British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill has topped a list of leaders most admired by chief executives, beating Steve Jobs and Mahatma Gandhi for the top spot, according to a survey of CEOs released last week. The finding comes out of accountancy PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 16th annual global CEO survey, which in January asked 1,400 CEOs from 60 countries what leaders they most admired. There were not many CEOs in the list of leaders that CEOs admire the most. Over half (60%) chose a politician or military leader. After that, the most popular categories were business leaders and historical leaders. Winston Churchill’s appeal was particularly wide. In France, he beat out home-grown president Charles de Gaulle for the top spot, and he also trumped Niccolo Machiavelli to come first in Italy. He managed a tie for second with Gandhi in Turkey, coming just behind wartime leader and national founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He was the most-admired leader in Latin America, Australia, the United States and Canada. 1. Stick to your convictions In the 1930s, as Hitler came to power in Germany, few sought a repeat of World War I. British politicians followed a policy of ‘appeasement’ instead. Churchill was one of the few to consistently warn about the danger of a rearmed Germany, and continued to do so even as it led to his being ostracised. Often portrayed in retrospect as a prophetic voice in the wilderness, Churchill was proved right by the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Churchill’s convictions came at great personal cost to him. In his 1948 book, The Gathering Storm, he reflected: “I felt a sensation of despair. To be so entirely… convinced and vindicated in a matter of life and death to one’s country, and not to be able to make Parliament and the nation heed the warning, or bow to the proof by taking action, was an experience most painful.” 2. Goad until it’s done Churchill is famous for his sheer belligerence in goading his countrymen to stand up to Germany, even as Britain was being bombed. “Churchill’s supreme talent,” one of his aides recalled, “was in goading people into giving up their cherished reasons for not doing anything at all.” For example, when informed of delays in shipbuilding in 1939, Churchill sent out a memorandum to one of his senior administrators: “It is no use the contractors saying it cannot be done. I have seen it done when full pressure is applied, and every resource and contrivance utilised.” 3. Maintain a positive attitude If anyone should be forgiven a moment of despair, it would be the British Prime Minister in the midst of the war with Hitler. In the early years of the war, it certainly looked like Germany would succeed. European countries were falling in rapid succession and Britain was being continually bombed, with many of its people forced to flee the cities. It wasn’t until Hitler besieged Russia that things began to go awry for him. Despite this, Churchill maintained a positive attitude with his subordinates. “It is a crime to despair,” he wrote after the signing of the Munich Agreement, which allowed Germany to occupy part of Czechoslovakia in 1938. “It is the hour, not for despair, but for courage and rebuilding; and that is the spirit which should rule us in this hour.” In 1955, in his last major speech as Prime Minister, Churchill again sounded a warning against hopelessness. “Never flinch, never weary, never despair,” he concluded. This was in keeping with the general structure he established in his earlier speeches. Churchill never ended without a call for optimism, often delivered in a bit of English poetry. Churchill wasn’t one to sugar-coat the truth. He always spoke of the dire threat to Britain should Hitler succeed. But this urgency was never intended to induce helplessness. “All will come right,” he frequently said. In the war’s darkest hours, he gave Britain courage. Perhaps that’s why he’s so universally admired by global CEOs today. This story first appeared on LeadingCompany.
As time goes on, technology inevitably improves. Business should move with the times and, therefore, move with technology. This seems like quite a simple formula when you think about it and you would assume that this just happens naturally. Funnily enough, there is no such thing as natural change in most businesses. Why? Well, as a rule of thumb, people are naturally adverse to change. For instance, before I read Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese! I found even I was adverse to change. I was doing something that I didn’t enjoy five days a week because to change what I was doing was a scary thought. This would involve changing careers, leaving my old career behind and starting anew. A change in business is fundamentally no different. Why? Because people run businesses, businesses don’t run businesses. Human behaviour is judged ultimately by the interface by which we interact. Changing that interface is changing behaviour. This is sometimes scary. Numbers in marketing Since the conception of the internet and cloud infrastructure there has been a fundamental change in business opportunity. While I could rattle off 10 reasons why running your system either on an internet platform or through cloud infrastructure would be far better than having everything stored underneath your desk in an office, most people would still be naturally adverse to this idea. Quite simply, it means change. They believe what they can see and what they have on their desktop is safe. Safe until it crashes and then what happens? I wrote an article recently about cloud accounting and how Xero, Saasu and now MYOB Live Accounts are making huge changes to the way businesses can operate. Well, the exact same thing is happening in cloud marketing. Have you heard of that term before? Maybe not. But I am betting that you have seen its incredible power without even knowing about it (Commonwealth Bank of Australia is currently using it). Technology like Salesforce.com, Oncontact, Sage, Prophet are all fantastic examples of CRM software. The add-ons like Marketo (Datarati does implementation for this Australia-wide), Hubspot (Bluewire Media is an Australian partner for this software) and Salesforce Marketing Cloud are simply incredible. Landscape Talking to Paul Holstein from Brandrally recently it was really interesting to discuss the difference between marketing teams and C-Level executives. The disparity between the two is incredibly fascinating. That is that one looks traditionally at the tangible and the other at the intangible. The great thing about the before-mentioned software is that it allows these teams to now play in the same sphere. C-Levels can effectively measure the success of creativity, while at the same time marketing teams can express creative ideas with real insights that were never previously available. These two species can now speak the same language. These tools will no doubt change the landscape of the marketing industry and how business has traditionally operated. It has been estimated that by 2017 CMOs will spend more money on IT than CIOs. Again, another funny concept. However, when you drill down into the CIOs role – being across absolutely every piece of software relevant to an industry – it is revealed as an almost impossible task. This is why I believe ‘cloudware’ will slowly but surely change business forever: It will create a system (using technology) which makes everyone in a business accountable to each other, rather than the traditional structure of the manager above being responsible for the employee below. Where to from here? So, there is this awesome technology everyone now wants to get their hands on. What’s the cost? Will it work for my company? Which one should I use? All these questions will be solved with time (apart from the cost part – just go to their websites and check). Remember the quote from Steve Jobs from my last article – “It’s so much easier to connect the dots looking back.” Just as social media has taken a while to find its feet; these powerful technologies will take time too. Personally, I’m excited to be working with this technology to help the greater good. Being a cancer survivor, I’m excited to be helping the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland with their web strategy and utilising technology (like marketing in the cloud) to help them achieve their goals and reach for the stars – helping cancer sufferers around Queensland and Australia. If you require any help setting up on either tool or have a chat about the best platform for your business, please do not hesitate to contact me on email@example.com or give me a call on (07) 3040 8083.
Above: Ben Sze, Duncan Anderson and Jeremy Cox from Tutor on Demand Yesterday, we profiled three of the restless young start-ups that are aiming to become the next Aussie tech superstars, with a little help from the Startmate accelerator program. There was the SME tech help service, the communication tool for parents and child minders and the security crowdsourcers. Below, we speak to three more of the Startmate class of 2013, which have been lavished with $50,000, intensive mentoring and a trip to the US. Tutor on Demand Website: https://tutorondemand.com.au/ Founders: Ben Sze, Duncan Anderson and Jeremy Cox What if you were a student wanting to top up your studies with some learning via your smartphone? And what if you were a teacher after a little extra cash and the chance to help a wider pool of students? These two elements are drawn together for Tutor Demand, which features video content of 18 different teachers discussing 15 different topics, to help high school students. Where did this idea spring from? Anderson: Ben, Jeremy and I all worked together at Goldman Sachs and then did our own thing. We kept in touch and Ben was tutoring a bit. He had an idea to set up Skype, so we have tutors one side of a city and students the other side of the city. He spoke to me about an idea in South Korea called MegaStudy, which is an on-demand resource with multiple teachers. It has a market cap of $1 billion. We thought the business model could work here in a similar way. Why hasn’t this happened until now? It seems like quite a simple idea. Sze: Internet speeds weren’t so good until about 10 years ago. But, also, schools are slow moving beasts. We are focused on finding great teachers and empowering them to teach more than the 50 students they normally teach. Another barrier to entry is the time teachers would have to take to build and then sit and upload content – there’s a lot of time commitment there and not a lot of time. How does it work? Sze: We record teachers doing video lectures over a week period and show it in bite-sized pieces, five or six videos. The focus is high school at the moment. There’s a really good opportunity as no one rewards good teachers – you get the same regardless of whether you are a good or bad teacher, unlike, say, a lawyer. We have a recording studio, so the teachers come to us, do a Powerpoint presentation and walk away. There’s no need for them to have equipment, so there’s no hassle for them. Students get access online through a referral or their school purchases access on their behalf. They might use it for just Year 12 physics or five other subjects, for example. Four weeks before exams, we expect to see lots of students watching all the videos and doing a crash course. Who are you selling this to, exactly? Anderson: Initially, we saw this as additional to the schools – there’s a big market for top-up lectures and here you get great teachers at great price points. But we had teachers come to us and say they want to purchase for a class and a few libraries asked the same. So two schools purchased from us. We are currently looking at all channels – directly to students and parents and some to schools. What’s the business model? Anderson: We sell subscriptions to get access to a subject for an entire year, over two parts. So you get, say, chemistry for $25 for one part. That gives you unlimited access. We’ve found that students usually buy more than once. Schools can then buy access for all subjects, for a price per student. We are still trying to figure that out. Sze: One school we piloted with had nearly 50% of students using the videos getting an A or A+ in their final exams. Only 25% get an A or A+ usually. We were quite pleased with that. So far, we’ve reached 2,700 students across 350 different schools. For schools, it adds another level of teaching. Students get access to a great teacher whenever they need it. They have an iPhone app they can use wherever they go and consolidate what they’ve learned. None of you has a tech background, which is strange for a tech start-up. Anderson: Yes, it is a bit unusual. But we did get it designed and get it all done, so I’d view us as project managers that have an understanding of tech, but didn’t build the core project. We had people help us out with recording, generally multimedia students. The back-end was initially built by friends of Ben, while the design came from a few different places. What would your advice be to anyone applying to Startmate? Anderson: If you’ve built a lot of start-ups in the past, you’ll probably have an easy time. But if you haven’t, get traction first. It helped us that we had customers, product and revenue. It wasn’t just talk. If you apply, don’t just have a great idea. Go out there and build something. You all had comfortable jobs. Why do this? Anderson: Building your own thing is much more interesting and engaging than working for other people. Tutor on Demand can have strong, positive effects on society. Good education allows people to make better decisions. We feel we can empower great teachers and build something that is riskier but the reward is completely different. As Steve Jobs says, do something you love that doesn’t feel like work. You end up really caring about what you’re doing. Story continues on page 2. Please click below. Shiftr Website: http://www.shiftrapp.com/ Founders: Adrian Dean and Ludek Dolejsky Shiftr is a very modern start-up story. The founders discovered each other via Google and launched a simple but clever idea for an app despite only meeting each other a couple of times – mainly due to the fact Dean’s Canberra base was a little far from the Czech Republic, where Dolejsky was living. The start-up’s app allows workers to swap shifts without lengthy phone calls and organisation. What’s the benefit of being in Startmate? It’s a big learning curve, having seen the calibre of our peers. Startmate has given us $50,000 – which is 50,000 $1 experiments we can make to run and iterate our ideas. We want to get into a tight cycle of rapid change, while companies don’t change so quickly. We want bang for our buck in every way, such as getting a place rent-free in Sydney. A friend agreed to this if we arranged to move his stuff in, which I did. It saved us around $10,000. So how did you meet Ludek? I was in San Francisco when I first made contact, via a Google search. I had another idea called MyMyke, which was a distributed microphone app. He’d created software for that so I contacted him. He’d developed something to just spy on friends, something fun, and I said let’s retool it. We worked on it for a month and then I shared a Pilsner with him when I went backpacking. I then floated the idea of Shiftr maybe 18 months ago. My girlfriend couldn’t get out of work and had the whole hassle of calling around and getting a replacement. She had the threat of not getting work if she dropped out without getting someone to cover her. I thought there was a real opportunity there to create an app that was easy for staff to use. I didn’t want to create a full rostering system, as it’s hard for businesses to change those big processes, but employers weren’t bridging to smartphone very well when swapping shifts, they’ll use Facebook or text. How does it work? Any employee can download the app and invite co-workers in. We include managers in this too, as they are on the front line, having to deal with this pain with tools lumped on them by IT departments; people who have never flipped a burger. Employees jump in and can create a shift – it takes you about 10 seconds. You push ‘swap’ and it notifies everyone in workplace that they want to swap and other staff have the option to grab it. The manager gets to choose the winning employee. How will you monetise it? We are going to charge managers when they want to claim their workplace as official workplaces. We’ll add features such as group messaging and store ‘walls’. Obviously they get control over swapping too. It doesn’t require everyone in the business sign up, but catching point is around 40% of a workplace. We trialled a McDonald’s store and it had a 60% take-up in the first few hours. We’ll have a subscription model with a 30-day trial. The charge depends on the business, we’re looking at $30 to $40 a month. We are looking at a flat site fee. We found workplaces want that, rather than pay $1 per employee or anything like that. We’re actually a small part of these massive rostering systems. We are filling that pain point when someone calls up to say ‘I can’t make it’ because it costs a lot of time to coordinate. Eventually, we’d like to be able to match people who are skilled casual workers with different workplaces. That’s the long-term vision – complete labour flexibility. How did you persuade Ludek to move here? Well, Australia has a certain allure to it. Every European thinks Australia is a beautiful place with beautiful people and beaches. He has a tech consultancy company and felt he could take it as far as he could. This way, he gets to learn more and challenge himself. I think we complement each other well. I’m not overly technical, while he’s not someone to sit in front of a client. How many workplaces have signed up? We started on one site with a trial. We had a terrible product but the look on the manager’s face was ‘wow, staff can see shifts in their phone’. He recommended it and it grew rapidly to eight workplaces in Canberra. We’ve now got 18, with another three coming on board – I’ve had calls from businesses in Hobart and the Central Coast. We feel a lot of these companies have this problem. This initial roll out works well with McDonald’s, but we’re also looking at Woolworths and Walmart – big brand names. We have interest from nurses and doctors too. We have just had the app on the app store and have done no marketing, so people are obviously searching for it. Managers say ‘we need this.’ Next, we’ll target industry groups and thought leaders that are talking about absenteeism. We’re starting to ramp the marketing up. We’re getting a lot of fanatical support from managers in McDonald’s –one guy got us into five different stores as he was raving about it. What are your ambitions for the business? Niki (Scevak) gave us a pep talk and said you need to accelerate to five to 50 to 100 stores quickly, otherwise you’ll lose out. The longer term goal is to crack into the US market. We’ve had to be very careful when choosing our words – shifts works well across countries, where roster in US means sports roster. I hope to get into the US by May. If we’re not hitting our targets, we’ll see if the value proposition is strong enough and if we can continue. We don’t want to be stuck with a stillborn company, earning enough to pay salary but not growing.
Do you have a big presentation coming up? Perhaps you’re pitching to investors? If so, and you want to get psyched up for it, you could do far worse than watching an old presentation by the Taskmaster’s hero. No, I don’t mean Scrooge McDuck; I mean Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
In his famous address of Stanford University graduates in 2005, Apple founder Steve Jobs said: “You've got to find what you love… and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
A last minute Christmas spending surge is set to hit retailers this week, with one in 10 Australian men set to leave their festive shopping until today.
With Christmas virtually upon us, I know that a lot of motivated businesspeople will be using the break to put in some serious reading time. It is a great opportunity to catch up on all of the business books that you have been too busy to read during the year.
US President Barack Obama might be the world’s most powerful person, according to Forbes, but there’s a handful of entrepreneurs on this year’s list for start-ups to draw inspiration from.
Last week, we saw the relationship between Zynga and Facebook change. You can read the SEC filings here.
The product designer was insistent, nearly pounding the desk while making the point.
Countless books get written on the personalities of the great entrepreneurs. Everyone who reads them spends the next 24 hours pretending to be Steve Jobs or Richard Branson before slowly morphing back into their true selves.
A female entrepreneurship group says while it supports the idea of training women to become angel investors, as seen in the US, we first need to train women to think like entrepreneurs.
Small businesses have been urged to follow Apple's lead when it comes to corporate apologies, with experts saying Tim Cook's admission of fault over the company's poor-performing Maps app is an ideal way to address severe customer service issues.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak plans to relocate to Australia permanently within two years, it’s been reported, in what could be a major boon for the local start-up sector.
Are brand ambassadors something that only very large businesses can use? I’ve got quite a nifty web start-up and am keen on getting an endorsement to prove my credibility – what should I do?
The commonly held assumption to measure merit through years of experience is a fundamentally bad idea.
How can I go about finding a business brain for my start-up?
This article first appeared June 15th, 2012. There’s nothing quite like seeing entrepreneurship in action. A business’ facts and figures may catch the eye, but it’s not until you see the founder talk about their idea that it truly comes to life and fires the imagination.
This article first appeared June 13th, 2012. We were set to launch Posse in retail.
A failure to invest in ways to combat mental illness among young men is proving a drain on the Australian economy, with businesses losing $3.3 billion a year due to the problem, according to a new report.