Windows Phone 7: Too Late to the Party?

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One of the things that has been interesting to me is your hearing a lot of people saying that Windows Phone 7 is late to the party, so when some body says your late that means there was a start. So ok there was a start and in fact it could be argued that Microsoft actually started the party but went out to check the BBQ only to find that the party has been hijacked.

The interesting part of the previous statement of being to late to the party, is that its now too late and its all over, that would then imply that the smartphone market is nearing the end. I dont think thats true, but what really is the key issue is that when a market is dominated it requires a innovation to reset the market. So what people are really saying here is “is Windows Phone 7 innovative enough to reset the market ?”. Considering the life of a smartphone is 2-3 years then I would think that this is a volatile market with regular consumer decisions about the platform of choice, so the opportunity is there for the right innovative device.

Another key element to reset the market is awareness, sadly here in Australia there is very little pixels being spent on WP7 on the telcos websites and the 6 telstra and vodafone shops I have chatted too have very little knowledge or awareness of the products arrival.

This is of course a good lesson to startups, just because the market is dominated by another player doesnt mean you cant get a slice of the market. To take that market you cant settle for a clone or just be as good as, instead you have to innovate and get the right number of eyes looking at your product.

So the question is not is WP7 too late but is it innovative enough and has the marketing message to reach the right eyes. Its a very interesting show to watch and lots to learn from as a startup.

A Startup runs on morale

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I saw this statement the other day on the y-Combinator site, and this did resonate with me as I have battled a few morale issues of my own over the last few months.

There is nothing that kills a business more when a staff member doesn’t believe in their company they work for, we are confronted with staff like that on a fairly regular basis as we go through a weekly lives and they are usually the ones that will stuff things up as they couldn’t care less about you or the company.

So what happens when your morale as the founder goes down, yep so does the companies morale and all its staff and the future is not bright, so what are you doing to protect your morale ? Who is on your side to barter better working conditions and better working hours ?

Take the time today to make sure the most important employee in your business is happy, can you buy something to make the work environment better ? Can you treat yourself by sleeping in tomorrow morning ? Maybe just be happy with what you have built ?

I would love to hear what people do to treat themselves.

An offer you cant refuse

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We all remember that famous line spoken from Don Vito Corleone in the Godfather movie of “Ill make him an offer he cant refuse”. Wouldn’t that would be great if we could make a deal that nobody would refuse, I am sure a business and personal lives would benefit greatly.

So is there a way for us to make a business offer that cant be refused without resorting the the tactics of that infamous gangster ? Well the answer is well yes for some offers, the secret is making sure the offer is a win win for both parties.

Next time you put an offer forward on a potential business deal make sure you take the time to look at the deal from the other parties position first. So here is a list of questions I think you should be asking:

Is it such a sweet deal that it cant be refused ?
What parts may the party have issues with and how have you addressed them ?
Have you outlined in very clear language what the benefits will be to them ?
Have you backed your claims of benefits with facts that can be trusted ?

Put a deal with these questions answered forward and it will be become an offer that cant be refused.

What I would do if I ran a bizspark camp

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Thought I would post about what I would do if I was allowed to run a bizspark camp, not because I think the ones that have been organised stink or people that organise them need advice but because I would really love to see an event like this.

So what is the camp I would like to see ? Firstly it would be a series of camps focused on the business of technology not a technology itself. Using the underlying Microsoft skills base as the glue that brings people together. The first camp would be over a weekend, then other camps 3 – 6 months apart so we cant build a real businesses over just a weekend.

This first camp will be a “pitch and dating camp”, basically everyone before the event lists their skills ie coding, design, UX, management etc, desired role and the amount of time they can put into a project. On the first morning of the camp if you have an idea you can open the floor or hold private interviews with people that or on the list that you would like to join your project. In the afternoon you buddy up with the people that have accepted your invites into your project to work together in planning your go forward.

The second day we will run some adhoc advice sessions that your free to join by either sending none, one or all to the session to learn about things such as remote team working, legal issues etc. Also during the day we will run a closed pitch session where you can sit with some real investors to hear your idea get some advice and maybe some investment.

All project participants will be invited back after 3/6 months for a casual afternoon to hear how things are going and what has been built and to learn what Microsoft can do to assist your business.

Would you come and participate ? If so tweeter to @bizspark_au & @jamesmcc that you would like to see this or leave a comment as I would love to here your thoughts on a camp like this ? A retweet would also be great to spread the word for having an invite like this as the more the better the event would be

Business Lesson: Focus on the positive things

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This week I found out that a person that I have known for many years had sold me out. This person I had dealt with in the past had a tad of a habit to always elbow his way to the front when there was a little bit of praise or fame to be had at the cost of others around him, but myself having a big ego at times I felt this was just the way life when some egos clash and always saw it as good hustle no harm no foul was my rule.

I was happy to sit down with this person giving advice freely and openly when asked and assisting were I could, but a few days ago I found out that this person had not only given intro opportunities to others without the courtesy of a quick heads up but also hasnt been portraying me in the best light to others.

My first reaction was to throw one of my famous and patented “hissy fits” and swear revenge to all gods that were listening but of course this really does not help anyone especially yourself. Focusing on the negative things only in the end wastes time and energy and in the end never leaves you with a good feeling. Instead just focus on the good things that are happening and put your energies there for me it means a few extra hours a month to spend with family and friend or even to make better apps, which is something to be more proud of then getting even with someone.

Lean Startup: So you think you have a brilliant idea, yeah who else ?

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One of very common mistakes a startup can make is thinking they are on a winner, we even laugh at them during shows like Dragon Den as some more sod shows of a universal baby interchanging device thingy that he has donated the last X years of their life too. The poor person always looks so surprised too when others are not blown away with excitement when the idea is placed in front of them.

So how do you know if your in that fools camp or that you do have an idea ready to explode, where everyone will be saying with envy at parties for years to come: “I could have come up with that”.

Its not asking your friends, your partner or your mum … they always lie god bless them. Instead the truth comes from one place: customers. Get your idea out there in front of customers they will tell you bluntly and quickly if they like your idea by the action of giving you money.

I will be presenting the Sydney Windows Bizspark Camp

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Believe it or not you can be a startup that is not on the web or not on the iphone, so to prove that these people do exist we have created a bizspark camp to see talk about what is happening.

It should be a great afternoon of networking so why not come along and see what is happening.

The quick overview:

Join us at the Windows 7 Modern Applications BizSpark Camp on 14, June 2010.
Get an overview on how to design and incorporate key new features of Windows 7 in your applications; giving them a modern twist while incorporating resources like multi-touch interface, ribbon menus, task bar integration, external sensors like gps, WiFi Location services, accelerometers, and other features.
This half day event will be hosted at the Microsoft Sydney Office in North Ryde.

The Event will be followed by a hands on lab event on the 25th of June at the Microsoft Training Labs in the North Ryde office. Both of these events will feature MVP & BizSpark Network Partner James McCutcheon of Foundry38.

If these two events inspire you further, and you think you have what it takes to build a Proof of concept around your Windows 7 Modern Application idea, you will be invited to participate in a three day intensive Proof Of Concept development program which includes Technical & Business experts on hand to help guide your development. This is also being held at the Microsoft Office on 28th, 29th, and 30th June 2010. On hand to help with your development will be Dr Neil Roodyn, Microsoft Regional Director & MVP.

Event Agenda

14 June Event

12:30 pm – 1:00 PM Registration
1:00 pm – 1:15 PM Keynote Speech
1:15 PM – 1:45 PM Windows 7 Modern Applications and the Business Opportunity for Startups
1:45 PM – 2:30 PM Building Modern Windows Applications (Session 1)
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Afternoon Tea
3:00PM – 5:00 PM Building Modern Windows Applications (Session 2)

More information and registration can be found here

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