Category Archives: entrepreneurship

Digital Gifting Culture

Giving gifts to acquaintances and people we don’t see often is  a pain in the ass. Am I spending too little/too much? Are they going to hate it? Do I care?

As with everything these days, there is a digital solution to the problem. Which is exactly what Fast Company has written about…

Fast Company

‘Present Perfect: Why Gift-Giving Sites Are Having Their Groupon Moment’

Content

The article talks about a new startup called ‘Giftiki‘ that allows everyone to chip in for a present (digitally of course) and the total amount is then given to the recipient who can then buy what they want themselves.

The angle the article takes is that the buying experience has changed profoundly online and that consumers are open to new ways of thinking when it comes to online spending. In a way sites like Giftiki provide a unifying experience for the users who know that their contribution will make a difference to the final result.

So basically Giftiki is capitalising on the digital trend for collaboration. Collaboration online has exploded alongside social networking, social gaming and the phenomenon of sharing…everything.

Layout

I’ve already written extensively on the layout used by Fast Company. I like it. It’s not too heavy on hyperlinks yet they support the content just enough. Visually its also very comprehensive. There are two images embedded in the article, both of which are relevant (one is a visual of gift boxes as the intro image) while the other is a snapshot if the Giftiki site.  I do like their invitation to “chat about this news” with the reporter who wrote it and with Fast Company. Two hyperlinks take you to the twitter page of the publication and the reporter.

Very convenient.

I leave you with a little video of the Giftiki team…in case you were wondering what intelligent and fascinating people made it happen.

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Filed under digital technology, digital thoughts, entrepreneurship

Google Wallet

I have two words for you. Google Wallet.

We’ve already entered the age where technology is the new It girl/thing so its not surprising that radically innovating services pop up more and more frequently.

Google wallet is the thing on every techaholic’s lips. It allows you to pay for goods by swiping your phone past what looks much like an EFTPOS machine.

Techcrunch

Techcrunch Review: Google Wallet

Techcrunch provided a lovely and detailed overview. The article totally owned its online location by utilizing the features characteristic of the medium.

It includes pictures of the software on the android phone and how the wallet works as well as two videos-“Google Wallet Walkthrough” and “Paying with Google Wallet”

The first video resembles a Youtube user review of a new gadget they had just received (I love those) and the second is actually an amateur video done by the writer of the article as he embarks on his Google Wallet trial i.e. buying fries from Maccas.

The comment section is also really cool. You can choose which social media you want to comment from. For example you can choose to comment using Facebook, Hotmail, AOL or Yahoo. Nice! The downside is you HAVE  TO  comment using one of those four options. You can’t, just, comment. Which I find a bit constricting and prejudiced against those of us who actually aren’t on any social networks at all.

Eweek

Google wallet won’t dominate mobile payment scene: 10 reasons why

Eweek has valid and clear criticisms of Google wallet, however the layout of the page makes me cringe. I’m sorry but….its really really UGLY! *tear.

And its filled with ads which adds (haha pun) to the visual unpleasantness.

The content is good and simply organised however. Basically the article describes ten criticisms of the google wallet

Apparently Eweek is “published twice monthly, eWEEK covers a wide variety of industry topics and is a top resource for IT professionals who are responsible for researching, purchasing and implementing IT solutions for their companies.” But how can it be so…ugly and unsophisticated if its for IT professionals, how??

 

 

 

 

I leave you with this awesome promo:

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How Education, Drive and Digital Technology Create Entrepreneurs

I have recently had to get past my hermit like, anti-social tendencies to do a feature article. And I’m glad I did because I was able to write about something that really interests me (entrepreneurship) and combine it with something I want to do for a living (digital media).

So in the video below you’ll see me raving on about entrepreneurship and the glory of online start ups.

Note: When I rave, my accent tends to become grotesque and at times incomprehensible, so watch at your own peril.

Here are the links to Start Ups I mentioned in the video:

1. TaskRabbit

2.GoCatch

3. Freelancer.com.au

Voila: This is the article I spent days concocting, cutting and pasting bits and pieces, then frantically undoing the cutting and pasting until I stopped giving a shit and just submitted it.

It’s pretty damn long for a post so I encourage you to skim and just click on links.

Entrepreneurship Education Goes from Niche to Mainstream in Universities

                         

Entrepreneurship students at UNSW

“The whole point of teaching entrepreneurship is to help students avoid some of the obvious mistakes, so they don’t have to fail quite as often or quite as fast” says Dr. Martin Bliemel, the director of the UNSW Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It might seem odd to think that creativity and inventive thinking can be taught but entrepreneurship education in Australia is steadily growing.

Dr. Bliemel’s insight into entrepreneurial education is certainly more reliable than most; after all, he has travelled the rocky road of entrepreneurship himself. Before joining UNSW from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Dr. Bliemel completed an MBA with a venture specialisation in 2002.  He reflects that while he was studying he could tell that “some [students] wanted to get into start ups and entrepreneurship but at that time there was only one course in entrepreneurship in that entire MBA program”. Consequently his desire to “help other people commercialize their cool ideas” propelled him to start a business consulting company that assisted entrepreneurs with business plans, raising capital and financial modeling.  According to Dr. Bliemel “Its only recently we’re starting to see education programs specialising in entrepreneurship”.

UNSW’s Diploma in Innovation Management is one such program designed to filled this new niche in education. The undergraduate Diploma is offered in conjunction with students’ undergraduate degrees and spans three years. Those willing to tackle extra study for the diploma have their chance to learn the secrets of entrepreneurial trade before graduating. Only the extremely brave, dedicated and ambitious take on the challenge but even before being accepted in the course, they are subjected to CIE’s scrutinising eye and judged on the basis of past leadership and entrepreneurial skills, enthusiasm and academic achievement. The end result: a carefully chosen breed of  motivated entrepreneur hopefuls. “The students are a lot more engaged and they learn a lot from each other. They’re not taking [the course] because they have to, they take it because they want to.” Dr. Bliemel says proudly.

According to CIE’s internal statistics 11% of students come from the College of Fine Arts, 14% are from the Faculty of Science, 24% are from the School of Business, 18% come from the Faculty of Social Science and 17% are from the Engineering Faculty. Dr. Bliemel says that there is also interest in the course from students in other universities. “They see that, ‘Oh my God, I wish we had that at our university’”.

What they might not be aware of is that entrepreneurship in education was being picked up as early as in 2004. According to the Journal of Asia Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, out of 39 Australian universities surveyed in 2004, 13 were offering entrepreneurship units in bachelor and masters programs, 8 offered bachelor programs in entrepreneurship with major or minor in entrepreneurship and 11 offered post graduate programs such as graduate certificate, diplomas or masters in entrepreneurship.

And the trend is gathering momentum. The Murdoch university for example, currently offers a specialization in entrepreneurship as part of its undergraduate commerce degree and is not shy to use lines like ‘Love to be your own boss one day?’ and ‘you could be the world’s next Richard Branson!’ to entice students. The University of Adelaide has created an exclusively entrepreneurial undergraduate degree with the grand title ‘Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship’. Taking a leaf from UNSW’s book, UTS had recently created an Entrepreneurship Centre ‘to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem’ and aims to provide highly specialised courses for entrepreneurs.

Sean Marshall plans to give his own suggestions to the centre. After all he is the president of the Australian Collaborative Entrepreneurial Society (ACES) society at UTS and a fierce advocate for improvements in entrepreneurial education. His response to whether Australia is doing enough to assist young entrepreneurs speaks for itself. “Hell NO” he says with passion, “people need to know that entrepreneurship is a valid career path”. Which is just what he’s working on. A serial networker who goes to about four entrepreneurship networking events each week, he also runs The Vanguard, an organisation that helps encourage entrepreneurial skills in students.  “We build a community of students from high school and university who want to be involved in entrepreneurship and  run training events. For example a day work shop on how to build an e-commerce site” he says, before pausing for a moment to give the taxi driver directions. He is in fact on his way back from the ‘Final Pitches’ event at UNSW where entrepreneurship students showcase their innovative business ideas. “There needs to be a shift away from education focused on theory and to education that involves solving a problem in the real world” he concludes adamantly.

However Both Marshall and Bliemel are likely to be disappointed with Oliver Milman’s cynicism about entrepreneurial courses. The editor of Start Up Smart, an online publication for entrepreneurs, is skeptical about the impact of tertiary education on the entrepreneurship sphere. “There is a big debate about whether entrepreneurship should be taught as a course. Rather, it’s possible that its a state of mind.” he comments pensively. “There is a belief that teaching entrepreneurship itself doesn’t really help you out” he continues, “that you can’t teach people to come up with ideas”.

The experience of Sam Sidney, 24 year old owner of online clothing store Twin Cat Vintage seems to support his ‘mind over matter’ rationale. For Sam, who studied journalism at Melbourne University, lack of entrepreneurship education was simply a challenge to be tackled, not an insurmountable barrier.

“I particularly found the actual ‘business’ side of things tough. Being mathematically illiterate also didn’t help matters!” she admits. But  she is far from being resentful about this difficulty. “I think fear is a fantastic motivator and whilst there were always fears and stresses involved, I never lost the motivation to keep trying”.

She describes her love for vintage clothing and the satisfaction of giving people a “special shopping experience” as the reasons she started the business.

“I had an incredible long white 70’s lace dress once, which a girl bought for her wedding dress – that was an amazing sale!”.

When speaking about motivation, Fiona Anson, a serial entrepreneur who’s owned a total of six businesses, has her own philosophy. “Entrepreneurs have an internal drive. They are motivated by doing things better.” she says with conviction.

Her newest venture HireMeUp, which she started with business partner Allison Baker, is a job search site for finding flexible work and attracts 10000 visitors per month. Like Sam, Fiona is optimistic about business challenges. “You might get a bit disappointed, but you pick yourself up and dust yourself off ” she laughs, “it’s all trial and error at the end of the day.”

Regardless of the role education plays in creating entrepreneurs, there is most certainly a growing demand for entrepreneurial courses in Australian universities. Yet the experiences and mentality of entrepreneurs like Fiona and Sam indicate that the desire to create something is what underpins the success of educational incentives.

“Somebody who’s an entrepreneur gets the thrill out of finding something new to do all the time”, Fiona declares, before adding with a smile “and I love it.”

Fiona (on the right) and her business partner Allison

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Meeting the Entrepreneurs and Hazards of a Busy Life

Before the collapse of my immune system I had managed to do at least some useful things.

As I mentioned at the end of my video (if anyone was patient enough to reach the end) I was asked to write a blog about an event called Meet The Entrepreneur.

Here they are, the wonderful men with the big brains

And here is the blog for the event. As a firm believer in the power of the digital word above the printed word, I was more than happy to write it pro bono.So thanks to the good people of the UNSW Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Actually I had turned up at the event for a completely different purpose. I was writing an article about entrepreneurship education in Australia for uni, and it seemed relevant  (it wasn’t). I remember turning up and  thinking “what the fuck?” when I saw that every person there was casually sporting corporate attire (I was sporting a baby blue sweater and ever so slightly ripped jeans). In other words I stood out like a (blue) beacon.

Anyway I did have fun as the token misfit because that’s the reason I got noticed and asked to contribute. Oh and I got to interview Valerie Khoo who happens to own the Sydney Writers Centre (where, incidentally, I had done a writing course years back).

Did I get anything out of the event for myself? You may ask. Why yes. Yes I did.

I realised that I never want a job that forces me to wear corporate/business clothes. Ever.

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