Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Life in Technology

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where computer industry pioneer, Peter James, is speaking at Innovation ACT on "Managing Growth & Exit Strategies". Peter is Chairman and Co-Founder of Ninefold, a Director of Macquarie Telecom and a Director of iiNet. I know Peter from the days when he worked for Computer Power in Canberra, decades ago.

Peter made the point that a start-up company has to be about business, not just a hobby. The company has to have a a global outlook, even if it is initially aiming for a local market. Also there needs to be a clear and simple message about what the company does and how it can grow. He reminded the audience  that they need to ask their customer what they need, rather than telling them.

Peter gave the example of his cloud computing company Ninefold, which offers an Australian hosted service. They have no sales people making cold calls on businesses, instead attracting business on-line. When I went to their website I noticed a box pop up offering a real time conversation with the sales or support staff.

Peter argues that a start-up should not have an "exit" strategy, as the focus should be on building the business and wait for someone to approach who has an interest in investing and in what the business does.

Peter was disparaging about the adulation of Silicon Valley USA and gave the example of "Startup Saturday India". He mentioned Startup Saturday Bangalore , but I see there is also a Startup Saturday Goa the same day (if you go also visit the Kala Academy).

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