2014

Exporting Ideas To The World

Exporting Ideas To The World - Kevin Roberts Insights

Image source:
The ideas economy is showing the most growth in terms of global exports, (McKinsey & Co. )
In this Digital Age creativity and innovation are proving to be good earners.

As the New York Times has noted, in the services sector the sharpest growth from 2002 to 2012 was in international trade of knowledge-intensive services. Think engineering,education,  consultancy, IP, computer programming and even marketing. 

This trend will continue. Unlike the trade in commodities and consumer goods, which face tariffs and any other number of issues related to border control, the transmission of ideas require nothing more than the Internet or telephone. The faster the connection, the more seamless the transaction.

Australia is in a prime position to take advantage of this... SUperfunds, Institutions and Big Busness - support innovation and Venture Capital - it is good business

Friday, May 30, 2014

NICTA spinoff and cloud technologies provider Yuruware has been sold for at least $10 million to South Carolina, US-based Unitrends

Yuruware sells technology to Unitrends for +10m

Mark Campbell, Unitrends chief strategy and technology officer, said it was “blown away” by what Yuruware had on offer.

While on holiday , Campbell was told that he had to “immediately talk to this exciting new company”. One phone call to Yuruware founder Anna Liu and the rest was history.

Campbell and Unitrends’ chief architect were in Sydney doing due diligence within weeks - and four days later - drew up a term sheet 

“We were blown away not just by the software but by the team,” said Campbell

Another advantage was the proximity of more than 100,000 engineering students to research body NICTA’s Sydney offices, Mr Campbell said.

Yuruware provides cloud technologies for migration, monitoring and business continuity for Amazon Web Services and other public cloud systems, and the  technology will be incorporated into the uni trends brand .
NICTA chief executive Hugh Durrant-Whyte -hopes to double the 10-person workforce by the end of the year with Ms Liu at the helm of Unitrends Australia.

Ms Liu will be hiring front-end user experience specialists to complement back-end distributed systems technology experts.

She hopes to ramp up its marketing efforts as Yuruware’s products are delivered online for a global audience.

The acquisition will form the basis for an Asia-Pacific push for Unitrends which operates in the US and Europe.

“We do very little sales here (but) in 12 months’ time we’re planning to move into Asia-Pacific,” Mr Campbell said.

Unitrends is part of Insight Venture Partners which has around $US8 billion under its belt.

Mr Campbell wasn’t specific about the size of Unitrends’ war chest but said the most common question from his board members was “what would you do with US$100m?”.

“Our ability to identify and acquire is our limiting factor, not the amount of funds,” he said.

Mr Campbell wasn’t specific on the types of companies on his list but other areas that would complement Unitrends’ technology stack were “almost infinite”.

Organisations that offer software-defined networking, big data and endpoint security solutions would immediately catch his eye.

NICTA broadband and the digital economy director Terry Percival said the deal was a validation of its researchers and commercialisation model for creating spinout companies.

Ivan Kaye from BSI says, it actually validates the value prop of large corporates and superfunds to back the likes of NICTA, incubators and startups - and these companies should take over the 
federal and state government has previously provided

Telstra and NICTA this week announced a five year arrangement that will see researchers from both sides work on security, privacy, smart network planning and future media delivery as part of a multi-million dollar scheme.

Government  will still provide funding for value adding to these companies and retrospective rebates and concessions such as the r and d tax incentive and export market development grants.

If you would like access to these grants - contact Marcus Webb of BSI Innovations 

5 gems from world leading guru George Kohlrieser

I had the privilige and honour of having a few drinks with 2 leadership gurus of our time - Allen Pathmarajah And  George Kohlrieser. 
Georges keynote at The world business forum in Sydney was inspiring (allen speaks Tuesday 3 June on how executives can become inspired leaders )

these were some of the takeouts, 

1. Provide a safe base - a leader needs to create a safe base to enable people to take risks , change and grow - trust is key to drive change

You cannot expect a team that is full of fear and who are not allowed to fail - to be creative, to innovate and to dare.

 -care to Dare

2-  conflict is not a bad thing - it's a difference of opinion - it's how you handle that conflict and the power of language that will make a leader great

3 you cannot fail if you don't give up! You can achieve anything 

4.  create bonds and build relationships 

5. balance your life and enjoy the ride 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Allen Pathmarajah delivered a great keynote on how to transform an Executive into an inspired leader

We were fortunate to have had Mr Allen Pathmarajah deliver a workshop lunch to our  Business and Key Clients on Tuesday 3 June 12:30pm - 2 pm 
Allen is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, of the Marketing Institute of Singapore and the Singapore Human Resources Institute. He has extensive experience in Financial Services, Industry and Management Consultancy, whose roles included Managing Director of OCBC bank and Great Eastern Life, Chairman of CSA Singapore TEC , and is the Chairman and Director of several public-listed and private companies in Singapore and overseas, as well as being a member of several government, professional and charitable committees.
“An inspirational business leader” , my mentor and good friend! 

Didier Grossemy and my verified ID

Pretty Cool technology - system for verifying the ID of users... ensure that you are speaking to the real person!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How times change

Arthur Andersen fell from grace through a number of massive scandals in 2002 - through greed and building a behemoth accounting firm of &5,000 employees and 9b in revenue - where profits came before ethics and partners became salesmen - who's Motto was cya (cover your arse)

Arthur Andersen himself originally built his business by putting reputation over profit. In 1914, months after the 28-year-old Northwestern University accounting professor founded his tiny company, the president of a local railroad demanded that he approve a peculiar transaction that would have lowered the company's expenses and boosted earnings. Mr. Andersen, who at the time was worried about meeting his next payroll, told the president that there was "not enough money in the city of Chicago" to make him do it, according to a book published by the firm in 1988. The client promptly fired the accountant, but Mr. Andersen was vindicated months later when the company filed for bankruptcy.

Your values need to be set in stone!   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5 Initiatives that SME's can Benefit Significantly from the 2014 Budget

Relevant Budget Programmes can be shown in detail at

  • Continuation of EMDG

The Government will provide an extra $50m per annum to the EMDG Scheme.

  • Continuation of R&D Tax Incentive

The Government will continue with the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme reducing the entitlement by 1.5% to 43.5% (still significant benefits for Innovative companies)

  • Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme — establishment

The Government will replace $845 million suboptimal programmes (such as Commercialisation Australia and IIF Funds  with  $484.2 million over five years to establish the Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme to implement its new approach to industry policy.
The programme will focus on supporting the commercialisation of good ideas, job creation and lifting the capability of small business, the provision of market and industry information, and the facilitation of access to business management advice and skills from experienced private sector providers and researchers.
The programme will be delivered through a single agency model by the Department of Industry to achieve efficiencies and reduce red tape.

  • Industry Skills Fund — establishment

$476.0 million over four years to establish the Industry Skills Fund (ISF) from 1 January 2015 to support the training needs of small to medium enterprises which cannot be readily met by the national training system. Industries targeted will include: health and biomedical products; mining, oil and gas equipment technology and services; and advanced manufacturing, including defence and aerospace.
The ISF is expected to deliver 121,500 training places (providing participants with qualifications, skill sets and recognition of both prior learning and current competencies) and 74,300 support services (including mentoring and foundation skills) over four years. Businesses will be required to make co contributions towards the cost of training on a sliding scale depending on the size of the enterprise.

  • Community Business Partnership

re establishmentThe $6.0 million over four years to re establish the Community Business Partnership to advise the Government on philanthropy in Australia. The Community Business Partnership, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, will bring together prominent business and community leaders to provide leadership and high level advice for encouraging growth in volunteering and philanthropy and promote partnerships between business and community organisations.
Further information can be found in the Coalition's Plan to Encourage Great Philanthropy and Strengthen Australia's Charities and Community Groups

(referron programme in conjunction with mission Australia)

The 7 characteristics of a successful entrepreneur


  • Honesty 
  • Energy
  • Desire to win
  • Leadership
  • Intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Knowledge


the LIFE acronym
  • Loyalty - have your team members back
  • Integrity - stand by your word, live by your values, tell the truth and be honest
  • Fidelity - be trustworthy 
  • Equitable - ensure fair play 


  • Mental and physical 
  • Have drive , enthusiasm , ability to stay the distance 

Desire to win
Want to make money - as a measure - need to be driven - passionate about what you want to achieve 


  • Take responsibility
  • Inspire teams 
  • Influence people around you 
  • Self confidence 
  • Make decisions
  • Have a vision set goals and strategies 
  • Get good people around you
  • Inspire

Ability to rationalise , analyse, logical thought process , good judgement , make right


  • Have the ability to think outside the box
  • Have a point of sifference 
  • What is unique

Knowledge of your business, industry 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

3 Gems for running a startup

Interview by BRW of 
Benjamin Chong is a partner at Right Click Capital and a general partner at Sydney Seed Fund.

Running a start-up is never easy. There are sales calls, product improvements, customer complaints and cash flow to keep on top of. With so many things going on at once, it is easy to lose sight of your three biggest priorities.

develop habits that will help you stay focused. 


Build what customers want not what you think they want .

Test and measure 

Get your product and idea out there 


Starting a business is exciting and many entrepreneurs devote too much time on the “creative” aspects of the business like website design or building out the feature list instead of activities that will bring in revenue. Getting in front of potential customers, working out what they’ll buy, and delivering it is critical. You have to develop a clear plan for driving revenue, even if the cost of sales in the early days is higher than expected.


At the beginning of each day, the key question I ask myself is “what do I need to do today to move my business forward?” 

For me, this often means working through uncomfortable tasks such as making unpleasant telephone calls or forecasting the next month’s cash flow. After the day is done, make another list of the three things you need to do for the next day, so you’ll come to work prepared and ready to roll.

Ya tango is a tech company

Why Yatango sees itself as a tech company, not a telco. 
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What businesses leaders need to learn to unlearn

What Do Business Leaders Need to Unlearn?

We live in an age of rapid business evolution. What we do know is that “change is the only constant”.

Old business tools such as the Yellow Pages now function as door stops and prop up monitors instead of being used by the cold calling salesperson. Fax machines sit idle in corners or have been designated to the rubbish dump. Researching a company or executive is done with a Google search and LinkedIn, instead of that  expensive business service that had that paper database in dog eared flip cards.

Customers no longer need to turn up to your store to buy. Instead they order online and have it delivered by courier. We carry libraries of books on our iPad rather than lug hardcover books and magazines.

Mobiles and apps

We access our information on the go from our smart phone, set appointments on our online calendars and respond to emails on the train. Online apps for messaging like “WhatsApp” are bought for $19 billion. We gasp. But with 400 million monthly users, it sort of makes sense.

Instagram is our new photo library of choice.  The $1 billion Facebook paid when it had only 9 employees, losing money and had no website is now looking like a distinct bargain as its monthly users passes 200 million.

Skype rather than the boardroom

Many business meetings are now run from Skype. They are often international. All we have to do is sort out the world time zones. Google can help you there.

The challenge for business leaders is to remain relevant amongst this technology torrent. Terms like big data, cloud andcontent marketing slip off the consultants tongues with ease and appear in blogs. But understanding their implications is another matter.

A competitive advantage is now often determined by your technology and how you apply it to your business.

Business extinction is accelerating

The question is… which companies will recognize (and adapt to) transformative and disruptive moments, and which ones won’t? How relevant do you see your company today. How relevant is your competition?

According to Professor Richard Foster from Yale University, the average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 index of leading US companies has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century. From 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today,

Professor Foster estimates that by 2020, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of yet.

What used to work doesn’t now

Many executives and CEO’s were born in an era of fixed phones, traditional media and suits and ties being the dress standard for every office. They built huge companies with what worked then. But it is now. Amazon has redefined retail. Apple has disrupted the music industry (just to name one) and Kodak missed the digital camera boat.

The old business models are being shaken to the core.

Education is not the first answer

I thought educating the CEO and the executive was the answer to manage these paradigm shifts. But I have come to realise that something has to happen before that succeeds. I stumbled upon this quote from the famous economist John Maynard Keynes.

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping the old ones”

We are all creatures of habit and custom ingrained by decades of repetition and this is hard to shake. That is part of the reason why we are seeing the rapid demise of companies. To succeed needs “unlearning” in a digital age.

So what do business leaders need to unlearn?

So what are some of the old habits and paradigms that need “unlearning”? What are the shifts in thinking. What reinvention needs to occur?

This is both a personal and a cultural change for the CEO and the business.

Closed cultures

The social web is forcing a change from a closed business culture to a new openness. Revealing your systems and processes online in blogs and ebooks builds trust. The old guard saw this as revealing your intellectual property.

Free ebooks and content that creates trust and online credibility is now paramount. Some research reveals that nearly 60% of the online decision making has been done before you receive that online inquiry or that prospects phone call. Are you educating your customer or is it your competition?

Controlling the message

Still many brands are not active or participating on social media or had blogs that allowed comments. They were afraid of losing control of the conversation.

The new paradigm is allowing the crowd to participate and let them share your content. Crowd sourced content and sharing will amplify your message in a digital online world. Octoly tracked user generated content and found for some brands the advocates were producing 99% of the online brand conversations on YouTube. That is “free” marketing.

Not just local

Business is often not just a physical location. You now have access to global markets. Knowledge crosses global boundaries with ease. We now live in a knowledge economy. Skype makes education and consulting a global opportunity. E-commerce sites, technology and modern logistics make the world your market.

Physical assets are not as important

We still value the physical but often the importance of digital assets are ignored or undervalued through lack of awareness or just plain ignorance. Some retailers realize this as they become multi-channel businesses with smaller stores but bigger websites (online stores).

Digital assets that are not valued or given the priority they should be include what you “own and earn” online. This includes websites, blogs, email lists, search engine rankings and the size and value of your social networks for sharing your brand message and content.

Paying for attention

Businesses often still think that the only way to reach their customers is to pay the media gatekeepers for any marketing success. Ads are placed in magazines, newspapers and TV. The new digital world provides you with the power to bypass the traditional media and reach your audience yourself. If you understand how it works.

Savvy business brands such as Red Bull(built their own media and publishing company) and personal brands like Beyonce(who bypassed the traditional mass media product launch to her social media followers) understand this.

Publishing and marketing have been democratized. Businesses need to become media and publishing companies. Google and social media now powers your content and brand discovery.

What do you need to unlearn?

So what do you need to unlearn to survive and thrive?  Are you part of the problem or the answer? Is your business owner or CEO trapped in the past?

Look forward to hearing your insights and stories in the comments below.


Want to start building your online platform?

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Learn how to make your blog and website a roaring success with social media

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 230,000.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Home loans for professionals

If you’re on the hunt for a home loan, check whether what you do for a living can secure you a better deal. Lenders’ “professional” packages can get you access to lower interest rates, a wider range of loans and waived fees. 
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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Appboy Raises $7.6M Series A To Bring Marketing Automation Tools To Mobile Apps

Posted  by  

Appboy, a company that helps mobile app marketers better retain users and keep them engaged, is today announcing $7.6 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Icon Venture Partners, and saw participation from new investors IDG Ventures, and Mike Lazerow, founder of Buddy Media. Existing seed investors, including Blumberg Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Bullpen Capital and T5 Capital, also participated.
The company has raised a total of $7.6 million. However, in addition to the $5.1 million in Series A funding, Appboy previously raised $2.5 million via convertible note seed financings, which have now converted.
While a number of companies from the earlier days of the mobile app ecosystem have focused on helping app developers acquire new users, Appboy is about taking the next step. It helps companies keep their users by offering a suite of tools that enable companies to better understand their user demographics, so they can engage them in a timely fashion through in-app messages, push notifications and even email.
“It’s not an acquisition game anymore. I really believe 2014 will be about user engagement, retention – those kind of numbers – rather than how many downloads you had,” says Appboy co-founder and CEO Mark Ghermezian.
Once integrated into an app, Appboy’s platform immediately begins creating a rich profile on all the app’s users. Ghermezian explains that it’s not really an analytics platform, despite some similarities, but a mobile user management platform.
“If you want all the different, crazy charts, we’re not that,” he says. “But if you want to understand your users down to a per-user level, and manage all your communication with them…that’s what we are.”
The company has already found traction with some well-known app publishers on the App Store, including textPlus, Pic Stitch, GSN (Game Show Network), Urban Outfitters, and a variety of digital magazines through a channel partnership with Mag+.
After user profiles are created, Appboy offers multi-messaging marketing tools that let its customers choose how and when specific groups of users are contacted through push notifications, messages within the app, or via emails. The company also provides a “news feed”-like product that developers can place in their apps, too, which allows them to keep users updated on things like new friends or comments, new features, new activity, and other alerts. Though a relatively new product at Appboy, app makers are already seeing 25-30 percent clickthrough rates in the news feed, says Ghermezian.
The founder believes that Appboy is the next evolution in marketing automation tools. He references companies like Buddy Media (whose founder has now invested in Appboy),ExactTarget, Radian6 and Marketo as examples of companies (several acquired by Salesforce) that focus on various aspects of online marketing, but points out that none offer a mobile solution.
Appboy, meanwhile, is designed not for the developers or the data scientists who pore over the charts and graphs from analytics providers, but for the marketing crowd. The dashboard lets its customers create campaigns using simple tools that slice and dice a larger audience into specific groups based on several factors, including demographics, social profile data, in-app behaviors, in-app purchases and more. That way, app marketers can target groups like “recently lapsed” users or “high spenders” or “passionate fans” in personalized, unique ways.

Sydney Could Emerge As An Equal to San Francisco's Tech Scene If Only . . . Shared by Mike Cannon Brooks

Australia’s startup scene may finally be starting to get bubbly, years after China and India already their own tech bubbles and are on to a new generation of more innovative startups with global appeal.

What Australia needs to boost its venture capital and entrepreneurial adrenalin is more heroes from the startup world. China has Jack Ma, Robin Li and Pony Ma, India has Narayan Murthy of Infosys, Azim Premji of Wipro, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip and inMobi’s Naveen Tewari. All of these entrepreneurial heroes date back more than a decade.

Australia is only on the cusp of a mini-entrepreneurial revolution fueled by its first generation of startup heroes. 

Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, comes to mind.

 Melanie Perkins, founder and CEO of Canva, is another who’s on the rise. 

Douglas Chrystal - the quiet achiever who sold his business 10 years ago to quest for 60m after raising venture capital in Boston 

Martin Hosking - founder of Red Bubble and Looksmart

These  entrepreneurs had to turn outside Australia to raise venture capital with high impact. 

Australia’s venture capital and angel investor market is so malnourished that Aussie startups typically look to go abroad to raise finance. And the most successful also sell their products or services beyond Australia shores – the U.S. and increasingly China are two popular destinations.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Another Aussie tech company going to USA to make its fortune

From BRW

Appster co-founders Mark McDonald and Josiah Humphrey have chutzpah 
They pay themselves $350 a week . . . and want Elon Musk for their board: meet Appster’s ambitious founders
They are about to open in the US  and plan  to approach the likes of Elon Musk to become directors.
Appster already employs 20 people in Melbourne and 80 in India, bankrolled by clients including radio duo Hamish & Andy (for whom it built theFrenemies app/marketing gimmick) and Bluedot (Appster built the technology to execute founder Filip Eldic’s idea for a toll road instant payment app that did not drain the mobile’s power)
The founding pay themselves just $350 each per week – “our staff in India get paid more” – and McDonald lives in one of the several company apartments the firm has rented near its new head office in Collingwood. However, he will soon move to the US, where Humphrey is deciding between New York and Silicon Valley as a Stateside base for Appster.
Admitting they were no good as managers, the founders hired an executive team as soon as they could afford it.
Appster’s chief technical officer is Martin Halford, a Computershare veteran and “scrum” software development expert who’s “been coding longer than I’ve been alive”, McDonald says.
Its advisory board includes the former chief financial officer and early employee of iSelect,Paul Cullinan.
“It’s easier to attract great people once you work with great people,” says McDonald, whose dream board member is PayPal and Tesla co-founder, Elon Musk.

VC happenning down under

Good start-ups will find VC funding in Australia, says Tank Stream Ventures' Markus Kahlbetzer. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Proposal to scrap the EMDG

The commissions proposal to eliminate the EMDG scheme - the government assistance for exporters is “madness ” says Ivan Kaye - CEO of Business  Strategies International - 

The EMDG scheme is one of the most successful programmes that the Australian Government has to support SME exporters which effectively put them on a level playing field, offsetting the high Australian dollar and the tyranny of distance. The scheme has been running for 40 years and For every dollar of subsidy, exporters generate $12 of export revenue - giving a direct benefit to Australia. 

The Emdg scheme subsidises exporters by reimbursing up to 50pc of marketing expenses relating to export activities , limited to export revenue generated over a period of 8 years.

The general manager of the Australian Instititue of Export, Peter Mace, has labelled the proposed cut as "insane"

Mace said the Export Market Development program is “seen to be very effective, especially in supporting small businesses which are competing against well-funded overseas companies”.  

Considering it is less than a month since the government announced a $50 million boost to the scheme, Mace said “it would be insane for the government to now eliminate it”

“If the government wants Australian business to develop and really grow, it needs to support export opportunities,” said Mace.

What is an entrepreneur ?